This year's April saw SandDisk introduce the first datacentre-class 4TB solid-state drives. Although they existed, there were very few customers who could actually afford them.
Although not being extremely popular or affordable, SanDisk keeps the development of high-capacity SSD drives in motion and announced the launch of 6TB and 8TB drives next year. These new thresholds in memory sizes are impressive since one of the largest platter HDDs are only 10TB in size from Western Digital.
If SSDs are closing the gap with the more mature and incrementally improved HDDs, the server and data center market won't think twice before choosing SSDs over HDDs.
Although memory-wise the two technologies will start to compete, price-wise the HDDs will still have the advantage over SSDs and will still be used in large numbers by price-sensitive clients. In this regard, the SanDisk Optimus Max 4TB SSD is designed to replace the 10K and 15K rpm HDDs by providing high-density storage, SSD-class performance and support for SAS infrastructure.
However, compared to other SSDs, the Optimus is still a low-performance device, providing up to 400MB/s and can perform 75K or 15K random read and write input/output operations per second (IOPS).
Yet, when this much memory size is concerned, performance value becomes a non-issue at this moment. The main impediment for complete SSD integration in large data centers and server clients is still the qualification process.
Usually, this involves a series of tests performed both at the supplier of SSDs and inside the client's systems during a 10-month period, which puts the drive's reliability and system cycles through their paces, afterwards being fully integrated in the client's system.
Because of this large timespan to actually install the new SSDs, SanDisk delayed the original schedule of launching 6TB and 8TB SSDs from 2015 to 2016. This delay won't benefit only the clients themselves, but the company as well since it will receive improved NAND flash drives from Toshiba and new cost-optimized products from all its partners. If this is the case, a whopping 16TB SSD will most likely also arrive in 2016 far cheaper than it would in 2015.
Although the price issue will always remain compared to classic HDDs, it's clear that SSD cost-efficiency, higher-density, performance and reliability will help drive down per-gigabyte costs of SSDs to levels comparable with enterprise-class HDDs.
KitGuru believes market numbers for SanDisk's enterprise-class solid-state drives to increase to $8 billion in 2018 from $4 billion in 2014.