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new thinking in SSD controller techniques reveals "layer aware" properties exploitable in 3D nand flash
Editor:- August 28, 2018 - A new twist using RAID ideas in SSD controllers has surfaced recently in a research paper - Improving 3D NAND Flash Memory Lifetime by Tolerating Early Retention Loss and Process Variation (pdf) by Yixin Luo and Saugata Ghose (Carnegie Mellon University), Yu Cai (SK Hynix), Erich F. Haratsch (Seagate Technology) and Onur Mutlu (ETH Zürich) - which was presented at the SIGMETRICS conference in June 2018.

The authors say that in tall 3D nand (30 layers and upwards) the raw error rate in blocks in the middle layers are significantly worse (6x) compared to the top layer. Therefore to enable more reliable and faster SSDs using 3D nand for enterprise applications they propose a new type of RAID which pairs together the best predicted half of a RAID word with the worst predicted half from another chip in the same SSD.

This new RAID concept starts to be feasible in a very small population of chips - unlike traditional 2D nand schemes which need more chips to be installed in the SSD.

The new RAID is called Layer-Interleaved RAID (LI-RAID) - which the authors say "improves reliability by changing how pages are grouped under the RAID error recovery technique. LI-RAID uses information about layer-to-layer process variation to reduce the likelihood that the RAID recovery of a group could fail significantly earlier during the flash lifetime than the recovery of other groups." ... read the article (pdf)

Editor's comments:- the new RAID is just one of many gems in this research paper. Others being the discovery that remanence in 3D nand includes a significant short term charge loss (in the first few minutes after writes), and also that an endurance based characterization of a small part of each chip can be used to predict an optimized layer dependent threshold read voltage for all the layers in the chip. I've discussed the significance of adding the concept of "layers" to "number of raw chips" to the thinking in SSD controller design in my recent home page blog.

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SSD news - August 2018

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GreyBeards wrap up Flash Memory Summit

Editor:- August 26, 2018 - A new podcast - GreyBeards talk FMS18 wrap-up and flash trends with Jim Handy, Objective Analysis - discusses among other things:- the downward trend in nand pricing this year, competitive tensions in the DRAM business in China and an update on players in the SCM market.

See related:- Ray on Storage Blogs, GreyBeards on Storage (all), The SSD Guy (Jim Handy's blogs), List of Papers (pdfs) presented at Flash Memory Summit


Everspin zaps supercaps in IBM's FlashSystem

Editor:- August 9, 2018 - Everspin - which reported $10.8 million revenue in the quarter ended June 30, 2018 - has revealed some interesting developments of its MRAM technology .
  • Everspin's MRAM is the new nvm which IBM hinted it was using in its recent blogs about the new FlashSystem 9100



Marvell samples first NVMe-oF SSD Converter Controller

Editor:- August 7, 2018 - Marvell today announced it is sampling a new controller to simplify the design of Ethernet connected NVMe-oF SSDs.

The 88SN2400 - which is aimed at a EBOF (Ethernet Bunch of Flash) applications - utilizes a simple, low-power and compute-less Ethernet fabric instead of a traditional PCIe fabric controlled and managed by an enterprise-class server SoC with integrated 100GE controllers.

As an indicator of performance Marvell says that a typical 2U24 shelf with populated with 88SN2400 attached SSDs can support up to 18M IOPS. Utilizing a Marvell Ethernet switch that supports 2Tb/s and the Marvell 88SN2400, data center operators will be able to benefit from a 150GB/s pipe of pooled storage, and better power consumption per IO compared to general purpose architectures. The SSD converter controller is optimized for a small footprint and can be attached to existing backplanes providing ease of service and eliminating single point of failure. The technology can also be designed into future Marvell SSD and emerging SCM controllers.

See also:- the storage interface glue chips and IP page


NGD Systems demos ASIC version of In-Situ Processing SSD architecture

Editor:- August 2, 2018 - NGD Systems today announced demonstrations of a new ASIC implementation of controller which is compatible with its Catalina-2 In-Situ Processing SSD architecture. The NGD Systems Newport platform has 16 flash channels, NVMe 1.3 PCIe Gen 3.0 x4 storage compatibility and will be offered in SSDs in a variety of form factors including M.2.

"Computational storage represents a paradigm shift in analytics for petabyte-scale data sets," said Nader Salessi, CEO, NGD Systems. "Our next-generation Newport platform enables computational storage to 'cross the chasm' from a niche use case to broad market adoption. In doing so, the Newport platform further enables near-data processing for real-time analytics on large-scale data sets with improved power and density, both in watts per terabyte and terabytes per cubic inch.

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Megabyte went through his Michelangelo  phase - click to enlarge 1998 SSD news image on StorageSearch

Megabyte went through his
Michelangelo phase.

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Digital Storage for Media and Entertainment
Editor:- August 27, 2018 - Coughlin Associates today announced the availability of its new (14th annual) Digital Storage for Media and Entertainment Report - 2018 - (254 pages, $7,500).

Tom Coughlin (author and President Coughlin Associates) says...

"The report benefited from input from many experts in the industry including end users and storage suppliers, which along with economic analysis and industry publications and announcements, was used to create the data including in the report. We have made modifications to earlier reports to better model current market conditions. As a result of changes in the economics of storage devices higher performance solid-state storage will play a bigger role in the future. The cloud and hybrid storage including the cloud will be a bigger part of the media and entertainment storage market going forward."

Editor's comments:- Among other things the press release about the new report includes these interesting observations:-
  • By our estimates, professional media and entertainment storage capacity represents about 4.5% of total shipped storage capacity in 2017
  • In 2017 we estimate that 71% of the total storage media capacity shipped for all the digital entertainment content segments was in HDDs, with digital tape at 22.7%, 4.3% optical discs and flash at 2.0%. Flash memory dominates cameras and is finding wider use in post production and content distribution systems.
  • Overall cloud storage capacity for media and entertainment is expected to grow about 13.3X between 2017 and 2023 (5.1 EB to 68.2 EB)
See also:- other storage market research companies, a timeline of SSDs in tv and media

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SSD news in Augusts of yore
  • August 2007 - STEC announced it would ship the industry's first native SAS flash SSDs in Q1 2008.
  • August 2012 - Skyera launched a 1U half-depth 10GbE SSD rack with 44TB usable capacity ($131,000 approx), 3.6GB/s throughput and upto 1 million IOPS using under 800W electrical power.
  • August 2015 - Everspin announced the world's first all MRAM storage module in the M.2 form factor.
  • August 2016 - Plexistor showed it could handle millions of remote writes per second using its persistent memory over fabric software.

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