Western Digital is announcing the SanDisk Skyhawk NVMe-compatible PCIe SSD, their first NVMe-compliant enterprise SSD. The Skyhawk is optimized to be an ideal balance of consistently fast performance, Quality of Service (QoS), and cost-to-performance value. The Skyhawk PCIe SSD is geared toward large, unstructured data center workloads in cloud environments.
Cloud storage solutions require faster response times and higher throughput, and this need has traditionally been met by the high performance and low power consumption of the SATA interface. The SATA interface has been widely adopted by server providers to cloud data centers. The SATA III interface is now nearly a decade old, and is still limited to 6Gb/s, with no plans for improvement.
Enter the NVMe protocol, which bypasses the SATA bottleneck to reduce latency and improve performance. The NVMe protocol is designed for Flash, as well as storage-class memory solutions yet to be implemented. NVMe features a more direct connection to the CPU via PCIe lanes, which allows for a more streamlined storage stack. As shown in the chart below, NVMe via PCIe is significantly faster than the latest SATA III (6 Gb/s) interface.
The Skyhawk NVMe-compatible PCIe SSD is being offered in capacities from 1.6TB up to 3.84TB in the U.2 2.5″ SFF with PCIe interface, and is built with WD’s 15nm NAND coupled with a new high-performance PCIe Gen3 SSD controller. Skyhawk also includes WD’s Guardian Technology™ platform to assure enterprise-class performance, endurance, and reliability.
With major server manufacturers already adding support for NVMe-based U.2 SSDs in their latest offerings, how long until we find that server deployments are supporting the same number of NVMe drives as we have SATA drives today? The SanDisk Skyhawk NVMe-compatible PCIe SSD is currently sampling with certain OEMs, and general availability is anticipated for Q2 of this year.