As few as 0.2 percent of servers use flash now, an attach rate that
could grow to 30 percent over the next five to seven years, Huff
believes. With nearly 70 percent share in server storage, the market for
the generally high margin products is a boon to LSI.
three orders of magnitude in growth looks good to us,” he said. “We want
to be the company that brings the value of flash to the masses,” he
Of course so does a long line of established and startup
vendors of solid-state drives, network appliances, servers and storage
“It’s a land grab right now because there is no
established model of how flash gets deployed,” said Huff, who spent much
of his career as a senior engineering manager in Hewlett-Packard’s
server group. “The external storage world is trying to map this
technology into credible solutions, but there are a lot of different
answers,” he said.
In flash cards for ultrabooks “we’re killing
it right now” Huff said of LSI’s product. But he sees OEMs taking
ultrabooks in different directions as they try to differentiate the
"They will all try to drive different requirements for
displays, wireless and storage,” Huff said. “Today one [flash
controller] chip and firmware customization is enough, but in the future
we’ll need a portfolio of products,” he said.
Hard disks still
have a long future, however, due to the high cost of flash and the heavy
demand for storage. “We see no end in sight for our business building
semis for the hard drive industry,” he said.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.