what changed in SSD
sudden power loss
| hold up
capacitors in 2.5" MIL SSDs|
do you really need them?
Editor:- I've been looking at different aspects
of power hold up schemes in mission critical non volatile memory systems for
over 30 years. |
But every time I revisit this vast topic and compare
fresh examples from the market - I learn something a little bit new.
to three seconds - demonstrates the extreme range of hold up times
now in the market inside leading edge 2.5" military flash SSDs.
|flash wars in the
enterprise - MLC brand X|
|First you learned about SLC (good flash).
Then you learned about MLC (naughty flash when it played in
the enterprise - but good enough for the short attention span of consumers).
Then MLC SSDs learned how to be good.
Now some MLC is much nicer than others. - When it's preceded by an "e"
(extra-good). But it costs more.
But other people say you don't need
the expensive "e" - because their controllers empathize better
with naughty flash. (They really care about naughty flash being sent to bad
block jail too soon.)
Is your head ready to explode yet?
It's going to get even more complicated.
sugaring MLC for
|How big was the
thinking in this SSD's design?|
|Does size really does matter in SSD
By that I mean how big was the mental map? - not how many
inches wide is the SSD.
The novel and the short story both have their
place in literature and the pages look exactly the same. But you know from
experience which works best in different situations and why.
it comes to SSDs - Big versus Small SSD architecture - is something which was
in the designer's mind. Even if they didn't think about it that way at the time.
||For designers, integrators,
end users and investors alike - understanding what follows from these simple
choices predicts a lot of important consequences. ...read the article|
|3 things that could have
killed flash SSDs|
emerging size of
the flash SSD market as you see it today was by no means inevitable. It owes a
lot to 3 competing storage media competitors which failed to evolve fast enough
in the Darwinian jungle of the storage market in the
One of these 3 contenders is definitely on the road to extinction -
but could one of the other 2 still emerge to threaten flash SSDs?
SSD's past phantom
demons explores the latent market threats which hovered around the flash SSD
market in the past decade. They seemed real and solid enough at the time.
|| Getting a realistic
perspective of flash SSD's past demons (which seemed very threatening at the
time) may help you better judge the so-called "new" generation of nv
memory contenders - which are also discussed in the article. ...read the article|
|this way to the Petabyte
|In 2016 there will be
just 3 types of
SSD in the datacenter.|
of them doesn't exist yet - the bulk storage SSD.
It will replace the
last remaining strongholds of
hard drives in the
datacenter due to its unique combination of characteristics, low running costs
and operational advantages.
||The new model of the
datacenter - how we get from here to there - and the technical problems which
will need to be solved - are just some of the ideas explored in this
|storage chip news|
|Altera paper - FPGA
offload in cohabiting memory arrays|
Editor:- June 8, 2016 - a
recent white paper from Altera
10 MX Devices Solve the Memory Bandwidth Challenge (pdf) - discusses the
role of more intelligent FPGA usage in next generation DRAM architecture.
the design challenges from power budgets and bandwidth constraints on chip pins
from legacy logic and memory approaches - Altera says its memory
cohabiting FPGA architecture -
unlocks new applications.
"One of the key functions for FPGA
offload involves data extraction and comparison with in-memory data structures.
For these access patterns, the increased bandwidth, channel count (from 4
interfaces to 64 channels), and increased open bank count (from 64 banks to 512
banks) have positive impacts on memory subsystem performance. The extra channel
count and bank pool count allows more accesses to hit successfully on open DRAM
banks. Because operations can avoid the bank activation penalty, this
implementation increases performance." ...
read the article (pdf)
what do today's prototype kits tell us about IoT's future?
May 9, 2016 - An interesting preview of raw technology ingredients in the
future IoT mix is -
DIY Development Boards for IoT Prototyping written by Janakiram MSV, Founder
Janakiram & Associates - published
in the New Stack.
includes prices and capabilities for a range of prototyping boards. ...read
data wipe-out video
Editor:- April 29, 2016 - Usually the last
thing you want to see as an SSD designer is your hot new product going up in
smoke - but autonomous self destruct of SSD data takes many forms and this is
one of them.
from Renice Technology
shows a verification test rig for this functionality. Renice says it
uses a specially designed electric circuit, which ensures that all NAND flash
chips in the SSD will be burned through. ...watch
Editor's comments:- I've asked Renice if they've analyzed the
composition of the smoke - but this kind of
fast purge is aimed
applications rather than civilian offices - so smoke fumes are the lesser of
two evils (compared to data capture by a foe).
PCIe 4.0 Multi-Lane PHY milestone
14, 2016 - Signs of onwards and upwards progress towards future
PCIe SSD speeds
emerged today in an
have demonstrated electrical interoperability for PCIe 4.0 with "robust
signal integrity" (BER below 10-15) at 16Gbps with 4 lanes running
new blog looks at DRAM latency creep
3, 2016 - We've got used to the fact the performance and characteristics of
fast flash SSDs
owe more to the interface, controller
design and software
than to the intrinsic timing and reliability of a
nand cell. But what about
DRAM? Isn't that much
closer to the raw, organic memory ingredients?
