Can Samsung's 31TB SSD challenge hard drives in the data center?

Hard drives are struggling to get to 14TB. Now Samsung is kicking sand - literally - into their faces with a new, 2.5-inch 31TB SSD. You and I will never buy one, but still, it's pretty amazing.

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One of the things that has made storage an interesting market for the last 50 years - besides the fact that it is an absolute requirement - is that some applications are willing to pay pretty much anything to get what they need. So vendors have been willing to do some pretty amazing things to win their business - and the margins that go with it.

Case in point: Samsung's new 31TB SSD. According to Samsung

Leveraging Samsung's latest V-NAND technology with 64-layer, 3-bit 512-gigabit (Gb) chips, the 30.72 terabyte (TB) drive delivers twice the capacity and performance of the previous 15.36TB high-capacity lineup introduced in March 2016.

It's only later that they mention this is all in a 2.5-inch form factor. Yeah, 31TB in a notebook form factor.

The Amazing Part

But here's how they justify the unmentioned price, because the:

drive features random read and write speeds of up to 400,000 IOPS and 50,000 IOPS, and sequential read and write speeds of up to 2,100MB/s and 1,700 MB/s, respectively.

A decade ago that performance would have cost well over $100,000, and you couldn't carry it in your shirt pocket.

As for the price, I suspect it will be on the order of $1,000/TB. After all, the people who buy this aren't concerned - much - with price.

The Storage Bits take

Flash storage keeps encroaching on hard drive's space. Higher performance. Check. Smaller form factors. Check. Lower power consumption. Check.

It's got to be depressing for engineers who've spent their entire careers making disks better. And I have to say it: hard disk drives are incredible machines; built to exacting tolerances; economical; and, they make the finest Switch watches look like belching steam engines in comparison.

But, hard drives win on cost per bit. And that's why cloud vendors will continue to buy them. And I will too.

Still, kudos to Samsung for driving flash technology to this level. Well done!

Comments welcome, as ever.


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