Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Monday, December 4, 2023

First 10 GB/s SSD Flash Drive Coming This Summer – And It’s OCP-Compliant 

Seagate Technology today unveiled what it said is the fastest single flash-based solid-state drive (SSD), with throughput performance of 10 GB/s. Targeting hyperscale data centers, data-intensive enterprises and HPC, the company said the unit – scheduled for release this summer – meets Open Compute Project (OCP) specifications.

The unit is more than 4GB/s faster than the next-fastest flash-based SSD on the market, according to Seagate. In meeting the OCP storage specifications driven by Facebook, Seagate said it will reduce the power consumption and costs associated with operating at this level of performance.

The unit’s 10GB/s SSD technology accommodates 16-lane PCIe slots. Seagate also is finalizing a second unit for eight-lane PCIe slots, delivering throughput of 6.7GB/s, the fastest in the eight-lane card category, according to Seagate.

Seagate’s Tony Afshary, director of product marketing, flash, told EntepriseTech that as the demand for faster data movement grows for servers in web services environments, “the ability to have an application take full advantage of what you can send to the processor is critical.”

“In the hyperscale space, customers have the workloads to take full advantage of what the PCIe bandwidth can provide for them,” Afshary said. “The fact that you can have high density, high performance, and reliable flash storage in a compute node that can serve what the application is demanding is important.”

While the unit supports OCP specifications, Afshary said the technology works with any system that supports the Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) protocol, developed by Seagate and other consortium members to reduce bottlenecks by cutting layers of commands for a simpler language between flash devices. The unit can be used in an all-flash array or as an accelerated flash tier with hard-disk drives for a less costly hybrid storage alternative.

Gregory Wong, founder and principal analyst at Forward Insights, said “technology advancements continue to stretch the limits of SSD speed and performance due to growing enterprise demands that require fast data processing at scale. Seagate has effectively rewritten the rules for performance with this latest SSD unit. Based on our latest analysis, Seagate is already the leading provider to the emerging PCIe OCP market.”

Afshary said that as flash-based SSDs become more powerful and pricing moderates, flash is moving toward the mainstream.

Seagate's Tony Afshary

Seagate's Tony Afshary

“You no longer have to treat flash as a special tier of data or something that only can contain the hottest data,” he said. “It can be anything – any kind of mixed workload with different kinds of applications. What that will do is simplify the infrastructure build out. You still have the archival form, and that’s easy to do, and there are cheap prices for that kind of storage. But now with flash, you don’t have to go through the pain of having to tier or deciding what data to put on it, you can put anything you like on it.”

Besides web services and hyperscale, the high-end SSD also is directed at organizations processing data for object storage or in real-time, such as financial services companies, as well as HPC, where organizations use flash to accelerate data collection and data harvesting from cold storage, according to Afshary.

“This form factor is very attractive and the NVMe protocol is very attractive for those kinds of workloads,” he said. “Not so much as the final resting place but as an acceleration and container of hot data for data analytics of everything you collect. With HPC, the majority of data resides in ultra-fast memory, but data needs to get moved from that and thrown into storage for additional analysis, and that’s where flash helps for speeding up repetitive reads and speeding up metadata.”

Seagate said the 16- and eight-lane SSD units have already been made available to customers. They will be on display at the Open Compute Project Summit 2016 in San Jose later this week.