Micron Unveils New 5100 Enterprise SSDs

Micron's 5100 SSD FamilyMicron has announced a new line of Enterprise SSDs that it has named the 5100 family.  The three members of the family are designated by different suffixes: 5100 ECO, 5100 PRO, and 5100 MAX, as listed in the table below.

The three models support the same maximum read IOPS performance, but have a wide range of write IOPS figures, endurance (measured in DWPD = Drive Writes per Day), and maximum capacities.

All of these SSDs are based on Micron’s 3-bit 3D NAND.  Micron has been aggressively ramping its 3D NAND technology since it began shipments in earnest last June.

The three SSD models are designed using the same fundamental firmware architecture, which Micron has named FlexPro, to yield consistent performance and reliability across the family, and with the hopes that customers will be able to qualify all three models in a single effort, which would provide one more reason for users to source their SSDs from the company.

Suffix

Capacity

IOPS

DWPD

Min

Max

Read

Write

ECO

480GB

8TB

93K

31K

1

PRO

240GB

4TB

93K

43K

2.5-3

MAX

240GB

2TB

93K

74K

5

The 5100 ECO is available in capacities as high as 8TB in a standard 2.5″ 7mm form factor, which Micron asserts is twice the capacity of the company’s nearest competitor.  Its m.2 counterpart peaks at 2TB, but offers the same full power-loss protection as the 2.5″ form factor.  This is the model designed for budget-minded applications.

The 5100 PRO, which also comes in both 2.5″ and m.2 form factors, is aimed at applications whose performance and endurance requirements fall between those of the read-centric ECO and the write-optimized MAX models.

The 5100 MAX provides more than twice the write IOPS of the ECO and an endurance rating of 5 DWPD, with a pathway to 10 DWPD.  Micron points out that it’s unlikely for an application to require more endurance than that at these capacities through a SATA interface that saturates at around 500MB/s sequential writes, but if any of these models’ endurance specifications fail to match the end user’s requirements they can be tuned (at the cost of reduced capacity) through the drives’ FlexPro firmware architecture, which allows users to determine the optimum capacity/endurance combination for their applications.

The FlexPro firmware also provides more consistent performance than Micron has been known for in the past.

Performance Consistency of 3 Enterprise SSDs

This chart compares the write IOPS performance of Micron’s 5100 MAX SSD against two competing SSDs: an NVMe “SATA Killer”, and a high-end SATA SSD.  The lines indicate the write IOPS performance on the unlabeled vertical axis, and the graininess illustrates each SSD’s performance consistency – ideally there would be no variation, and the line would be smooth.  The percentage figures beneath these lines denote how often each SSD reaches its best IOPS level.  With its 95.3% number the 5100 MAX performs at its rated 74K write IOPS level for all but 4.7% of the time.

The SSD Guy sees the introduction of this new product series as a very positive step for Micron.  The company is using its new 3D NAND as a fresh start and has taken the approach that they will “Do it right, or not do it at all.”  By providing “Best of Breed” SSDs with consistent performance Micron may be able to distinguish itself from the many other SSD manufacturers in the marketplace to become a much greater force in SSDs.

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