Samsung started developing the Next Generation Small Form Factor (NGSFF) with the intent of taking the best qualities of the U.2 and M.2 form factor and improving on them. The goal was to keep as much of the M.2 design as possible, but add the capacity and hot-swap capabilities available with U.2. With this development, they introduced the NF1 form factor (formerly known as NGSFF or sometimes called M.3). This year Samsung demonstrated the PM983 NF1 NVMe PCIe SSD, which features 8 TB and 16 TB capacities.
To maximize capacities of modular SSDs, the NF1 form factor was designed to accommodate two rows of NAND flash packages. This provides up to 6x the front-accessible storage system density of comparable U.2 SSDs. With the NF1 form factor, higher storage density can now be achieved. A native PCIe 3.0 x4 host interface provides up to 32 Gb/s of bandwidth and allows for four times the performance of SATA SSDs.
Adapters are also available so that NF1 drives can be installed into existing machines. These adapters include a half-height / half-length add-in card with a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface supporting 1x NF1 SSD, a full-height / half-length add-in card with a PCIe 3.0 x8 interface for 2x NF1 drives, and a U.2 adapter for 2x NF1 SSDs.NF1 SSDs placed in drive trays allow for hot-swap capability. Storage servers that support NF1 drive bays, like the Exxact Tensor TTT-1613298-NVM, can support up to 36x front-accessible SSDs and is capable of up to 576 TB of hot-swappable NAND flash memory in a single 1U server. This configuration allows for three times the number of front accessible SSDs per rack unit.
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