Samsung Introduces 3-Bit MLC NAND To The Enterprise
Samsung took a fairly straightforward approach to the introduction of its 845DC EVO: start with the 840 EVO consumer SSD, add power-loss protection, and tweak the firmware for enterprise workloads. Many other storage vendors have gone down a similar path. So, this re-purposing isn't out of the ordinary. Even still, I want to commend Samsung's execution.
Achieving over 14,000 sustained steady-state write IOPS, the 845DC EVO performs consistently well. But what really caught my eye was read performance. We easily hit Samsung's 87,000 IOPS specification. Sequential read throughput is also excellent. Best-in-class, even. Given the price range the 845DC EVO is expected to occupy, you won't find a better performer. Performance is truly maximized for this real-focused target market.
As with every enterprise buying decision, use case and price are both going to be major factors in determining whether Samsung's 845DC EVO is the right SSD. The drive should show up for well under $1/GB, and the closer that Samsung gets to 840 EVO pricing, the better. For its intended purpose of read workloads, you just can't beat the speed. If your application relies on any amount of write performance, pricing will weigh more heavily on the decision. Should that be the case, there are other enterprise-class SSDs like Micron's M500DC hovering around $1.15/GB offering superior write performance.
[UPDATE - Samsung reached out to us after publication confirming that the 845DC EVO 240, 480 and 960 GB models will be priced at $249.99, $489.99 and $969.20, respectively. While this is higher than we expected, it is still one of the most cost effective enterprise SSDs on the market. Expect that number to drift lower over time and with volume purchasing]
Even with, presumably, great pricing and performance, some customers will still shy away from the 845DC ECO simply because of its TLC, er, 3-bit MLC NAND. Samsung is betting that a year's worth of reviews and endurance testing on the 840 will alleviate those concerns. At this point, we believe that 3-bit MLC is ready for entry-level, read-focused enterprise use. The important point is to know your workload. If your application matches what the 845DC EVO can do, we think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how well the drive fares.