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    Join the Solid State Storage Initiative August 4-7 at Flash Memory Summit 2014

    July 21st, 2014

    The SNIA and the Solid State Storage Initiative (SSSI) invite SNIA members and non-members alike to attend Flash Memory Summit 2014, August 4-7, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

    SNIA at Flash Memory Summit offers an all star keynote lineup, including SNIA Member companies Dell, Diablo, Fusion-io, IBM, Intel, Marvell, Micron, NetApp, PMC-Sierra, Samsung, and SanDisk.  SSSI members will lead panels and sessions on SSD, NVDIMM, and NVM Programming.

    A SNIA Education Day on Monday, August 4 in Room 203/204 of the Santa Clara Convention Center will feature award-winning SNIA Tutorials on Flash and Storage where attendees can learn about secure storage, SSD workload testing, benefits of Flash storage to the enterprise, PCI Express, and Flash storage architectures from SNIA member experts.  This Education Day is complimentary to all FMS attendees.

    Following the Education Day, all are welcome to attend a Solid State Storage Reception Monday evening from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm in Room 203/204 featuring updates on the solid state disk market, an NVDIMM presentation, and an NVM Programming Model overview.  Visit displays that highlight SNIA Solid State Initiative programs, including Non Volatile Memory Programming, Performance Testing,  and Workload I/O Capture.  Learn how you can participate in the exciting 2014 programs of the SSSI.

    A Non-Volatile DIMMs:  When Flash Isn’t Fast Enough Hands-On Lab presented by the NVDIMM SIG and SIG member companies AgigaTech, Netlist, and SMART Modular will illustrate how a category of NVDIMMs function in server and storage systems and how they can be integrated into a standard server platform.

    And don’t forget to stop by SNIA SSSI Booth 808 in the Exhibit Hall to check out  five static and two live NVDIMM displays and new whitepapers, brochures, and news on SSDs.

    Register now at www.flashmemorysummit.com

    Use the code “SNIA” to sign up today and receive $100 off Full Conference, 3-Day Conference, and One-Day Technical Program registration


    What a Solid State We Store In

    June 30th, 2014

    Note:  This blog entry is authored by SNIA Solid State Storage Initiative Governing Board member Gilda Fosswho serves on the SNIA Solid State Storage Initiative [SSSI] Governing Board as well as her role as Industry Evangelist in the CTO Office at NetApp, Inc

    Solid state drives use semiconductor chips, as opposed to magnetic media, to store data.  The chips that solid state drives use are non-volatile memory meaning that the data remains even when the system has no power.  I’ve written about solid state drive technology in the past and I will continue to, for it represents the first major advancement in primary storage in a very long time.  Serving on the Governing Board of the SNIA Solid State Storage Initiative, it allows me to help foster the growth and success of the market for solid state storage in both enterprise and client environments. Our goals are to be the recognized authority for storage made from solid state devices, to determine and document the characteristics of storage made from solid state devices, and to determine and document the impact of storage made from solid state devices on system architectures.

    So what can you expect if you were to ever upgrade to an SSD?  Well, for starters your computing experience will be transformed with screaming fast random access speeds, multi-tasking proficiency, as well as fantastic reliability and durability… and you can choose between an external SSD or even a hybrid drive so you’ve got some options.  A new SSD will make your system faster because the boot times will decrease, launching apps will be lightening fast, opening and saving docs will no longer drag, copying and duplicating file speeds will improve, and overall your system will have a new ‘pep in its step’.  Furthermore, to promote being green, SSDs consume far less power than traditional hard drives, which means they also preserve battery life and stay cooler.  Who doesn’t want and need that? They’re also very quiet, with none of the spinning and clanking you get with HDDs – for obvious reasons. SSDs are cooler and quieter, all the while being faster.

    Since modern SSDs are Flash-based, there is no real hard-defined difference between Flash and SSD.  Rather, as mentioned previously, Solid State Disk is essentially storage that doesn’t require moving parts and Flash is what allows that to exist.  SSDs use Flash instead of RAM these days, since it’s a type of memory that’s super fast and doesn’t require continuous power, making it non-volatile.  A match made in solid-state heaven.

    There are some fundamental aspects that folks expect from a robust flash-based storage solution.  First off, I/O performance and efficiency for many applications, including database acceleration, server and desktop virtualization, and cloud infrastructure.  You should also expect to speed up overall IT performance, boost responsiveness of performance-critical applications, and reduce power costs and over-provisioning.  Furthermore, you will obviously use more high-capacity, low-cost SATA drives while improving utilization of your data center space.  If you can achieve all your flash-based goals without changing your IT infrastructure management processes, then you’ve really got it good.

    Flash storage has customarily had substantial aging issues. In a nutshell, a user could only write to the memory a certain number of times before they would just lose that section of the drive coupled with the fact that performance would degrade over time, too.  However, a lot of these issues were resolved and companies started manufacturing SSDs out of Flash memory instead of out of RAM.

