It’s been almost five years since Nimbus Data introduced its 100TB Exadrive 3.5-inch SSD, which was valued at a whopping $40,000. Now, Pure Storage, one of the pioneers in All Flash Array storage technologies, has announced its plan to produce a 300TB flash drive within three years. The new technology is called FlashBlade//E.
Pure CTO Alex McMullan presented a graph that showed the company’s plan to release 300TB DFM (Direct Flash Module) by 2026, surpassing the 40TB hard disk drives that are expected to be released that year.
The Next Level…
DFM is not a regular SSD; you can’t just buy one and plug it into your workstation or desktop computer. Instead, you need to purchase the entire system, and these systems are not cheap. While FlashBlade//E costs only $0.20 per GB, the minimum purchase order price is surprisingly $800,000.
Pure claims that FlashBlade//E, despite being more expensive than HDD alternatives, uses much less power and space, is up to 20 times more reliable, produces less than one-sixth of e-waste, and has 60% lower operating costs.
The new product features 40 x 48TB DFM per chassis (working in pairs to reach 4PB), and 300TB DFM will increase the total capacity to 12PB, nearly a seven-fold increase that can be achieved by companies such as Samsung and Solidigm by increasing the number of NAND layers to around 500.
Other ways to increase capacity include increasing the physical size of the DFM and transitioning to the mainstream successor of QLC, PLC (Penta-layer cell), which is currently being tested and is likely to be released in 2023.
However, one thing is certain: hard drive vendors are struggling to keep up with the pace of solid-state storage progress. Seagate has yet to officially release the Exos X22 22TB hard drive (although it is available in the market but not announced), and there is no sign of Toshiba’s promised 26TB hard drive for the 2022 fiscal year (which ends in 29 days). Western Digital is the only hard drive vendor shipping 22TB drives in volume and its 26TB drive for data centers is currently the largest hard drive available.