For years, the only drawback to SSDs (solid-state drives) relative to HDDs (hard disk drives) has been the fact that SSDs are more expensive, and just can’t store quite as much information. Otherwise SSDs are appreciated for being faster, smaller, more portable, and harder to break. This mixture of pros and cons has kept SSDs and HDDs at a lasting market stalemate, but recent changes seem to be tipping the scale in the direction of SSDs.
This momentum is only furthered by a recent development from Samsung Electronics, the world leader in advanced memory technology. Two days ago, Samsung announced the existence of the global industry’s largest solid state drive, the PM1633a.
First revealed at the Flash Memory Summit in August of 2015, the PM1633a can hold up to 15.36TB of data using a 12GB/s Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) interface. The drive is manufactured for use in enterprise storage systems. It comes in both a 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch form factor, allowing enterprise storage managers to choose the optimally sized drive for their particular storing infrastructure.
“To satisfy an increasing market need for ultra-high-capacity SAS SSDs from leading enterprise storage system manufacturers, we are directing our best efforts toward meeting our customers’ SSD requests,” stated Jung-bae Lee, the Senior Vice President of Samsung’s Memory Product Planning and Application Engineering Team. “We will continue to lead the industry with next-generation SSDs, using our advanced 3D V-NAND memory technology, in order to accelerate the growth of the premium memory market while delivering greater performance and efficiency to our customers.”
Samsung was able to reach the unprecedented capacity of the PM1633a by combining 512 of Samsung’s 256Gb V-NAND memory chips. The chips are stacked in 16 layers to form a single 512GB package, and the 32 total NAND flash packages like this add up to a 15.36TB drive.
The PM1633a provides a significant step up in performance when compared to its predecessor, the PM1633. This was done through utilizing Samsung’s 3rd generation, 256-gigabit (Gb) V-NAND technology, which allows engineers to stack cell-arrays in up to 48 layers. The PM1633 uses Samsung’s 2nd generation, 32-layer, 128Gb V-NAND technology, which while impressive does not provide the performance and reliability upgrades that come with the newer model.
The PM1633a’s high storage capacity and exceptional performance enables it to offer significant improvement in the efficiency of IT system investments, both over Samsung’s other models and the models of competing brands. The improvement is rooted in the advancement of Samsung’s latest vertical NAND (V-NAND) flash technology as well as the advancement of the company’s proprietary controller and firmware technology.
But what kind of improvements are we really talking about here? These stats might just blow you away: The PM1633a SSD offers read and write speeds of up to 200,000 and 32,000 IOPS, respectively. Its sequential read and write speeds top out at 1,200 MB/s. That’s about 1,000 times faster than the random read performance of SAS-type hard disks and about twice as fast as those of a standard SATA SSD. The PM1633a is engineered with controller units that are able to support its 12GB/s SAS interface along with a total of 16GB of DRAM. It is also equipped with specialized firmware that allows it to access large amounts of high-density NAND flash simultaneously.
Samsung’s newest SSD can support a drive write per day, meaning that a full 15.36TB of data can be written every day on this single drive without causing any kind of drive failure. This is about two to ten times as much data as a standard SATA SSD can write, providing yet another facet of reliability that aims to improve the drive’s cost of ownership.