Exclusive: The world's highest capacity SSD is about to be blown out the water

(Image credit: bdavid32/Shutterstock.com)

A record-breaking 200TB solid state drive could be announced by Nimbus Data before the end of the year, the company has hinted.

In an email exchange with TechRadar Pro, CEO Thomas Isakovich revealed the existence of the next-generation drive.

“We are working on a successor to the 100 TB SSD that will deliver even more capacity, performance, and energy-efficiency than the ground-breaking 100 TB, and expect to deliver this next-generation SSD in 2022," he told us.

Isakovich declined to say whether the drive will be a 3.5-inch model like the 100TB ExaDrive DC, whether it will be available with a SATA or SAS interface, whether it will be based on TLC/QLC NAND, and what the pricing and specific capacity will be.

200TB almost a certainty

In an interview in 2020, 200TB was the magic number cited by Isakovich. Back then, 2021 was the expected arrival date for a solid state drive of that capacity, but Covid later took hold and disrupted supply chains like never before.

Now that things have almost gone back to normal, plans for a larger-than-100TB drive are back on track. For context, 200TB is ten times the capacity of the largest hard disk drive currently in production (e.g. Seagate Exos 20TB and Seagate IronWolf Pro 20TB).

The reason the Exadrive DC exists is to replace existing hard disk drives in data centers, so sticking to 3.5-inch would make sense, as would a SATA/SAS interface. 

Back in 2018, 256Gbit NAND dies were used. But 1024Gbit ones are now available which, in theory, would allow for 400TB SSD to be rolled out. Meanwhile, 512Gbit NAND are no longer cutting edge and are likely to carry a lower price because of demand and supply.

We also recently saw the arrival of a new controller from Microchip, the Flashtec NVMe 4016, that will pave the way for drives with record-breaking performance and capacity.

A 200TB SSD can replace entire banks of 3.5-inch hard disk drives while consuming far less power, requiring less cooling and dissipating less energy, but the biggest unknown will be the price. 

Given the lack of competitors and the fact that the current 100TB drive costs $40,000, will Nimbus Data double the price of its new flagship to $80,000? Only time will tell.

The prospect of owning a 200TB internal or external drive is tantalizing, but equally terrifying when one thinks about backing that up to a cloud storage or cloud backup service.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.