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    New SIG Formed to Accelerate Adoption of NVDIMM

    January 28th, 2014

    SNIA has just announced a new special interest group around NVDIMM to:

    • Provide  education on how system vendors can “design-in” NVDIMMs.
    • Communicate existing industry standards, and areas for vendor differentiation.
    • Help technology and solution vendors whose products integrate NVDIMMs to communicate their benefits and value to the greater market.
    • Develop vendor-agnostic user perspective case studies, best practices, and vertical industry requirements to help end user customers understand how products and solutions can meet performance, cost, and efficiency goals.

    Initial members of the NVDIMM SIG include  vendors AgigA Tech, IDT,  Inphi,  Intel, Micron, Microsoft Corporation,  Netlist,  Pericom, Samsung, SK Hynix,  SMART Modular Technologies, and Viking Technology.

    A new webpage under the Solid State Storage Technology Community on the SNIA website at www.snia.org/nvdimm provides a knowledge resource for presentations, white papers, FAQs, and  webcasts on NVDIMM contributed by SIG companies. Those interested in joining the NVDIMM SIG should contact nvdimmsigchair@snia.org.

    SSD Education Afternoon Monday January 27 at SNIA Symposium in San Jose

    January 24th, 2014

    Interested in the latest information on SSD technology?  Join the SNIA Solid State Storage Initiative Monday January 27 for lunch and an afternoon of the latest on:

    • Flash/SSD technology
    • SCSI Express
    • SAS
    • NVM Express
    • SATA Express
    • SSD performance
    • SSD Markets

    Lunch begins at noon, with presentations from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm.  There is no charge to attend this session at the Sainte Claire Hotel in downtown San Jose CA. You can attend in person – register at www.snia.org/events/symp2014 or by WebEx (click here for details and the agenda).

    Join the SSSI at Flash Memory Summit August 12-15 in Santa Clara CA!

    August 7th, 2013

    SSSI returns to the Flash Memory Summit in booth 808, featuring information on updates on new tests in the SNIA Solid State Storage Performance Test Specification-Enterprise 1.1, NVM programming, and Workload I/O Capture Program (WIOCP) activities; new tech notes and white papers, including a PTS User Guide Tech Note, a PCIe SSD 101 Whitepaper, and a Performance Primer Whitepaper; and PCIe SSD demonstrations from SSSI members Bitmicro, Fastor, and Micron.

    flash memory summitAll current SSSI members attending FMS and individuals from companies interested in the SSSI and their activities are cordially invited to the SSSI Solid State Storage Reception Monday evening August 12 from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm in Room 209-210 at the Santa Clara Convention Center.   At the reception, SSSI Education Chair Tom Coughlin of Coughlin Associates will provide an overview of the SSD market, and SSSI Chair Paul Wassenberg of Marvell will discuss SSD performance.  SSSI Vice Chair Walt Hubis of Fusion-io will discuss SSSI programs, including PTS, NVM Programming, Workload I/O Capture, and PCIe SSD.  Refreshments, table displays, and an opportunity drawing for SSDs provided by SSSI members Intel, Micron, and OCZ will be featured.

    FMS conference activities begin August 13, and the agenda can be found here.  SSSI members speaking and chairing panels include:

    Tuesday August 13

    4:35 pm – Paul Wassenberg of Marvell on Standards

    Wednesday August 14

    8:30 am – Eden Kim and Easen Ho of Calypso Testers – PCIe Power Budgets, Performance, and Deployment

    9:50 am – Eden Kim and Easen Ho of Calypso Testers -  SNIA Solid State Storage Performance Test Specification

    3:10 pm - Walt Hubis of Fusion-io – Revolutionizing Application Development Using NVM Storage Software

    3:10 pm – Easen Ho of Calypso Testers –  SSD Testing Challenges

    4:30 pm – Paul von Behren of Intel -  SNIA Tutorial: SNIA NVM Programming Model:  Optimizing Software for Flash

    Thursday August 15

    3:10 pm – Jim Pappas of Intel – PCI Express and  Enterprise SSDs

    3:10 pm – Jim Handy of Objective Analysis – Market Research

    An open “Chat with the Experts” roundtable session Tuesday August 13 at 7:00 pm will feature Jim Pappas of Intel at a Standards table, Eden Kim of Calypso Testers at a SSD Performance table, Easen Ho of Calypso Testers at a Testing table, and Paul Wassenberg of Marvell at a SATA Express table.MESS - Final logo #2-Megan Archer

    The Media Entertainment and Scientific Storage (MESS) will hold their August “Meetup” at the Open Chat with the Experts, and also be located in SSSI Booth 808 for further discussions.

    Exhibit admission is complimentary until August 8.  SNIA and SSSI members and colleagues can receive a $100 discount on either the 3-day conference or the 1-day technical program using the code SNIA at www.flashmemorysummit.com.


    PCI Express Coming to an SSD Near You

    August 2nd, 2013

    There’s been a lot of press recently about what’s going on in the world of storage regarding the utilization of PCIe as a device interface.  Of course, PCIe has been around a long time as a system bus, while SATA and SAS have been used as storage device interfaces.  But with SSDs getting faster with every new product release, it’s become difficult for the traditional interfaces to keep up.

