Is PCIe the Right Interface for Solid State?
Semiconductor company Marvell, a leader in storage controller chips, sure thinks so. They’ve been working on new PCIe to flash technology that eliminates the bottleneck of legacy disk based controllers. According to Marvell, “The 88NV9145 silicon eliminates unnecessary SAS or SATA conversion, effectively delivering the ultimate level of I/O performance.”
The industry is starting to recognize the shortfalls of bolting SSD onto legacy disk architectures and has formed the NVM Express working group to develop an industry standard PCIe interface to SSD. This group includes most of the major computer and storage companies, which have all agreed that PCIe is the right interface for SSD.
There are vendors today, such as NexGen Storage, that are already taking full advantage of PCIe based SSD components in their current shipping products. To comprehend the performance advantage of today’s PCIe solid state devices, take a look at what NexGen is doing. Our SANs are capable of delivering up to 1.3M IOPS and 6.7 Gbps throughput off of a single Gen2 PCIe slot. Bandwidth will double with Gen3 PCIe, making an x16 link capable of 128 Gbps throughput. That’s over 21 times faster than a 6 Gbps SAS link!
Having this extremely fast solid state layer also means that customers will need less Solid State to deliver their required performance. We all know that performance in today’s NAS and SAN systems is difficult to manage even if you have the right Solid State architecture. This is why NexGen developed Dynamic Data Tiering, Phased Data Reduction and Quality of Service software, which were all architected to take advantageof this extremely fast PCIe based Solid State Storage tier.
As I mentioned in my last blog, the data path of disk-based architectures was not designed to handle the performance capabilities of SSD drives. Companies like Marvell and NexGen recognize this. As customers continue to understand the benefits of PCIe Solid State, others in the storage industry will begin see the light as well.
This ends the second half of my two-part blog series on PCIe Solid State.