IBM Refreshes Power Systems Flash Drives, Slashes Prices
December 6, 2021 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The cost for flash storage keeps coming down, and IBM is moving to new mainstream and enterprise flash SSDs that are offering the same capacity, better performance, and a lot lower pricing compared to prior generations of flash devices – including those that were just announced a year ago.
In announcement letter 121-084, we see that the new mainstream 2.5-inch solid state drives plug into Power AC922, Power L922, Power S922, Power S914, Power S924, Power H922, and Power H924 machines as well as the Power E950 and Power E980 – all using Power9 chips – and the brand new Power E1080 that uses the Power10 chip. These mainstream drives have a slightly longer life and can deliver 1 drive write per day and slightly less 2,000X total bytes written over their capacity. Here are the feeds and speeds of the four new mainstream drives, which are formatted in 4,224-byte sectors and which support IBM i, AIX, and Linux operating systems and deliver the shown total bytes written (TBW) over a five-year lifespan:
- 931 GB SAS 4k SFF2 or SFF3: $1,199, down 46.1 percent from $2,225; 1,700 TBW
- 86 TB SAS 4k SFF2 or SFF3: $2,499, down 37.5 percent from $3,999; 3,399 TBW
- 72 TB SAS 4k SFF2 or SFF3: $4,499, down 33.8 percent from $6,799; 6,799 TBW
- 44 TB SAS 4k SFF2 or SFF3: $7,999, down 46.7 percent from $14,999; 13,601 TBW
Note: Only IBM i 7.4 supports flash drives with greater than 4 TB of capacity each.
The enterprise flash SSDs, which come in 2.5-inch form factors as well, can be formatted to 4224-byte sectors delivering 400 GB, 800 GB, and 1,600 GB capacities or in 528-byte sectors that deliver capacities of 387 GB, 775 GB, and 1,550 GB. These are supported on Power9 and Power10 machines as shown above, and nothing any earlier, and they can run IBM i, AIX, and Linux. The 4096-byte and 512-byte sector formats are not supported on these new flash devices. The new enterprise SSDs are:
- 387 GB SAS 4k SFF2 or SFF3: $1,949
- 775 GB SAS 4k SFF2 or SFF3: $2,849
- 1,550 GB SAS 4k SFF2 or SFF3: $5,349
The new SSDs will be available on December 10.