Q: Where does Samsung see itself as a DRAM and SSD manufacturer in the data centre context?
A: Data centres don’t have it easy these days. The space available for servers in data centres is finite, the power consumption permitted is capped and the demand for the volumes of data that can be processed daily is soaring. The aim here is to maintain a balance between the need for more capacity and the increased demand for performance at an acceptable price. We regard ourselves as being on the innovative side of our industry, and new Samsung 3D technologies help our customers in the storage sector especially to achieve this difficult balance more easily.
Q: Where do the challenges for coping with the demands on data centres lie?
A: Big data is driving a lot of things forward, and this is also having an impact on working memory. Enormous volumes of data are being produced everywhere, including in the private domain, for example at events. Everything is being photographed and filmed nowadays. From your smartphone, your snaps are uploaded to familiar platforms and then they get shared on from there.
Big data certainly doesn’t just mean financial risk modelling in banks, it also means perfectly normal things, things that we use every day. These are services and business models that are made possible through these volumes of data and quick access to the data, whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Amazon or Uber. The list is endless, and up-and-coming IoT applications will multiply these demands yet again. The result is that there is a tremendous demand for high-performance storage capacity. Over the next three years, market researchers anticipate almost a doubling of demand, especially in the field of mobiles and SSDs. For NAND, for example, iSuppli cites an annual market growth of 42%.
The memory/storage subsystem has very clearly moved from an “also-ran” position to pole position in the data centre, even though not every user might be aware of it today. And while we're on the subject of Formula 1, without big data and real-time computing, it wouldn’t even be possible, because the drivers are controlling racing cars that are packed full of sensor technology that is constantly communicating with high-powered computers in the racing stable to optimise performance and tactics in the race. And let’s not forget the design phase for these cars, which is nowadays dominated by CFD (computational fluid dynamics) and virtual wind tunnels.
Q: What impacts is this having on storage systems, and in particular on disk storage?
A: The hard drive has a long way to go yet. Even if all of the storage manufacturers put their production capacities for NAND flash together, it wouldn’t be enough to cover total demand. What we are seeing, however, is that tier 0 and tier-one storage are moving towards flash, and even tier-two is already being discussed. This trend is extremely clear. We’re also seeing it in sales figures. In 2015, we sold three times as many SSDs as we did in the previous year. And after the first quarter, it's already evident that this trend is continuing.