NVM Express at Flash Memory Summit

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FMSInterested in learning about NVM Express? At Flash Memory Summit, there are multiple opportunities to get the latest on NVM Express (NVMe) through two sessions and the NVMe booth in the Exhibit Hall.

The last year has been an exciting time for NMV Express (NVMe); the first NVMe PCIe SSD were announced, NVM Express incorporated and work has continued on new specifications. This makes 2014’s Flash Memory Summit is the perfect venue to get the latest information.

The first session is a pre-conference seminar titled Introduction to NVM Express (Seminar F). This seminar takes place on Monday, August 11 from 1-6pm and is targeted to provide information to companies interested in developing NVMe SSDs and supporting products.

The second session is titled NVMe and PCIe SSDs (A-11 & A-12). These sessions takes place on Tuesday from 8:30-11:20 and 3:15-4:25 and are designed to provide the latest on NVMe and information on NVMe uses and benefits for Enterprise and Consumers.

NVMe will also have a booth (#221) in the exhibit hall to provide information and showcase product demos from Dell, HGST, Intel and PMC-Sierra.

Flash Memory Summit 2013 takes place August 4–7, 2014 at the Santa Clara

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The NVM Express Organization is pleased to announce the 1.0 release of the open source VMWare ESXi 5.0 vmklinux driver. The release is a result of the co-development effort between VMWare and PMC-Sierra. The two companies worked together for over nine months to co-develop the first NVMe driver for VMware ESXi 5.0.

The driver passed the ESXi 5.0 certification with an NVMe SSD based on PMC-Sierra’s PCIe NVMe Controller, and is ready to be extended to support NVMe SSDs from other vendors. The driver is is a SCSI driver and the source code may be downloaded from http://nvmevmklinuxdriver.sourceforge.net/.

Kwok Kong, director of software engineering from PMC-Sierra will give a status update on August 4th, 2014 at Flash Memory Summit in Pre-Conference Seminar F, an Introduction to NVM Express for Implementers. Flash Memory Summit 2014 runs from August 4 – 7, in Santa Clara, California.

Intel Announces PCIe NVM Express Solid-State Drive

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SSD_PCIe_3700_Addin_Card_678x452Intel announced their first NVM Express PCIe Solid-State Drives at Computex 2014. The Intel® Solid-State Drive Data Center Family for PCIe* consists of three NVM Express product offerings, the Intel® Solid-State Drive Data Center P3700 Series, Intel® Solid-State Drive Data Center P3600 Series and the Intel® Solid-State Drive Data Center P3500 Series. Information on the products is available via the NVM Express Products page or from Intel at http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/solid-state-drives/intel-ssd-dc-family-for-pcie.html.

As an organization, it’s been exciting to see how quickly NVM Express has matured. First the 1.0 and 1.1 specifications, this year’s plugfest, incorporation, a first and now a second NVM Express product. Congratulations to Intel on their product announcement.  

SNIA Webcast: All about M.2 SSDs

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The SNIA Solid State Storage Initiative is partnering with SATA-IO and NVM Express to present a panel of experts from Objective Analysis, Micron, TE Connectivity, Intel, Calypso, and Coughlin Associates to give you the latest information on M.2, the new SSD card form factor. You will leave this webinar with an understanding of the M.2 market, M.2 cards and connection schemes, NVM Express, and M.2 performance; you’ll also be able to ask questions of the experts.

This webcast is free and takes on Tuesday, June 10, 2014  at 10:00 am Pacific Time / 1:00 pm Eastern Time. Registration information is available at https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/663/112647


A Flash Down Memory Lane

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Submitted by Gilda Foss, NVMe Promoter, Industry Evangelist, Office of the CTO, NetApp

Flash is here, flash is there, flash is everywhere. The conveniences and tools that enhance our lives, such as taking photos and erasing them or playing digital music on mobile devices, are the direct result of the use of flash storage. For Enterprise and consumers, flash-based SSDs have secured an important role in ultra-thin laptops, high-performance desktop computers, servers and enterprise-scale storage systems and are making our lives more productive.

