Storage Soup

Nov 21 2014   4:32PM GMT

Intel set to go big on 3D NAND

Dave Raffo Dave Raffo Profile: Dave Raffo

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Intel
samsung
Storage

Intel claims it will leapfrog early 3D NAND leader Samsung with a 10 TB 3D NAND solid-state drive (SSD) for enterprises by late 2015.

Intel laid out its 3D NAND flash plans Thursday during its investor day presentations. Rob Crooke, VP of Intel’s Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group (NSG), said the vendor will be able to fit 1 TB of data on a two-millimeter thick NAND chip for mobile devices. Intel is working with Micron on its 3D NAND devices.

3D NAND stacks memory cells vertically as well as horizontally in a cube model. Like Samsung, Intel’s flash has 32 layers. But Intel claims its 3D NAND products can hold 256 Gb on a die with multi-level cell flash (MLC) – more than twice as many bits as Samsung puts on its SSDs. Bill Leszinske, director of strategic planning for Intel NSG, said the vendor will put 384GB on its tri-level cell (TLC) 3D NAND. Samsung 32-layer 3D NAND has 86 GB bits per die for MLC and 128 GB for TLC.

Samsung already has two generations of 3D NAND –which it calls Vertical NAND (V-NAND) — on the market. It sells V-NAND SSDs and last month added a 3.2 TB V-NAND PCIe card.

During a conference call today to discuss the technology, Intel’s Leszinkse said the capacity gains delivered by 3D NAND could be as important for enterprises as their performance.

“There are applications where you don’t need all 11 million IOPS from these devices, but you would like to have 10-plus terabyte drives putting a tremendous amount of data close to the CPU,” he said.

Leszinske also said the cost of SSDs is decreasing to the point where racks of high-density and low-power drives make economic sense.

“Today, mostly cloud service providers are using SSDs in the enterprise,” he said. “Traditional enterprises are only now starting to use SSDS. The evolution, or revolution, has only just begun.”

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