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Smart SSDs could squeeze 12TB onto a 4TB drive

What a Smart SSD may look like
(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung has unveiled its new range of Smart SSDs, also known as Computational Storage Drives, at the 2020 Flash Memory Summit, which is taking place virtually this year for some reason or other.

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(Image credit: Future)

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As spotted by our friends at Techradar, it’s an SSD with its own processor the CPU can offload work to in the same way it does to a GPU, accelerating database management and virtualisation in data centres, plus video processing and (most frighteningly) AI. Samsung says this gives a 100x improvement in search speeds, as well as increasing compression to fit more on a drive—the ability to cram 12TB onto a 4TB drive was mooted, using accelerated transparent compression. 

The tech comes via Xilinx, an American semiconductor company recently acquired by AMD for $35 billion. It specialises in Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs)—essentially chips that can be reconfigured after they’ve been built. These see use in data centres for search engines, as well as artificial neural networks, speech recognition, and high-frequency stock trading.

This is going to be enterprise-class technology for a while, but will inevitably trickle down to the home desktop eventually, where you'll need to watch what you save as the AI in your drive will surely have opinions about your files. Or not. What’s the point of living in a techno-dystopia if you can’t speculate a little?