 A solid-state drive (SSD), also called a flash drive, is a type of storage device that is revolutionizing how consumers use computers. These storage devices are transforming businesses globally. SSDs use a special kind of memory chip with erasable, writeable sections that can hold data even when powered off. Think of them as a much larger relative of the trusted memory stick.  Similar to standard hard drives, an SSD uses a special area on its chips for cache memory. Cache memory can increase processing speeds by holding data that is needed repeatedly and frequently. With the data close at hand in the cache, it does not need to be retrieved from the main storage area each time it is needed.

 SSDs either use cache that is volatile, which is referred to as synchronous dynamic random access memory (SDRAM), or they use non-volatile cache. Similar to computer RAM, SDRAM needs a power source to retain data whereas non-volatile cache retains data even without power. Most flash storage systems are comprised of a memory unit, which is used to store data, and an access controller that manages and controls the storage space on the memory unit.

An SSD has many benefits and advantages over a hard disk drive. For one, since there are no electromechanical parts, seek time doesn’t exist, making the drive very fast. In fact, they are incredibly fast and highly reliable when properly engineered. SSDs characteristically consume about 1/5 of the power and read more than 100x faster than traditional mechanical hard disk drives.

 Data center managers who are looking for ways to address the energy drain represented by hard drives are examining flash storage as a way to achieve green computing objectives. Businesses with I/O-intensive applications have also found flash storage to be effective and economical. As a result, enterprise storage providers, chip-makers, and server manufacturers have all entered the flash storage market.

 Secondly, being sold-state, moving parts do not exist and, as a result, SSDs run much cooler than hard disk drives, and therefore cooling costs automatically decrease. Thirdly, SSDs are lighter than a hard disk drive, and they are completely silent. Silence is golden, isn’t it? Finally, an SSD is more durable. If dropped or pounded, it isn’t as likely to be damaged. Sounds like a win-win-win, right?

 Many people in the industry believe that flash SSDs will eventually replace traditional hard drives. Even today, an SSD can extend the life of a laptop battery, reduce the weight of the system, make it quieter, and increase read performance.

When properly and optimally engineered, SSDs are now at least as reliable as traditional spinning hard drives. SSDs allow your computer to start up in seconds versus minutes. Even the slowest current SSD gives you much improved real-world performance compared to the fastest conventional hard drive, perhaps even 100x faster. This allows for better user productivity, allowing for more work to get done in a fraction of the time. Furthermore, using flash in enterprise storage servers means you can support more users, do more work, and use less power, so it’s no wonder that SSDs have become an important technology for business transactions.

Flash memory is changing the computer business. Adoption of flashed based SSDs at the consumer level are moving upstream faster than many predicted. Furthermore, the improvements in software that make flash easier to manage and protect are proliferating this transformation to gain even more support from forward-looking IT professionals. As flash technology continues to improve in maturity, cost and reliability, it’s likely to show up in more and more places and as a result, the world will be moving a lot faster.

And it’s going to get better. At this time, the cost of SSDs is still higher than that of hard disks, but those costs are decreasing fast. On the technology side, advancements such as NVM Express deliver greater performance, while enabling easier adoption of PCIe based storage. All of this means more productivity and less time waiting.

My life is forever changed (& better) due to the availability and use of flash and there are many that share this sentiment.

Open Fabrics Alliance NVM Express Window Driver 1.3 Released April 25, 2014

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By Kwok Kong, PMC-Sierra

I am pleased to announce the 1.3 release of the open source Open Fabrics Alliance (OFA) NVM Express Windows driver. This release is a result of an excellent collaboration between the NVM Express communities.

