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    Your Questions Answered on Non-Volatile DIMMs

    April 3rd, 2017
      by Arthur Sainio, SNIA NVDIMM SIG Co-Chair, SMART Modular SNIA’s Non-Volatile DIMM (NVDIMM) Special Interest Group (SIG) had a tremendous response to their most recent webcast:  NVDIMM:  Applications are Here!  You can view the webcast on demand. Viewers had many questions during the webcast.  In this blog, the NVDIMM SIG answers those questions and shares the SIG’s knowledge of NVDIMM technology. Have a question?  Send it to nvdimmsigchair@snia.org. 1. What about 3DXpoint, how will this technology impact the market?  Continue Reading...

    SNIA Ranked #2 for Storage Certifications – and Now You Can Take Exams at 900 Locations Worldwide

    March 29th, 2017

    The SNIA Storage Networking Certification Program (SNCP) provides a strong foundation of vendor-neutral, systems-level credentials that integrate with and complement individual vendor certifications. Its four credentials – SNIA Certified Storage Professional; SNIA Certified Storage Engineer; SNIA Certified Storage Architect; and SNIA Certified Storage Networking Expert  – reflect the advancement and growth of storage networking technologies, and establish a uniform standard by which individual knowledge and skill sets can be evaluated, thereby providing employers in the storage industry with an independent assessment of the individual.  Continue Reading…


    SNIA Swordfish is Swimming Fast – Catch Up Now!

    February 27th, 2017

    If you haven’t caught the updates on SNIA SwordfishTM lately, please read on because it’s swimming fast! The new SNIA specification offers a unified approach to managing storage and servers in environments like hyperscale and cloud infrastructures. SNIA’s Scalable Storage Management Technical Work Group (SSM TWG) just announced completion of Version 1.0.3. The new version reflects specification enhancements in multiple areas plus a User’s Guide, multiple new use cases and a new document section.

    “Because SNIA Swordfish is an extension to DMTF’s (Distributed Management Task Force) open industry Redfish™ standard, it specifies the same RESTful interface and utilizes JavaScript Object Notation and Open Data Protocol to help customers integrate solutions within their existing tool chains,” said Don Deel, Chairman, SNIA Storage Management Initiative. “The SSM TWG members responsible for helping develop SNIA Swordfish represent many of the leading companies in the storage industry today, including Broadcom, Dell EMC, HPE, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp, Nimble Storage and VMware.”

    You can also keep up with the latest Swordfish updates by continually visiting the SNIA Swordfish website. If you’re interested in helping shape the future of storage management by getting involved in the development of SNIA Swordfish, please e-mail storagemanagement@snia.org.


    SNIA Storage Developer Conference-The Knowledge Continues

    October 13th, 2016

    SNIA’s 18th Storage Developer Conference is officially a success, with 124 general and breakout sessions;  Cloud Interoperability, Kinetiplugfest 5c Storage, and SMB3 plugfests; ten Birds-of-a-Feather Sessions, and amazing networking among 450+ attendees.  Sessions on NVMe over Fabrics won the title of most attended, but Persistent Memory, Object Storage, and Performance were right behind.  Many thanks to SDC 2016 Sponsors, who engaged attendees in exciting technology discussions.

    For those not familiar with SDC, this technical industry event is designed for a variety of storage technologists at various levels from developers to architects to product managers and more.  And, true to SNIA’s commitment to educating the industry on current and future disruptive technologies, SDC content is now available to all – whether you attended or not – for download and viewing.

    20160919_120059You’ll want to stream keynotes from Citigroup, Toshiba, DSSD, Los Alamos National Labs, Broadcom, Microsemi, and Intel – they’re available now on demand on SNIA’s YouTube channel, SNIAVideo.

    All SDC presentations are now available for download; and over the next few months, you can continue to download SDC podcasts which combine audio and slides. The first podcast from SDC 2016 – on hyperscaler (as well as all 2015 SDC Podcasts) are available here, and more will be available in the coming weeks.

