Today, Micron is announcing a pair of new enterprise SSDs. First up is the Micron 6500 ION line of Enterprise SSDs. Micron sent us a pair of 30.72TB 6500 ION drives to play with, and I have spent a bit of time putting these drives through their paces. Micron is also announcing the Micron XTR, which is a SLC-based drive intended for high-intensity write applications such as front-line cache arrays. For the XTR, we do not have a drive in hand and only have the press materials.
This article is more of an announcement and less of a full review. We have a number of new drives launching today, so we are just going to publish the announcements. While I have run benchmarks on this drive to independently verify some of Micron’s performance claims, there will not be a bunch of charts in this article. You can expect a full performance review in the future! Let us get to it.
As mentioned, there are two drives launching today, the 6500 ION and the XTR.
Micron 6500 ION 30.72TB Overview
The Micron 6500 ION SSD will be available in both U.3 and E1.L form factors at the 30.72TB capacity point.
Since these are capacity drives, endurance would historically be a primary concern. Micron rates the 6500 ION at a minimum of 0.3 DWPD, and scaling up from there depending on your specific workload.
With the 30.72TB capacity and the TLC NAND technology, the Micron 6500 ION is not intended as a cache drive and is more intended to be used as primary storage for larger datasets that are more read intensive. At a minimum of 0.3 DWPD scaling up to 1.0 DWPD, I think we have reached endurance levels high enough that the endurance of this drive no longer needs to be the primary focal point of the spec sheet.
In that spirit, Micron is claiming relatively low power usage, especially when only reading. 6800 MB/s sequential read with 1M random read IOPS is also a good target for a read-intensive drive. None of this is necessarily groundbreaking, but read performance pushing at the same levels of TLC drives is certainly something to be applauded. Micron lists the warranty at 5 years, but many 6500 ION drives will be warranted through their vendor rather than directly with Micron.
Micron XTR Series
The second drive being announced today is the XTR, which is available in 960GB and 1.92TB capacities.
While the capacity of these drives is relatively small, the drives are 100% SLC NAND which gives them incredibly high write endurance. This is a special purpose drive for the most intensive write workloads, with the SLC intended to provide both incredible reliability as well as consistency of performance. I look forward to testing one out for myself, but as of now, I do not have one of these.
Micron actually sent two of the 6500 ION drives for us to test.
I was able to pull just north of 1M read IOPS with a 4K 100% random read workload, and I was able to significantly exceed the rated 200K random write IOPS as well. For 100% random writes, I actually received results above 300K IOPS, so depending upon workload their advertised specs may be a touch conservative.
My results are broadly in line with or exceed Micron’s claimed performance for these drives. In addition, the likely deployment scenario for drives like these will be in large multi-drive arrays that are network attached, and their absolute performance will likely be dictated by that network interconnect as much as individual drive performance.
As you can see, the 6500 ION drives sport a beefy integrated heatsink, which should help keep operating temperatures low in systems with proper airflow through the 2.5″ drive bays.
This is a really interesting drive. Instead of leading with smaller capacities, and working up to 30TB+, Micron is leading with that larger form factor. Having 30.72TB in a 2.5″ drive is significantly denser than hard drives. For data centers, that means primary storage can be on SSD, instead of HDD. For the edge environments, whether those be in Telco POPs or elsewhere, this brings affordable higher-capacity storage to the edge. There the replacement/ service costs can rival the cost of a drive so being able to reduce footprint and service costs can be a huge benefit. 30.72TB of capacity in 2.5″ does that.
The Micron 6500 ION drives are expected to be in volume production by May 30, 2023, with availability in the channel and to OEM customers following shortly after.
While our review is not out yet, if you want to check out the higher-end but similarly sized 32TB Micron 9400 Pro article, that will show you what the higher-end high-capacity model can do.
Feel free to have a watch as well.