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Samsung Electronics

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies with 2012 consolidated sales of US$247 billion.
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See also:- Samsung - editor mentions on STORAGEsearch.com,
Samsung's SSD page, Samsung's enterprise SSD blog
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related articles

2.5" SSDs
SAS SSDs
SSDs on a chip
consumer SSDs market
Efficiency - making the same SSD - with less chips
Memory Channel Storage SSDs will the new concept fly?

Will there be enough manufacturing capacity to enable flash SSDs to replace 50% of new orders for enterprise hard drives in 2016? - This is discussed in the new home page blog - meet Ken - and the enterprise SSD software event horizon
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Who's who in SSD? - by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - June 2013

Samsung was the first multi-billion dollar revenue company to recognize the strategic importance of SSDs and in 2005 publicly declared its ambition to become the world's largest supplier of SSDs.

But for the next 5 years (2005 to 2010 Samsung's SSD product were merely "me-too" - lagging severely behind in performance and intended for use in notebook PCs which had originally been designed for hard drives. Samsung wasn't the only large scale corporate to under perform with its early SSDs.

Samsung was't alone in this respect.

StorageSearch.com believes that a common factor which led Samsung, Intel, Seagate and EMC to misjudge the needs of SSD users for many years - was that their corporate management at all levels didn't understand SSDs - due to preconceived notions that we sum up as the distorting market lenses of "SSDs are similar to". This was coupled with having to make product decisions in a fast changing disruptive market when many traditional sources of market data were unhelpful in offering any better insights as to what was going on - or were poorly positioned to deliver reliable SSD market.

Despite those years of thrashing around in the SSD market and apparently getting nowhere - lessons were being learned.

Samsung improved its SSD offerings in December 2010 - when the company started sampling its first credible 2.5" SSDs for use in enterprise SATA arrays.

In April 2011 Samsung - seeing that where the growing size of the SSD market was incompatible with its own HDD business - exited the hard drive manufacturing business - selling its HDD assets to Seagate for $1.375 billion.

And more recently - in 2012 and 2013 - Samsung reminded everyone that it could leverage its memory technologies by shipping leading edge 10nm flash in embedded SSDs aimed at the phone market, while at the same time being a player in the enterprise SAS SSD market and a market transformer in the sluggish notebook market which the company will rejuvenate with its first ever (consumer grade) PCIe SSDs.

If you're looking seriously at Samsung SSDs then you can find alternative competing manufacturers in these directories too:- 1.8" SSDs, 2.5" SSDs, 3.5" SSDs, SATA SSDs, notebook SSDs, PCIe SSDs, SAS SSD market.

See also:- hostage to the fortunes of SSD (July 2013) which explains why companies like Samsung can't afford NOT to be in the SSD market - even if it's not clear whether the steps they're taking along the way will be profitable in the near term.
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Recent Samsung SSD milestones from SSD Market History

In August 2009 - Samsung Electronics announced it is targeting the PC gaming industry with its 256GB SSD. This seems to confirm the consumer-led focus of the company's business strategy. Earlier StorageSearch.com had said it doesn't think Samsung's SSD product marketing is good enough to achieve success in the enterprise server market.

In September 2009 - Samsung announced that HP was offering its SSDs as an option in ProLiant servers.

Also in September 2009 - Samsung announced it has begun producing 512Mb PRAM memory. PRAM combines the speed of RAM for processing functions with the non-volatile characteristics of flash memory for storage. This has been a Problematic RAM technology. Samsung originally announced a working prototype of the 512Mb PRAM 3 years earlier - in September 2006.

In October 2009 - Samsung announced it has invested in Fusion-io.

Iin January 2010 - Rambus and Samsung announced that they have agreed a $900 million settlement for all claims between them - and they have agreed a perpetual fully paid-up license to certain DRAM products.

In March 2010 - a video from Samsung was featured in a new directory of SSD videos - here on StorageSearch.com

In April 2010 - Samsung dropped out of StorageSearch.com's top 10 SSD oems list - 2010 Q1 edition and got its lowest ever ranking #14. (Although that would still be a very good rank in the enlarged SSD market of the years which would follow.)

June 2010 - to save power in notebooks Samsung announced imminent volume production of a 512GB SATA SSD - the 1st to use toggle-mode DDR NAND which enables sequential R/W speeds upto 250MB/s and 220MB/s respectively while using about half the power of a regular flash SSD of the same capacity.

In August 2010 - Samsung and Seagate announced they will jointly develop SSD controller technologies to operate with Samsung's 30nm-class MLC NAND. The jointly developed controller will be used in Seagate's enterprise-class SSDs.

In October 2010 - Samsung said it is shipping 200GB 3.5" SATA SLC SSDs to EMC. Sequential R/W speeds are 260MB/s and 245MB/s respectively. R/W IOPS are 47,000 and 29,000. The new Samsung SSDs have an 'end-to-end data integrity' function and encryption.

