Skyera Inc., a 2010 startup in solid-state drives (SSDs), has announced that it has selected 16 nm NAND flash memory chips from SK Hynix Inc. for use in its SkyEagle enterprise storage device.
The 16-nm node represents the leading edge in NAND flash memory production and is likely to be the last node that will be produced using a single 2D array of memory components.
SK Hynix rival Micron Technology Inc. announced in July that it had begun sampling 128-Gbit multi-level cell NAND flash chips made using a 16 nm manufacturing process. In April Samsung announced it was in volume production with a similar 128-Gbit, 3-bit multi-level cell NAND memory using 10-nm class process technology (see Samsung takes 128-Gbit flash memory below 20-nm). Samsung defines 10-nm class to be somewhere between 10-nm and 19-nm. However, companies are already starting to bring forward monolithic memories with multiple layers of arrays at relaxed geometries (see Samsung Confirms 24 Layers in 3D NAND.
Skyera has its own design of flash memory controller IC, which it claims provides a five-year life cycle for arrays of 16-nm NAND flash memory ICs, taking into account the wear-leveling required because of the low cycling endurance that comes with high density NAND flash memories.
This can be created at a price point that is lower than hard disk drives for enterprise storage based on magnetic media, Skyera said.
The flash memory controllers used by other solid-state storage vendors are optimized for older longer-lived flash memories and therefore require the use of older flash memory ICs. The older ones miss out on the density and capacity of the latest 16-nm NAND flash memories.
SK Hynix acknowledged the partnership with Skyera in a press release but did not say when it would be entering into high-volume production of the 16-nm NAND flash memories or at what memory capacity they are being produced.