REPORT ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSION
SMART thinks the offer of 15,000 PE cycles for nearly the same price as 3,000 PE-rated consumer offerings is a good play, and it is certainly hard to argue with that logic. There really isn’t too much competition where endurance for the dollar is concerned, and some similar drives using eMLC cost well over twice as much. PE cycle ratings are always to be taken with a grain of salt, since so many other factors play into endurance, but the 7% over provisioned drive can manage 1.2 full random write per day for five years. SMART Storage Systems compares that figure with 0.4 DWPD for some consumer drives, a 3x increase. With 28% over provisioning, 3 DWPD is possible, yielding impressive reassurance where write intensive applications are concerned.
From a performance perspective, there are surely some metrics that could be faster, but it remains a thoroughly competent drive all the way around. Getting more endurance with inexpensive consumer flash will remain the real draw, and the added reliability and data protection features round it out nicely. Until recently, the most inexpensive drive featuring power-loss-protection was (and still is) hovering around $2/GB, and as a SATA II product it can’t approach the performance and endurance characteristics of the CloudSpeed. Whatever shortcomings the CloudSpeed may have, good pricing and serious features more than make up for it when deployed in the right environment.
All in all, it’s good to see interesting ground being broken with the venerable second-gen SandForce flash storage processor. If the SMART-branded flash truly is a step above, then SMART won’t have a hard time getting traction with the CloudSpeed, “rip and replace” alternative or not.