Micron's 5300 and 7300 SSDs bring higher-capacity 96-layer TLC NAND to the enterprise

Micron's SSDs are bringing higher endurance for enterprise storage. The drives are largely more iterative than benchmark-busting, though they are good fits for data-hungry businesses.

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Micron announced the 5300 series SATA SSDs and 7300 series NVMe SSDs on Thursday, packing in higher-endurance 96-layer TLC NAND for enterprise workloads, a first for enterprise-targeted SATA drives, the company claims.

Micron's 7300 series NVMe SSDs are split between Pro and Max variants—the Pro SKUs are intended for 1 drive write per day (DWPD) while the Max SKUs are rated for 3 DWPD. The 7300 Pro is available in 960GB, 1.92TB, 3.84TB, and 7.68TB capacities for 2.5" (7mm) U.2 form factors, as well as in 480GB, 960GB, 1.92TB, 3.84TB capacities for M.2, the former being M.2 2280, with higher capacity options as M.2 22110.

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The 7300 Max SKUs are provisioned differently, with 800GB, 1.6TB, 3.2TB, and 6.4TB capacities for U.2, and 400GB and 800GB capacities for M.2 2280. 

Larger capacity drives include enough chips to provide enough parallelism to the controller, allowing sequential read speeds to reach the 3,000 MB/sec upper limit provided by PCI 3.0, while 800GB and 960GB capacity drives top out at 2,400 MB/sec, with 400GB/480GB drives at a modest 1,300 MB/sec read speed.

PCIe 3.0 is mainstream—Intel's current-generation Cascade Lake and next-generation Cooper Lake microarchitectures for server CPUs will stick to the standard, though Ice Lake, expected in late 2020, is expected to adopt PCIe 4.0, which doubles bus speeds. Enterprise appetite for PCIe 3.0 drives will remain healthy throughout the transition, though performance-critical workloads (MySQL, Redis, etc.) will likely be eyeing the currently available AMD hardware and PCIe 4.0 SSDs, as drive controllers mature and enterprise options emerge. 

Enterprise data storage appetite is increasing at a rapid pace, with Micron citing IDC forecasts, which claims the world's data will grow from 33ZB in 2018 to 175ZB by 2025. Not all of this data requires lighting-fast read/write access, which underlies the continued health of the SATA SSD market, particularly for organizations seeking to extend the service life of their existing on-premises storage appliances.

The 5300 Pro SKUs are available in capacities starting at 240GB, doubling in size up to 7.68 TB, with the 5300 Max likewise starting at 240GB, ending at 3.84 TB. These are standard 2.5" 7mm SATA drives, with the 5300 Pro also including M.2 2280 variants up to 1.92 TB.

Like the 7300, the Pro SKUs are rated for 1 DWPD, with the Max SKUs rated for 3 DWPD. The drives saturate the 540 MB/s maximum theoretical speed the SATA bus can provide.

Micron's 5210 ION SSDs, announced in May 2018, use QLC NAND to lower price-per-GB ratings, though this savings comes with a performance penalty: The drives are intended for read-centric use cases, which Micron defines as "90%+ read." Micron's QLC NAND is estimated for roughly 1,000 write cycles, making the drives not suitable for write-intensive workloads.

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Image: Micron Technology Inc.