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    NVM Big at Storage Developer Conference SDC Precon

    September 19th, 2015

    Objective Analysis 3D XPoint Report GraphicI’ll be speaking at SNIA’s SDC Pre-Conference this Sunday, Sept 20, about the new Intel-Micron 3D XPoint memory.  I was surprised to find that my talk won’t be unique.  There are about 15 papers at this conference that will be discussing NVM, or persistent memory.

    What’s all this fuss about?

    Part of it has to do with the introduction by Micron & Intel of their 3D XPoint (pronounced “Crosspoint”) memory.  This new product will bring nonvolatility, or persistence, to main memory, and that’s big!

    Intel itself will present a total of seven papers to tell us all how they envision this technology being used in computing applications.  Seven other companies, in addition to Objective Analysis (my company) will also discuss this hot new topic.

    SNIA is really on top of this new trend.  This organization has been developing standards for nonvolatile memory for the past couple of years, and has published an NVM Programming Model to help software developers produce code that will communicate with nonvolatile memory no matter who supplies it.  Prior to SNIA’s intervention the market was wildly inconsistent, and all suppliers’ NVDIMMs differed slightly from one another, with no promise that this would become any better once new memory technologies started to make their way onto memory modules.

    Now that Intel and Micron will be producing their 3D XPoint memory, and will be supplying it on industry-standard DDR4 DIMMs, it’s good to know that there will be a standard protocol to communicate with it.  This will facilitate the development of standard software to harness all that nonvolatile memory has to offer.

    As for me, I will be sharing information from my company’s new report on the Micron-Intel 3D XPoint memory.  This is new, and it’s exciting.  Will it succeed?  I’ll discuss that with you there.

    SNIA’s Solid State Storage Initiative Advances the Industry at Flash Memory Summit

    August 28th, 2015

    A classic case of SNIA Solid State Storage Initiative (SSSI) member collaboration for industry advancement was on display in the SSSI booth for NVDIMM-N demonstration at the Flash Memory Summit (FMS) 2015. Under the direction of SSSI Chair Jim Ryan and coordinated by NVDIMM SIG co chairs Arthur Sainio and Jeff Chang and TechDev Committee chair Eden Kim, the SSSI was able to update and include NVDIMM-N storage performance in the SSSI marketing collaterals on the Summary Performance Comparison by Storage Class charts.


    Five SSSI member companies – AgigA Tech, Calypso, Micron, SMART Modular, and Viking Technology – collaborated over a four week period on the introduction of a new NVDIMM-N storage performance demonstration. While it is rare to have potential competitors collaborate in such a fashion, NVDIMM-N storage represents a new paradigm for super fast, low latency, high IO/watt storage solutions. The NVDIMM-SIG has taken a leadership position by evangelizing the technology and developing the industry infrastructure necessary for large scale deployment.

    This collaboration highlighted a classic blend of technical, marketing and industry association cooperation.

    In the weeks leading up to FMS, the NVDIMM-SIG planned for an in-booth demonstration of the NVDIMM-N storage modules. To pave the way for universal adoption, the team worked together to dial in the Intel Open Source block IO development driver to meet the standards of the SNIA Performance Test Specification (PTS). An added goal was inclusion of NVDIMM-N modules as a new line item on the Summary Performance Comparison by Storage Class chart which lists PTS performance for various storage technologies. Under the guidance of NVDIMM-SIG, a rush project was instigated to get NVDIMM-N performance data tested to the PTS for the trade show.

    Micron took the lead by lending a Supermicro server with Micron NVDIMM-N to Calypso for testing. Calypso then installed CTS test software on the server to allow full testing to the PTS. Viking and SMART Modular contributed by helping dial in the drivers, as well as sending modules from Viking and SMART Modular to cross reference with the Micron modules. The test plan was comprised of several test iterations using single, dual and finally quad modules using each of the vendor contributed modules.

    The early single and dual module tests ran into repeatability and stability issues. NVDIMM-SIG consulted with Intel on the nuance of the Intel block IO driver while Calypso continued testing. The team successfully completed a test run that met the PTS steady state requirements on the quad module in time to release data for the show.

    We had a solid demonstration at the SNIA SSSI Flash Memory Summit Booth on NVDIMM-N Performance complete with marketing collateral available for review and a handout. NVDIMM-SIG members responded to the many questions and interest in the NVDIMM-N storage technology.

    fms booth

    “Once again,” said SSSI Chair Jim Ryan, “we can see the value and benefit of SNIA SSSI to its members, the SNIA educational community and the NVDIMM industry. I believe this is a great case study in how we all can contribute and benefit from working within the SSSI for the betterment of individual companies, market development and the Solid State Storage industry at large.” SSSI provides educational and marketing materials free of charge on its public website while SNIA SSSI members may join the NVDIMM-SIG and other SSSI committees. Anyone interested to find out more about the SSSI or any of its many committees can go to the following link http://www.snia.org/sssi.