    SNIA thanks all its members and colleagues who contributed to make SDC a success! A special thanks goes out to the SNIA Technical Council, a select group of acknowledged industry experts who work to guide SNIA technical efforts. In addition to driving the agenda and content for SDC, the Technical Council oversees and manages SNIA Technical Work Groups, reviews architectures submitted by Work Groups, and is the SNIA’s technical liaison to standards organizations. Learn more about these visionary leaders at http://www.snia.org/about/organization/tech_council.

    And finally, don’t forget to mark your calendars now for SDC 2017 – September 11-14, 2017, again at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara. Watch for the Call for Presentations to open in February 2017.


    The Changing World of SNIA Technical Work – A Conversation with Technical Council Chair Mark Carlson

    August 3rd, 2016

    carlson_mark_resizeMark Carlson is the current Chair of the SNIA Technical Council (TC). Mark has been a SNIA member and volunteer for over 18 years, and also wears many other SNIA hats.   Recently, SNIA on Storage sat down with Mark to discuss his first nine months as the TC Chair and his views on the industry.

    SNIA on Storage (SoS):  Within SNIA, what is the most important activity of the SNIA Technical Council?

    Mark Carlson (MC): The SNIA Technical Council works to coordinate and approve the technical work going on within SNIA. This includes both SNIA Architecture (standards) and SNIA Software. The  work is conducted within 13 SNIA Technical Work Groups (TWGs).  The members of the TC are elected from the voting companies of SNIA, and the Council also includes appointed members and advisors as well as SNIA regional affiliate advisors. SNIA_Technology_Infographic_4

    SoS:  What has been your focus this first nine months of 2016?   

    MC: The SNIA Technical Council has overseen a major effort to integrate a new standard organization into SNIA.  The creation of the new SNIA SFF Technology Affiliate (TA) Technical Work Group has brought in a very successful group of folks and standards related to storage connectors and transceivers. This work group, formed in June 2016, carries forth the longstanding SFF Committee work efforts that has operated since 1990 until mid-2016.  In 2016, SFF Committee leaders transitioned the organizational stewardship to SNIA, to operate under a special membership class named Technology Affiliate, while retaining the long standing technical focus on specifications in a similar fashion as all SNIA TWGs do.

    SoS:  What changes did SNIA implement to form the new Technology Affiliate membership class and why?

    MC: The SNIA Policy and Procedures were changed to account for this new type of membership.  Companies can now join an Affiliate TWG without having to join SNIA as a US member.  Current SNIA members who want to participate in a Technology Affiliate like SFF can join a Technology Affiliate and pay the separate dues.  The SFF was a catalyst – we saw an organization looking for a new home as its membership evolved and its leadership transitioned.  They felt SNIA could be this home but we needed to complete some activities to make it easier for them to seamlessly continue their work.   The SFF is now fully active within SNIA and also working closely with T10 and T11, groups that SNIA members have long participated in.

    SoS:  Is forming this Technology Affiliate a one-time activity?

    MC: Definitely not.  The SNIA is actively seeking organizations who are looking for a structure that SNIA provides with IP policies, established infrastructure to conduct their work, and 160+ leading companies with volunteers who know storage and networking technology.

    SoC:  What are some of the customer pain points you see in the industry?

    MC: Critical pain points the TC has started to address with new TWGs over the last 24 months include: performance of solid state storage arrays, where the SNIA Solid State Storage Systems (S4) TWG is working to identify, develop, and coordinate system performance standards for solid state storage systems; and object drives, where work is being done by the Object Drive TWG to identify, develop, and coordinate standards for object drives operating as storage nodes in scale out storage solutions.  With the number of different future disk drive interfaces emerging that add value from external storage to in-storage compute, we want to make sure they can be managed at scale and are interoperable.TC org chart 2016

    SoS:  What’s upcoming for the next six months?

    MC: The TC is currently working on a white paper to address data center drive requirements and the features and existing interface standards that satisfy some of those requirements.  Of course, not all the solutions to these requirements will come from SNIA, but we think SNIA is in a unique position to bring in the data center customers that need these new features and work with the drive vendors to prototype solutions that then make their way into other standards efforts.  Features that are targeted at the NVM Express, T10, and T13 committees would be coordinated with these customers.

