Samsung forecasts petabyte SSD in a decade 

Think a 128TB SSD is a big brother of a device? How about a petabyte SSD? Samsung sees it coming in the not-too-distant future.

The 2023 China Flash Memory Market Summit (CFMS2023) took place in Shenzhen this month and saw Samsung, Solidigm, Micron and many other NAND flash vendors present their wares to Chinese buyers. Local media outlet A&S Mag summarised the many vendor sessions. 

The standout pitch came from Samsung VP Kyung Ryun Kim, NAND Product Planning Group GM, who said the company expects single SSD capacity to be as high as 1PB in the next 10 years. Samsung exhibited a prototype 128TB SSD at last year’s August Flash memory Summit in San Jose, calling it a petabyte “scale” SSD. This used QLC (4 bits/cell) NAND, supported zoned name spaces and came with a PCIe/NVMe interface. 

Samsung 128TB SSD.

Seven months later and Samsung is trailing the idea of increasing the density tenfold, based on improved 3D NAND physical scaling technology, logical scaling technology and packaging technology.

Samsung is currently developing 238-layer 3D NAND tech and reckons that 1,000 layers are feasible. It is pushing QLC formatting and we may well see PLC (Penta Level Cell – 5 bits/cell) technology being commonplace in the 2030s, so a 1,000 TB SSD could be possible.

Micron talked about a new high-performance PCIe 5.0 SSD, with memory bandwidth twice that of PCIe 4.0. VP Dinesh Bahal said that if it can be combined with new application acceleration technology, the actual performance will be faster still.

Kioxia CTO Liu Maozhi discussed Kioxia’s gen 2 XL-Flash MLC technology with a PCIe 5.0 interface. He talked about Copy OFFLOAD and RAID OFFLOAD functions simplifying the parity check process without taking up host CPU resources. That suggests this storage-class memory SSD will be more than a dumb device.

Solidigm Asia Pacific sales director Ni Jinfeng introduced the world’s first PLC NAND SSD prototype. He said Solidigm believes PLC’s higher density and lower cost will be the foundation for a new round of HDD replacement in the future.

We expect that these Samsung, Micron, Kioxia and Solidigm ideas will be discussed and explained at August’s Flash Memory Summit in San Jose.