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Finding the sweet spot for QLC SSDs

4 min read



Sponsored by Solidigm

Quad-level cell (QLC) solid-state drives (SSDs) are gaining popularity with many storage architects but as they go more mainstream, it is vital to understand the workloads for which they are the best fit to meet your data storage solution needs.

Interestingly, SSD buyers most often gravitate toward drives that have the ability to maintain 3 DWPD (drive writes per day), but this threshold is simply overkill for most workloads. According to NAND flash memory solutions provider Solidigm, most SSDs ship with 1 DWPD but 99%1 of enterprise users are only using at most 15%2 of the rated life of their drives.

This, along with the surge in more read-intensive workloads, is opening the door for an SSD that provides both capacity and performance. In addition to capacity and performance, QLC SSDs provide other benefits such as:

  • Having improved endurance and performance over previous generations
  • Being well-suited for read-intensive workloads
  • Reducing total cost of ownership (TCO) and improving reliability in hyper-converged environments

To illustrate the advantages of QLC SSDs, let’s look at two use cases.

Use case for QLC SSDs: Data logging

Problem:  A developer and manufacturer of industrial computer systems for autonomous cars needed to collect cars’ data more efficiently and accurately. To support that, they needed storage with significant capacity and good write speeds that could improve precision. The triple-level cell (TLC) SSDs they had deployed were delivering the write speeds but did not have enough capacity and were more costly.

Solution: Scale up capacity by switching to QLC SSDs.

Outcome: Cars stay on the road longer collecting data without slowing write speeds. The IT team swaps drives less frequently, improving redundancies and reducing interruptions. These factors combine to reduce operational spending and TCO).

Use case for QLC SSDs: Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) management

Problem: The data centers of one leading web content delivery and advertising platform were populated with multiple self-contained “building block” computing systems distributed around the world. When a drive failed within this hyper-converged environment, the IT team often struggled to identify and replace it.

Solution: Make it easier and more cost-effective to manage a large install base by moving to QLC SSDs, delivering a more reliable option than TLC SSDs or hard disk drives (HDDs).

Outcome: The HCI operates more efficiently with fewer drives. Improved visibility into the system makes it easier to pinpoint issues. QLC SSDs’ high performance and endurance improve reliability. The IT team can focus on higher touch activities. These improvements reduce costs and lower TCO.

QLC SSDs optimize and accelerate storage in other data center workloads including:

  • Content Delivery Networks (CDN): QLC SSDs provide class-leading endurance and, when combined with large capacities, deliver more than sufficient endurance for cDVR workloads. They also enable consolidation to support scalability and lower TCO.
  • High Performance Computing (HPC): The volume of data and read/write operations that fuel HPC make storage and memory performance paramount. QLC SSDs enable you to massively scale data at speed in ways that traditional HDDs can’t.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML): To function properly, these technologies require access to enormous stores of data and huge read workloads to function. QLC SSDs have the capacity and performance to meet system needs.

So why make the move to QLC SSDs? The need to meet storage sustainability goals is another driving factor. With 85% to 90%3 of data center storage still on HDDs, high-density QLC NAND SSDs create an opportunity to meet key sustainability goals as QLC SSDs take up less space and are more energy efficient.

Solution: Solidigm™ QLC 3D NAND SSDs

Solidigm QLC 3D NAND SSDs offer the right balance of value, capacity and performance for your read and data-intensive workloads. Visit Solidigm to learn more.

About Solidigm: Headquartered in California, Solidigm is a leading global provider of innovative NAND flash memory solutions. Stemming from the sale of the Intel® NAND and SSD business to SK hynix in 2021, Solidigm is powered by the inventiveness of more than 2,000 employees in 20 locations around the world. For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter and on LinkedIn.


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1,2 University of Toronto study of 1.4 million industry SSDs in Enterprise Storage Deployment. A Study of SSD Reliability in Large Scale Enterprise Storage Deployments,