Let’s start the New Year storage round-up with NAND passing the 3-digit layer count

Best wishes for the New Year, storage people. Let’s kick it off with our first storage roundup in 2020.

Short items

Samsung suffered a power outage on New Year’s eve at a DRAM and NAND foundry in Hwaseong, South Korea. According to reports, the company has lost up to three days output although backup power supplies were switched on when the outage was detected. The outage, caused by an explosion at a nearby electricity sub-station, lasted a few seconds. But assessing the damage to in-production wafers and bringing production back online could take up to 72 hours. The total cost is expected to be a few million dollars.

The contract price of client SSDs fell for seven consecutive quarters to 2Q19 until it was barely above the price of HDD, according to the latest analysis by DRAMeXchange. As a result, the share of SSD in notebook computers has risen since 2Q19.

The overall demand for NAND flash in 1Q20 is projected to be strong despite seasonal headwinds. Digitimes expects NAND prices to rise up to 40 per cent this year.

100-layer flash mark passed. Korean flash foundry operator SK hynix will introduce 128-layer 3D NAND drives at CES. There are two; Gold P31 and “Platinum P31 SSDs, both using a PCIe NVMe interface. Blocks & Files expects 100+layer 3d NAND enterprise drives later in the year.

Quantum has cleared the decks with the SEC relating to Quantum’s historic accounting practices, internal controls and a results restatement. This related to revenue recognition for transactions between Q4, fiscal 2015, and Q2 fiscal 2018. The settlement includes a cease and desist order and payment of $1m as a civil penalty.

CEO Jamie Lerner issued a quote about the SEC order: “The civil penalty was fully accrued in our financial results, and we are actively advancing our long-term strategy and working expeditiously to re-list on a national exchange.”

Western Digital is sampling its 20TB DC H650 shingled magnetic recording and 18TB DC HC5500 conventional magnetic recording disk drives. Dropbox is one of the sampling customers. These are helium-filled drives and use aspects of WD’s Microwave-Assisted Magnetic Recording (MAMR) technology.

Quantum will demo storage gear for autonomous vehicle development at CES. It will showcase its R-Series removable, in-vehicle storage and workflow systems that enables high-speed data capture, fast upload, automated tiering for analysis, and shared storage for mobile environments.

Enmotus makes multi-tier SSDs and will show a multi-tier drive using penta-level flash (5bits/cell) and a Phison controller at CES in Las Vegas, January 7-10. It will include machine learning algorithms.