Wednesday, November 26, 2008

And the Beat Goes On - Samsung. Intel/Micron & Violin

image via

Samsung has said it has started manufacturing the 256GB Flash SSD.

The 2.5-inch solid-state drive stands both as the company's largest-capacity drive and also its fastest. Its sequential read speed is slightly lower than for its Intel rival at a still fast 220MB per second but is faster for sequential writes, recording data at a very high 200MB per second. The company estimates that the SSD can write 250GB of videos in about 21 minutes versus 70 minutes for a 7,200RPM rotating disk and launches apps about 10 times faster.

It should also clear data faster at about 100GB per minute for a pure drive wipe and consumes about half the power of a spinning drive at just 1.1W during average use. As with other solid-state drives, the chip-based nature of its storage also renders the drive nearly shockproof.

Samsung's drive slots into the SATA drive bays of most notebooks and shares the same 9.5mm (0.37in) height as most stock hard disks. No prices or availability have been given, though Samsung typically makes its Flash SSD lineup available as add-ons and also supplies the drives to PC makers.

Intel builds 32Gb, 34 nanometer flash chips
Intel and its memory making partner Micron today said they have begun mass producing their promised first 34nm NAND flash memory. The smaller manufacturing process lets the two firms build individual chip layers with 32 gigabits (4GB) of data in a standard package and in large batches using regular 300mm wafers. The technology is small enough to allow eight cores per layer and would allow a two-layer stack to carry as much as 64GB without needing entirely separate chips.

The company explicitly targets the breakthrough at portable electronics, including cellphones, MP3 players and similar devices where space for memory is at a premium. It should also produce a "dramatic" increase in the capacity of solid-state drives by combining multiple discrete chips.

Neither Intel nor Micron says when the 34nm memory should reach shipping products, though they add that they are "ahead of schedule" with production. The timing of the production puts most of those devices into an early 2009 release window.

Intel's release puts the company into direct competition with Toshiba, which expects to ship a 32GB module that will compete with Intel's in a similar timeframe. The relative size and cost of the two chips is unavailable, though Toshiba's part is made using a less dense 43nm process that is potentially larger.

Companies such as Apple are believed to be waiting on chips like these to upgrade the storage of the iPhone and iPod touch; the former only has space for one memory chip in its current design and so needs the new technology to move to 32GB of space.


Violin Memory has created a new product category that significantly improves computing performance when processing large scale datasets. The company’s new Tier-0 memory appliance supports 4TB of Flash in a 2U platform and 8TB of DRAM in a single rack, providing unprecedented performance and scalability along with compelling economics. With disk-like capacity and memory-like performance in a single appliance, the Violin 1010 generates between 10X and 100X application performance advantage and delivers an 80% reduction in power and space in typical data center environments.

CPU and network performance have been growing at Moore’s law or faster with growth rates above 50% per annum. Disk performance has been growing at less than 5% per annum. These contrasting trends have meant that applications are increasingly seek bound where CPUs are idle and users are not satisfied.

Ultra-green Power Efficiency

Power efficiency is the most important tool for reducing the total cost of memory in the data center. Over a 3-5 year equipment life, power costs typically dominate capital costs. Even if some equipment is free, it is still too expensive to install and operate. The total power costs include:

  • Operating power costs
  • Cooling power costs
  • Electrical conditioning and distribution costs
  • Power protection costs (UPS, back-up generators)

APC performed a Data Center Total Cost of Ownership study in 2005 and came up with the following results and chart for a 1500W rack of equipment. Using this data and factoring in financial costs, the actual cost of a kW over the lifetime of a piece of equipment can be over $40K.

For memory, the important metric is power per GByte. A well designed 64GByte server requires 5W per GByte. Violin Switched Memory (VXM) dramatically lowers power requirements to less than 1W per GByte, an 80% savings. This equates to savings of 4kW per TByte or $160,000 per TByte.


No comments:

Post a Comment