Having Fun at Queue Depth = 1: What Next Generation Non Volatile Memory (NG-NVM) means for PCIe SSDs and SSD Drivers

Author: Stephen Bates (@stepbates)

Update – 26 Nov 2015 – Well things can move very fast in the Linux world when they want to! Since I wrote this article an improved, but still pre-production, version of the polling code for the block layer and NVMe driver have made it into the Linux kernel and will go mainline in 4.4. There is a really nice overview of how it works here and Jens’ patch-set comments and some of his testing results can be found here. It is worth stressing that the results we present should only improve as the polling mode evolves. Stay tuned for updated performance results in due course!

Introduction

I love SSDs! They have transformed the data center by providing high-performance, low latency access to storage. Low latency is transforming the data center stack. I will be digging into latency in my next few blog posts, starting with Driver latency here.

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What’s Hot in Storage? NVMe over Fabrics, SMR, PMEM and more! Highlights from SNIA’s Storage Developer Conference 2015

Author: Stephen Bates (@stepbates)

Introduction

Last week I had the opportunity to attend and present at SNIA’s Storage Developer Conference (SDC). This great technical conference is organized by storage developers for storage developers. SNIA asked me for a commendation for this conference and my reply was:

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PMC’s Top 5 #Awesome Moments at Flash Memory Summit 2015

Author: Stephen Bates (@stepbates)

Introduction

Flash Memory Summit just wrapped up for 2015 and it was an #awesome one for PMC. The PMC team pulled out all the stops to cement our position as the enabler for performance storage solutions. Here is my list of top five #awesome moments for PMC at FMS 2015. Continue reading

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Re-imagining Storage with Non-Volatile Memory

Author: Edward Sharp

word cloud“May you live in interesting times.” If you haven’t noticed, IT is already there, with cloud, mobile, big data, in-memory, NoSQL, Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA), Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) drives, Non-Volatile Memory (NVM), and the list goes on. Our landscape is undergoing massive disruption as new technologies and techniques enable customers to do more with less. This disruption is a threat to existing businesses, and an opportunity for the fast, the focused, and the bold.

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PMC Flashtec + Memblaze PBlaze 4 = NVM Express SSD Awesomeness!

Author: Stephen Bates (@stepbates)

In mid-May I headed to Beijing to attend Memblaze’s launch of their new Solid State Drives (SSDs) based on the PMC Flashtec™ controller. I was verStephen Batesy happy to make the trip because we have worked closely with Memblaze over the past 18 months as they transferred their SSDs from the FPGA-based PBlaze3 to the PMC Flashtec based PBlaze4. There has been a lot of interest within China around these Memblaze SSDs and NVM Express™ (NVMe™), and I wanted to go there and see for myself.

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POWER Up with PMC! PMC at the OpenPOWER Summit

Author: Stephen Bates (@stepbates)Stephen Bates

March 17-19, 2015 marked the first ever OpenPOWER Summit, which was held at the San Jose Convention Center. This was an opportunity for the 110+ members of OpenPOWER to get together and showcase the progress to-date in establishing an open CPU/server framework around the Power8 processor and sub-systems. At the same time, this was a chance for non-OpenPOWER companies to learn more about what members are trying to achieve and determine how best to work with this ecosystem going forward.

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UCSD Non-Volatile Memory Workshop – Paving the Way for Persistent Main-Memory

Author: Stephen Bates (@stepbates)

Recall from my last blog that I have a mantra – Let’s stop thinking about NVM as fast storage and start thinking about itTower as (slow) memory! Well it seems I am not alone in that thinking, as this premise was very well represented at the NVM Workshop organized by two of the research groups at UCSD.

PMC had the pleasure of being a Platinum Sponsor at this year’s event and I always consider this to be the technical counter-point to Flash Memory Summit. The event is a lot smaller than FMS but more technically orientated with a nice mix of industrial and academic speakers. I have been attending for three years now and always find it a great place to catch up on people’s research and meet graduate students (who might be persuaded to come work for PMC).

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Why Standards Matter

Author: Jeremiah TusseyTower

We may not think about them often, but technical standards impact most aspects of our daily lives. Gasoline refined in California will work in a car engine built in Japan. Your phone charger plugs into an outlet in your office just as easily as into an outlet in a hotel room. And your bank card works in ATMs in Texas, Ohio, Florida, or wherever.

The storage industry has its own set of technical standards, and PMC is actively involved in the initiatives and communities that lead to the development of standardized feature-sets. Additionally, we regularly participate in test events to prove out our latest silicon, boards, and firmware to ensure proper protocol operation in open environments.

Our leadership and input have led to cutting-edge PMC innovations, better interoperability with other vendors and happy customers.

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SNIA NVM Summit: NVDIMMs, Programming Models and Next-Generation Non-Volatile Memory

Author: Stephen Bates (@stepbates)

On January 20, 2015, I had the pleasure of attending the SNIA NVM Summit in San Jose, California. This was a great event, and kudos to SNIA and Intel for putting it together. The event was very well attended by a who’s who of the NVM world.  There were a lot of great panels and presentations covering three main themes:SNIA

1.   NVDIMMs. NVDIMMs have been around for some time but have had issues with motherboard compatibility and OS support. It is clear that, while issues still remain, support is improving. I will be doing a more in-depth blog on NVDIMMs soon, where I will delve into them in a lot more detail and compare them to current alternatives, such as our Flashtec NVRAM card.

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Project Donard: Peer-to-Peer Communication with NVM Express Devices – Part Two

Author: Stephen Bates (@stepbates)

Adding Remote Direct Memory Access

IntroductionDonard

In my last blog post I introduced a project called Donard that implements peer-2-peer (p2p) data transfers between NVM Express devices and PCIe GPU cards.  We showed how the p2p transfers could improve performance and offload the CPU, which can save power when compared to classical non-p2p transfers.

In this article we extend Donard to add RDMA-capable Network Interface Cards (NICs) into the mix of PCIe devices that can talk in a p2p fashion. This is very important as it brings the third part of what I call the PCIe trifecta to the Donard program. The three elements of the trifecta being storage, compute and networking.

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