The new Micron 9400 series is the company’s high-performance PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD for data centers. Micron’s goal was simple: to create the fastest PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD it could while also offering new, larger capacity points. At STH, we are testing 32TB class versions of this drive, so capacity points are increasing quickly.
Micron 9400 Launched as the Mega PCIe Gen4 Data Center NVMe SSD
The Micron 9400 is the company’s high-performance NVMe SSD for PCIe Gen4. Below these new drives in the stack are the mainstream Micron 7000 series and then the SATA Micron 5000 series. The Micron 7000 series was unique insofar as it covered an enormous range of form factors.
In terms of where this family fits, the 9400 series is positioned above the mainstream segment. For those wondering, on the “Enterprise Storage” segment, in Micron’s diagram, that is the often dual-port NVMe segment that is designed for storage arrays. This is more of the single-port high-performance drive family.
With the new Micron 9400 series, the company has transitioned it portfolio over to 176-layer NAND.
Another side of this drive is also just the capacity. The new drives are rated to 30.72TB in 1 DWPD configuration and 25.6TB in a 3 DWPD configuration. Writing more than 30TB/ day to a device seems less likely, so we asked about why there is a need for the 3 DWPD. We were told that was a market demand spec, but also, the random write and mixed performance is higher. One gives up ~17% of the drive’s capacity for an additional 83% random write performance.
Micron told STH that it is starting to see more demand for the >15.36TB drives so that is an industry trend.
Another trend, and unfortunately, Micron did not share this view with STH, but the market in 2023 is likely going to be PCIe Gen3/ Gen4, with <10% Gen5. We asked why not a Gen5 drive, and the answer was that 2023 we should see PCIe Gen4 take over from Gen3 as the dominant drive interface, then PCIe Gen4 will dominate the market in 2024 and likely 2025 before PCIe Gen5 then starts to take over as we get PCIe Gen6 servers. That was an interesting observation.
The Micron 9400 launch is perhaps at the strangest time for STH. It is happening roughly 28 hours before the 4th Generation Intel Xeon Scalable launch. We have been testing these drives for some time, but we are going to wait a week or so for our formal review for a simple reason: we wanted to show you the performance on every modern server. It seemed silly to release a review without the major new Intel Xeon platform this year, yet to use the AMD EPYC Genoa platform, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, we wanted to cover the launch today.