In December 2010 - Samsung announced it is sampling 400GB 2.5" SATA MLC SSDs for use as the primary storage in enterprise storage systems (instead of hard drives). The new SSDs can process random read commands at 43,000 IOPS and random writes at 11,000 IOPS. In addition, they have an 'end-to-end data protection' function with advanced data encryption algorithm to assure reliability and security for the drive.

In April 2011 - Samsung announced it is exiting the hard disk market. Seagate has agreed to acquire Samsung's HDD assets for $1.375 billion.

In August 2011 - Samsung acquired Grandis - an nv RAM company which has been developing spin transfer torque random access memory (STT-RAM).

In January 2012 - Samsung entered the fast purge SSD market - which currently numbers about 25 companies. The company says that models of its PM810 2.5" SATA SSD family with its Crypto Erase technology deletes targeted data in a couple of seconds regardless of the overall volume of data or the capacity of the SSD. These models have been validated for compliance to NIST FIPS 140-2

In October 2012 - Samsung entered the dual port SAS SSD market.

In November 2012 - Samsung began production of 64GB eMMC SSDs which use 10nm flash geometry. Aimed at the phone and tablet market - R/W IOPS performance is 5,000 and 2,000 respectively. R/W throughput is 260MB/s and 50MB/s.

In December 2012 - Samsung acquired NVELO - an SSD software company - with caching products for the notebook SSD market.

In June 2013 - Samsung entered the PCIe SSD market - with models aimed at notebooks.

In July 2013 - Samsung announced its entry into the 2.5" PCIe SSD market. Its NVMe SSD has upto 1.6TB capacity, read throughput upto 3GB/s, and up to 740K IOPS.

In August 2013 - Samsung announced it has started production of 2.5" SATA SSDs aimed at the enterprise market - which use the company's new 128Gb 3D Vertical NAND flash memories.
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Samsung enters dual port SAS SSD market
Editor:- October 31, 2012 - Samsung today announced its belated entry into the serious end of the SAS SSD market with the launch of its 1st dual port SAS SSD - the SM1625 (2Xnm flash) has upto 800GB capacity and upto 101,000 / 23,000 R/W IOPS (when using both ports. It also includes sudden power loss data protection.

Samsung also launched today new models of fast-enough SATA SSDs - the SM843 - with endurance rated at 1064TBW (terabytes written) - which doesn't sound that great to me - but is (according to their own press release) 17x better than what they had before.

"Samsung will aggressively produce its new line-up of SSDs beginning this month to accelerate SSDs' move into not only the server but also the storage marketplace, as we continue to affirm our leadership in the SSD market." said Myungho Kim VP of SSD marketing at Samsung.

Editor's comments:- if you compare this with the recent 19nm announcement from SMART - you can see what the advantages are of having better controller technology.

SMART is able to use smaller geometry flash memory while still delivering superior endurance. Nevertheless the anticipated growth in adoption of SAS SSDs will easily sustain the growth aspirations of most of the 20 or so companies who actually make them.
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SSD Pricing - where does all the money go?
SSDs are among the most expensive computer hardware products you will ever buy.

Understanding the factors which determine SSD costs is often a confusing and irritating process...
Clarifying SSD Pricing - where does all the money go? - click to read the article ...not made any easier when market prices for identical capacity SSDs can vary more than 100x to 1! Why is that? ...read the article

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"why are so many companies piling into the SSD market - when even the leading enterprise companies haven't demonstrated sustainable business models yet?"
Hostage to the fortunes of SSD
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Samsung offers 1st generation 3D nand flash SSDs for enterprise
Editor:- August 13, 2013 - Samsung today announced it has started production of 2.5" SATA SSDs aimed at the enterprise market - which use the company's new 128Gb 3D Vertical NAND flash memories.

Samsung says its 3D flash is intrinsically more reliable, faster and uses less power than traditional 2D flash at the same (10nm class) line geometries.

Editor's comments:- As SSDs - and compared spec by spec to any other SSDs - the new V-NAND SSDs aren't remarkable - 960GB capacity and 35K write endurance - which is what the market (in this case - cloud storage array makers want).

But Samsung's new V-NAND SSDs are simply the first step in the journey towards characterizing this new technology and to achieve customer acceptance.

Samsung says its 3D technology could deliver upto 24 cell layers vertically, using special etching technology that connects the layers electronically by punching holes from the highest layer to the bottom.

When that happens - each wafer will be able to deliver an order of magnitude more storage capacity from the same number of wafer starts - using the same line resolution as traditional (planar) flash cells. (If you think about the difference it made when the market went from SLC to MLC and then again to TLC - the eventual market impact will be bigger than all those combined.) But getting the chips and production equipment proven and economic for double digit 3D cells will take years from where we are now.

