Flash Memory Summit 2013


IMG_0048  Day 1 – This morning the Flash Memory Summit (FMS) kicked off in earnest in Santa Clara, CA.  Another year of record attendance for FMS was capped off by standing room only for all of the NVM Express (NVMe) and PCIe morning sessions.  The morning sessions started off with Micron’s Janene Ellefson and Intel’s Amber Huffman kicking off the NVM Express track. Janene provided the audience with an excellent overview of NVMe followed up by Amber’s technical depiction of the NVMe standard followed by and update of significant progress the standard has made specifically related to operating system inclusion.  To this point, in addition to native OS driver support for both Linux and Windows OS’s, it was announced that the UNIX driver will be ready for release Aug/E; the Solaris driver will ship in S12, and the vmklinux driver (VMware) is expected to release in Dec 2013.  Lastly, there was discussion of the increased utility available to NVMe designers provided by several of the new form factors available to the standard such as the M.2 and SFF-8639.

Microsoft’s Tobias Klima provided a fresh update on their NVMe stack performance.  Improvements to the Storport stack now yield IOPS performance advantages of ~8x versus SATA/SAS interfaces and latencies that are lower by over 85%.

sTec’s Swapna Yasarapu and Dell’s Munif Farhan provided their insights on the benefits of NVMe in the Enterprise, Data Center and Client environments. In between these sessions, David Woolf provided the latest on NVMe Conformance and Interoperability testing.

The afternoon session started with PMC Sierra’s Peter Onufryk providing a great overview of features added in the 1.1 specification and provided insight on the future direction of NVMe.  The session concluded with an all-star Panel discussion that included EMC’s Steve Sardella, SanDisk’s David Landsman, NetApp’s David Dale, Samsung’s Indong Kim, Seagate’s Tom Lenny and LSI’s Sumit Puri.

Outside of the buzz generated within the NVMe track, conviction was high surrounding next generation flash component technology.  In its keynote, Samsung formally announced that it has begun mass producing its first three-dimensional (3D) Vertical NAND (V-NAND) flash memory.  Management went on to say that they will be using the VNAND flash in upcoming enterprise SSDs that will provide improvements not only to density but to both read & write performance. NVMe was also mentioned in the Samsung keynote and we look forward to seeing it enabled on the next gen of NVM.

IMG_0050Day 2 – The Exhibit Hall opened and the turnout was amazing at the NVMe Technology Showcase booth (#215).  6 NVMe members, Dell, Fastor Systems, Intel, PMC Sierra, SanDisk and sTec are demonstrating or showing NVMe products and the booth has been packed. Also in the exhibit hall, other NVMe members are showing NVMe products in their booths. These include OakGate Technology, PMC Sierra and Mobiveil. Haven’t had a chance to get to all of the booths, but I’ve been told there are others as well. It’s great to see all of these NVMe products. Please be sure to stop by if you are at the show!

Outside of the Exhibit Hall, Intel’s Rob Crooke gave an interesting keynote about the advancements of SSDs. In his keynote, he included a foil highlighting the performance gains provided by NVMe. This may have been a Flash Memory Summit first for NVMe.

 Please be sure to stop by if you are at Flash Memory Summit!

Anthony Carbone, Fastor Systems