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Flash Memory Summit 2014 - Intelliprop develops ingenious designs to aggregate the performance of several SSDs into one unit. We took a look at the Hydra with four Intel DC S3700 SSDs back in February. Intelliprop has also released a new version of the Hydra that works with only two drives.
Intelliprop also announced the Apache, a new SATA SSD controller that can reach up to 8TB of capacity on a single SSD. Intelliprop uses FPGA's instead of ASICs for their SSD controller, which allows for fast reprogramming and re-purposing in the field. These new SSDs can be used for normal applications in the datacenter, and also are compliant with MIL-Spec for military applications. Larry Cleland from Intelliprop stopped by the booth to chat with us about the latest from Intelliprop.
Flash Memory Summit 2014 - Ray Pang, Director of Marketing at Skyera, stopped by our booth to discuss the skyHawk All-Flash Array (AFA). Skyera aims to bring the price of AFA down below $3 per GB, a similar price to disk-based storage subsystems. Skyera accomplishes much of the cost reduction by using their own design that doesn't rely upon traditional form factors. The end result is a remarkably slim 1U device that boasts up to 44TB of screaming flash storage.
skyHawk delivers 88 times more storage density at 1/10th of the power consumption of a like-priced HDD solution. Another key benefit of skyHawk is its converged storage architecture, which unifies block-based iSCSI and NAS file systems (NFS v3). The slim package provides up to 2.4 GB/s of bandwidth and 400,000 IOPS. skyHawk also employs compression and de-duplication technologies to boost the amount of use-able SSD space, but has base configurations before data reduction of 12, 22, and 44 TB.
Delivering all of this performance requires either 40 x 1GBe connections, or only 3 x 10GBe connections. The total package weighs under 20 lbs and pulls less than 350W, which is insanely efficient for a datacenter storage system.
Flash Memory Summit 2014 - As we reach the end of planar (2D) NAND scaling we will begin to see more disruptive products emerge with futuristic technology such as PCM and magnetic and carbon nanotubes, the only question is which will rise to the top as the premier after-NAND technology. These new technologies will initially emerge as complimentary technologies to the existing NAND used in SSDs. Saul Zales, the Chief Executive Officer of Contour Semiconductor, brought along a wafer of their DTM (Diode Transistor Memory)that is valued at nearly $10 million, due to its early design and rarity. DTM is a phase-change based memory (PCM)that reduces the mask and process costs by up to 65% compared to NAND.
The 4F2 self-aligned structure uses a vertical epitaxial diode as the select device. In the future, Contour Semiconductor could include magnetic or carbon nanotube storage elements. The wafer is built on the CMOS process with a cross-point array architecture that supports word, sector, and page-level erase commands, which are very similar to NAND's design and fucntion. This will allow the use of the DTM packages with NAND controllers. We were lucky enough to see one of the only DTM wafers in existence, and had a quick chat with Saul Zales in the booth.
What does all this mean? Up to a billion P/E Cycles, which would be nearly immeasurable endurance compared to current SSDs. Using this type of memory as a cache for less-durable NAND could boost performance and endurance exponentially, and eventually new storage devices could use this type of memory.
Flash Memory Summit 2014 - BiTMICRO's newest MaxIO SSDs pack a whopping 6TB of data into a half-length full-height PCIe form factor. The new MaxIO SSDs feature full data path protection and their proprietary DriveLight Management Software. The MaxIO series leverages Toshiba A19nm MLC NAND to provide 240,000 random read IOPS and 100,000 random write IOPS. Sequential performance weighs in at 1.1 GB/s read and 800 MB/s write. The MaxIO is exceptionally power efficient, requiring less than 30W active for up to 6TB of flash storage. The MaxIO also differentiates by running all of its processes, including ECC, on the SSD. Other alternatives utilize the host server to handle these basic flash management functions.
BiTMICRO tackles some of the inherent challenges of a large capacity SSD by separating their Talino controller architecture into a Split ASIC technology, placing the FTL (Flash Translation Layer) onto a separate processor. This allows the MaxIO to effectively manage the much larger LBA range of a high capacity device, while also enabling global wear leveling techniques to enhance endurance. Cramming as much capacity onto one device is critical in high-density applications that need the performance of an AFA (All Flash Array), but want to maintain the highest performance by keeping the SSD as close to the processor as possible. This helps to reduce any associated networking infrastructure. The drives are optimized for read-centric applications and features up to 1 DWPD of endurance during the five-year warranty period. We were lucky enough to speak with Zophar Sante and Stephan Uriarte about the differentiators and advantages of their new architecture in the video below.
Flash Memory Summit 2014 - The SSD industry is moving fast, and several companies with core SSD controller IP have been purchased by larger companies. As SSDs become more mainstream some of the smaller players, such as SMI, JMicron, and Phison, have become more prevalent in the SSD market.
