3D V-NAND: Ushering in the Next Chapter of Flash Memory

Posted on 10/09/2013 by

Jim Elliott

While the average consumer may not realize the role flash plays in their everyday life, its impact is robust – from downloading a PowerPoint to streaming a song. For those of us that live and breathe flash, we’re seeing a major inflection point in the industry. The introduction of 3-D NAND will move focus away from miniaturization, which has traditionally focused on shrinking NAND cells. Instead, the shift will be toward increasing density via layering. According to IHS, 3-D NAND technology will account for the majority of total flash shipments, equivalent to 65.7 percent by 2017. At Flash Memory Summit earlier this year, I had the opportunity, alongside my colleague EVP E.S. Jung, to share the details about Samsung’s breakthrough 3D V-NAND flash technology. Given the renewed buzz around IHS’ findings for the 3-D NAND market, I thought it was a good time to revisit the subject.

First off, let me recap the technology. Samsung’s 3D Vertical NAND (V-NAND) flash memory is a new approach to architecting flash chips that breaks through the current scaling limitations for existing NAND flash technology. For the past 40 years, conventional flash memory has been based on planar structures that make use of floating gates. As manufacturing process technology has marched to 10nm-class and beyond, concern on scaling limits arose, due to the cell-to-cell interference that causes a trade-off in the reliability of NAND flash products. This also led to added development time and costs.

3D V-NAND shows not only an increase of a minimum of 2X to a maximum 10X higher reliability, but also twice the write performance over conventional 10nm-class floating gate NAND flash memory. Here’s a link to the press release with more details if you want to get into the specifics.

 

With V-NAND now in mass production, the technology will provide multiple benefits as it’s built into new devices. From smartphones to the gear that powers today’s enterprise cloud infrastructures, V-NAND will drive the adoption of new business models. For example:

  • On mobile platforms, an application that is traditionally run on a PC can now function on a smartphone or tablet.
  • For servers in data center environments, V-NAND brings energy saving benefits that can vastly cut power during average and peak time needs. On top of that, V-NAND provides 10X endurance for tough enterprise environments over traditional planar based technology meaning higher ROI over the lifetime of a system.

Our newest SSD introduced during a keynote at Flash Memory Summit will be one of the first products to realize these benefits for use in enterprise servers and data centers. As my colleague noted in his keynote the show, you can now have your cake and eat it, too.

Samsung is committed to driving this market, leading in green IT and providing an opportunity to create the next-generation of business opportunities. Flash may be the unsung hero in today’s technological revolution but for the many of us that follow the industry closely, this is just the beginning. I’m looking forward to hearing more discussions and ideas about the industry’s bright future.

 

Click the image below to download a copy of our Flash Memory Summit presentation. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!

VNAND ppt2

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