#79 – Learning More About QLC Storage with Steve Hanna

#79 – Learning More About QLC Storage with Steve Hanna

Chris EvansAll-Flash, Guest Speakers

This week Chris and Martin talk to Steve Hanna, Senior Product Manager for Enterprise SSDs at Micron.  Steve looks after the 5210 ION QLC SSD product line, which was introduced earlier this year.  As an evolution of existing flash technology, QLC offers greater capacities at lower cost.  But what are the issues?

The conversation covers how QLC has reduced the price to 1/100th of that seen in early enterprise SSDs.  Although endurance is lower than previous flash generations, in reality for many use cases the ability to write up to 1 DWPD is enough.  However, we will see QLC co-exist with TLC, rather than become a direct replacement.  Understanding workloads will be critical and the discussion covers this a few times, just for clarity.

Steve points us at a couple of resources.  Check out https://micron.com/5210 for products specs on the 5120 ION drive and also https://micron.com/QLC for all things QLC.  Here you can find helpful information and guides to understanding the technology.

Elapsed Time: 00:30:06


  • 00:00:00 – Intros
  • 00:01:26 – What is QLC Flash?
  • 00:02:20 – Diminishing returns from bit density
  • 00:03:00 – Price reductions – $20 to $0.20/GB
  • 00:05:00 – How does endurance change with QLC?
  • 00:07:00 – QLC will be a read-intensive workload product
  • 00:09:40 – But QLC will not be an entire replacement for TLC
  • 00:10:30 – Will QLC kill the HDD?  I this a TCO play?
  • 00:14:00 – Use cases, like CDNs
  • 00:15:30 – How will workload mix differ with QLC?
  • 00:17:20 – Tiering will be back in SSDs
  • 00:18:30 – QLC will be the performance capacity tier
  • 00:19:30 – Why SATA though?  Why not NVMe for QLC?
  • 00:22:30 – Let’s talk workloads again.
  • 00:25:00 – Why are we not starting at 32TB for QLC drives?
  • 00:28:00 – Wrap up

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Steve’s Bio

Steve is an acclaimed author, speaker, innovator, and leader. Steve has transformed products, led businesses, and brought new categories to life – like the world’s first QLC SSD, the hardware heartbeat of artificial intelligence, machine learning, analytics, media streaming, and more. Steve studied innovation and entrepreneurship at Stanford and has authored over 50 thought leadership pieces and delivered seminars on enterprise storage, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and building a winning team culture.

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