In a new blog on
indeterminate latencies and the virtual memory slider mix - I look at the
growing gap between server memory performance and the capabilities of raw,
organic DRAM cells.
As enterprise RAM performance is progressively
bounded more by controller traffic analysis needs and power consumption rather
than DRAM cell capability - there's an argument for saying if the statistical
distribution of DRAM latencies is so wide - maybe no one would notice if you
slipped in a different kind of memory in the virtual slider mix.
that - of course - was precisely the open barn door - which ushered in the
explosion of DRAM lookalike alt nvm announcements in
2015. ...read the new
EZchip's acquisition by Mellanox cleared to close
January 19, 2016 - After various delays and interventions it was
today that the shareholders of EZchip
Semiconductor have approved the merger deal with Mellanox announced
last September which valued EZchip at over $800 million.
memory tiers for datacenters and ultra high endurance flash for
automotive market to be discussed at ISSCC
editor:- January 14,
2016 - ISSCC (International Solid-State
Circuits Conference) will start January 31 (in San Francisco,
cost $1,030 or less
for IEEE members) so I looked at their
(pdf) to see papers relevant to SSDs. Among others things:-
- Basics of Memory Tiers in Compute Systems and a server TCO model - by
Technical Lead - Platforms Advanced Technology Team - Google
- Rethinking Memory Architecture - by Dean Klein VP
Memory System Development - Micron
- 256Gb 3b/Cell V-NAND Flash Memory with 48 Stacked WL Layers by a team from
- A 90nm Embedded 1T-MONOS Flash Macro for Automotive Applications with
0.07mJ/8kB Rewrite Energy and Endurance over 100 million cycles by a team from
IDT samples power management chip for enterprise SSDs
November 19, 2015 -
it is sampling a new multi-channel power management IC (PMIC) optimized for
($5.20 each, 1,000 unit price point ) is a flexible, programmable PMIC which
can shorten time to market by enabling the reuse of power management subsystems
across multiple protocols - SAS, SATA and PCIe - and form factors. Its design
delivers an effective power backup system that's been proven in the field, as
well as stability proven in earlier generation SSD products.
PMC-Sierra agrees to be acquired for $2 billion
October 6, 2015 - PMC-Sierra
has agreed to be acquired by Skyworks
for $2 billion it was
"With our acquisition of PMC, Skyworks will be
uniquely positioned to capitalize on the explosive demand for high performance
solutions that seamlessly connect, transport and store Big Data," said David J. Aldrich,
chairman and CEO of Skyworks. "Specifically, we plan to leverage PMC's
innovative storage systems, flash controllers, optical switches and network
infrastructure solutions to expand our engagements with some of the world's
leading OEMs and ODMs as well as
data center customers."
Atmel - who?
Editor:- September 22, 2015 - It had
long time since I last heard from Atmel (November 2005
according to my inbox - and that was about DVD chips) but 10 years is not so
long that I had entirely forgotten that they once had a distant connection to
the SSD market.
So when I saw an article alert to -
and Atmel, 2 cultures to build 1 successful company? - by Eric Esteve, founder of
company IPnest - that was my
way of learning the recent
that Dialog Semiconductor
(which is not an SSD company) will acquire Atmel for $4.6 billion.
who worked for Atmel at the time writes - "In year 2000, Atmel had more
than $1,500 million of revenue from flash..
But he goes on to say
that in 2014 "their flash product line was almost dead" - however
they had "about $150 million of revenue related to other nvm".
article reassured me that although my eye had been off the ball of Atmel - there
may have been good reasons (from an SSDcentric context). And it's a great way to
wrap up the story of a company from the history archive. ...read
2.5 to 3D architectures point the way to DDR4's successor says
new blog on SemiWiki.com
Editor:- July 12, 2015 - "DDR4 will
be the last version of the DDR interface route for RAM, don't ever expect to see
DDR5" - says Eric Esteve
in his blog -
High Bandwidth Memory to Select after DDR4? - on SemiWiki.com - in which - as part of
getting us to contemplate the big architecture picture - he also says - "DDR4
is not only the last DDR, it's also the last protocol based on 2D (layers)
the article, SSD glue chips,
RAM in an SSD context
Avago agrees to acquire Broadcom
Editor:- May 28,
2015 - Avago
will acquire Broadcom
for approximately $37 billion.
IP-Maker's NVMe IP passes UNH-IOL's compatibility
May 22, 2015 - IP-Maker
- which is represented in the US by Fides
Sales - today announced that its
data transfer manager design has passed the
UNH-IOL compatibility tests and is now
listed on their NVMe
compatibility integrator's list.
IP-Maker's IP supports
performance in the range of 350K IOPS and 10µs latency in a Gen2 x4
"We are pleased to announce this important
milestone", said Mickael
Guyard, co-founder of IP-Maker. "We are now able to provide a
compliant and high performance NVMe solution, helping storage companies to
develop PCIe SSD in a
reduced design time."