    Data Recovery and Selective Erasure of Solid State Storage a New Focus at SNIA

    July 15th, 2015

    The rise of solid state storage has been incredibly beneficial to users in a variety of industries. Solid state technology presents a more reliable and efficient alternative to traditional storage devices. However, these benefits have not come without unforeseen drawbacks in other areas. For those in the data recovery and data erase industries, for example, solid state storage has presented challenges. The obstacles to data recovery and selective erasure capabilities are not only a problem for those in these industries, but they can also make end users more hesitant to adopt solid state storage technology.

    Recently a new Data Recovery and Erase Special Interest Group (SIG) has been formed within the Solid State Storage Initiative (SSSI) within the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA). SNIA’s mission is to “lead the storage industry worldwide in developing and promoting standards, technologies and educational services to empower organizations in the management of information.” This fantastic organization has given the Data Recovery and Erase SIG a solid platform on which to build the initiative.

    The new group has held a number of introductory open meetings for SNIA members and non-members to promote the group and develop the group’s charter. For its initial meetings, the group sought to recruit both SNIA members and non-members that were key stakeholders in fields related to the SIG. This includes data recovery providers, erase solution providers and solid state storage device manufacturers. Aside from these groups, members of leading standards bodies and major solid state storage device consumers were also included in the group’s initial formation.

    The group’s main purpose is to be an open forum of discussion among all key stakeholders. In the past, there have been few opportunities for representatives from different industries to work together, and collaboration had often been on an individual basis rather than as a group. With the formation of this group, members intend to cooperate between industries on a collective basis in order to foster a more constructive dialogue incorporating the opinions and feedback of multiple parties.

    During the initial meetings of the Data Recovery and Erase SIG, members agreed on a charter to outline the group’s purpose and goals. The main objective is to foster collaboration among all parties to ensure consumer demands for data recovery and erase services on solid state storage technology can be performed in a cost-effective, timely and fully successful manner

    In order to achieve this goal, the group has laid out six steps needed, involving all relevant stakeholders:

    1. Build the business case to support the need for effective data recovery and erase capabilities on solid state technology by using use cases and real examples from end users with these needs.
    2. Create a feedback loop allowing data recovery providers to provide failure information to manufacturers in order to improve product design.
    3. Foster cooperation between solid state manufacturers and data recovery and erase providers to determine what information is necessary to improve capabilities.
    4. Protect sensitive intellectual property shared between data recovery and erase providers and solid state storage manufacturers.
    5. Work with standards bodies to ensure future revisions of their specifications account for capabilities necessary to enable data recovery and erase functionality on solid state storage.
    6. Collaborate with solid state storage manufacturers to incorporate capabilities needed to perform data recovery and erase in product design for future device models.

    The success of this special interest group depends not only on the hard work of the current members, but also in a diverse membership base of representatives from different industries. We will be at Flash Memory Summit in booth 820 to meet you in person! Or you can visit our website at www.snia.org/forums/sssi for more information on this new initiative and all solid state storage happenings at SNIA.   If you’re a SNIA member and you’d like to learn more about the Data Recovery/Erase SIG or you think you’d be a good fit for membership, we’d love to speak with you.  Not a SNIA member yet? Email marty.foltyn@snia.org for details on joining.

    SSD Data Retention Issue Debunked

    June 1st, 2015

    For the past few weeks, there has been quite a commotion on tech sites, and it was all because of a 5 year old presentation. Someone discovered a set of slides created in 2010 by then-chair of the JEDEC SSD committee, Alvin Cox of Seagate. That person misinterpreted one of the slides to mean that unpowered SSDs would retain data for only a few days in a hot room. It was reported on one site and of course picked up by several others, spreading quickly across the spectrum of sites reporting on technical matters. Finally, Alvin and a colleague gave an interview to PCWorld (www.pcworld.com/article/2925173/debunked-your-ssd-wont-lose-data-if-left-unplugged-after-all.html) setting the record straight, stating that a scenario that might cause data loss is highly unlikely, especially for consumers. Read the article for more details.

    New SNIA SSSI Webcast May 28 on Persistent Memory Advances

    May 22nd, 2015

    Join the NVDIMM Special Interest Group for an informative SNIA Brighttalk webcast on Persistent Memory Advances:  Solutions with Endurance, Performance & Non-Volatility on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 12:00 noon Eastern/9:00 am Pacific.  Register at http://www.snia.org/news_events/multimedia#webcasts

    Mario Martinez of Netlist, a SNIA SSSI NVDIMM SIG member, will discuss how persistent memory solutions deliver the endurance and performance of DRAM coupled with the non-volatility of Flash. This webinar will also update you on the latest solutions for enterprise server and storage designs, and provide insights into future persistent memory advances. A specific focus will be NVDIMM solutions, with examples from the member companies of the SNIA NVDIMM Special Interest Group.

    Solid State Summit Webinar Presentations Now Available for Viewing

    April 30th, 2015

    The April 21/22, 2015 Solid State Storage Summit, presented by SNIA and the Evaluator Group on the SNIA Brighttalk Channel, was a great success.  Attendees raved about the high quality content and knowledgable speakers.

    Did you miss it?

    No worries!  Now you can listen to  SNIA Solid State Storage Initiative experts and analysts from the Evaluator Group on the latest updates on Solid State Technology.  Click on the title of each presentation to listen to this great technical information.

