Last year we wrote a piece on the release of an impressively sized 16TB Solid State Drive (SSD), created by Samsung. A year later, a creation that vastly surpasses that same 16TB Samsung SSD emerges. We are talking about a 60TB SSD envisioned and created by Seagate Technologies, boasted as the highest capacity SSD in the world at the time of creation.

What we know

Seagate’s SSD masterpiece was unveiled back in August 2016 during the Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, California. Coincidentally, the 16TB Samsung SSD was announced during the 2015 Flash Memory Summit. The massive 60TB drive is achieved by using the latest 3D NAND technology. This technology was discussed in our previous post covering the 16TB Samsung SSD. But to explain it again simply, data cells cover a chip that are “folded” to essentially double the number of cells in that chip. Compared to Samsung’s 16TB SSD with 48 chips, Seagate’s SSD holds around 480 chips and claims that the SSD “…features twice the density and four times the capacity of the next highest-capacity SSD.” However, the Seagate 60TB SSD does not use the usual 2.5’’ enclosure, but a 3.5” enclosure. In other it’s an SSD but physically has the size of a hard disk drive. This can be beneficial or disadvantageous depending on the type of system the drive will be used on.

Putting it into perspective

To illustrate how large this drive is, say we have an ordinary storage node with a 4U form factor that can hold 24 drive bays. If we multiply 24 drive bays with 60TB the product of that is 1440TB or 1.440 PB (petabytes.) Now let’s say we have a 48U server rack that can hold 12x 4U storage nodes and each 4U storage node holds 24x 60TB SSDs. That would roughly equal 17280 TB or 17.280PB of data. To put this in perspective that is equal to about 350,000 standard Blu-ray discs. To further put this in perspective, media streaming company Netflix supposedly had an uncompressed catalog that took up around 3 petabytes of data in 2013. That 17-petabyte rack can fill Netflix’s 2013 catalog six times!

The Drawbacks

Of course, there is a downside to this behemoth of a SSD. The obvious one is the cost to purchase just one 60TB SSD. Samsung’s 16TB SSD on release was around $10,000 for one unit. The 60TB from Seagate has an estimated cost of around $40,000 for just one unit. Which means a 48U rack consisting of 12x 4U storage nodes with 24x 60TB SSDs per node equals an estimated cost of $11,520,000, not including tax, installation, and other fees. Wattage is also something of a concern as well. A typical SSD consumes between 1-3 watts while active. Seagate’s 60TB SSD reportedly consumes around 15 watts while active. While a server storage node should still be able to handle the increase in power consumption, it is still an extra cost.

Our Final Thoughts

For now, Seagate has outdone themselves with their 60TB drive that steamrolls over Samsung’s 16TB drive. However, maybe Samsung will probably unveil something even more massive this year. Then again it’s looking like Toshiba will be dropping something first. Regardless of the manufacturer, it looks like we will be seeing huge changes in SSD storage capacity in the coming years. It’s exciting to see the significant jumps in storage space for SSDs, but it’s not so exciting to see how expensive these high capacity SSDs are being sold at.