We took a few moments to speak with Iri Trashanski from Marvell Technology Group about the state of the SSD controller industry. Marvell has one of the broadest lines of SSD controllers in the industry, and they recently announced their latest NVMe SSD controller. The NVMe 88SS1093 also features 3rd generation NANDEdge LDPC (Low Density Parity Check) technology. LDPC is the newest form of error correction that requires less space on the drive and also provides more error correction power. LDPC also allows for varying levels of error correction during different stages of the SSD life cycle.
The 88SS1093 features 4GB/s or 2GB/s endpoints, dependent upon host system customization, via a x4 PCIe 3.0 connection. The leaner command set and multiple queue/pair mechanisms within the NVMe stack will provide higher performance and lower latency in comparison to older interfaces.
Perhaps most importantly, LDPC technology can support 15nm TLC and 3D NAND.The endurance trade-offs of TLC require robust error correction technology. More TLC products are coming to market soon as Toshiba and Hynix start to sell TLC NAND to third parties. The controller supports NVMe 1.1 with its Tri-core CPU architecture, and also supports volumes up to 2TB. The 28nm CMOS process will enable lower cost and less power consumption. Power consumption is always relevant in mobile applications, and the small footprint of the 88SS1093 will likely be found in many laptops in the M.2 form factor.
Flash Memory Summit 2014 - Jim Handy from Objective Analysis stopped by our booth to talk about the latest and greatest in the storage market. Jim's 3D NAND series, which explores the rationale behind 3D NAND and delves into an in-depth breakdown of the architecture, has became a go-to source of information on 3D NAND. His informative series of articles can be found here on thememoryguy.com.
Jim also discusses the possibilities of future storage technology. Objective Analysis offers third-party independent market research and data for the semiconductor industry and investors in the semiconductor industry.
Flash Memory Summit 2014 - Enmotus stopped by to brief us on their Storage MicroVirtualization and MicroTiering data storage solution. The FuzeDrive software takes a new approach to combining the speed of flash with the capacity of HDDs. Users can install any SSD of their choice, be it m.2, PCIe, SATA, or SAS, and use it to accelerate the underlying HDD storage. Thee Enmotus software intelligently analyzes the data patterns and decides which data to promote to the flash storage. The software works at the block level, so users can still leverage RAID configurations to provide HA capabilities.
One of the immediate benefits is that users get to actually use the capacity of the flash device installed in their system, and of course the speed of the system is increased almost immediately. Enmotus is also working on a collaboration with Viking to work with their NVDIMM technology, which should enable even more expansive data acceleration possibilities. We will be including a video of a working demo, so stay tuned to these pages for an update.
Flash Memory Summit 2014 - NVMe has been a popular topic on our pages of late, with our initial article 'Defining NVMe - Hands-on testing with the 1.6TB Intel P3700 SSD' taking an in-depth look at the NVMe specification as a whole, and some included test data that helps highlight the improvements NVMe brings to the table. We followed this with our full evaluation of the first NVMe SSD in the retail space in our 'Intel SSD DC P3700 1.6TB PCIe NVMe Enterprise Review'.
The UNH-IOL (University of New Hampshire InterOperability Lab) tests and certifies NVMe devices for all major vendors. NVMe is a huge topic at the Flash Memory Summit as we see the initial products come to market, and the senior engineer, David Woolf, sat down with us to cover the latest developments.
The UNH-IOL lab is already busy, and with future plug-fests and more products from multiple vendors in the pipeline they will likely bee busy for the next few years ensuring that the future of storage technology works right the first time.
Flash Memory Summit 2014 - Diablo stopped by the booth to give us some updates on their progress. Diablo currently provides the MCS architecture which allows NAND devices to communicate via the memory bus. Their MCS technology has been implemented in the UltraDIMM product from SanDisk, which is definitely one of the most anticipated storage developments this year.
One of the big announcements is a new partnership with Supermicro on their upcoming X9-Series platforms. The addition of another OEM, in addition to IBM, adds another avenue of growth for the MCS ecosystem. Diablo has made great gains in the last year with their original Carbon product, and they are already working on Carbon2. Carbon2 will support the DDR4 bus and bring enhanced functionality, such as NanoCommit technology, which will allow applications to leverage MCS products in a more efficient manner. The move to DDR4 also brings along a reduction in latency, which is impressive considering that the MCS architecture already delivers superb latency.
Flash Memory Summit 2014 - Roger Peene from PMC-Sierra stopped by to chat about their new Flashtec NVRAM drives. Flashtec provides non-volatile DRAM-like performance with the benefit of NAND persistence. These new drives are capable of over ten million IOPS with sub-microsecond latency.
PMC-Sierra has designed the Flashtec drives to work with industry standard interfaces, such as NVMe, via the PCIe 3.0 x8 connection. This makes integration a snap, with no special BIOS or other support required. These drives can fulfill multiple roles in the datacenter due to the ability to be connected as either a memory or block device. Users can actually provision the drives to use both types of addressing simultaneously.
The new drives come in capacities of 4, 8, and 16 GB. These new drives are very exciting and will enable a new ultra-fast storage class memory tier to accelerate critical applications in scale-out storage and all-flash arrays