Dell Embraces TLC for Flash Storage

Mike Vizard
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Pushing the cost of an all-Flash array down to $1.66 per gigabyte and as low as 58 cents per gigabyte in a hybrid array, Dell today unveiled a Dell Storage SC Series that makes use of triple level cell (TLC) 3D NAND Flash memory.

Travis Vigil, executive director for product management at Dell Storage, says Dell is the first storage vendor to deploy TLC SSDs in a storage array. Used predominately in consumer devices, TLC drives store three bits per cell of data on a Flash drive. When deployed mainly for read-only use cases, Vigil says TLC SSDs make an attractive new addition to the types of SSDs used in the rest of the Dell Flash storage portfolio.

Vigil says the Dell Storage SC Series array is based on Data Progression data placement technology and the latest version of Dell Storage Center 6.6 array software, and is ideally suited for read-intensive applications. Dell will continue to offer single level cell (SLC) and multi-level cell (MLC) SSDs as well.


According to Vigil, the single biggest inhibitor to SSD adoption has been price. By employing TLC technology, Vigil says that Dell expects to see broader adoption of SSDs to drive increased read performance, while organizations that need increased write performance will continue to rely on other forms of SSD technologies.

It’s hard to say with certainty what the magic per-gigabyte price will be that will ultimately lead to SSDs replacing high-performance magnetic storage for read and write applications. But at these current price points, we must be getting pretty close. Naturally, Dell won’t be the only storage vendor to make use of TLC technology to drive down SSD pricing, so it remains to be seen where TLC street pricing will ultimately wind up. But as a private company, Dell is clearly showing a willingness to be disruptive in the interest of gaining market share at the expense of slower moving rivals.



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