    Day 1Solid State Systems – 5 different webcasts from Intel, Load Dynamix, Evaluator Group, EMC, and HP

    Day 2 – Solid State Components – 5 different webcasts from the San Diego Supercomputer Center, NetApp, Micron, Toshiba, and SMART Modular

    New SIG for SSD Data Recovery/Erase Formed – Calls Open to All Interested Participants

    April 26th, 2015

    SSDs present particular challenges when trying to erase all data or attempting to recover data from a broken drive. To address these issues, a new Data Recovery/Erase Special Interest Group has been formed within the SNIA Solid State Storage Initiative.

    The goal of the SIG is to provide a forum in which solution providers and solid state storage manufacturers can collaborate to enable data recovery and erase capabilities in solid state storage in such a way as to ensure that customer demands for these services can be met in a cost-effective and timely manner, with a high likelihood of success. A key to the success of the SIG is obtaining input and participation from all of the key stakeholders: solid state storage manufacturers, data recovery and erase solution providers, and solid state storage customers.

    The SIG will be having a limited number of conference calls that will be open to non-members. Go to http://www.snia.org/forums/sssi/dresig for more details and to register for the first open meeting.

    MRAM Topic of Open SSSI TechDev Committee Call Monday February 2 at 2:00 pm PT

    January 30th, 2015

    As part of their educational offering, the SNIA Solid State Storage Initiative TechDev committee will feature Barry Hoberman speaking on Spin Transfer and MRAM.

    This conference call and SNIA WebEx at 2:00 pm Pacific time February 2, 2015 is open to the public. Find the answers to your questions on Spin Transfer/MRAM, including:

    • What are the drivers pushing emergence / adoption of Spin Transfer / MRAM?
    • What are the compelling advantages of Spin Transfer / MRAM?
    • What are the key applications that will be able to take advantage of MRAM?
    • What has to happen for Spin Transfer to find traction and deployment?
    • When will Spin Transfer / MRAM market adoption take place?

    Dial-in to: snia.webex.com Meeting Number: 794 116 066 password: TechDev2015 Teleconference: 1-866-439-4480 Passcode: 57236696#

    Looking forward to seeing you!

    Volunteers Honored at SNIA Symposium

    January 23rd, 2015

    The SNIA Solid State Storage Initiative (SSSI), its affiliated Technical Work Groups (TWGs), and its individual members were honored at this week’s SNIA Member Symposium in San Jose, California.


    From left, Paul Wassenberg, Marvell (SNIA SSSI Chair);
    Paul Von Behren, Intel (SNIA NVM Programming TWG Co-Chair);
    Jim Ryan, Intel (SNIA SSSI Marketing Chair);
    and Arthur Sainio, SMART Modular (SNIA NVDIMM SIG Co-Chair)

    At Wednesday’s SNIA member recognition event,  five awards were bestowed based on votes by their colleagues in the Association:


    2.      MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS BY A COMMITTEE – NVDIMM SIG (in their first year of existence)

    3.      MOST SIGNIFICANT IMPACT BY A TECHNICAL WORK GROUP – NVM Programming TWG (adding to all the other awards it has received in the past 2 years)

    4.      VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR – Jim Ryan (who in addition to managing the Storage Industry Summit for two years in a row, is also the SSSI Marketing co-chair)

    5.      INDUSTRY IMPACT AWARD – Paul von Behren, NVM Programming TWG chair (and tireless advocate of NVM technology)

    In addition, Phil Mills, SNIA SSSI Founding Chair, was inducted into the SNIA Hall of Fame.

    More details are available at www.snia.org/about/awards.

    Congratulations to these SNIA volunteers and groups, who are poised for a great 2015!

    SNIA NVM Programming Technical Work Group Honored at Storage Visions Conference

    January 7th, 2015


    On January 4, 2015, the SNIA NVM Programming Technical Work Group received the Storage Visions 2015 Professional Storage Development Visionary Award ,

    Storage Visions, a partner program of the Consumer Electronics Show, showcases digital storage and the entertainment content value chain as the storage conference of CES.

    The Storage Visions “Visionary” Awards recognize companies advancing the state of the art in storage technologies utilized in consumer electronics, the media and entertainment industries; visionary products for the digital content value chain; and digital storage end users.

    SV paul receiving award

    This most recent honor recognizes TWG work on creating next generation programming models, and follows an August 2014 award to the NVM Programming Model as a Best of Show at Flash Memory Summit for the Most Innovative Flash Memory Enterprise Business Application.

    The SNIA Non Volatile Memory (NVM) Programming Technical Work Group (TWG) delivers specifications describing the behavior of a common set of software interfaces that provide access to non-volatile memory (NVM). The TWG goal is to encourage a common ecosystem for NVM-enabled software without limiting the ability to innovate.

    The TWG’s current work is the NVM Programming Model specification.  This specification describes behavior used by applications and kernel components to access:

    • Emerging features for traditional block NVM (SSDs) and
    • A new programming model for persistent memory (PM) – NVM hardware designed to be treated by software similarly to system memory.