Subject: Storage | November 20, 2017 - 10:56 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: Z-NAND, SZ985, slc, Samsung, P4800X, nand, Intel, flash
We haven't heard much about Samsung's 'XPoint Killer' Z-NAND since Flash Memory Summit 2017, but now we have a bit more to go on:
Yes, actual specs. In print. Not bad either, considering the Samsung SZ985 appears to offer a bus-saturating 3.2GB/s for reads and writes. The 30 DWPD figure matches Intel's P4800X, which is impressive given Samsung's part operates on flash derived from their V-NAND line (but operating in a different mode). The most important figures here are latency, so let's focus there for a bit:
While the SZ985 runs at ~1/3rd the latency of Samsung's own NAND SSDs, it has roughly double the latency of the P4800X. For the moment that is actually not as bad as it seems as it takes a fair amount of platform optimization to see the full performance benefits of optane, and operating slightly higher on the latency spectrum helps negate the negative impacts of incorrectly optimized platforms:
Source: Shrout Research
As you can see above, operating at slightly higher latencies, while netting lower overall performance, does lessen the sting of platform induced IRQ latency penalties.
Now to discuss costs. While we don't have any hard figures, we do have the above slide from FMS 2017, where Samsung stressed that they are trying to get the costs of Z-NAND down while keeping latencies as low as possible.
Image Source: ExtremeTech
Samsung backed up their performance claims with a Technology Brief (available here), which showed decent performance gains and cited use cases paralleling those we've seen used by Intel. The takeaway here is that Samsung *may* be able to compete with the Intel P4800X in a similar performance bracket - not matching the performance but perhaps beating it on cost. The big gotcha is that we have yet to see a single Samsung NVMe Enterprise SSD come through our labs for testing, or anywhere on the market for that matter, so take these sorts of announcements with a grain of salt until we see these products gain broader adoption/distribution.
Subject: Storage | August 2, 2017 - 06:21 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, tlc, slc, QLC, nand, mlc, flash, 96GB, 768Gb, 3d
A month ago, WD and Toshiba each put out releases related to their BiCS 3D Flash memory. WD announced 96 layers (BiCS4) as their next capacity node, while Toshiba announced them reliably storing four bits per cell (QLC).
WD recently did their own press release related to QLC, partially mirroring Toshiba's announcement, but this one had some additional details on capacity per die, as well as stating their associated technology name used for these shifts. TLC was referred to as "X3", and "X4" is the name for their QLC tech as applied to BiCS. The WD release stated that X4 tech, applied to BiCS3, yields 768Gbit (96GB) per die vs. 512Gbit (64GB) per die for X3 (TLC). Bear in mind that while the release (and the math) states this is a 50% increase, moving from TLC to QLC with the same number of cells does only yields a 33% increase, meaning X4 BiCS3 dies need to have additional cells (and footprint) to add that extra 17%.
The release ends by hinting at X4 being applied to BiCS4 in the future, which is definitely exciting. Merging the two recently announced technologies would yield a theoretical 96-layer BiCS4 die, using X4 QLC technology, yielding 1152 Gbit (144GB) per die. A 16 die stack of which would come to 2,304 GB (1.5x the previously stated 1.5TB figure). The 2304 figure might appear incorrect but consider that we are multiplying two 'odd' capacities together (768 Gbit (1.5x512Gbit for TLC) and 96 layers (1.5x64 for X3).
Press blast appears after the break.
Subject: General Tech | July 31, 2017 - 01:11 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: flash, Adobe, bad idea, open source
Just when you thought it was safe, there is a group who are attempting to ensure that Adobe Flash never dies, just like the killer from a horror movie in the 80's and 90's. These poor misguided fools feel that by making Flash open source, the community will be able to salve the open sores which Flash is covered in. If you can pass a sanity check, you might wonder why anyone would want to keep this application alive. It would seem that the developer who started this petition on GitHub because "Flash is an important piece of Internet history and killing Flash means future generations can't access the past,". One could make the same argument about Geocities and sound roughly as coherent. You can pop over to The Inquirer for a name, as well as a link to the petition.
