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."

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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

Flash in the Data Center? Part 2 - Why not off the shelf SSDs?

Posted by VIOLIN SYSTEMS on Sep 30, 2011 3:29:21 PM

In my last post I discussed a few of the technical aspects of flash that make it a unique storage media, particularly the complexity of garbage collection. Here we take a look at flash packaging and how that impacts architectural decisions. For this post I’ll focus on the question: “Should I use commodity SSDs?” and move on to PCIe cards and Enterprise Flash Drives in subsequent posts.

It’s easy to see why HDD form factor SSDs seem attractive: they have the same look and feel as a regular disk drive, they do usually weigh less, and they fit in the same HDD connectors you have in your existing server. That's all you need to see great flash speed, right? Sure they look good in the benchmarks, and while some benchmark sites have become a lot more sophisticated in measuring SSD performance, the SSDs have also become more sophisticated at Specsmanship.

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Topics: MLC, IOPS, SLC, SSD

Flash in the Data Center? Part 1 – Roll your own and Garbage Collection

Posted by VIOLIN SYSTEMS on Sep 26, 2011 8:08:04 PM

Flash is coming to the data center. Contrary to perception 18 months ago, now this seems to be accepted as ‘common knowledge.’ There is still much discussion around what that flash will look like and in what form it will be consumed. I plan to write a series of blogs describing the unique challenges involved in building large flash Memory Arrays and some of the decisions made along the road. A good place to start with is the “let’s build it myself” group of folks and the challenges they will encounter.
The very adventuresome amongst you might start with, "I'll just make my own".

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Topics: groomer, MLC, garbage collection, grooming, IOPS, SLC, SSD