back to article Flash in the pan? Dell 3D TLC AFAs are cheaper than spinning rust

Dell is hitting a $1.66/GB all-flash array street price point using 3D TLC flash drives from Samsung, the first enterprise array supplier to go 3D and TLC. TLC (triple-level cell) NAND has 3 bits per cell and its production cost is roughly two thirds of 2-bits/cell MLC flash, the bulk of storage array flash shipped today. It’s …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "$1.66/GB price point for raw flash"

    Presumably meaning that RAID overhead is not taken into account in this figure.

    So that's about $1600 for 960GB of raw, unprotected flash. Compare with how much a 960GB SSD drive costs.

    1. Archaon

      Re: "$1.66/GB price point for raw flash"

      Not sure whether you're implying that it's expensive or not? But it depends what class of drive you're looking at. For a standard 960GB 6G SATA 'enterprise 'drive for a server with a low endurance you're looking at over £1500 from a tier 1 vendor (e.g. HP, Dell etc). For an even lower endurance model, closer to the region of £600-700.

      That said SAN drives always carry a premium over server drives as they're always SAS drives (so probably 12G SAS given that they're new models) and have higher associated costs - i.e. all other things being equal a SAN drive is more likely to fail than a server drive and be claimed under warranty, which is naturally factored into the cost of a drive.

      It does look expensive compared to a consumer drive but it's a definite sign of progress in the storage market, for customers who don't need high endurance drives.

      PS - Chris, as an aside it would have been useful to mention the endurance (DWPD) of the drives being used.

    2. Nigel 11

      Re: "$1.66/GB price point for raw flash"

      Cheaper than spinning rust? That's not true. Neither is it particularly cheap compared to other solid-state options.

      Of course, there's "enterprise grade" snake-oil or wizardry included in that price. Without knowing a lot more about it, price/Gb comparisons are a bit pointless.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too good to be true ?

    Only 1 DWPD according to this, page 15:-

    http://www.samsung.com/us/samsungsemiconductor/pdfs/PSG2015_1H_HR_singles.pdf

    Dell offer 5 years warranty, but with only 1 DWPD it would be interesting to understand whether that warranty is just against failure, or does it also cover write endurance within that period ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too good to be true ?

      Dell warrants all enterprise flash drives for the entire warranty period, regardless of whether they fail from a manufacturing defect or wear rate failure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Too good to be true ?

        Do you have a link ? It's just they didn't used to.

        1. BuckRogers

          Re: Too good to be true ?

          Regarding replacement of drives irrespective of cause, see link to article.

          "Dell is so confident in this approach, we guarantee all SSD formats for life. As long as the array has a current service plan (ProSupport, or award-winning Copilot), we’ll replace any drives that wear out irrespective of wear level or maximum rated life. "

          From Dell article:

          http://en.community.dell.com/dell-blogs/dell4enterprise/b/dell4enterprise/archive/2015/07/20/give-your-storage-budget-some-tlc-and-boost-performance-at-the-same-time

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Too good to be true ?

        Great stuff but I'd assume you still have to front end these with the more expensive write optimized SSD's to take advantage of that 5 year warranty otherwise you' just have a single tier ?

    2. Archaon

      Re: Too good to be true ?

      Aha, thanks. 1 DWPD isn't fantastic news but in fairness it's more than good enough for a lot of organisations; particularly for smaller organisations that are just starting to see flash as a viable (i.e. potentially affordable) option for their next storage refresh.

  3. Shachar Fielblit, CTO, Kaminario

    It is great to see that 3D TLC technology is arriving to the enterprise. $1.66/GB is an interesting price point for raw capacity but a more modern storage array that is tuned for flash and support advanced data reduction functionality can bring a solution with much better endurance together with lower cost per usable capacity.

    Shachar Fienblit

    CTO

    Kaminario

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