    SoS:  Can non-members get involved with SNIA?

    MC:   Until very recently, if a company wanted to contribute to a software project within SNIA, they had to become a member. This was limiting to the community, and cut off contributions from those who were using the code, so SNIA has developed a convenient Contributor License Agreement (CLA) for contributions to individual projects.  This allows external contributions but does not change the software licensing. The CLA is compatible with the IP protections that the SNIA IP Policy provides to our members.  Our hope is that this will create a broader community of contributors to a more open SNIA, and facilitate open source project development even more.

    SoS:  Will you be onsite for the upcoming SNIA Storage Developer Conference (SDC)?

    MC: Absolutely!  I look forward to meeting SNIA members and colleagues September 19-22 at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara.  We have a great agenda, now online, that the TC has developed for this, our 18th conference, and registration is now open.  SDC brings in more than 400 of the leading storage software and hardware developers, storage product and solution architects, product managers, storage product quality assurance engineers, product line CTOs, storage product customer support engineers, and in–house IT development staff from around the world.  If technical professionals are not familiar with the education and knowledge that SDC can provide, a great way to get a taste is to check out the SDC Podcasts now posted, and the new ones that will appear leading up to SDC 2016.


    Linear Tape File System Now an International Standard

    June 9th, 2016

    By David Pease, Co-Chair SNIA Linear Tape File System Technical Working Group

    In 2011 the Linear Tape File System (LTFS) earned IBM an Engineering Emmy Award after being recognized by FOX Networks for “improving the ability of media companies to capture, manage and exploit content in digital form, fundamentally changing the way that audio and video content is managed and stored.”  Now, the International Standardization Organization (ISO) has named LTFS an International Standard (ISO/IEC 20919:2016).

    LTFS’s road to standardization was a long one.  It started with IBM and the LTO (Linear Tape Open) Consortium jointly publishing the LTFS Format Specification as an open format in April, 2010, the day that LTFS was announced at the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) show in Las Vegas.  In 2012, at the invitation of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), we formed the SNIA LTFS Technical Work Group, with a specific goal of moving towards international standardization.  The LTFS TWG and SNIA proceeded to publish several revisions of the LTFS Format Specification, inviting all interested parties to join the work group and contribute, or to comment on the specification before formal publication.  In 2014 SNIA helped the LTFS TWG format the then-current version of the specification (V2.2) to ISO standards and worked with the ISO organization to publish the specification as a draft standard and solicit comments.  After review and comments, the LTFS Format Specification was approved by ISO as an international standard in April of 2016 (just 6 years after it was first announced).

    We are thrilled by the recognition of LTFS as an ISO standard; it is one more step towards guaranteeing that the LTFS format is a truly open standard that will continue to be available and usable for the foreseeable future.  In my opinion, two of the major inhibitors to the widespread use of tape technology for data storage have been the lack of a standard format for data storage and interchange on tape, and its perceived difficulty of use. LTFS addresses both of these problems by providing a general-purpose, open format that can easily be used like any other storage medium.

    As the world’s data continues to grow at an increasing pace, and the need for affordable, large-scale storage becomes more important, the standardization of LTFS will make the use of tape for long-term, affordable storage easier and more attractive.

    Use Case: Making Digital Media Storage Open and Future-Proof

    Just as in personal photography, the last couple of decades have seen a major shift from analog and film technologies to digital ones in the Media and Entertainment industry, where modern cameras record directly to digital media. This has led to the need for new technologies to replace traditional film as a long-term storage medium for television and movies.

    Film has some specific advantages for the Media & Entertainment industry that a new technology needs to replicate, including long shelf life, inexpensive, and zero-power storage, and a format that is “future-proof.” Tape storage is a perfect match to several of these criteria, including long (30+ years) shelf life, and zero-power, inexpensive storage. However, a stumbling block for the wide-spread acceptance of tape for digital storage in the media and entertainment business had been the lack of an open, easy-to-use, future-proof standard for the format of the data on tape. You can imagine an entertainment company using proprietary storage software, for example, only to run into problems like the provider going out of business or increasing its software costs to an unacceptable level.

