Solidigm’s 15TB SSD is cheapest big drive but it won’t fit your PC

The biggest issue with QLC-based SSD, especially in the world of hyperscalers, is endurance, the ability of a storage device to withstand humongously large amounts of writes. Measured in DWPD (drives written per day), it is the baseline by which all enterprise SSD are measured. 

Solidigm launched a new drive, the D5-P5430, which is available in capacities ranging from 3.84TB to 30.72TB and aims to improve the endurance of QLC drive, presenting it as a direct TLC SSD replacement.

As such, it complements, rather than replaces, the D5-P5316 which is a 144-layer NAND based SSD which is the cheapest 30.72TB SSD currently on the market with prices hovering around $2500, or roughly $80 per TB (in comparison, consumer-grade QLC SSD drives cost around $50 per TB).

The D5-P5430 uses newer 192-layer NAND and delivers a DWPD on random workloads of 0.58 using a 4KB indirection unit (Solidigm quotes 32 Petabytes written), which is higher than the D5-P5316 which reached 0.41 using a 16KB indirection unit. In contrast, the just announced 6500 ION (which pitted itself against the 5316) has a DWPD of 0.3 with a 4KB IU.

Solidigm is planning a 61.44TB SKU for its P5316 family, possibly for later this year. This may coincide with the launch of the 30.72TB SKU for the P5430 as only smaller versions (up to 15.36TB) are available right now (Micron’s 6500 ION only comes in one capacity: 30.72TB).

A review of the beast by Storagereview shows that it should be competitive performance-wise with its Micron rival. Another noteworthy feature is its availability as a 7.5mm E3.S (for up to 25W power dissipation) which allows more drives to be squeezed closer together. The 6500 ION uses the thicker U3 form factor and adds a stocky passive heatsink to it.

That means that a 1U system could pack just over 600TB and a staggering 1.2PB in a 2U configuration (using 40 drives). Provantage sells the D5-P5430 for a mere $1,217 which is shockingly affordable for a drive of this size (less than $80 per TB) which means that the 30.72TB version should be at least as affordable as the P5316.

More 30TB SSDs on the way?

Until recently, Samsung’s PM1643 was the only large capacity (30.72TB) drive available. Since then, Nimbus data released two 32TB SSDs (as well as a 64TB, 50TB and 100TB model), Samsung added the PM1653 and the PM1733, Kioxia introduced the PM6 and the CM6 while Micron announced the 9400 Pro and the 6500 ION and Solidigm dropped the D5-P5316. There are of course other niche players (Pure Storage, Liqid Element) with either proprietary solutions or products that target a small segment of the storage market. 

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