As the sort of person that can get addicted to deep technology discussions about the latest thing, without due care and attention I could easily fall into the pit of storage related technologies. From the storage bits through to software defined cache hierarchy, there is so much to learn and to talk about. Over the last two years, unless you were living under a rock, it would have been hard to miss the level of attention that Intel's 3D XPoint technology (a co-venture with Micron) has been getting. Billed as a significant disruption to the storage market, and claiming an intersection between DRAM and SSDs as a form of non-volatile storage, many column inches have been devoted to the potential uses of 3D XPoint. Despite all this talk, and promises that Intel's Super 7 partners are well under way with qualifying the hardware in their datacenters, we are yet to actually see it come to market - or even be actively demonstrated in any sizeable volume at a trade show. We're expecting more information this year, but while everyone is waiting, Samsung has snuck up behind everyone with their new Z-SSD product line.

The Z-SSD line was announced back at Flash Memory Summit, although details were scant. This was a PCIe NVMe storage technology using Samsung's new 'Z-NAND', which was aimed at the intersection between DRAM and SSDs (sounds like 3D XPoint?). Z-NAND is ultimately still baked in as NAND, although designed differently to provide better NAND characteristics. We still don't know the exact way this happens - some analysts have pointed to this being 3D NAND/V-NAND running in SLC mode, given some of the performance metrics, but this is still unknown.

At Cloud Expo Europe, Samsung had a Z-SSD on display and started talking numbers, if not the technology itself. The first drive for select customers to qualify will be 800GB in a half-height PCIe 3.0 x4 card. Sequential R/W will be up to 3.2 GBps, with Random R/W up to 750K/160K IOPS. Latency (presumably read latency) will be 70% lower than current NVMe drives, partially due to the new NAND but also a new controller, which we might hear about during Samsung's next tech day later this year. We are under the impression that the Z-NAND will also have high endurance, especially if it comes down to fewer bits per cell than current NAND offerings, but at this point it is hard to tell.

Initial reports indicated that Samsung was preparing 1TB, 2TB and 4TB drives under the Z-SSD banner. At present only the 800GB is on the table, which if we take into account overprovisioning might just be the 1TB drive anyway. Nothing was said about other capacities or features, except that the customers Samsung is currently dealing with are very interested in getting their hands on the first drives.

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  • close - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    @ittlebitstrouds what's that system that works and was killed of by capitalism? Trust me, far from me to say that unregulated capitalism is the best for everybody but still, I'm curious.
  • bcronce - Saturday, March 18, 2017 - link

    There have been very few systems that worked, and the ones that did got replaced because they could not compete. In the real world, just because something is better doesn't mean it will win. There's a reason many people in power are sociopaths, because it works. I don't like it, but I can't wish it away.
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Saturday, March 18, 2017 - link

    ddriver probably thinks hardware full disk encryption is backdoored with a master key like the we had with the Kingston thumb drive fiasco a few years back and covered by Bruce Schneier and others

    Silly ddriver, we don't need to worry about conspiracies here

    We can use super strong and unbreakable full disk encryption like Bitlocker when the hardware is backdoored

    It is a bit odd though that the most popular desktop OS (Windows) has never been involved in a single criminal case involving Bitlocker

    I would think that a Super Secure encryption backage would be a problem for the FBI

    Just Google>
    FBI case with bitlocker full disk encryption

    or any related term

    How many cases did "YOU" find Reflex?

    All I can find in a Search is how Bitlocker can be bypassed

    Keep us updated AnandTech!
    Sounds like a HUGE Tech Story here
  • halcyon - Saturday, March 18, 2017 - link

    ddriver, shhh....
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Saturday, March 18, 2017 - link

    And exactly how secure IS Backdoored Bitlocker Encryption?

    Well,the Secret Service says....

    Secret Service-issued laptops contain multiple layers of security including full disk encryption and are "NOT PERMITTED" to contain classified information

    So you now heard it directly from those who service your secrets!

    ...and what would the NSA say...(if they could or would)

    Bitlocker is for "YOUR" secrets, not ours
    Why do you think it's codeword is "Instant Access" ?
  • surt - Sunday, March 19, 2017 - link

    Samsung gross revenue: US$ 305 billion (2014)
    Intel gross revenue: US$59.38 billion (2016)

    Yeah, Samsung got too uppity and Intel put them down. ;-)
  • Krysto - Friday, March 17, 2017 - link

    > Sequential R/W will be up to 3.2 GBps, with Random R/W up to 750K/160K IOPS

    > Latency (presumably read latency) will be 70% lower than current NVMe drives

    And it will probably still be cheaper than 3D Xpoint. 3D Xpoint is ded.
  • JKJK - Friday, March 17, 2017 - link

    3.2 GigaBIT sequential transfer speeds? I hope that is a typo.
  • waltsmith - Friday, March 17, 2017 - link

  • Guspaz - Friday, March 17, 2017 - link

    My Samsung 850 EVO will do more than 3.2 gigabits per second sequential transfers. It's not exactly an impressive number for a super expensive enterprise drive.

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