    We created LTFS to be an open and future-proof format from the beginning: open, because when we published the format, we made it publicly available at no charge, and future-proof because the format is self-documenting and can be easily accessed without the need for proprietary software.

    Being an international standard should make anyone who is considering the use of LTFS even more comfortable with the fact that it is an open standard that is not owned or controlled by any single company, and is a format that will continue to be supported in the future.  As such, becoming an international standard has the potential to increase the use, and therefore the value, of LTFS across industries.

    For more information about the work of the SNIA LTFS TWG, please visit www.snia.org/ltfs.


    Podcasts Bring the Sounds of SNIA’s Storage Developer Conference to Your Car, Boat, Train, or Plane!

    May 26th, 2016

    SNIA’s Storage Developer Conference (SDC) offers exactly what a developer of cloud, solid state, security, analytics, or big data applications is looking  for – rich technical content delivered in a no-vendor bias manner by today’s leading technologists.  The 2016 SDC agenda is being compiled, but now yousdc podcast pic can get a “sound bite” of what to expect by downloading  SDC podcasts via iTunes, or visiting the SDC Podcast site at http://www.snia.org/podcasts to download the accompanying slides and/or listen to the MP3 version.

    Each podcast has been selected by the SNIA Technical Council from the 2015 SDC event, and include topics like:

    • Preparing Applications for Persistent Memory from Hewlett Packard Enterprise
    • Managing the Next Generation Memory Subsystem from Intel Corporation
    • NVDIMM Cookbook – a Soup to Nuts Primer on Using NVDIMMs to Improve Your Storage Performance from AgigA Tech and Smart Modular Systems
    • Standardizing Storage Intelligence and the Performance and Endurance Enhancements It Provides from Samsung Corporation
    • Object Drives, a New Architectural Partitioning from Toshiba Corporation
    • Shingled Magnetic Recording- the Next Generation of Storage Technology from HGST, a Western Digital Company
    • SMB 3.1.1 Update from Microsoft

    Eight podcasts are now available, with new ones added each week all the way up to SDC 2016 which begins September 19 at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara.  Keep checking the SDC Podcast website, and remember that registration is now open for the 2016 event at http://www.snia.org/events/storage-developer/registration.  The SDC conference agenda will be up soon at the home page of http://www.storagedeveloper.org.

    Enjoy these great technical sessions, no matter where you may be!


    SNIA NVM Summit Delivers the Persistent Memory Knowledge You Need

    January 18th, 2016

    by Marty Foltyn

    The discussion, use, and application of Non-volatile Memory (NVM) has come a long way from the first SNIA NVM Summit in 2013.  The significant improvements in persistent memory, with enormous capacity, memory-like speed and non-volatility, will make the long-awaited promise of the convergence storage and memory a reality. In this 4th annual NVM Summit, we will see how Storage and Memory have now converged, and learn that we are now faced with developing the needed ecosystem.  Register and join colleagues on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 in San Jose, CA to learn more, or follow http://www.snia.org/nvmsummit to review presentations post- event.

    The Summit day begins with Rick Coulson, Senior Fellow, Intel, discussing the most recent developments in persistent memory with a presentation on All the Ways 3D XPoint Impacts Systems Architecture.

    Ethan Miller, Professor of Computer Science at UC Santa Cruz, will discuss Rethinking Benchmarks for Non-Volatile Memory Storage Systems. He will describe the challenges for benchmarks posed by the transition to NVM, and propose potential solutions to these challenges.

