Recently we saw an announcement of Toshiba Memory RM5 in HPE ProLiant Servers. At Dell Technologies world, Dell EMC had the Toshiba RM5 featured prominently in several servers including the Dell EMC PowerEdge MX and Dell EMC PowerEdge R740xd. Toshiba has an intriguing value proposition for customers who have direct attached compute node storage.
Toshiba Memory RM5 Value SAS in Dell EMC PowerEdge
Toshiba Memory commissioned a study from Principled Technologies where Dell EMC provided pricing for the same Dell EMC PowerEdge R740xd with various storage configurations. If you want to learn about the server, you can see our Dell EMC PowerEdge R740xd Review. One of the interesting notes here is that in these configurations the Toshiba Memory RM5 configuration was $400 less costly than the “enterprise SATA” configuration.
We dug into the configuration specs (source for the above table) and found that they were using the Intel SSD D3-S4510 a 960GB 3D TLC NAND value drive for enterprise SATA. We want to point out here that this data is from a PT report commissioned by Toshiba so we would expect that the configurations chosen would come out favorable to Toshiba.
We covered the proposition of the Toshiba Memory RM5 in its launch. Essentially, Toshiba is banking on the fact that most Dell EMC servers, as well as those from other major vendors, come with dedicated SAS controllers and backplanes. Inside the server, these backplanes are single port which is one reason why SATA drives have been popular.
With the Toshiba Memory RM5 value SAS product, Toshiba is exploiting the higher-end SAS3 12gbps protocol to deliver more performance and features than SATA III 6.0gbps can offer.
The value proposition is clear here for the value SAS segment. More performance and being SAS-native at the same, or potentially lower cost than SATA is a good message. Longer term, this is a segment that will cede to NVMe over time. Without being designed for high-availability systems, the value SAS segment has a natural limit as NVMe transitions to Gen4 and more NVMe lanes become available. For the next few years, single port value SAS has a clear value proposition versus putting SATA SSDs on SAS controllers in servers.