"A LOYAL but misguided fool has started a petition in the hope of convincing Adobe to take Flash's source code into the open source."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- It Is Easy To Expose Users' Secret Web Habits, Say Researchers @ Slashdot
- The complete history of the IBM PC, part two: The DOS empire strikes @ Ars Technica
- Microsoft won't patch SMBv1 flaw that only an idiot would expose @ The Register
- Microsoft's Windows 10 subsystem for Linux is out of beta @ The Inquirer
- Yeehaw! And welcome to another rootin'-tootin' storage pony wrangling @ The Register
- OpenGL 4.6 Released With Vulkan/SPIR-V Ingestion, Parallel Shader Compiles & Finally AF @ Phoronix
Subject: General Tech | July 5, 2017 - 12:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: flash, Samsung
Historically, memory prices have been as volatile as the RAM they are used in but recently this has changed. The demand for flash storage, volatile or not, has grown tremendously with the advent of SSDs, the ever increasing local flash storage provided on your phone and now even cars and other members of the IoT are devouring flash as quickly as it can be made. This has lead to the new pricing trend we have been seeing, a slow increase in the price of flash memory. Samsung is addressing this shortage, and looking to increase their revenue, by making a large investment in their existing infrastructure in South Korea. All told these investments total $31.2 billion dollars and will enhance existing production lines as well as adding Extreme Ultra Violet machinery to a Fab which currently lacks that technology. Drop by The Register for more detail.
"It says it will invest KRW 30 trillion ($26.1bn) by 2021 in its existing plant in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, to expand its semiconductor fabrication capacity. This fab, claimed to be the single largest in the industry, is now making 64-layer 4th generation V-NAND flash chips."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Photobucket wrecks thousands of sites with £310 'ransom' for embedding photos @ The Inquirer
- Raspberry Pi's Smaller, Cheaper Rival: NanoPi Neo Plus2 Weighs in at $25 @ Slashdot
- Canadian gets 30 days to ditch his 'noreply' email moniker @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2017 - 12:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: security, flash, fedex, coupon
FedEx seems to be indicating they are not quite ready for Adobe Flash to go away, by offering certain customers a $5.00 coupon to enable it. This was likely triggered by the mass migration of browsers from Adobe's much beleaguered media program; Chrome only loads Flash content after user intervention and both Edge and Firefox will soon discontinue support as well. The offer is for FedEx Office Print customers but you can certainly take a peek yourself if you want to try it, though The Register cautions against abusing it lest we all lose the benefit. There is a link to download Flash on FedEx's website but if you do decide to update or install Flash we would suggest you head straight to Adobe to get it.
"The offer's being made to users of FedEx Office Print, the custom printing tentacle of the transport company. FedEx Office Print lets customers design posters, signs, manuals, banners and even promotional magnets."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Galaxy Note 7 Is Not Dead, Samsung Says It Will Sell Refurbished Units @ Slashdot
- Replica Fallout Terminal @ Hack a Day
- AMD Ryzen forces price cuts to legacy FX and A10 CPUs @ The Inquirer
- An insecure dishwasher has entered the IoT war against humanity @ The Inquirer
- Netgear Orbi @ PC Review
- Inside OpenSSL's battle to change its license: Coders' rights, tech giants, patents and more @ The Register
- The Spotify Q&A Session With Sunita Kaur @ Tech ARP
Subject: Storage | January 3, 2017 - 02:46 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: usb, Ultimate, Terabyte, ssd, kingston, GT, flash, drive, DataTraveler, CES 2017, CES, 2TB, 1TB
Kicking off the storage announcements at CES 2017, Kingston announced a 2TB thumb drive:
Ok, well it's a bit big for a thumb drive, but it is definitely a high capacity portable SSD with a narrower profile (width wise) than a Samsung T3, and is meant to be plugged directly into a USB port. Thickness may be an issue for some applications, but I assume they would include a short extension for those trying to plug into tighter spaces like at the rear of a PC case. The release was light on details, particularly performance, though I'd expect these to be able to do a few hundred MB/s on sequentials at a minimum. More should come out about this and other Kingston products later in the week.
*edit* Here's a couple of pics I snagged at one of the events here:
Full press blast after the break.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Storage | December 22, 2016 - 04:03 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: UFS 2.1, UFS, PS8313, PS8311, phison, nand, flash, controller
Following up on Micron's UFS 2.1 announcement, Phison has announced the launch of their own PS8311 UFS 2.1 controller:
For those unaware, UFS 2.1 is a much-anticipated replacement for eMMC, which is the equivalent of trying to run your laptop OS off of an SD Card. Fortunately, eMMC only appears in budget systems, but the transition to UFS 2.1 should bring the storage performance bar up considerably in those systems.
