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Samsung 30 TB Enterprise SSD

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Samsung recently announced mass production of a 30.72TB SAS SSD, the PM1643. The drive combines “32 of the new 1TB NAND flash packages, each comprised of 16 stacked layers of 512Gb V-NAND chips”.

There’s no word on price yet, but if we go by the street price of the older PM1633a 15.36 TB model, at around 8000 USD, then expect doubling in size to mean at last doubling in price as well. At 16000 USD, thats 53 cents per GB. Currently, spinning HDD is about 3 cents per GB, and the cheapest SSD at around 30 cents. A 75% premium for an enterprise SSD over the consumer options is perhaps not too unreasonable. However, 17 times more expensive than a HDD will not scale in the data center. In comparison, four 8 GB WD Red drives will give higher capacity and cost about 1075 USD.

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Samsung boasts about its SSDs

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In a few recent articles at Tom’s Hardware, Paul Alcorn has summarized the latest roadmap and product visions from Samsung, including an upcoming new form factor to replace the Intel M.2 connector and QLC (Quad Layer Cell) SSD that could reach 100 TB drives. Finally, Chris Ramseyer takes a look at the new Samsung 960 EVO and 960 Pro NVMe drives.

Some developments are clear: More data will be stacked in a smaller space, through 3D NAND, 16 bits QLC (Quad Layer Cell), and more dies stacked on top of each other. This will all result in lower prices per byte of storage. Obviously, it makes no sense to include a spinning disk in a laptop anymore, but the holy grail is the data center. There things are not so clear-cut. According to Alcorn’s article, Facebook is experimenting with QLC drives which could reach 100 TB. But there is of course no mention of price.

What’s interesting, is that the newer drives, which use the new NVMe based M.2 controller has reset the downwards price trend. In one of the slides, Samsung points out that SSD storage is now at 36 US cents per GB. However, the latest 960 series are almost double that, at 64 cents. (512 GB for $329; 1 TB for $629; 2 TB for $1299). In comparison, the Seagate Archive 8 TB drives cells for $249 now, is 1/20 of that, at 3 cents per GB.

In other words, Samsung has traded the 4x to 6x increase in read / write speed on the NVMe controllers for a doubling in SSD storage price. Now, Alcorn points out that there might be some margin to shave off there. Samsung has almost half the world market on both SSD drive and total SSD capacity shipments right now, but the competition is ramping up. That we will see lower prices per byte on SSD in the next year is a given.

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Mobile OSes

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There has been quite a bit of news on the mobile OS space lately. We’re starting to see a trend of diversifying solutions, as opposed to the “me-too; Android” phones over the last couple of years. On the hardware side, Nokia is continuing its decline, but as this Guardian article shows, still delivers about a quarter of the handsets (smart and feature phones) to the Western European market. It is far surpassed by Samsung at almost 40%, while Apple, who only make smart phones, sold some 10% of the devices.

On the software side, Google released Android 4.1, including source code, while Facebook has announced their own customized OS, however it is likely to be Android based. Meanwhile, old Nokia employees still believe in their adopted child, MeeGo, and has forked off a company to continue development.

New on the block is Mozilla, with their Boot to Gecko, Mobile Firefox OS. They showed off screenshots this week. Mozilla has taken a bold step by basing all “native” applications and UI on HTML5. It should make applications easy to develop, however, there still has to be a OS specific API beyond HTML5 to handle features like cross-application intents (e.g. use this number to call), copy/paste, etc. and possibly hardware functions like camera, motion sensors, compass and so on.

To round off, a recent H-Online article by Andrew Back discusses how all the “open” alternatives still rely on proprietary hardware drivers for radio, and other auxiliary chips. As long as the fireware for these are closed there is a problem for security and freedom, he asserts. He mentions the OsmocomBB project as a free GSM implementation, but also that fully free and open software radios are unlikely to see the light, as it will not get certification by telecom regulators, and thus will be illegal to operate.

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