The Flash Memory Summit saw Toshiba deliver a presentation about quad level cell (QLC) technology – adding substantially to the prospect of a product being delivered in the “near future”.
We have heard about this QLC (4bits/cell NAND technology) quite recently.
After Seagate tantalised us with a 60TB SSD, along comes Toshiba with a 100TB QLC SSD concept.
Flash Memory Summit attendees saw Toshiba presenters put flesh on the bones and envisage a QLC 3D SSD with a PCIe gen 3 interface and more than 100TB of capacity. It would have 3GB/sec sequential read bandwidth and 1GB/sec sequential write bandwidth.
It would do random reading and writing at 50,000 and 14,000 IOPS respectively. The active state power consumption would be 9 watts, the same as a 3.5-inch, 8TB SATA 6Gbit/s disk drive, while the idle power consumption be less than 100 mWatts, compared to the disk drive’s 8 watts.
Twelve 8TB nearline disks would offer 96TB of capacity and need 96 watts when idling, versus a single QLC 100TB SSD needing 0.1 watts. That would provide such a lower TCO for a QLC flash archive that it could justify an expensive acquisition cost.
The QLC drive would have a 3PB to 6PB workload over its lifetime, with the disk having 900TB (written). In these terms a QLC SSD looks good news, but we haven’t seen any actual pricing suggestions yet.
Analyst haus Stifel Nicolaus’ MD, Aaron Rakers, added more details, saying Toshiba is actively working on a product and, in fact, has “been in early/high-level testing with hyper-scale customers”. He said Facebook, a prospective QLC SSD user, thought QLC drives would have a 150 write cycle endurance rating, and it is anticipating product arrival for WORM (write once, ready many) use. Facebook would be the exact sort of customer Toshiba has in mind, and has probably already tested Tosh QLC drives.