UFS Architecture Overview. Source: JEDEC
Devices following the Universal Flash Storage standard will enable less protocol overhead and more direct communication with the flash.
Looking at an older roadmap, we see Phison was relatively on target with the PS8311, with a faster PS8313 scheduled for later in 2017.
Subject: General Tech | December 13, 2016 - 02:47 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: google, chrome, Adobe, flash
Google is about to begin transitioning their users away from Flash, unless they explicitly enable it on a site-by-site basis. This is a step beyond click-to-activate, which refuses to activate the plug-in until the user permits it, that will not even acknowledge the plug-in’s existence unless the user requests it. The difference is that this tells sites to treat the browser as not having Flash, which, for PC Perspective as an example, should load our HTML5 article carousel instead of presenting a click-to-activate Flash one that has an expanding oval transition animation.
Because changes like these could have side-effects, Google is dipping their toe before jumping in. About 1% of users on the current Chrome 55 (and ~50% of Chrome 56 pre-release users) will have this change flipped on any day now, which contains the outrage if it breaks something popular or, otherwise, causes user grief. If it all goes well, though, it will be enabled for everyone when Chrome 56 arrives for the general public in February.
Subject: Storage | August 10, 2016 - 02:00 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: 2.5, V-NAND, ssd, Samsung, nand, FMS 2016, FMS, flash, 64-Layer, 32TB, SAS, datacenter
..now this picture has been corrected for extreme parallax and was taken in far from ideal conditions, but you get the point. Samsung's keynote is coming up later today, and I have a hunch this will be a big part of what they present. We did know 64-Layer was coming, as it was mentioned in Samsung's last earnings announcement, but confirmation is nice.
*edit* now that the press conference has taken place, here are a few relevant slides:
With 48-Layer V-NAND announced last year (and still rolling out), it's good to see Samsung pushing hard into higher capacity dies. 64-Layer enables 512Gbits (64GB) per die, and 100MB/s per die maximum throughput means even lower capacity SSDs should offer impressive sequentials.
Samsung 48-Layer V-NAND. Pic courtesy of TechInsights.
We will know more shortly, but for now, dream of even higher capacity SSDs :)
*edit* and this just happened:
*additional edit* - here's a better picture taken after the keynote:
The 32TB model in their 2.5" form factor displaces last years 16TB model. The drive itself is essentially identical, but the flash packages now contain 64-layer dies, doubling the available capacity of the device.
Subject: Storage | August 9, 2016 - 05:59 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: XPoint, Worm, storage, ssd, RocksDB, Optane, nand, flash, facebook
At their FMS 2016 Keynote, Facebook gave us some details on the various storage technologies that fuel their massive operation:
In the four corners above, they covered the full spectrum of storing bits. From NVMe to Lightning (huge racks of flash (JBOF)), to AVA (quad M.2 22110 NVMe SSDs), to the new kid on the block, WORM storage. WORM stands for Write Once Read Many, and as you might imagine, Facebook has lots of archival data that they would like to be able to read quickly, so this sort of storage fits the bill nicely. How do you pull off massive capacity in flash devices? QLC. Forget MLC or TLC, QLC stores four bits per cell, meaning there are 16 individual voltage states for each cell. This requires extremely precise writing techniques and reads must appropriately compensate for cell drift over time, and while this was a near impossibility with planar NAND, 3D NAND has more volume to store those electrons. This means one can trade the endurance gains of 3D NAND for higher bit density, ultimately enabling SSDs upwards of ~100TB in capacity. The catch is that they are rated at only ~150 write cycles. This is fine for archival storage requiring WORM workloads, and you still maintain NAND speeds when it comes to reading that data later on, meaning that decade old Facebook post will appear in your browser just as quickly as the one you posted ten minutes ago.
Next up was a look at some preliminary Intel Optane SSD results using RocksDB. Compared to a P3600, the prototype Optane part offers impressive gains in Facebook's real-world workload. Throughput jumped by 3x, and latency reduced to 1/10th of its previous value. These are impressive gains given this fairly heavy mixed workload.
More to follow from FMS 2016!