All the flash-y new storage technologies showcased at CES 2019

Higher densities and new storage technologies for specialized use cases were unveiled at CES 2019. Here's what you need to know.

CES 2019: show floor sneak peek Bill Detwiler takes you on to the CES 2019 show before the doors officially open.

Manufacturers of traditional hard drives and flash storage solutions outlined their product roadmaps at CES 2019. While some new products expected ship as early as this quarter, others are simply proof-of-concept devices requiring refinement before hitting store shelves. Here is TechRepublic's pick of the most important storage announcements made at CES this year.

SanDisk

SanDisk introduced the new SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD, which connects to devices using either USB-A or USB-C 3.1 Gen 2. Internally, the drive uses an NVMe to USB bridge, allowing for speeds up to 1 GB/s. The Extreme PRO uses a ruggedized shell similar to the standard Extreme Portable SSD, which uses a slower SATA to USB bridge. The newly announced variant opts for an aluminium shell to better dissipate heat from the SSD. The Extreme PRO Portable SSD will be available in 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB capacities.

SanDisk also demonstrated a 4 TB USB-C flash drive, though this is a prototype product not intended for consumer use. At CES 2018, the company demonstrated a 1 TB USB-C flash drive.

SEE: CES 2019 news, photos, videos, and more (TechRepublic on Flipboard)

Toshiba

Toshiba is bringing higher density to traditional platter hard drives with a 16 TB enterprise-grade hard drive. Toshiba's offering uses conventional magnetic recording, avoiding performance penalties associated with shingled magnetic recording (SMR) drives. The new drive packs nine platters inside a standard 3.5" enclosure, relying on helium to reduce drag and vibrations. According to our sister site ZDNet, the new drive "is aimed at cloud-scale service providers and storage solutions designers looking to achieve higher storage densities for cloud, hybrid-cloud and on-premises rack-scale storage."

Toshiba also announced the BG4 SSD, the first drive to offer a 1 TB storage capacity as a 16x20 mm BGA or single-sided M.2 2230 drive, enabled through the use of Toshiba's 96-layer 3D "BiCS" TLC NAND. The BG4 is available in 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, and uses an NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 interface, for sequential read/write speeds of 2,250 MB/s and 1,700 MB/s, respectively. Intended for client and embedded devices, BG4 series lacks DRAM caching, relying on NVMe Host Memory Buffer (HMB) to compensate. This allows the BG4 to have a smaller footprint than standard SSDs, but does impact performance relative to a full-size, M.2 2280 SSD.

SEE: CES 2019 Special Coverage (CNET)

Intel

Intel unveiled a new product using its Optane (3D XPoint) storage technology. Optane Memory H10 is a hybrid SSD that combines an Optane cache with traditional QLC NAND flash memory, used in typical SSDs. The new product apparently splits the two types of flash memory as two PCIe x2 links, requiring PCI bifurcation support, which may limit the ability to use the SSD without specialized drivers. This may limit the ability to use these drives in Linux, initially.

The H10 is expected in 16 GB + 256 GB, 32 GB + 512 GB, and 32 GB + 1 TB configurations of Optane and NAND storage, respectively. PC OEMs are anticipated to offer products utilizing the new drives in Q2 2019.

Refreshes to Intel's existing Optane Memory caching modules and standalone SSDs are also expected in 2019.

SEE: CES 2019: The Big Trends for Business (ZDNet Special Feature)

Seagate

Seagate introduced the IronWolf 110 SATA SSD series, intended for NAS use cases. Though NVMe drives are quickly displacing SATA SSDs for system drives, high density SATA SSDs used in all-flash arrays are becoming an increasingly popular solution, particularly as vendors such as Synology have introduced NAS solutions for 2.5" drives, like the six-bay DS619slim previewed at Computex 2018.

The IronWolf 110 series is available in 3.84 TB, 1.92 TB, 960 GB, 480 GB, and 240 GB models, and use 3D TLC NAND, with an endurance of one drive write per day (DWPD), making them better suited for creative professionals and SMBs with high-read, low-write workloads. These drives are expected to be available at retail by the end of January.

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Image: iStockphoto.com/Vladimir_Timofeev

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