Western Digital and Toshiba regularly ship 4TB and 6TB drives. Now Seagate and HGST has started shipping 8TB hard drives using helium technology that cost around $250. There are other models with an impressive 10TB of storage capacity using Shingled magnetic recording (SMR). But this article is not about hard disk drives it is about the new kid in the block, an 8TB Solid State Drive (SSD). Last Friday, SanDisk announced the Optimus Max Solid State Drive (SSD), which it claims is the industry’s first 4TB enterprise-class Storage-as-a-Service (SAS)-based SSD built on the 19-nanometre process technology. On the other hand Novachips has two 8TB SSDs they have announced on their website: the NS3700 SATA (Scalar series) and the NS5700 (Express series). The NS5700 HLSSD is a PCIe gen 2 x4 connected device with NVMe and has a single controller. The technology is HyperLink NAND (HLNAND) it has a ring architecture and uses MLC NAND. Novachips bought HLNAND assets in January from Conversant Intellectual Property Management Inc. This gave it ownership of a point-to-point ring architecture which they say “outpaces the parallel bus architecture used in most industry standard NAND Flash products”. The HyperLink interface has a serial, point-to-point, daisy-chain topology and connects up to 255 memory devices in a single memory channel, called a “Ring”.
Because each HLNAND device is only connected to the next device in the ring, it only drives one load. Therefore, maximum operational speed is maintained regardless of the number of devices populated in the ring. Novachips can use this technology to produce a 16TB Flash Storage Processor device. Right now NS3700 and NS5700 come in 2TB, 4TB and 8TB versions with AES-256-bit encryption available.
What About Recoverability Features?
In print and media news hearing about 8TB Solid State Drive makes you want one? Does it make you think, what if my computer had one of these babies?! Simply awesome. Imagine then for one moment losing 8TB of data in the blink of an eye. Blink of an eye? Just one day and it’s all gone. No clicking, no blue screens and no terrible slow responding characteristics which we usually associate with an old fashioned spinning drive. With Solid State Drives there are no warnings. One day you may start your computer and nothing, translator got corrupted and all of your data is now gone. In cases where you have encyped it would be nearly unrecoverable.
Ok so what about S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) this technology worked well with hard disk drives? Yes, Solid State Drives have it too, and yes, it’s useful since SSDs do develop errors over time, usually in the form of bad flash blocks – not unlike bad sectors in regular hard drives.
Just like regular hard drives, the drive controller keeps track of these bad blocks and re-maps them to ‘extra’ blocks that were saved for this purpose. Whenever the computer requests data from a bad block, the controller intercepts it and gives it the correct data from the re-mapped block. Eventually you’ll run out of extra blocks and will begin receiving errors, at which time you’ll need to replace the drive. SMART will keep you on top of this so you can take care of it before you start losing data.
One major advantage SSDs have over regular drives is that the extra blocks in a regular drive requires the head to seek another track, so as the drive ages it gets slower. With SSD the remapping is done almost transparently (withing FTL for Flash Translation Layer), and no additional time is wasted seeking the remapped block and then seeking back to read the rest of the data. Some say that S.M.A.R.T. for hard drives with greater capacity than 2GB is almost useless; others say that you can use programs like SpeedFan to enchance SMART capabilities for Solid State Drives. From the viewpoint of the data recovery industry everyone agrees, it is very difficult and in some cases almost impossible to recover any data from a bad Solid State Drive.