M.2 SSDs - news and
perspectivesincludes a list of nearly 40 companies which
make SSDs in the M.2 form factor (column on the righ)
|M.2 PCIe SSDs for secure
industrial / military applications?|
Editor:- March 20, 2017 - Do
you know who makes M.2
PCIe SSDs which can operate at
temperatures and have security
strong enough for a military application?
That's a question I was
asked recently by a reader in the
I looked into it. He was right. They are hard to find. (Nearly all the
industrial M.2 SSDs are
SATA and not
PCIe.) And the
manufacturers' own websites hinder the discovery process.
companies which I have been able to confirm in this category (by direct
contact rather than a promissory future web note) are:-
became interested in the technical difficulties which might explain why
there are so few suppliers right now. Here's what I think is part of the
As you add operational requirements to the datasheet
moving up from consumer to enterprise and then to industrial SSDs you also add
circuits and components which compete for physical space, electrical power and
cost in the total SSD
- use of larger
memory cell geometry (nanometer generation and coding type - for example
SLC rather than MLC, or MLC rather than TLC) to ensure data integrity over a
wider range of temperature and power supply quality environments
When you add all the requirements together to make an industrial /
military SSD capable of working reliably and shrink the size budget from a
bigger to smaller form factor (2.5" to M.2) while at the same time asking
for high performance too - it's a tough design problem to solve for the first
- use of different flash
Consumer and enterprise SSDs can use controllers
which use more electrical power than industrial or embedded SSDs due to the ease
of fitting the design into the heat rise budget.
can't afford the same wattage in their controllers - because the heat generated
would reduce the reliability
of the SSD at the high end of its operating temperature range (70 to 85
degress C and sometimes 95 degrees) - or force the use of more expensive
components elsewhere (to cope with the incremental heat rise. The tradeoffs made
(typically lower wattage controller) is why industrial SSDs tend not to use
CPU intensive data integrity management schemes like
And that in turn means they need to use intrinsically higher quality memory.
But once such products do became available from multiple sources
then demand will grow (due to confidence in the equipment design community
that they won't get stuck in an
EOL rut from a single
If you know of other secure erase, industrial
operation M.2 PCIe SSD companies which are shipping products let me know and
I'll mention them here.
Recadata enters rugged M.2 SSD market
December 20, 2016 - The M.2 SSD
form factor was originally designed as a mainstream solution for
consumer SSDs but
in recent years we've seen many new M.2 products appearing in other markets
where size matters too.
Today Recadata - which is
best known for its rugged SSDs aimed at
an M.2 SSD product line - the
M700 Series M.2 SSD
Corsair enters M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD market
December 13, 2016 - Corsair
its entry into the M.2 SSD
market with a new PCIe Gen. 3 x4 product aimed at the
MP500 is Corsair's fastest SSD and uses a
in-situ SSD company enters Top 5 SSD Companies List in Q3 2016
November 24, 2016 -
NxGn (a pioneer in
in-situ processing inside SSDs) achieved its highest ever ranking in the new
Q3 2016 edition of
the Top SSD Companies
Seagate unveils 2TB enterprise M.2
Editor:- July 26,
2016 - Seagate
a 2TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD
aimed at the enterprise market. The Nytro XM1440 M.2 - which will ship in
November 2016 - will offer 30K IOPS / Watt.
Virtium offers encryption in all its industrial SSD form factors
June 28, 2016 - Virtium
today announced self-encrypting drive features as options throughout all the
form factors in its StorFly range of industrial SSDs.
support multiple SATA form factors, including 2.5", 1.8", Slim SATA,
mSATA, M.2, and CFast" said Scott Phillips,
VP of marketing at Virtium.
Virtium says many industrial-system makers
and their customers continue to push functionality closer and closer to the
network edge and the end-customer. This puts systems and the data they hold at
risk of hacking and data theft. Virtium's new SEDs provide
security for data at
rest without sacrificing industrial features.