    Some folks figure that PCIe is the solution to that problem.  PCIe 3.0 operates at 1GB/s, which is faster than 600MB/s SATA.  And with PCIe, it’s possible to add lanes to increase the overall bandwidth.  The SATA Express spec from SATA-IO defines a client PCIe device as having up to 2 lanes of PCIe, which brings the speed up to 2GB/s.  Enterprise SSDs will have up to 4 lanes of PCIe, which provides 4GB/s of bandwidth.

    There was also some work on the software side that needed to be done to support PCIe devices, including NVM Express and SCSI Over PCIe (SOP), both of which are well underway.

    If you are interested in knowing more about PCIe SSDs, keep an eye on our Education page, where, sometime during the week of August 5, we will be posting a new white paper on this topic.

    New Article on SSD Security

    November 2nd, 2011

    An article by SSSI member Tom Coughlin on Self Encrypting Drives  was just published in the October edition of  Storage Networking Solutions.   Tom defines SED, discusses the advantages of a SSD SED, and forecasts the rate of adoption of this important technology.  It starts on page 17.

    New SSD Blog

    October 31st, 2011

    SSSI member Jim Handy at Objective Analysis has started a blog dedicated to SSDs.  Jim is an avid follower of the SSD market, and his blog will doubtless be a great resource.

    You’ll find the link on the SSSI Blogroll.

    PCs: Better Boost from Flash than DRAM!

    July 19th, 2011

    Objective Analysis has just published a new study with a somewhat surprising finding – that PCs get a bigger performance improvement by adding a dollar’s worth of NAND flash than by adding a dollar’s worth of DRAM.

    This finding is the result of a series of nearly 300 benchmarks in which the company tested PCs with a variety of DRAM and NAND flash sizes running industry-standard benchmarks: PCMark, SYSmark, HDxPRT, and others.

    In a nutshell the benchmarks showed that dollar-for-dollar NAND yields a greater performance improvement to a PC than does DRAM.  Once PC users and OEMs discover this phenomenon there should be a mass-migration of PC architectures to systems with paired storage (there’s a SNIA Webcast on this), perhaps in hybrid HDDs, and this will present difficulties to DRAM makers whose biggest market is the PC.

    Oddly enough, the study shows that the HDD is likely to remain in PCs for a while to come, since well-designed DRAM-Flash-HDD configurations perform nearly as fast as DRAM-SSD systems with prices and capacities that are similar to those of a conventional DRAM-HDD system.  Future PC users are likely to opt for adding NAND flash, rather than DRAM, to their systems when they upgrade.

    The report is available for purchase at http://Objective-Analysis.com/Reports.html#DRAM-NAND.

    Comments and questions are more than welcome.

    Trim: The Basics

    June 29th, 2011

    Apple recently announced Trim support for all SSD-capable Macs.  What is Trim?

    The SSSI Glossary defines the Trim command as “A method by which the host operating system may inform a NAND Flash-based SSS device about which blocks of data are no longer in use and can be erased. Such blocks may then be written without having to erase them first, enhancing SSS device write performance.”

    A drive’s internal Garbage Collection performs a similar task as Trim by erasing blocks that have been previously marked for deletion.  However, because of the way that many operating systems work, there will be some blocks that can be repurposed of which only the OS is aware; Trim addresses this issue.

    For Trim to be functional, both the SSD and the OS must support it.  Most SSDs of recent vintage support Trim, but check the features list to be sure.

    In addition to the Apple OS, anyone who’s been paying attention knows that Microsoft Windows 7 supports Trim.  And an increasing number of Linux versions support Trim, plus FreeBSD and OpenSolaris.  Wikipedia has a more detailed list.

    Storage Pairing Explained

    March 25th, 2011

    The best way to get flash memory into computers isn’t to replace HDDs but to augment them.  For a vast majority of computer users the amount of storage they need is beyond what they can afford with flash memory alone.  This trend is liable not to change in the future even as the costs of flash memory go down because HDDs will increase in storage capacity  as well and the storage requirements of these users will increase as least as fast or perhaps even faster.   However, these users would love to get a higher performing computer and putting some flash memory in combination with a hard disk drive could be a very attractive means to do this.

    Hybrid HDDs that include some flash memory in the HDD are one approach but flash memory can also be installed in a computer motherboard or installed as a second drive.   A recent report from Coughlin Associates and Objective  Analysis explores these hybrid and paired storage and memory architectures.  The main requirement to accomplish the performance and cost advantages of a paired storage systems in managing what is stored on the flash memory, and what on the hard disk drive.  There are several software tools described in the report to provide this storage management.  Paired and hybrid storage can also reduce system power use.

    The combination of flash memory and HDDs is so compelling that the authors project a 53% adoption rate in desktop computers and a 25% adoption rate in notebook computers by 2016. 

    Furthermore, today’s media tablets will not provide for the needs of many business and power users who would like mobile products with more capability than can be provided by today’s tablets.  This will lead to a new category of “fat tablet” computers that combine some flash memory with hard disk drives as well as other enhancements to meet this market need.  The report projects that 40% of the total tablet market will be “fat tablets” by 2016.

    The report can be ordered from Coughlin Associates at:  http://www.tomcoughlin.com/techpapers.htm.

    New White Paper Posted

    February 23rd, 2011

    The white paper “Two May be Better than One: Why Hard Disk Drives and Flash Belong Together” has been posted at http://www.snia.org/forums/sssi/knowledge/education/.  The paper discusses the use of both solid state storage and HDDs in the same system.  Specific mention is made of Paired Storage, a configuration where a small SSD allows fast boot up and quick access to frequently used files and the HDD provides high capacity at a low cost per GB.