Micron has announced PCIe-based server products, one involving a traditional card approach and the other a first-of-its-kind 2.5-inch hard drive form factor.

Because it uses a hard drive-like design, Micron's new P320h PCIe SSD allows users to swap out drives without having to bring a server down, something a PCIe card does not allow.

Prior to the launch of the P320h PCIe SSD, PCIe-based flash products came in card form only.

The new drive leverages Micron's already released P320h PCIe flash card technology, which is built with 34-nanometre single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash chips. Unlike the new SSD, the original P320h is a half-height, half-length form factor PCIe card. Like the P320h card, the new P320h 2.5in SSD is aimed at use in enterprise data centres.

Micron's new SSD (above) comes in 175GB and 300GB capacities - half that of the P320h PCIe card (below).

Micron said the drive would be released later this year, but it would not release performance specifications. Because the 2.5in SSD is based on the P320h card, the numbers should be similar, however. Micron also did not release any pricing for the drive.

"The key news here is really what this new interface is going to allow for scalable server upgrades," Janene Ellefson, Micron's enterprise SSD product marketing manager, said in an email response to questions.

Using 4KB data packets, the 350GB version of the P320h has a top sequential read rate of 3GBps and a 2Gbps write rate. The drive has a random read/write rate of 750,000 and 298,000 I/Os per second (IOPS), respectively.

The 700GB model has a the same sequential performance as the 350GB model, but a random write rate of 341,000 IOPS.

Dell announced this week that it is using Micron's new PCIe SSD in its PowerEdge 12th generation servers. The servers use front-accessible backplane designs that accommodate 2.5in SATA, SAS and PCIe devices, allowing users to choose from any combination of data storage and caching devices.

"We're pleased with the results of our strategic collaboration with Micron to co-develop this innovative new form factor for our Express Flash solutions," Brian Payne, executive director of Server Solutions at Dell, said in a statement.