Toshiba launches fast M.2 SSD for notebooks
May 19, 2016 -
May 24, 2016 - Toshiba today launched
its fastest yet SSD for the
market in the US. The OCZ RD400
is an M.2 form factor NVMe
PCIe SSD with 0.3 DWPD
endurance and sequential R/W of 2,200 / 620MB/s (for the entry level 128GB
AMD enters M.2 SSD market
Editor:- May 16, 2016 -
AMD is now
offering a range of branded M.2 SSDs for the
consumer market. A
blog on CIO.com discusses the details
using M.2 in server slots - article by Liqid
January 30, 2016 - An
on the evolution of SSD form factors with reference to M.2 (pdf) - by Liqid - discusses how
M.2 SSDs can be used in
enterprise PCIe SSD
environments which don't have native M.2 PCIe slots - by using add in carrier
image above (from Liqid's article) shows the evolution of SSD and HDD form
factors in progressively smaller form factors from 1989 (5¼") to M.2
Although to be fair to the
hard drive market the
image doesn't show the smallest hard drives - such as the 0.85" hard
drive from Toshiba (in
January 2004) and
1" hard drive from Cornice
(in August 2006).
The 1" HDD market didn't last long.
It was the first
hard drive extinction event caused by adoption of flash SSDs. ...read
the article (pdf)
new TB PCIe SSD on M.2 from OCZ
Editor:- January 5,
2016 - OCZ says it
will show new NVMe PCIe SSDs with 1TB capacity and up to 2.4GB/s of bandwidth on
M.2 module at
CES this week.
dual port GbE with USB in the same M.2 SSD from InnoDisk
November 3, 2015 - InnoDisk
a product first for the M.2 SSD
market in the shape of a dual port isolated GbE compatible model -
EGUL-G201 - which also has a USB
3 interface, and fits in a 22x60mm footprint. InnoDisk says the ethernet modules
have strong electrical isolation, ESD and surge protection.
M.2 NVMe SSD good
4 is better says Memoright
September 3, 2015 - Memoright
discussed the possibilities arising from using an array of 4x
NVMe PCIe SSDs packed onto a single PCIe switch card as a way of building
competitively priced SSD accelerated servers - in a paper
a PCIe-Based Switch Module to Enhance Enterprise Storage Architecture (pdf)
presented at the recent Flash
Memory Summit. Each of the new M.2 SSDs from Memoright would have upto 1TB
capacity and R/W IOPS upto 81K / 54K respectively.
world's first M.2 MRAM SSD
Editor:- August 13, 2015 -
and Aupera Technologies
announced the launch of
the world's first all MRAM storage module in the
M.2 form factor.
The AupM001 is
equipped with Everspin's non-volatile, high endurance, 64 Mb DDR3 ST-MRAM
devices and a PCIe backhaul interface. AupM001's capacity is 32MB and among
other uses is used in Aupera's all Flash Array system for applications that
require low latency and high performance.
Seagate promises M.2 NVMe SSDs early next year
August 11, 2015 - Seagate
details of 2 new families of
NVMe SSDs which
will be available in 2.5"
(October) and M.2 (in early
2016) form factors.
Seagate will demonstrate these new SSDs this week
at the Flash Memory Summit.
Lite-On says small NVMe M.2 PCIe SSDs could be a good fit for
Editor:- August 6, 2015 - Lite-On today
a new NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD for datacenter environments.
The EP2 series
delivers R/W IOPS up to 250K /25K respectively and low latencies of 35/35 (µs).
It also has power loss protection, scalability, end-to-end data protection,
low power consumption, high endurance, sustained performance, and customized
Editor's comments:- in an earlier
release (in June
2015) about supplying a related product line to an unnamed customer
described as "one of the largest cloud service providers" Jeffrey Chang,
Lite-On's Technical Product Manager said "The
M.2 is perfect for where we
believe the future of enterprise
SSD cloud storage is going."
Virtium launches industrial M.2 PCIe SSDs
July 28, 2015 - Virtium
it has expanded its StorFly range of industrial SSDs with new
PCIe SSDs (gen 2)
available in both M.2 and
Mini Card form factors with capacities from 16GB upto 480GB and low power
Endurance is upto 3.3 petabytes of writes (about
DWPD for 5 years).
