Storage Trends Around Computex 2015


Tom Coughlin, Contributor

June 8, 2015

The 2015 Computex Conference in Taiwan attracted many digital storage vendors. There were announcements by Micron and a new flash-memory appliance company, AccelStor, on flash-based storage products. In addition, new interface technologies were introduced at or shortly before the conference by Intel and Avago. In addition to flash memory CMC Magnetics said that it is selling optical discs to Facebook for archiving applications.

Flash storage start-up AccelStor, a spin-off from Innodisk in November 2014 introduced its high-performance NeoSapphire all-flash array provides over 1 million IO/s sustained I/O performance and storage capacities up to 11 TB. At the show the company was also showing a 30 TB version. The company plans to introduce its HeoGarnet hybrid storage appliances combining HDDs and flash memory in the second half of 2015.

Micron introduced a triple-level cell (TLC) NAND flash memory device with 16-nm lithography for USB drives, flash media cards and consumer solid state drives without intense write workloads.

Intel announced a new external storage inferface technology at Computex, Thunderbolt 3 that will use the USB Type C connector (recently announced for Apple notebook computers) to provide 40 Gbps data rates. This is double the bandwidth of Thunderbolt 2 and supports USB, DisplayPort and PCIe protocols. It is claimed that a 4K movie can be transferred using Thunderbolt 3 in 30 seconds. In addition to the Intel announcement ATTO Technology said that it will support Thunderbolt 3 in its systems.

In addition to high data transfers Thunderbolt 3 can support a pair of 4K 60 Hz displays or a single 5K 60 Hz display and can provide up to 100 W of power for notebook charging and 15 W to bus-powered devices. Up to 6 devices can be daisy chained on Thunderbolt 3. The first Thunderbolt 3 supported devices should ship before the end of 2015. Active copper cables are needed for up to 2 meter data rates at 40 Gbps while active optical cables are required for lengths up to 60 meters.

Avago said that it is introducing PCIe as a full-fledged network fabric technology using technology with its Express fabric switch technology to combine in-rack server, storage and network resources over PCIe. This technology combines the company’s PEX9700 silicon switch with supporting ExpressFabric software. The company is targeting hyper-converged NVMe flash memory solutions as well as rack-based solutions for regular data centers. Note that EMC was showing a PCIe frabric in their DSSD product in May.

in addition to flash products there were other storage systems on display.  CMC Magnetics, a blank optical disc maker said that it has orders for 100 GB Blu-ray optical discs from Facebook, probably for archival applications. The company expects other internet service companies to follow suit. Note that in late May Sony announced that it was buying Optical Archive, a start-up created by former Facebook executive Frank Frankovsky. Sony is making a big push to create digital archiving solutions using Blue-ray disc technology and the acquisition is seen as an extension of this effort.

Flash memory performance is driving the development of interface and networking technologies that can utilize the full potential of this technology. Thunderbolt 3 is one expression of this trend, as is the recent introduction of PCIe fabrics that would support NVMe flash drives. At the same time optical archiving is getting new legs for some applications, driven by Facebook as well as new Sony Blu-ray disc library technology.

This article was written by Tom Coughlin from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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