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Micron 5400: High TBW SATA SSDs for longer server life

Micron has chosen the SSD series 5400, which still uses the SATA interface instead of NVMe, as a faster and more straightforward replacement for hard disk drives (HDD) in the server. Up to 7.68 TB is offered in the 2.5-inch chassis, but the M.2 format is also available in a smaller capacity.

The write limit is high. NVMe SSDs now clearly dominate the reporting on ComputerBase, but the SATA interface still plays a role in both the consumer and business segments. While Western Digital recently served the consumer market with new SATA SSDs with the SA510 series, Micron is now introducing a new SATA SSD series in the data center.

Micron 5400 offers up to 7.68 TB at 540 MB/s

With the usual simplicity with names like optics, the Micron 5400 SSDs come with storage capacities from 240 GB to 7.68 TB in 2.5-inch size with a height of 7 mm and from 240 GB to 960 GB in the M.2 form factor 80mm length on the market. As usual, the maximum transfer rates of 540 MB/s read and 520 MB/s write are at the interface’s limit, which has long been overtaken in performance. After all, SSDs with PCI Express and NVMe now offers over 7,000 MB/s. However, the SATA SSDs are always faster than HDDs, especially in terms of access times and IOPS.

SATA SSDs in servers have been in demand for a long time

However, there are still many systems that rely mainly on SATA and whose lifespan can be extended with these SSDs from Micron’s point of view. The higher storage capacities are ideal as a storage replacement for slow hard drives. The smaller storage capacities can in turn serve as a startup disk.

Micron has shipped nearly 20 million units built on the SATA architecture, which is still widely used in data centers. The 5400 SSD offers a great alternative to lower capacity 10K and 7.2K SATA HDDs. micron

Not only does Micron see a market for SATA SSDs. In the press release Analyst, Greg Wong says through forwarding Insights that demand for enterprise SSDs with SATA will remain strong until at least 2026. Then, according to his estimate, another 26 exabytes (26,000,000 terabytes) of these data carriers are needed.

Micron advertises high sustainability

Micron apparently believes that its 176-layer TLC-NAND is capable of a high degree of durability, which in the case of NAND flash memory is limited by the possible write cycles. The specification of the Drive Writes Per Day (DWPD) common in the server segment, as a write limit to override the otherwise 5-year warranty, is higher than usual for the new Micron SSDs. The Micron 5400 Pro subseries designed for low write volume applications is specified with 1.5 DWPD, while 1 DWPD is otherwise common in this class. The 5400 Max for mixed read/write workloads has a high 5 DWPD instead of the usual 3 DWPD.

Micron 5400 SSD – variants and core data (Image: Micron) Converted to the Total Bytes Written (TBW), which is more common in the consumer segment, this means about 10.5 petabytes in the case of the 5400 Pro with 3.84 TB and in In the case of the 5400 Max, as much as 35 petabytes of data can be written with the same storage capacity before the warranty expires. However, there are also dedicated SSDs for high write requirements, offering 10 DWPD and more thanks to the large spare memory. The frontrunner is likely to be Intel’s Optane family with up to 100 DWPD.

However, it does not use NAND flash, but uses extremely durable and expensive phase change memory (3D XPoint). Meanwhile, three models are completely out of sync: the 5400 Boot with 240 GB in M.2 format, whose name already betrays its scope, is only specified with 1 DWPD. On the other hand, the 5400 Pro model with the largest storage capacity of 7.68TB stands only at 0.6 DWPD and even the largest model in the 5400 Max series is lower than the rest at 3.4 DWPD.

Micron is also very confident with 1 error per 1017 bits when it comes to the ratio of uncorrectable read errors, also known as Unrecoverable Read Error Rate (UBER). The supposedly high reliability of the SSDs should also support their Average time to error (MTTF) of 3 million hours instead of 2 million hours, which is otherwise commonly read.

Power failure protection and encryption

To prevent data loss in the event of a power failure, the SSDs are equipped with a so-called power failure protection, which can continue to supply power for a certain period of time. This should normally be enough to write the data from the volatile cache to the non-volatile memory cells of the NAND flash. In addition, the security standards TCG Enterprise and Opal 2.0 are supported. Data can also be protected from unauthorized access using 256-bit AES encryption. Thanks to the hot plug support, the data medium can be quickly changed on the SATA backplane in the server room.

immediately available

More information about the Micron 5400 SSDs can be found on product pages from the manufacturer and in Datasheet (PDF). As always in this business customer segment, no prices are mentioned. Customers should already be supplied.

The “big player” remains Samsung

However, in terms of market share in the enterprise SSD segment, Micron is a relatively small fish. In a Trendfocus study, Micron had a market share of just 5.6 percent in delivered exabytes in Q3 2021, behind Intel, Kioxia, SK Hynix, and Western Digital. Samsung will remain unassailably dominant in the coming period with a share of more than 53 percent.

For NVMe SSDs for servers, Samsung’s share is even greater; Micron has played almost no part in this so far. However, a few months ago, Micron also introduced new models for this interface in the form of the 7450 series. Thanks to PCIe 4.0, they reach up to 6,800/5,600 MB/s at sequential read/write speed.