Virtium's new SSDs have full BOM control with up to 5 years of uninterrupted
Phison's SSDs at Computex
Editor:- June 5, 2015 - New
SSDs from Phison
including models for these markets:-
2.5" NVMe SSDs
and conventional (HHHL) PCIe
SSDs are discussed in a new blog -
Computex Update on the SSD Review.
cooling fans essential for high speed operation of Samsung's new
M.2 PCIe SSDs
Editor:- April 13, 2015 -
PCIe SSD - the SM951 - launched in January 2015 (scroll down to see the
original news story) is the subject a recent
in the SSD Review. Among other things it was interesting to see how
of the SSD heated up when operating at high speed and heavy workloads and
the importance of accurately designed heat extraction if you plan to use this
SSD in such a way.
reviews of this product, M.2
considerations in SSDs (pdf),
Sonnet's "Fusion PCIe Flash Drive" has M.2 inside
April 7, 2015 - Sonnet
Technologies has today
a new consumer storage module called the "Fusion PCIe Flash Drive"
which has an M.2 SSD inside.
Fusion PCIe Flash Drive leverages the latest advancements in PCIe SSD design and
Thunderbolt 2 technology, enabling Sonnet to offer a storage device that fits
neatly in the palm of your hand yet delivers the blazing-fast performance of a
multi-drive RAID storage system many times its size," said Robert Farnsworth,
Sonnet Technologies CEO. "We think this will become an indispensable
accessory for the creative professional."
mass producing gen 3 PCIe SSDs for notebooks|
|Editor:- January 7, 2015 - 19
months after launching its first M.2 PCIe gen 2 SSDs aimed at the
(pdf) in June
2013) - Samsung
said it is now mass producing the follow-up SM951 - which supports gen 3
Samsung says - "For ultra-slim notebooks and workstations
the SM951 can read and write sequentially at 2,150MB/s and 1,550 MB/s
The SM951 is the first SSD to adopt L1.2 low
power standby mode (the PCIe
SSD equivalent of the power saving
mode in SATA SSDs) .
When hibernating in
mode, the SM951's power consumption is less than 2mW.
SMART Modular enters the M.2 SSD market
11, 2014 - SMART Modular
it is sampling a new M.2 SATA SSD for enterprise applications with 32GB to
512GB capacity (19nm MLC) and R/W speeds upto 540Mbytes/sec and 320Mbytes/sec,
SSDs - mentions on StorageSearch.com,
Micron's new M.2 SSDs
Editor:- September 16, 2014 -
SATA SSD family - a low power (150mW typ), range using 16nm flash - and
available in M.2, mSATA and 2.5" form factors.
Super Talent joins M.2 PCIe SSD market
August 11, 2014 - Super Talent
that it has added an
M.2 form factor SSD to its
family of SSDs.
DX1 has a PCIe gen 2 interface, R/W speeds upto 480/400MB/s respectively,
capacity upto 256GB MLC and comes with a 128MB DDR3 DRAM cache.
Plextor's M.2 PCIe SSD wins award at FMS
August 7, 2014 - Plextor
- an M.2 PCIe SSD - has
won Best of Show for most Innovative flash memory technology at the Flash Memory Summit.
M6e SSD combines a multi-core
Marvell PCIe 9183
controller and Toshiba
toggle NAND flash with firmware developed by Plextor's in-house team.
part of the design verification - Plextor says that 400 units were subjected to
500 hours of extreme tests without error or failure.
NxGn Data exits stealth with promise of in-situ SSD processing
July 29, 2014 -
NxGn Data today
exited stealth mode.
NxGn will use
adaptive DSP technology to enable small form factor SSDs (such as
aimed at the enterprise market - using MLC and TLC down to 1z-nm geometries.
