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NVMdurance

NVMdurance was founded in Ireland in 2013 when the ADAPT project was spun out of the National Digital Research Centre in Ireland. The technology is the result of 13 years' work (pdf) on flash memory endurance by Joe Sullivan and Conor Ryan. SSDs using non-volatile memory are rapidly taking over from hard disks. However SSDs wear out and this is holding back their complete replacement of hard disks. NVMdurance' trials with leading manufacturers have proven to significantly extend the life of SSDs. NVMdurance has offices in Limerick, Ireland and San Jose, California.
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see also:- NVMdurance - mentions on StorageSearch.com, NVMdurance software page
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NVMdurance entered the Top SSD Companies List which is researched and published by StorageSearch.com in the 2016 Q4 edition.

NVMdurance was also one of just four companies selected for a special mention in the year end article - 1 big market lesson and 4 shining technology companies showing the way ahead for all SSD and memory systems.
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Who's who in SSD? - NVMdurance

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - StorageSearch.com - May 23, 2016

On a handful of occasions in more than 20 years writing about the SSD market I've spoken to companies which I known instinctively would change the way that the whole market thinks about itself. NVMdurance is one of those companies.

While we have seen many companies in the past 5 years telling us about the different ways in which their technologies can leverage the mysterious elasticity of flash endurance in an SSD controller context - most of those have leveraged combinations of techniques such as adaptive R/W pulse modication, DSP ECC, and big controller application or array awareness which become so closely tied to a particular product line or application space that the benefits derived from each element in the mix cannot be easily or quickly extracted and migrated to other applications.

NVMdurance has created a multigenerational and sustainable characterization methodology which - when applied to any kind of flash -and with the use of a lightweight firmware manager - enables endurance to be restated with a useful magnification effect (of x7 to x10) which is accomplished without the use of processor intensive DSP techniques - but which can be used as a restated foundation level of endurance which can then be used in conjunction with other proprietary endurance stretching techniques.

A simple way to state the market effect is like this.

All MLC or TLC nand flash - whether 2D or 3D - can now be thought of as having 2 endurance ratings:-
  • the standard model rating of endurance, and also
  • the improved NVMdurance model rating of endurance (metascale advised, life-cycle fitted, virtually hardened flash endurance).
Most of the software based tricks which can be usefully applied to standard endurance can still be used (if required) taking the improved NVMdurance base level of endurance as the new starting point.

Therefore what you have - in effect - is a much greater pool of memory types.

SSD designers in the NVMdurance era now have greater freedom to use simpler, lower power controllers and cheaper (worse standard endurance flash) to get DWPD ratings which hitherto would have required more power hungry controllers or more expensive memory (or rare inhouse flash controller talent).

Part of the NVMdurance technology story is evolutionary but another part (the business model and the disruptive market impact of its brute force systematic offline characterization techniques) is revolutionary. I'll be saying more about those in a follow up article.
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NVMdurance - recent mentions in SSD market history

In August 2013 - startup NVMdurance's endurance stretching characterization software was judged to be one of the most innovative flash memory technologies seen at the Flash Memory Summit.

In June 2015 - Altera announced availability of an FPGA flash controller reference design IP for NVMe PCIe SSDs which used NAND life extension software from NVMdurance.

In March 2016 - NVMdurance announced a $2.5 million Series A round of financing.
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Back in the early 1990s it was not uncommon to hear about specialist server companies which were using peltier effect heat sinks to refrigerate the fastest workstation processors so they could run at higher clock speeds.

One of the biggest bottlenecks in the past decade has been RAM architecture and DRAM implementation itself.
cool runnings - Rambus to coach faster DRAM (April 2017)
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There has been much uneasiness and disquiet recently in markets which use nand flash memory chips about the shortages - which are the most obvious sign that progress towards successor 3D technologies has not been entirely plain sailing.
3D nand fab yield - the nth layer burden? (July 2017)
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SSD news

some limericks inspired by the NVMdurance story

what were the big SSD ideas which emerged in 2016?

the upsides and downsides of hold-up caps in MIL SSDs

DRAM's indeterminate latencies and the virtual memory slider mix
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NVMdurance has US patent for Adaptive Flash Tuning
Editor:- March 21, 2017 - NVMdurance today announced that it has been granted US patent 9,569,120 for Adaptive Flash Tuning.

This patent covers NVMdurance's Pathfinder and Navigator software, which discover optimal flash trim sets for the target application and implement a set of optimization techniques that constantly monitor the NAND flash health and autonomically adjusts the operating parameters in real time.

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NVMdurance is 1 of 4 companies which shone the way ahead for the whole market.
4 shining SSD technology companies

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The first thing I ever asked NVMdurance's CEO was this...
context of NVMdurance's machine learning (July 2016)
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new funding for endurance stretching NVMdurance
Editor:- March 29 , 2016 - NVMdurance recently announced it has completed a $2.5 million Series A round of financing. Existing investors New Venture Partners, ACT Venture Capital, Enterprise Ireland and NDRC have invested bringing total funding to $2.77 million.

"This financing builds on an exceptional year from NVMdurance which saw its first customer announcement with Altera (now part of Intel)" said Steve Socolof of New Venture Partners LLC. "The NVMdurance software increases the number of program-erase cycles in Altera's FPGA-based storage reference design by up to 7x times compared to existing NAND flash implementations."

Editor's comments:- NVMdurance says the power behind its endurance stretching IP is the use of offline machine learning software that automatically learns the optimal parameter settings for the NAND device.

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"Flash memory based SSDs suffer the indeterminate delay inserted by the Flash Translation Layer in its production of the of physical block addresses.

This is one reason that All-Flash-Array architects like Pure Storage desire additional physical control at the Flash Translation Layer.

Additional storage system functions such as deduplication, compression, error coding, power-on fill, data recovery ops, check pointing, and scrubbing are further accelerated by this approach."
Alan Niebel , CEO - Web-Feet Research (January 16, 2017) in his blog announcing a new annual edition of the company's SSD market reports "NVMe now, NVDIMM coming ".


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