Adding each vertical layer takes additional processing time. In some ways it's like adding more layers to your pizza - except that - the successive layers of topping have to match up very precisely. (Around 2,000x more precisely than the state of the art in metal additive technology - to give you an idea of the difficulty and the elapsed time element.)
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Samsung serves up sucky ad for good SSD
Editor:- Here's an entertaining article on JAYFK!.com - which dissects an intelligence insultingly bad video ad from Samsung about their 840 EVO SSDs aimed at the consumer market. The article was posted August 25, 2013 - but is timeless. ...read the article

Editor's comments:- one of the important services which I offer my advertisers - is that I refuse to run ads which insult the intelligence of my readers or which make statements which are riduculous.
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Samsung enters PCIe SSD market
Editor:- June 17, 2013 - Samsung has entered the PCIe SSD market with an M.2 form factor model (80mm x 22mm) aimed at notebooks.

Samsung's XP941 - which weighs less than 6g - has a sequential read performance of 1,400MB/s, and capacity up to 512GB.

Editor's comments:- the SSD notebook market began the year before PCIe SSDs started being used in the enterprise.

But in the first 5 years of its history (2006-2010) the notebook SSD market was a disappointment to SSD evangelists like me - because integration with PCs was so bad. And for years on these pages I ranted that notebooks using SSDs would never be able to reach their true potential as long as they were still wasting their inherently light CPU resources and latency advantages by talking to the CPU via old fashioned hard disk interfaces like SATA.

The exciting thing about today's announcement by Samsung is that consumer grade PCIe SSDs for notebooks will enable a dramatically different user experience which will help to create new markets.

Will there be a crossover into the enterprise market?

It's inevitable that some people will ask - what would an array of consumer priced PCIe SSDs look like in a box? And no doubt you will probably see such products coming onto the market. And that might lead to a temporary state of user confusion about expectations for PCIe SSDs.

But setting aside for the moment the obvious considerations at the single drive level of differences in endurance and performance characteristics - I think the key differentiators of enterprise PCIe SSDs compared to consumer PCIe SSDs are the different degree of data integrity (higher for the enterprise), power fail management and support for fault tolerance.
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let's hear it again for Samsung's 10nm TLC
Editor:- April 10, 2013 - the difference between "production" and "mass production" wouldn't normally be enough to rate a 2nd mention on my SSD news page - even after an interval of 5 months by which time most editors will have forgotten the earlier news instance.

But a worthy exception to this little editorial rule of mine is Samsung's 10nm, x3 MLC, 128Gb nand flash which the company reannounced today.

Which way round did the transition go?

That would be a valid question if you knew nothing at all about the dynamics of the SSD market today.

And at some time in the distant future the flash fab taps may indeed be turning down the flow.

But just to reassure you - in case you have any doubt - it was the transition from "production" to "mass production" which the company noted today. No need to change the memory investment portfolio just yet.
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Samsung allocates $1 billion to clarify forward visibility in big data
Editor:- February 4, 2013 - Samsung today announced it has allocated over $1 billion to invest in big data related business ventures.

Editor's comments:- to you and me - $1 billion sounds like a lot of money - but for Samsung? - really it's small change.

From my past conversations with people in the company who think about acquisitions and strategic stuff - I'm left with the impression of a company which invests a lot of talent - trying to understand what's going on out there and - to analyze what macro market factors and changes will impact its semiconductor fabs.

Samsung was actually the first multi-billion dollar scale company to publicly recognize the strategic importance of the SSD market (2005). But replacing past memory business with new SSD business for many years was a problem on the scale of bailing out water from the Titanic with bathtub size pots.

Like other big interested entities - Samsung could do little more than satisfice its engagements in SSD while waiting for the whole SSD market to get bigger, and the trends to get clearer.

Along the way it has invested in some SSD IP companies - such as Fusion-io, acquired others like NVELO, and tried but failed to acquire SanDisk (2008).

Rather than simply being seen as traditional return on investments - this type of activity by Samsung and other semico companies like Intel - is a way of ensuring strategic forward visibility into new seedlings in the ecosystems which surround their core businesses.
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Samsung acquires NVELO
Editor:- December 14, 2012 - Samsung today announced that it has acquired NVELO whose SSD ASAPs (caching) technology is designed for the notebook SSD market.

SSD software sells more SSDs. And that idea has been behind many of the SSD company acquisitions in the past year.
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Samsung does fast phone 64GB SSDs on 10nm
Editor:- November 15, 2012 - Samsung today announced they've started production of 64GB eMMC SSDs which use 10nm flash geometry.

Aimed at the phone and tablet market - R/W IOPS performance is 5,000 and 2,000 respectively. R/W throughput is 260MB/s and 50MB/s.

Editor's comments:- this shows that when Samsung sees a huge enough market opportunity for a specific range of SSDs their engineers are clever enough to design and make it. See also:- tiny SSDs
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