Fully functional FPGA-based samples will be available in early 2015,
followed by final production samples of SoC-based M.2 solutions in late 2015.
says it will be the first SSD controller company in the industry with
in-storage computation capability - what it calls "In-Situ Processing".
comments:- Earlier this year I published a couple of reports and mentions
about SSD suppliers (LSI
and Memblaze) who
have modifed their controller firmware to eliminate or bypass functions from the
lowest level SSD drive - for large customers like Baidu - who then use their
array level software to get better utilization and performance.
market InnoDisk - uses
what it calls 3rd generation architecture - to partition intelligent data
actions between the controller and software stack.
Until recently -
only Fusion-io (in
whose products the flash controller and apps server - share the same CPU cores)
has been able to maximize high end context intelligence with low level flash
block data access at a similar latency level.
But once you've solved
the problem of making SSDs reliable and fast - it's tempting to create an SSD
instruction set which which focuses on application layer needs too - and not
just those of dumb storage.
Flash: Towards Energy-Efficient, In-Situ Data Analytics on Extreme-Scale
M.2 duplicators from Addonics
Editor:- June 5, 2014
- It's been many years since I talked about
disk duplicators so
it was interesting to see this
today from Addonics
- which puts a new spin on their reformfactoring technologies.
is - that if you need to duplicate M.2 SSDs - they can supply a duplicator -
and carrier kits which convert the M.2 to 2.5". They also have adapters for
CF, CFast etc. more
Unigen Announces M.2 SSDs
Editor:- June 3, 2014 - Unigen today
announced SLC or MLC
NAND flash based
M.2 SATA III SSDs in
densities ranging from 16GB- 256GB. These small form factor flash modules are
used for high reliability storage of critical code and data, in
space-constrained embedded, industrial, gaming and networking applications.
They are available in both commercial and
Micron samples Marvell based M.2
Editor:- March 18,
2014 - Micron
it's sampling a 512GB M.2 SATA
SATA SSD - the
(with DEVSLP and 550/500MB/s R/W speeds) - aimed at
consumer markets -
which is based on Marvell's
LSI integrates "SSD market on a chip"
November 18, 2013 - LSI
its 3rd generation SandForce SSD controller family - the SF3700 which - based
around a single chip design - spans a wide spectrum of SSD market
applications (from consumer to enterprise) - includes native jumper-selectable
SATA or gen 2 PCIe interfaces - and incorporates adaptive R/W DSP ECC
Editor's comments:- The SF3700 (now sampling) is
the most ambitious design of a single chip
SSD controller in
Its 14 core design integrates many impressive design and
architectural features including:-
- the ability to efficiently configure as either
architecture or big architecture SSD controller.
design can be configured with as little as 3 flash chips in entry level
consumer SSDs - or as many as 129 chips when maximally configured in a 9 channel
enterprise design which can recover from the complete failure of a memory chip
as well as partial failures in other memory chips in the array.
recently spoke to Kent
Smith at LSI about this new product.
- dynamically adjusted power islands within the chip - enable a single
silicon design to support both the low requirements of deep sleep mode in SATA
notebooks as well as the performance requirements of entry level PCIe SSDs.
Our conversations about
SandForce SSD controllers go back more than 4 years - so we skipped a lot of
One of the first things I said to Kent - was - I've been
nagging you for years and asking - when are you going to do a native PCIe SSD
controller?- and for nearly 2 years it's been clear that another big hole in
LSI's SSD IP bag has been
- and now you've finally done both at the same time in a single product.
was also really impressed by the quality of LSI's
document on the LSI SandForce SF3700 (pdf) - which explains just about
everything you need to know. So I asked Kent - why does he need to waste time
talking to editor's like me? - why doesn't LSI just publish the document on the
web and let it speak for itself?
I said a lot of publications will
simply copy some of your pictures without attribution - and I think readers
would find it valuable seeing them too - but I think it would be fairer to the
work you've done if I could just make the whole document available - so there
was no doubt who had done the hard work of communicating what the design was all
He agreed to that - and you can click on the link above to see
the original info which I got from LSI.
Some other things I learned
from this conversations were:-
- The SF3700 is a completely new design. - It leverages all the flash
related design concepts related to endurance and array level fault management
which have been proven in earlier designs and extends them too.
example RAISE has been enhanced so that for high-end configurations it can
protect against a full memory chip failure as well as multiple block faults -
whereas entry level SSDs which need some RAID like features but can't afford an
extra memory chip can use fractional RAISE.