Microsemi acquires Vitesse
March 18, 2015 - Microsemi
it has agreed to acquire Vitesse Semiconductor
for approximately $389 million.
Vitesse designs a diverse portfolio of high-performance
semiconductors, application software, and integrated turnkey systems solutions
for carrier, enterprise and
Avago acquires Emulex for $600 million
February 25, 2015 - In 2014 - Avago Technologies -
which until then had not seemed much involved in enterprise storage -
suddenly got religion.
As a heavyweight interface chip and IP maker in other markets Avago
must have asked themselves - what are the key interfaces we need to be the #1
enterprise storage connect company? - especially
enterprise storage becomes solid state.
that's the way to interpret the acquisitions (last year) of
PLX followed now (as
today) by the acquisition of
Emulex - for
approximately $606 million.
Northwest Logic has FPGA support for Everspin's MRAM
February 9, 2015 - Northwest
controller support for Everspin's
ST-MRAM - with interoperability proven on a Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGA platform.
MRAM's core IP also supports traditional volatile DDR3 SDRAM - so the
new support for MRAM will simplifiy the design of
protected low latency
Mobiveil supports Spansion's HyperBus NOR
Editor:- February 3, 2015
it will provide authorized controller support for Spansion's
flash chips are low capacity, low pin count, faster (5x) NOR flash (BGAs)
suited for some applications in the automotive electronics market.
HyperBus flash interface
IP (pdf) delivers upto 333MB/s using this 12-pin interface.
Microsem licenses DPA countermeasures from Rambus
January 29, 2015 -
will serve as reseller in the government and military sectors for certain
differential power analysis (DPA) technologies developed by Rambus's
cryptography research division.
As the first major FPGA company to
countermeasures, Microsemi has identified DPA as a significant vulnerability
in chip security, specifically for the mission-critical applications found in
government and military
Emulex's 16GFC technology supported by DataCore
January 28, 2015 - Emulex
today announced that DataCore is
releasing target mode support in its new SANsymphony V10 software-defined
storage platform, for Emulex's Gen 5 (16GFC) HBA technology.
also:- SSD software,
Novachips acquires HLNAND
Editor:- January 26, 2015 -
it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire
HyperLink NAND fllash
memory technology assets, including approximately 260 related patents, from
(formerly known as MOSAID).
Due to its low capacitance expansion
footprint - HLNAND enables large-capacity SSDs.
GUC announces new low power SSD IP portfolio
September 25, 2014 - Global Unichip
out an expanded interconnect low power IP portfolio for ASICs targeting SSD
The expansion covers ultra low power PCIe 3/4 PHY,
DDR3/4, LPDDR3/4 CTRL/PHY and ONFi4.0 IO/PHY. IP based on the 28HPM/HPC
processes in the expanded portfolio are available now, while 16nm macros will be
available in Q4 of this year.
Among all NAND applications Global
Unichip says SSD is the fastest growing with the Data Center and Enterprise
segments showing the greatest potential. GUC is meeting that demand with a
complete low power IP portfolio for SSD controllers, including NAND I/O (ONFI,
Toggle), DDR I/F (DDR3/4, LPDDR3/4) and Serdes I/F (PCIe-3/4, SATA3/SAS3).
is it time for the SSD market to reconsider RapidIO?
May 14, 2014 - You'd think that with all the interfaces
already in use
within the enterprise SSD
market - there wouldn't be enough of a market gap to justify introducing
yet another one. - Particularly when that interface strays across low
latency server-storage territory which is dominated by
PCIe SSDs, under
attack by memory
channel SSDs and has been flanked historically by
thought so too.
But a recent article -
You Really Know RapidIO? - by Eric Esteve , founder of
IPnest says - "Maybe it's
time for the server/storage industry to give a second chance for the RapidIO
Editor's comments:- That's a bold statement -
coming as it does from someone who was involved in designing one of the first
generation PCIe controllers 10 years ago. Eric argues that the intrinsic fabric
architecture and routing support in RapidIO - would make many of the things
which architects are trying to do today - such as interconnecting large numbers
of servers and SSDs for example - easier and faster.
PCIe and Ethernet as sub microsecond CPU interconnects - view from
|Megabyte 's SSD glue was a
sticky paste of Phy IP, |
FPGA and ASIC granular chips stirred in a
trapping dielectric suspension and topped with a
quick setting, sweet tasting, firmware emulsifier.
| "We've found that a
significant number of SSDs will die entirely if the voltage rails are pulled to
ground for (as little as) a 1mS period."|
|an SSD news story from
|Advanced decoding schemes
employing soft decoding use the NAND statistics and soft information to
determine the most probable read signal that corresponds to the actual stored
data. This allows you to obtain readable data even when the memory cell is
severely degraded or there is a lot of 'noise' in cell data. |
|Adaptive R/W &
DSP ECC in flash SSDs|