The following major features have been added to this release:

  • Hibernation
  • NUMA group support
  • CPU-MSI vector and queue map learning enhancement
  • Logical CPU core enumeration enhancement
  • 32-bit driver support for Windows 7 and 8 • Reset handling enhancement
  • SRB extension support
  • Several bug fixes

Release 1.3 is now behind us and we plan to make the next 1.4 release in late 2014. The focus for 1.4 release is stability and passing the Windows Hardware Certification Kit (HCK) in order to be digitally-signed by WHQL.

The 1.3 release package may be downloaded from https://www.openfabrics.org/index.php/developer-tools/nvme-windows-development.html.

You can participate in the development of the OFA NVM Express Windows driver by joining the mailing list nvmewin@lists.openfabrics.org. To subscribe to the OFA NVM Express Windows driver mailing list, please visit http://lists.openfabrics.org/mailman/listinfo/nvmewin.

Thanks to Intel, LSI, SanDisk, Huawei, Samsung, PMC-Sierra and others who contribute to the successful 1.3 release. Looking forward to working with you all again on the 1.4 release.

Second NVM Express Plugfest, February 24-26, 2014

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UNH-IOLThe second NVM Express (NVMe) Plugfest is approaching and the UNH-IOL NVMe consortium would like to invite all members to the NVMe Plugfest. The  NVMe Plugfest will be held at the UNH-IOL facility from February 24-26, 2014 in Durham, New Hampshire. Registration information can be found at the NVMe Plugfest Registration Page. Additional information is also available at the NVMe Plugfest FAQ Page.  

Companies interested in having their products included in the UNH-IOL NVMe test bed are encouraged to contact UNH-IOL directly.

We hope you will be able to attend.

NVM Express Boot Support added to Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

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Microsoft recently informed the NVMe community the Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 inbox drivers now includes Boot Support for NVMe devices in windows.

The driver, StorNVMe.sys, was designed primarily with the enterprise in mind, but is extensible and flexible enough to grow into the client space. The ability to boot from NVMe devices on Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 using the Windows inbox driver requires the platform to have the appropriate BIOS support and the device is not an eDrive implementation.

NVM Express (NVMe) thanks Microsoft for their continued NVMe support in delivering capabilities customers need.

NVMe Plugfest Webinar – An Interop Event for NVMe SSDs

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UNH-IOLWith the second NVM Express  (NVMe) Plugfest approaching, the University or New Hampshire InterOperability Lab (UNH-IOL) is providing a webinar titled “NVMe Plugfest Webinar – An Interop Event for NVMe SSDs” provide information to UNH-IOL members and non-members. The session will be led by David Woolf and is designed to provide information on the upcoming Plugfest and the benefits of being a UNH-IOL member to enterprise server, storage or subsystem vendor companies developing NVMe products. The webinar takes place January 24 at 2pm (Eastern).

The topics to be discussed include:

  • The next generation of Solid-State Storage
  • Why the NVMe Plugfest is an important step in introducing NVMe SSDs to the market
  • NVMe test tools and equipment at the UNH-IOL, NVMe testing & reports
  • Tips on using IOL INTERACT software to prepare for the Plugfest
  • How to get on the NVMe Integrators List
  • Requirements for participation in the Plugfest, event logistics
  • Key benefits of membership in the UNH-IOL NVMe Testing Consortium

The free webinar will conclude with a Q&A session.

To register for the event or get additional information, visit http://bit.ly/1j7THpd.

SC ’13 and NVM Express

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SC13-logo_1Denver, Super Computing ’13 and NVM Express! It doesn’t get much better than that. For the first time, NVM Express will be at SC ’13 and you’re invited to join us at the NVM Express booth in the Exhibitor Hall from November 18-22 at the Denver Convention Center.

Spotlighting the most advanced scientific and technical applications in the world, SC13 is one of the preeminent conferences for the HPC community. Developed to deliver higher IOPs and lower latency, NVM Express delivers the performance HPC needs, making SC ’13 the perfect venue to learn about NVM Express.

At the NVM Express booth (#3537), Intel, Mangstor and SanDisk will have product demonstrations showing the benefits of this technology.  Look forward to seeing you in Denver.