Samsung's SSD Global Summit: The Leader In NAND Speaks Up

Samsung: Flexing Its Dominance In The NAND Market

Last month, Samsung held its annual SSD Global Summit in Seoul, South Korea. More than 100 journalists from around the world were present. Tom's Hardware sent its U.S. and German teams to learn more about the company's 840 EVO, which we reviewed in Samsung 840 EVO SSD: Tested At 120, 250, 500, And 1000 GB, a handful of drives that aren't available yet, and upcoming storage technologies expected to dramatically change the performance characteristics of next-gen devices.

The summit began with a little background on Samsung. This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has ever purchased an SSD, a phone, a notebook, a TV, a refrigerator, built an oil refining plant, or insured a car in South Korea, but Samsung is a very big conglomerate with many different businesses. It pulled in more than $180 billion dollars in revenue last year.

There's no way to attribute the company's success to any one industry, but heavy investment in NAND research and production is certainly a big reason why it's doing so well in the semiconductor space.

Consider the sheer magnitude of current and future NAND shipments. In 2013, there will be 40 billion gigabytes of flash that ship out, or 40 EB (exabytes), a four with 19 zeroes behind it. At a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45%, NAND shipments should hit 140 EB by 2016.

Of course, not all of that NAND is destined for SSDs. Only 16% of it went into solid-state drives last year. By 2016, Samsung predicts that number will rise to nearly 26%, with the majority of flash memory going into mobile phones.

The market share numbers give us a pretty telling story about Samsung's position in this space.

As of 2012, Samsung claimed 40% of the total NAND market. It's a familiar position for the company, which has held that crown for the past 11 years.

When you break down the SSD forecasts according to segment, it's clear that the PC space dominates. The enterprise-oriented server storage market isn't as large, naturally. But it's expected to grow over the next several years.

Samsung says its drives will be in six out of every 10 PCs that ship in 2013. Solid-state drives like the 840 Pro grab headlines, but it's the company's OEM business moving volume. The most recent example is Apple's MacBook Air featuring a Samsung-manufactured PCI Express-based SSD that caught a lot of people by surprise.