    Ken Gibson, NVM SW Architecture, Intel will present Memory is the New Storage: How Next Generation NVM DIMMs will Enable New Solutions That Use Memory as the High-Performance Storage Tier . This talk reviews some of the decades-old assumptions that change for suppliers of storage and data services as solutions move to memory as the new storage

    Jim Handy, General Director, Objective Analysis, and Tom Coughlin, President, Coughlin Associates will discuss Future Memories and Today’s Opportunities, exploring the role of NVM in today’s and future applications. They will give some market analysis and projections for the various NVM technologies in use today.

    Matt Bryson, SVP-Research, ABR, will lead a panel on NVM Futures-Emerging Embedded Memory Technologies, exploring the current status and future opportunities for NVM technologies and in particular both embedded and standalone MRAM technologies and associated applications.

    Edward Sharp, Chief, Strategy and Technology, PMC-Sierra, will present Changes Coming to Architecture with NVM. Although the IT industry has made tremendous progress innovating up and down the computing stack to enable, and take advantage of, non-volatile memory, is it sufficient, and where are the weakest links to fully unlock the potential of NVM.

    Don Jeanette, VP and John Chen, VP of Trendfocus will review the Solid State Storage Market, discuss what is happening in various segments, and why, as it relates to PCIe.

    Dejan Vucinc, HGST San Jose Research Center will discuss Latency in Context: Finding Room for NVMs in the Existing Software Ecosystem. HGST Research has been working diligently to find out where is there room in the existing hardware/software ecosystem for emerging NVM technology when viewed as block storage rather than main memory. Vucinc will show an update on previously published results using prototype PCI Express-attached PCM SSDs and our custom device protocol, DC Express, as well as measurements of its latency and performance through a proper device driver using several different kinds of Linux kernel block layer architecture.

    Arthur Sainio, Director Marketing, SMART Modular and Co-Chair, SNIA NVDIMM SIG, will lead a panel on NVDIMM. discussing how new media types are joining NAND Flash, and enhanced controllers and networking are being developed to unlock the latency and throughput advantages of NVDIMM.

    Neal Christiansen, Principal Development Lead, Microsoft, Microsoft will discuss Storage Class Memory Support in the Windows OS. Storage Class Memories (SCM) have been the topic of R&D for the last few years and with the promise of near term product delivery, the question is how will Windows be enabled for such SCM products and how can applications take advantage of these capabilities.

    Jeff Moyer, Principal Software Engineer, Red Hat will give an overview of the current state of Persistent Memory Support in the Linux Kernel.

    Cristian Diaconu, Principal Software Engineer, Microsoft will present Microsoft SQL Hekaton – Towards Large Scale Use of PM for In-memory Databases, using the example of Hekaton (Sql Server in-memory database engine) to break down the opportunity areas for non-volatile memory in the database space.

    Tom Talpey, Architect File Server Team, Microsoft, will discuss Microsoft Going Remote at Low Latency: A Future Networked NVM Ecosystem. As new ultra-low latency storage such as Persistent Memory and NVM is deployed, it becomes necessary to provide remote access – for replication, availability and resiliency to errors.

    Kevin Deierling, VP Marketing, Mellanox will discuss the role of the network in developing Persistent Memory over Fabrics, and what are the key goals and key fabric features requirements.


    Upcoming December 11 Webcast: Flash Memory Enables 4K and Beyond Video Workflows

    December 7th, 2015

    by Marty Foltyn

    The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held each year in early January in Las Vegas, has moved a long way from the days when you had to search high and low on the show floor for storage-related exhibits. Step on the floor in 2016, and you may never get past the automobile displays which have the capability to track and store your every activity. And even if you do, the plethora of accessible tech, video imaging, and smart home apps will make your head spin!

    Solid State Storage is an important contributor to the internet of things featured at CES, and understanding it is key to making informed choices. Get ready for CES 2016 by first attending a SNIA Solid State Storage webcast on Friday, December 11 at 11:00 am Pacific where Tom Coughlin, CEO of analyst firm Coughlin Associates, presents Flash Memory Enables 4K and Beyond Video Workflows.

