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SEMI ISS: Samsung, the Keynote That Wasn’t

SEMI ISS: Samsung, the Keynote That Wasn’t
by Paul McLellan on 02-12-2015 at 7:00 am

At the SEMI International Strategy Symposium last month, one of the keynotes was by Jim Elliot, the CVP of Memory Marketing for Samsung. Unfortunately, due to some personal emergency, he wasn’t able to make it. But he did allow the slides of the presentation he would have given to be put up on the SEMI website. So here, for the first time ever, Jim’s ISS keynote highlights.


 He didn’t get to memory until the end of his presentation. He started off like many keynotes with some amazing statistics about growth in everything:

  • more video is uploaded to YouTube every month than the 3 major TV networks have ever produced in the 60 years of their existence
  • 80% of the world’s population has a mobile phone but only 1/3 are smartphones, lots of upside left in smartphones
  • 100M selfies are taken per day
  • phones are checked 100B times per day (Facebook 9B/day, WhatApp 50B/day, Twitter 500M/day, SnapChat 1.2B/day)
  • 91% mobile internet access is for social media
  • 3.6B photos uploaded in 2014 (whatsapp, facebook, instagram, snapchat and more)
  • 166M people have visited Yellowstone since it opened, 642M to Disneyland since 1955…but 807M people have watched the YouTube video “Charlie bit my finger again.”

OK, time to get a bit more serious. By 2018 3/4 of global data center traffic will come from cloud services and applications (Cisco data). The number in 2018: 8.6 Zettabytes (a Zettabyte is one trillion gigabytes) almost exactly double the 2014 number. Not surprisingly the datacenter is driving server growth but it also seems to be driving mobile growth too. Datacenter capex is $6B/quarter, driving down both compute and storage cost and allowing compute-expesnsive functionalty to be offloaded from mobiles (voice recognition, face recognition etc).


In turn this drives big data services. For example, preventative maintenance for a fleet of jets. Each engine generates 1TB of data per flight. With a non-optimized Hadoop (map-reduce) cluster what took 30 days now takes 20 minutes. And these are in high value segments: medical, power grids, energy, logistics, maintenance. Previously unsolvable problems are now in reach. No keynote would be complete without a mention of the Internet of Things (IoT) with the forecast of 50B smart objects connected by 2020. Everything will be connected to everything.

Well, since Jim is in charge of Samsung memory marketing you are not going to escape without hearing about Samsung memory. Memory is the core of the datacenter and every consumer device.


DDR4 is the 5th generation driving down memory power consumption. He didn’t talk about wide I/O but that is another significant technology in DRAM in my opinion.


NAND flash is continuing its exponential growth (smarphones, solid state disks, memory cards and more). But the technology is running out of steam. Density is not going up much, costs are going up a lot, as we move from process node to process node.


The breakthrough seems to be V-NAND (V is for Vertical) which enables both density and cost scaling, and even improves the bit-error-rate (BER). The performance is improved for both programming (write) and consumption (read) by a factor of 2.

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