Samsung teased the industry's first 256 TB solid-state drive at the Flash Memory Summit 2023. The new drive features unprecedented storage density and is aimed primarily at hyper-scale data centers where storage density and reduced power consumption matter the most.

Samsung's 256 TB SSD is based on 3D QLC NAND memory and probably uses innovative packaging to cram multiple 3D QLC NAND devices into stacks. The company does not disclose which form factor the drive uses. Still, because the unit is aimed mainly at hyper scalers, we expect Samsung to offer them in one of the emerging ESDFF form factors or Samsung's proprietary NGSFF form factor. For now, the only thing that Samsung discloses about its 256 TB SSD is that it is several times more energy efficient than existing drives that carry 32 TB of raw NAND.

"Compared to stacking eight 32 TB SSDs, one 256 TB SSD consumes approximately seven times less power, despite storing the same amount of data," a statement by Samsung reads.

In addition to teasing its 256 TB SSD, Samsung formally announced its next-generation datacenter PM9A3a family of drives with a PCIe 5.0 x4 interface that is expected to offer serious performance and high power efficiency. 

Samsung says that its new PM9A3a SSDs increase sequential read performance by up to 2.3 times (i.e., to 14.95 GB/s) and random write performance by more than 2x compared to the previous generation PM9A3, which uses a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface. In addition, these new drives promise a 60% power efficiency improvement (presumably compared to predecessors) and enhanced Telemetry and Debug functions. 

Samsung's PM9A3a SSDs will be available in various form factors in the first half of 2024, featuring capacities from 3.84 TB all the way up to 30.72 TB.

Source: Samsung

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  • deil - Friday, August 11, 2023 - link

    "Compared to stacking eight 32 TB SSDs, one 256 TB SSD consumes approximately seven times less power, despite storing the same amount of data," a statement by Samsung reads."

    I just don't understand why put that in the comment.
    we likely have the densest motherff.... on the planet here, and that drive does not need raid magic or any software stuff that can fail, let's focus on power usage that is near 15W, while other solutions can be up to 90W.
    what a difference. Maybe even we will install 1900W instead of 2000W on server now.
    that's the most useless info we could get.
    to be honest incredible product, if we will see it this or next year.
  • ballsystemlord - Friday, August 11, 2023 - link

    It would have been more interesting to know where the various power savings came from. For all we know, it could all have come from Samsuang needing only one controller and far fewer active NAND dies.
    But for this segment, as pointed out above, power savings is always welcome. This is not a Desktop PC product, though it would certainly make an interesting one.
  • TomWomack - Friday, August 11, 2023 - link

    On the other hand you are trading off power for speed; if you have eight drives each using four lanes of PCIe you have eight times the bandwidth of one drive using four lanes of PCIe, and twice the bandwidth even if the drive uses sixteen lanes, which I'm not sure fit on the edge connector depicted there.

    I can't think of very many applications which require pure volume of SSD and are willing to trade off speed that strongly for it; the flash dies, even stacked, are a commodity with a pretty fixed price per terabyte so a drive twice the size will be roughly twice the cost.
  • ballsystemlord - Friday, August 11, 2023 - link

    Good point.
  • erinadreno - Friday, August 11, 2023 - link

    They could boast about the data density per node instead of the power of single SSD. Showing a 1U server holding 2x4U worth of data is certainly much more appealing.
  • dontlistentome - Friday, August 11, 2023 - link

    Way off. The baseline server in these will be a couple of hundred watts, likely half that. They're for storage, not compute. Packing eight times as many as these in means a 87% reduction in the number of machines, the same reduction in power.
    It's a huge change.
  • Threska - Friday, August 11, 2023 - link

    Summary: the big boys have all the cool stuff. Not sure what I'd do with 256 TB. That's a LOT of porn. Takes a lot to rule the world I guess.
  • FunBunny2 - Friday, August 11, 2023 - link

    That's a LOT of porn.

    there's no such a thing as too much.
  • ballsystemlord - Friday, August 11, 2023 - link

    It never ceases to amaze me how the first thing that comes to mind when we speak of storage is porn. Don't you boys have better things to store on your systems? And what about getting a real woman instead of just staring at what the big boys (sorry I had to say it), can get?
  • meacupla - Friday, August 11, 2023 - link

    It's because the former CEO of Seagate, Bill Watkins, made the remark of not caring how much porn people store on Seagate drives.

    As for other storage? Most newer game titles are hitting 100~150GB, with the largest topping out at 400GB.
    IDK why anyone would keep more than 10 of these games on their disk at the same time, unless they have very slow internet.

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