Micron finally delivers its answer to Optane

New drive offers DRAM-like performance and is targeted at analytics and transaction workloads.

Intel Optane 3D Xpoint DIMM
Intel

Micron Technology partnered with Intel back in 2015 to develop 3D XPoint, a new type of memory that has the storage capability of NAND flash but speed almost equal to DRAM. However, the two companies parted ways in 2018 before either of them could bring a product to market. They had completed the first generation, agreed to work on the second generation together, and decided to part after that and do their own thing for the third generation.

Intel released its product under the Optane brand name. Now Micron is hitting the market with its own product under the QuantX brand. At its Insight 2019 show in San Francisco, Micron unveiled the X100, a new solid-state drive the company claims is the fastest in the world.

On paper, this thing is fast:

  • Up to 2.5 million IOPS, which it claims is the fastest in the world.
  • More than 9GB per second bandwidth for read, write, and mixed workloads, which it claims is three times faster than comparable NAND drives.
  • Read-write latency of less than 8 microseconds, which it claims is 11 times better than NAND-based SSDs.

Micron sees the X100 serving data to the world’s most demanding analytics and transactional applications, “a role that’s befitting the world’s fastest drive,” it said in a statement.

The company also launched the Micron 7300, a NVMe SSD for data center use with capacities from 400GB to 8TB, depending on the form factor. It comes in SATA and U.2 form factors, the latter of which is like the M.2 PCI Express drives that are the size of a stick of gum and mount on the motherboard.

Also released is the Micron 5300, a SATA drive with capacities from 240GB to nearly 8TB. This drive is the first to use 96-layer 3D TLC NAND, hence its high capacity. It can deliver random read performance of up to 95K IOPS and random write IOPS of 75K.

Micron also announced it had acquired FWDNXT, an AI startup that develop deep learning solutions. Micron says it’s integrating the compute, memory, tools, and software from FWDNXT into a “comprehensive AI development platform,” which it calls the Micron Deep Learning Accelerator (DLA).

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