I think the SF3700 is a very ambitious and outstanding SSD controller design -
which will elevate LSI's reputation within the SSD industry.
- One of the reference designs which LSI offers for this controller is for an
M.2 form factor - which is
goiing to be the game changing SSD for the
next year. The card design is the same whether the SSD is being used as a
SATA or PCIe SSD. A single jumper sets the configuration at assembly time.
LSI's 2.5" reference design will also make it easier for oems to
produce products for enterprise arrays in the
2.5" PCIe SSD market.
Samsung enters PCIe SSD market
Editor:- June 17,
2013 - Samsung
has entered the PCIe SSD
market with an M.2 form
factor model (80mm x 22mm) aimed at
Samsung's XP941 - which weighs less than 6g - has a sequential read
performance of 1,400MB/s, and capacity up to 512GB.
market began the year before PCIe SSDs started being used in the
But in the first 5 years of its history (2006-2010) the
notebook SSD market was a disappointment to SSD evangelists like me - because
integration with PCs was so bad. And for years on these pages I ranted that
notebooks using SSDs would never be able to reach their true potential as long
as they were still wasting their inherently light CPU resources and latency
advantages by talking to the CPU via old fashioned
hard disk interfaces
exciting thing about today's announcement by Samsung is that consumer grade
PCIe SSDs for notebooks will enable a dramatically different user experience
which will help to create new markets.
Will there be a crossover into
the enterprise market?
It's inevitable that some people will ask -
what would an array of consumer priced PCIe SSDs look like in a box? And no
doubt you will probably see such products coming onto the market. And that
might lead to a temporary state of user confusion about expectations for PCIe
But setting aside for the moment the obvious considerations at
the single drive level of differences in
characteristics - I think the key differentiators of enterprise PCIe SSDs
compared to consumer
PCIe SSDs are the different degree of
(higher for the enterprise),
management and support for fault tolerance.
| size matters|
SSDs on a chip
flash and other nvms in SSDs
the big SSD memory architecture ideas in 2016?
significant new form factor for SSD markets
|by Zsolt Kerekes
M.2 SSDs entered the
SSD news pages here on
StorageSearch.com in 2012.
a year this new form factor was clearly identified as being 1 of the 2 most
significant emerging new SSD form factors to watch. See
changed in SSD year 2013? for more about this.
to satisfy the space needs of the
consumer SSD market
and notebooks - the M.2 form factor has begun creeping into
applications too - and is also likely to become a future standard adopted
M.2's key attractions are:-
smaller sizes for SSDs have been around for over a decade (for example the
1" and BGA sizes)
the M.2 size provides better volumetric packing densities for scaling storage
capacity by using arrays of M.2 SSDs in the same motherboard - compared to
traditional form factors. Therefore it provides an efficient platform which
spans many market needs - and is likely to be become as ubiquitous in SSD
product diversity as the 2.5" SSD has been.
- the small form factor (about 1/2 the footprint of
2.5" SSDs). The
new M.2 size has been optimized for SSDs rather than inherited from the
hard drive market
|"When I hear people
call this specification by the name M.2 formerly known as NGFF, I cannot help
but think about the time when the rock artist Prince changed his name to an
unpronounceable symbol and everyone was stuck calling him - the Artist Formerly
Known as Prince."|
- is this the prince of SSD form factors? by Kent Smith, Sr. Dir
Product Marketing for SandForce Controllers at Seagate Technology
evolved to M.2 as the next step form factor. But M.2 has limitations for
enterprise computing because the connectors have low insertion ratings and the
contacts have extremely small pitch, making hot-plug impossible."|
Micron - in
to M.2 SSDs (pdf) (May 2014)|
|"Many customers ask
about what interfaces and form factors they should use on their next generation
embedded designs. |
There is a lot of interest in PCIe and the M.2
form factors, but there is also still a lot of misunderstanding out there too."
Next Generation Designs - a blog by Virtium - July