Hitachi expanded its flash-based storage offerings today, introducing its new enterprise SSD. Offered alongside last year's Ultrastar SSD400S, the new Ultrastar SSD400M is equipped with more affordable MLC NAND flash chips instead of its sibling's pricier SLC parts (hence the M and S in their model numbers). Although enterprise shoppers tend to favor SLC-based flash solutions, Hitachi says its MLC-based Ultrastar is a cost-effective alternative to meeting the performance, capacity, endurance and reliability demands of data centers.

Just like its previous drive, Hitachi's new arrival was created in collaboration with Intel, leveraging the chipmaker's 25nm MLC NAND. Although that's the same fabrication process used by the flash in Intel's consumer 320 Series SSD, the Ultrastar SSD400M has higher quality, "enterprise-grade" chips that boast more performance and have a write endurance of 7.3PB – equivalent to 10 full drive writes per day for five years. The MLC Ultrastar is also armed with its SLC counterpart's error correction or error handling for additional reliability.

The 2.5-inch Ultrastar SSD400M is being sold in 200GB and 400GB iterations, including a self-encrypting version of each capacity which conform to the Trusted Computing Group's specifications. The drives connect via SAS 6Gb/s and performance peaks at sequential 64K read and write throughputs of 495MB/s and 385MB/s along with random 4K read and write IOPS of 56,000 and 24,000 (the self-encrypting models are likely slower). The drive consumes 1.7W at idle and has a MTBF of two million hours, or a 0.44% annual failure rate.

"Our MLC SSD product family was developed as a direct answer to our customers' needs for a reliable price/performance storage solution for high I/O Enterprise applications," said Hitachi exec Mike Cordano. "The Ultrastar SSD400M uses Intel NAND memory and SSD technology and is the result of our continuing strong relationship and joint development with Hitachi," said Tom Rampone of Intel. Hitachi has already shipped its Ultrastar SSD400M and is currently qualifying the drives with select OEMs. We haven't seen any pricing information.