Memblaze’s PBlaze5 X26: Toshiba’s XL-Flash-Based Ultra-Low Latency SSD

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Summit for annual Flash Memory kicking into high gear this week, Memblaze will be showcasing one of the industry’s first ultra-low latency NVMe SSDs based on Toshiba’s XL-Flash memory. The drives promise consistent, high performance as well as ultra-low latencies and will compete against Intel’s Optane and Samsung’s Z-NAND drives for mission critical and performance-demanding applications.

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The Memblaze PBlaze X26-series drives are based on Microsemi’s Flashtec NVMe2016 controller and are paired with Toshiba’s XL-Flash memory. XL-Flash was announced last year, promising to reduce operational latencies by an order of magnitude compared to 3D TLC NAND (i.e., 1/10th of 3D TLC NAND latency).

Memblaze claims that prototypes of the PBlaze X26-series SSDs feature a 4K random write latency under 10 μs and a 4K mixed read-write latency as low as 26 μs on average. In fact, the company expects the final drives to offer a latency of below 20 μs. This is still higher when compared to Intel’s Optane SSDs, but these SSDs are expected to be cheaper as well.

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Here is what Taile Zhang, Memblaze’s senior vice president of products, said:

“Based on Memblaze’s core flash memory technology, PBlaze5 X26 brings advantages of XL-FLASH’s ultra-low latency, high QoS and provides fast, stable performance across the enterprise. Compared to 3D XPoint and other SCM media, XL-FLASH has an obvious price advantage that offers the PBlaze5 X26 series a boost for market acceptance and wide adoption across the industry.”

Memblaze is not sharing any further details about the drives at this time, yet it does reveal a product name — the PBlaze5 X26 800 — which could possible indicate an 800 GB capacity.

The manufacturer is currently sampling the drive with select customers and plans to ship commercial products in 2020.

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