SAN JOSE, Calif. – The NVM Express group held its first plugfest this week in anticipation of members shipping later this year the first flash drives using the new interface. NVMe aims to lower latency and cost of solid-state drives on a PCI Express bus while easing the job of creating software drivers for them.
Eleven companies participated in the plugfest including Dell Inc., Fastor Systems, Integrated Device Technology, Intel, Samsung, SanDisk, Stec and Western Digital. Seagate, a member of the NVMe working group, did not take part in the event held at the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab May 13-16.
Drives passing the group’s compliance tests will be posted on the NVMe Integrators List. The current NVMe version 1.1 spec was published in October 2012.
A separate group, not quite so far along, is finishing a spec in the T10 standards group for storage devices that also will ride PCIe but use the SCSI command set. The first SCSI Express products could emerge before the end of the year and has support from companies including Hewlett-Packard and PMC-Sierra.
“The great thing about both technologies is they use host controller interface,” said a source working with the SCSI Express group who asked not to be named. “HCI should enable device makers to support both NVMe and SCSI Express with modest complexity and overhead, letting customers choose what best works for their environment so device makers don’t have to pick one over the other,” he said.
Solid-state drives started off using the low cost serial ATA interface. Startup Fusion IO pioneered moving the drives to the faster PCI Express interface.
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.