    As the price and availability of flash memory grows flash memory will enable future generations of media that is even more immersive than today as video moves to 8K and virtual reality begins to play an increasing role in entertainment. Tom will discuss how, as the resolution and frame rate for video increase, flash memory is staring to play a significant role for content capture, post production and content delivery. His presentation will include material from the 2015 Digital Storage in Media and Entertainment Report from Coughlin Associates (and the associated 2015 digital media professional survey) on the growing use of flash memory in all aspects of professional media and entertainment and put flash use in context with other storage technologies in this industry.

    The webcast is an important lead in to the CES partner program Storage Visions Conference January 3-4 in Las Vegas, where SNIA will exhibit  solid state and persistent memory and have a pre-conference education day.  Register for this informative SNIA Brighttalk webcast , held on December 11, 2015 at 11:00 apm Pacific/2:00 pm Eastern at https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/663/180197


    SNIA’s Solid State Storage Initiative Advances the Industry at Flash Memory Summit

    August 28th, 2015

    A classic case of SNIA Solid State Storage Initiative (SSSI) member collaboration for industry advancement was on display in the SSSI booth for NVDIMM-N demonstration at the Flash Memory Summit (FMS) 2015. Under the direction of SSSI Chair Jim Ryan and coordinated by NVDIMM SIG co chairs Arthur Sainio and Jeff Chang and TechDev Committee chair Eden Kim, the SSSI was able to update and include NVDIMM-N storage performance in the SSSI marketing collaterals on the Summary Performance Comparison by Storage Class charts.

    2015SummaryPerformanceChart.NVDIMM.1200

    Five SSSI member companies – AgigA Tech, Calypso, Micron, SMART Modular, and Viking Technology – collaborated over a four week period on the introduction of a new NVDIMM-N storage performance demonstration. While it is rare to have potential competitors collaborate in such a fashion, NVDIMM-N storage represents a new paradigm for super fast, low latency, high IO/watt storage solutions. The NVDIMM-SIG has taken a leadership position by evangelizing the technology and developing the industry infrastructure necessary for large scale deployment.

    This collaboration highlighted a classic blend of technical, marketing and industry association cooperation.

    In the weeks leading up to FMS, the NVDIMM-SIG planned for an in-booth demonstration of the NVDIMM-N storage modules. To pave the way for universal adoption, the team worked together to dial in the Intel Open Source block IO development driver to meet the standards of the SNIA Performance Test Specification (PTS). An added goal was inclusion of NVDIMM-N modules as a new line item on the Summary Performance Comparison by Storage Class chart which lists PTS performance for various storage technologies. Under the guidance of NVDIMM-SIG, a rush project was instigated to get NVDIMM-N performance data tested to the PTS for the trade show.

    Micron took the lead by lending a Supermicro server with Micron NVDIMM-N to Calypso for testing. Calypso then installed CTS test software on the server to allow full testing to the PTS. Viking and SMART Modular contributed by helping dial in the drivers, as well as sending modules from Viking and SMART Modular to cross reference with the Micron modules. The test plan was comprised of several test iterations using single, dual and finally quad modules using each of the vendor contributed modules.

    The early single and dual module tests ran into repeatability and stability issues. NVDIMM-SIG consulted with Intel on the nuance of the Intel block IO driver while Calypso continued testing. The team successfully completed a test run that met the PTS steady state requirements on the quad module in time to release data for the show.

    We had a solid demonstration at the SNIA SSSI Flash Memory Summit Booth on NVDIMM-N Performance complete with marketing collateral available for review and a handout. NVDIMM-SIG members responded to the many questions and interest in the NVDIMM-N storage technology.

    fms booth

    “Once again,” said SSSI Chair Jim Ryan, “we can see the value and benefit of SNIA SSSI to its members, the SNIA educational community and the NVDIMM industry. I believe this is a great case study in how we all can contribute and benefit from working within the SSSI for the betterment of individual companies, market development and the Solid State Storage industry at large.” SSSI provides educational and marketing materials free of charge on its public website while SNIA SSSI members may join the NVDIMM-SIG and other SSSI committees. Anyone interested to find out more about the SSSI or any of its many committees can go to the following link http://www.snia.org/sssi.