Samsung is looking forward to developing storage solutions that will allow users to store hundreds of terabytes' worth of data. The company discussed the future of NAND at the China Flash Memory Market Summit and said its future SSDs could have 1 petabyte (1PB) of storage.
1 petabyte of storage, or 1,024 terabytes / 1 million GB, would be enough to store roughly 2.5 years' worth of 4K video. And a few dozen of these future 1PB Samsung SSDs could hold the contents of the entire Library of Congress. (via Cobaltiron)
Fun facts aside, Samsung doesn't expect to manufacture 1-petabyte SSDs very soon. But at the event, the company said physical, logical, and packaging innovations should increase the capacity of storage drives to 1PB within the next decade. (via Tom's Hardware / Asmag)
There are serious technical hurdles to overcome
To achieve such high capacities on future SSDs, Samsung will reportedly have to improve physical and logical scaling. Physical scaling means that Samsung will continue shrinking NAND cells while increasing the number of NAND layers.
However, this physical scaling has limitations, and the company says that around 1,000 layers per 3D NAND are not enough to increase flash memory capacity to 1PB and beyond. Therefore, the company is also looking into logical scaling.
Where physical scaling is meant to shrink NAND cells, logical scaling of NAND should increase the number of bits stored per cell. But there are technical difficulties to overcome before logical scaling reaches a state that enables 1PB SSDs. In order to hold more bits per cell, NAND chips need to store more voltage states, which poses challenges in terms of material science and temperature management.
Needless to say, Samsung has to develop new manufacturing solutions to achieve storage capacities that would exceed a thousand terabytes. But this evolution seems inevitable, and PC and smartphone users will eventually benefit from these advancements.