The World’s Largest Solid-State Drive is Officially in Production
Andrew Wheeler posted on February 22, 2018 |

Samsung is producing the world’s largest solid-state drive (SSD) for next generation enterprise storage systems. The PM1643 holds an incredible 30.72 terabytes (TB) of storage, making it twice as colossal as the 15.36 TB SSD released in March 2016.

The company began manufacturing initial quantities of the PM1643s this past January, in response to an increasing demand for SSDs over 10 TB from enterprise customers. (Image courtesy of Samsung.)
The company began manufacturing initial quantities of the PM1643s this past January, in response to an increasing demand for SSDs over 10 TB from enterprise customers. (Image courtesy of Samsung.)

The massive storage capacity of the Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) PM1643 was achieved by combining 32 1 TB NAND flash packages. Each one is composed of 16 stacked layers of 512Gb V-NAND chips. To give you a sense of just how huge each individual 1TB NAND flash package is, you could fit 5700 5GB-sized movies on just one. Multiply that by 32, and you get 182,000 5GB-sized films that could be stored on the PM1643. You could spend the equivalent of 42 years watching movies with just one of these 30.72 TB beasts.

It's Ridiculously Fast Too

The PM1643 drive has random read and write speeds of up to 400,000 Input/Output Per Second (IOPS) and 50,000 IOPS (thought those speeds will come down and vary will different enterprise application workloads), as well as sequential read and write speeds of up to 2,100MB/s and 1,700 MB/s. This is about four times as fast as the random read performance and three times the sequential read performance of an Samsung SSD 850 EVO.

Samsung also announced that they’ll be expanding their flash-array SSDs later this year, adding 15.36 TB, 7.68 TB, 3.84 TB, 1.92 TB, 960 GB and 800 GB versions.

Engineers who designed the PM1643 pulled off some interesting feats, including the creation of an extremely efficient controller architecture that freed up more storage space by combining nine controllers. They also interconnected 8GB DDR4 chips using Through Silicon Via (TSV) technology to make 10 4GB TSV DRAM packages, marking a first for SSDs.

On the software side, Samsung engineers added features such as metadata protection, recovery from power failures and data retention. The drive delivers one full drive write per day, every day for five years without a failure—meaning a failure will occur at an average rate of once every two million hours.

Bottom Line

Samsung’s biggest competitor at creating SSDs like the PM1643 is clearly itself. There isn’t anyone else at their level, and they will continue to dominate the industry-wide push to replace all HDDs (hard disk drives).

No word on the cost yet, but an estimate can be made from the 15.36 TB Samsung PM1633a released in March 2016, which goes for around USD 10,000. It’s going to cost at least USD 20,000, which is why it’s designed for enterprise and not individuals.


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