    I’ve stated in the past that many people in the industry believe that flash SSDs will eventually replace traditional hard drives.  By the time this happens other characteristics, such as slower write time and added cost, will likely have been eradicated or significantly diminished. Even today, an SSD can extend the life of a laptop battery, reduce the weight of the system, make it quieter, and increase read performance.  When properly and optimally engineered, SSDs are now at least as reliable as traditional spinning hard drives.  Relating to the faster speed, think of one starting up in seconds versus minutes. Even the slowest current SSD gives you much improved real-world performance than does the fastest conventional hard drive, perhaps even 100x as fast.  This allows for better user productivity, allowing for more work to get done in a fraction of the time.  Furthermore, using flash in enterprise storage servers means you can support more users, do more work, and use less power so it’s no wonder that it’s become an important technology for business transactions.   It’s a solid win-win-win.

    SSSI’s 2014 Mission

    This SNIA initiative was formed in September 2008 and its mission is to foster the growth and success of the market for solid state storage in both enterprise and client environments. Our goals are to be the recognized authority for storage made from solid state devices, to determine and document the characteristics of storage made from solid state devices, and to determine and document the impact of storage made from solid state devices on system architectures.  Additionally, the SSSI collects solid state technical requirements of storage system vendors and communicate to SSD manufacturers for common features, behavior, and robustness.  The initiative collaborates with academia and the research labs of member companies to understand how advances in solid state memory will impact storage made from solid state memory as well as to educate the vendor and user communities about storage made from solid state devices.

    The SNIA SSSI also coordinates education activities with the Education Committee, performs benchmark testing to highlight the performance advantages of solid state storage, create peer reviewed vendor neutral SNIA Tutorials, and create vendor-neutral demonstrations.  The SSI also leverages SNIA and partner conferences, collaborate with industry analysts, perform market outreach that highlights the virtues of storage made from solid state devices.  The initiative determines what technical work should be performed within SNIA technical working groups to further the acceptance of storage made from solid state devices.  Furthermore and very importantly, the SSSI determines the standards that will be necessary to support the industry usage of SSDs by performing interoperability plug-fests as necessary in support of standards development.

    Collaboration between other SNIA organizations is also key.  The SSSI works with the Storage Management Initiative (SMI) to understand how SMI-S can be used to manage storage made from solid state devices.  We also work with the Green Storage Initiative (GSI) to understand how storage made from solid state devices will impact energy use in computer systems.  The work that the SSI does with the Technical Council helps create the desired technical working groups and provides external advocacy and support of these technical working groups.

    Finally, the SSSI collaborates with other industry associations via SNIA’s Strategic Alliances Committee (SAC) on SSD-related technical work in which they are involved as well as coordinates with SNIA Regional Affiliates to ensure that the impact of the SSS Initiative is felt worldwide.  For more information, please visit http://www.snia.org/forums/sssi


    Memory Channel Storage Demystified at Next PCIe SSD Committee Meeting on March 10

    February 21st, 2014

    Join SSSI members for an “open” call on March 10, 2014 at 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT.  SSSI member Jerome McFarland, Principal Product Marketer at Diablo Technologies, will talk about how memory channel storage technology works, how it’s deployed, and its advantages for applications.

    Dial in at 1-866-439-4480 passcode 57236696.  A WebEx will be available at http://snia.webex.com, meeting number 792 152 928, password sssipcie.

    The SSSI PCIe SSD Committee is a SSSI member committee that provides guidance to the marketplace on SSDs.  This can take the form of educational materials, best practices documents, and SNIA standards.

    The “open” calls of the SSSI PCIe SSD Committee are designed to foster a broad understanding of technologies.  All SNIA and SSSI members, and those who are simply interested in technology advances, are welcome to attend.  Spread the word!


    Add to your NVDIMM Knowledge – Attend the January 28 Summit

    January 15th, 2014

    Over 150 individuals participated in the BrightTALK Enterprise Storage Summit NVDIMM webcast.  If you are eager for more information on NVDIMM, you will want to attend an upcoming SNIA Event – the Storage Industry Summit on Non–Volatile Memory.

    This Summit will take place at the Sainte Claire Hotel in San Jose, CA on January 28th as part of the SNIA Annual Members’ Symposium, and will offer critical insights into NVM, including NVDIMMs, and the future of computing. This event is complimentary to attend and you can register here.

    The Summit will take place from 8:15 AM to 5:30 PM and speakers currently include:

    • Nigel Alvares, Senior Director of Marketing, Inphi
    • Bob Beauchamp, Distinguished Engineer and Director Hardware Technology and Architecture, EMC
    • Matt Bryson, ABR Investment Strategy, LLC, SVP-Research
    • Jeff Chang, Vice President, Marketing & Business Development, AgigA Tech
    • Tom Coughlin, Founder, Coughlin Associates
    • Mark Geenen, President, TrendFocus
    • Jim Handy, Analyst, Objective Analysis
    • Jay Kidd, CTO, NetApp
    • Eden Kim, CEO, Calypso
    • Tau Leng, VP/GM, Supermicro
    • Jeff Moyer, Principal Software Engineer, Red Hat
    • Wes Mukai, VP of Cloud Computing, System Engineering, SAP
    • Jim Pinkerton, Lead Partner Architect, Microsoft
    • Adrian Proctor, VP Marketing, Viking Technology
    • Andy Rudoff, Senior Software Engineer, Intel
    • Esther Spanjer, Director, Marketing Management, SanDisk
    • Garret Swart, Database Architect, Oracle
    • Nisha Talagala, Lead Architect, Fusion-IO
    • Doug Voigt, Distinguished Technologist in Storage, HP

    Visit http://www.snia.org/nvmsummit for more information and we hope you will join us in San Jose!


    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.