Stanford Talk on Flash Memory Design

Posted by VIOLIN SYSTEMS on Mar 15, 2012 3:36:34 PM

Back to school day.

Over at Stanford they have a speaker series that has been going on for the last few... decades, called the  Stanford University Department of Electrical Engineering Computer Systems Colloquium, known to many simply as EE380. The list of past speakers is as they say, long and distinguished, and includes such industry lightweights as Joy, Lamport, Colwell, Bechtolsheim, Gray, Metcalfe, Gelsinger, Hennessy, Patterson, Brin & Page, Diffie, Mashy, Wolfram, Cerf and Kay. For a mere mortal being invited to give an EE380 talk can be an intimidating experience, which they try to make easier by telling you that there will probably be no more than 50 people in the room, thankfully they didn't mention that 10,000 people will watch the web cast online until after my talk was over. Yes, the other day Bennett and Rowett were added to the list of "past EE380 speakers."

Preparation for an EE380 talk is obviously nothing to be taken lightly, but it is a fascinating opportunity because you know the audience will have an incredibly wide range of backgrounds, if you just dive straight in the deep technical stuff you will lose most of the audience who needs some introduction to the problem to give them at least some understanding of the basic issues. If you go with a "let me give you a basic over view of the subject" you will put half the room to sleep, and if you don't get into hard data and specific details the whole room will decide you are in marketing and get up and leave.

I decided to structure the talk a little like a TV detective episode, down to the cold open, commercial break, conclusion foreshadowing, and even some "hard evidence", i.e. we brought a few arrays for "class show and tell". I was worried that I had made an error when early on a number of people got up from their seats, but as it turned out that was just so they could move forward to get a closer view.

Now we would like to invite you to pull your seat up and take a closer view yourself as I explain many of the key technical innovations of the Violin architecture and present hard numbers and graphs that show not only what is so right about our approach but, in ways everyone should be able to understand, what is so terribly wrong about much of what you have heard about the past, present and future of solid state storage.

Watch the VIDEO

Topics: dedup, Flash Array, groomer, MLC, solid state drive, Computer Data Storage, flash memory, flash storage, garbage collection, grooming, IOPS, jon bennett, memory array, memory arrays, PCIe, server, SLC, SSD, Systems Design, Storage Array