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The page below shows details of a SAS SSD product which was featured in advertising here on in 2013. It's part of our SSD history archive. Details may have changed. And depending when you look at this - the SAS interface itself may no longer exist. (Well that could be a long wait. PATA SSDs are still with us. On the other hand SBus isn't - except in memoriam.)



SAS SSDs news and guide
2.5" SSDs market overview
2.5" PCIe SSDs market guide
Surviving SSD sudden power loss
Survivor's guide to enterprise SSDs
Data Integrity Challenges in flash SSD Design
Efficiency - making the same SSD - with less flash
Adaptive R/W and DSP ECC IP for use in flash SSDs
flash in the enterprise - 2004 to 2014 - from SLC to XLC
DWPD - examples in industry leading enterprise SSDs
1.8 inch SAS SSDs from SMART
1.8" Optimus SAS SSD
(industry first)
2.5 inch Eco model SAS SSD from SMART
2.5" Optimus Eco SAS SSD
(upto 2TB capacity)
Optimus Ultra plus  is the  highest rated SAS SSD from SMART
Optimus Ultra+
(later - SanDisk Optimus Extreme)

(50 DWPD - highest performance)
Overview of all SAS SSDs from SMART (more models than shown above)

SMART's Optimus SAS SSD - reviewed in the SSD Review
SMART's Optimus SAS SSD - reviewed in
SMART's Optimus SAS SSD - reviewed in
Editor:- August 22, 2013 - SanDisk today announced it has completed its acquisition of SMART Storage Systems.
Getting to know SMART's SAS SSDs

Editor:- May 9, 2013 - SMART shipped its first SAS SSDs in August 2010.

SMART's current range of enterprise SAS SSDs includes 5 models (although there may be more by the time you read this.

In terms of form factor - SMART's SAS SSDs are available in either 2.5" or 1.8" footprints. That smaller size, in this interface type - was an industry first from SMART BTW and sampled in Q1 2013.

In terms of capacity SMART's SAS SSDs stretch from 100GB to 2TB.

Some characteristics of SMART's SSDs are common across all the models.
  • they all use MLC nand flash, and the newest models are in the leading wave of the enterprise adoption curve - using 19nm geometry
  • they all use SMART's own SSD controller design - which can be characterized as adaptive R/W. SMART was among the first companies in the world to ship enterprise SSDs with that kind of technology.

    If you aren't familiar with it - Adaptive R/W is a market transitioning technology for managing flash. Every company's way of doing it is different - and it's the future for all flash in the enterprise. SMART explain the principles of how they do it in their white paper Guardian Technology Platform - Enterprise Endurance and Reliability with MLC Flash (pdf).

    Is Adaptive R/W risky?

    I prefer to say - it's difficult.

    There are currently high entry barriers facing SSD designers who want to get started in this type of technology - because they need a deep understanding of flash and SSDs which stretches over many flash memory generations.

    This technology intrinsically reduces the stress placed on flash cells and results in longer operating life. Other results are that you optimize the flash for the exact role for the SSD. In principle you can stretch the boundaries of speed, endurance, power consumption and reliability in a variety of different directions while using the same raw flash. If you're clever at marketing too - and understand the different segmented roles (sometimes called use cases) within a market (like SAS SSDs) you can use the technology to roll out a spectrum of optimally adapted products from a small proven core of components.

    Going back to - is it risky? - If you're planning to keep using flash in SSDs in the years to come - it's more risky to stick with using industry standard flash controllers - because those methods of non adaptive control won't be able to work with all future flash generations.

    But you don't just have to take my word for it. Big computer oems who have teams of technologists who evaluate SSDs look at this stuff too - and one of SMART's oem customers for various enterprise SAS SSDs is IBM. So I guess that's another way of answering the question.
  • all SMART's SAS SSDs have very advanced designs which protect data in the event of power rail spikes and drop-outs. They've got a classic 2011 white paper called SSD Power Failure Protection (pdf) which describes the principles and some recent videos on related topics in their Guardian Technology page.

    SMART's power fail and data integrity technologies originally stemmed from the company's roots in the military and industrial markets and predates their leading position today in enterprise SSDs. SMART is currently on the 3rd generation of their award winning enterprise Guardian technology.
The key differences between SMART's SAS SSDs - and those from most other competitors which you may look at - is the range of genuinely different choice in current models.

You can choose SSDs which have been optimized around a particular design preference for enterprise endurance - which is defined in terms of - full drive writes per day for 5 years.

This means that systems designers can choose an SSD which is an economic and reliable fit for their known application.

Now you could ask - why not just choose the fastest SSD which also has the longest life?

The answer to that is - that some of the design factors which make SSDs go faster also mean they use more electrical power - and the controller processor needs to be faster too. Why pay for a set of characteristics which most applications don't need?

The elegance of SMART's SAS SSD family is they have analyzed a bunch of different use cases for this type of SSD - and then optimized the flash management and controller for those differing types of slots. That means you not only get better operation - in the dimensions that matter to you - but you get a lower cost SSD too - because you're not paying for specification padding which you don't need. (They showed me a pretty graph about this last year - but I've lost it. If I find it - or rediscover the link - I'll put it here later.)

As I said above - SMART's SAS SSD family (that link takes you to a useful specification overview page) offers you products with 10, 25 or 50 full drive writes per day for 5 years.

So depending on what type of array you're choosing the SSD for - and what type of apps server you think it will be used with - that's a good parameter to start with. (Or you can just click on the pictures above.)

SATA SSDs are available with adaptive flash technologies too.

In my notes above I've focused on SAS SSDs. But if you have enterprise applications for SATA SSDs which also need the kind of reliability, value and performance capabilities which SMART's Guardian adaptive technologies can offer - you might want to take a look at their CloudSpeed models.

The CloudSpeed 500 is rated at 1.2 DWPD and has upto 480GB capacity, whereas the CloudSpeed 1000 has faster IOPS and is available with upto 960GB capacity.

See also:-

SMART's own news page
SSD news on
how fast can your SSD run backwards?
Editor:- August 8, 2013 - SMART Storage Systems today announced it has begun sampling the first memory channel SSDs compatible with the interface and reference architecture created by Diablo Technologies.

Editor:- April 30, 2013 - SMART Storage Systems today announced it is sampling a new 2.5" SAS SSD with 2TB capacity (oem price under $4,000). Using 19nm MLC - the 100K/45K R/W IOPS - Optimus Eco - is rated at 10 drive writes per day (DWPD)endurance.

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