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article imageSeagate unveils giant 60TB SSD, the largest ever created

By James Walker     Aug 10, 2016 in Technology
Seagate has announced the world's largest solid state drive ever created, a 60TB goliath that spells the end for mechanical hard drives. While the technology remains a demonstration prototype for now, Seagate hopes to start commercial sales next year.
Seagate announced the new drive at the Flash Memory Summit in Cupertino, California, yesterday. It is one of two new products debuted by the company, both aiming to "extend the limits" of mass storage devices with new levels of capacity and performance. Both products are aimed firmly at enterprise datacentres but the technology within will trickle down to the consumer market over time.
Seagate's headline announcement is the unveiling of its new 60 terabyte Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) solid state drive. It is the largest SSD ever created and will be ready for production next year as part of Seagate's Enterprise portfolio. The 3.5-inch drive fits into existing servers, housing a record storage capacity inside a conventional form factor.
The SSD is built from over a thousand dies of Micron's 3D TLC NAND Flash memory. To connect so many storage chips to a single controller, Seagate has used ONFi bridge chips to increase the bandwidth of each of the controller's NAND channels. This allows it to manage many more dies than would ordinarily be possible, making the extraordinary capacity possible. Seagate said the system could be expanded further in the future, potentially leading to a 100TB SSD in just a few more years.
Apart from the huge capacity, the rest of the SSD's specs aren't anything exceptional. It connects using a dual-port SAS interface rated for 12Gb/s transfers. Sequential read speeds are specified as 1,500MB/s and sequential writes for 1,000MB/s. Performance when running random read and random write operations hasn't been disclosed.
The development of the drive signals once again that mechanical hard drives will soon be eradicated altogether. SSDs are slowly banishing HDDs from the consumer market as their high performance allows for faster devices. Until very recently, HDDs have boasted far higher capacities than SSDs though, making them far more appropriate for enterprise environments where huge amounts of data are stored.
Over the past couple of years, the tables have turned dramatically. Only a few months ago, Samsung commercially launched a 15TB SSD, surpassing the 12TB limit of modern hard drives. Until Seagate's announcement this week, it was the largest SSD in the world. Now the record has been quadrupled, reaching capacities that the spinning platters in hard drives could never achieve.
Seagate is demonstrating its 60TB SSD to prospective customers now. It could be used to store 12,000 movies or 400 million photos, taking care of the datacentre needs of services like Netflix or Google Photos. Next year, companies will be able to purchase the drive and install it in their servers. Pricing hasn't been disclosed but expect it to be eye-wateringly high compared to consumer SSDs.
Seagate also launched the 8TB Nytro XP7200 NVMe SSD at the Flash Memory Summit, a datacentre SSD that will be available from the last quarter of 2016. The company said it is designed to accommodate the "hyperscale" needs of today's data centres, connecting over a single PCIe interface and using four separate controllers. This allows it to achieve higher performance than comparable rival drives, making it suitable for powering demanding applications.
More about Seagate, Hard drive, Ssd, Solid state drive, Storage
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