Data storage

Samsung and Western Digital Collaborate for More Robust Data Storage Ecosystems

April 20, 2022 — Due to a proliferation of innovative digital technologies and applications from AI/ML, IoT, edge and cloud, we now produce colossal amounts of information daily. Moreover, all signs indicate that the demand for digital storage will continue to grow at unprecedented levels in the decades to come.

To deliver greater storage efficiency and value to customers managing large-scale data, Samsung Electronics and Western Digital, two of the world’s largest storage vendors, recently teamed up to help usher in technology standardization. next-generation (D2PF) data fabric placement, processing and storage, including zoned storage.

Both companies believe that adopting next-generation storage standards is the most effective way to ensure that hardware and software can be effectively combined within the system stack to optimize performance and functionality. while reducing costs. In realizing this vision, Samsung and Western Digital are encouraging industry-wide collaboration among storage stakeholders. Through collaboration, enterprises can assure customers that storage ecosystem vendors support new technology standards and system architectures to efficiently handle the data workloads of today and tomorrow.

The reality of today’s data infrastructures

We are well into the era of the zettabyte (ZB), an era characterized by such vast amounts of data that understanding them has become trickier than ever. The staggering amounts of data produced today underscore the urgency of rethinking the way data centers and cloud infrastructures are designed and operated.

In this context of hypergrowth, the potential for fragmentation around standards and systems could set back ecosystem efforts to meet growing storage demands.

“We have entered a golden era for data consumption, analysis and storage.. One of the surest ways to undo all this good would be for the industry to implement conflicting systems and standards,” said Cheolmin Park, vice president of global memory sales and marketing at Samsung Electronics. . “From AC vs. DC in the old electrical wars to Betamax vs. VHS, history teaches us that industries that lack clear standards and formats experience periods of missed opportunity and wasted expense. Adopting effective standards will minimize complexity, eliminate inefficiency, and reduce the cost of products and services, which benefits both vendors and end users. If data storage is to meet the future needs of end users, what the industry needs now is a broad consensus on zoned storage.

Focus on the future of zoned storage

As part of the deal between Samsung and Western Digital, the companies are focusing their initial efforts on building a healthy ecosystem and strong application support around Zoned Storage.

Currently, large-scale data infrastructure relies on tens of thousands of solid-state drives and hard disk drives (HDDs). With such scale and the vast amounts of data these systems manage, even the smallest data placement inefficiencies in system architecture or storage devices can result in high costs.

Zoned Storage is an open-source, standards-based initiative that enables data center storage infrastructure to scale effectively and efficiently. For large-scale cloud and enterprise providers, some of which have ZB-scale storage needs, zoned storage will help improve asset utilization, reduce latency, and lower costs.

Zoned storage is made up of two technologies: magnetic shingle recording (SMR) in HDDs and zoned namespaces (ZNS) in SSDs. At the heart of zoned storage are devices such as ZNS SSDs. These disks divide their address space into separate zones, streamlining the disk architecture by providing the host with the ability to place data in the appropriate zone.

Future technology for a data-driven world

As an innovative storage solution, Zoned Storage has unconventional data write rules. Areas can be written sequentially from the start of an area, and data inside an area cannot be arbitrarily overwritten. Therefore, it is very important for the industry to align on the host software stack that enables storage systems to optimally harness the power of zoned storage. This alignment of the host-device model is a crucial theme of the overall initiative. Samsung, Western Digital, and other ecosystem partners are committed to providing the required software components that will allow Zoned Storage to thrive through the open source community.

Implementing Zoned Storage on the host allows system software and hardware to work in unison with much greater efficiency. ZNS reduces the need for over-provisioning and can eliminate the challenges of quality of service (QoS) variability and write amplification. As a result, the solution can increase capacity through higher device density and provide sustained performance even when a device is close to full capacity. Additionally, ZNS enjoys greater endurance than traditional storage methods because data does not need to be constantly rewritten.

Whether it’s a SAS-SATA device (HDD or SSD) or NVMe SSD, zoned storage can be very efficient and will enable more efficient system-wide performance management for everyone’s benefit.

“The implementation and continued development of Zoned Storage will enable the storage industry to strike a balance between cost, latency and performance through the use of intelligent architectures,” said Wim De Wispelaere, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at Western Digital. “As an industry, we are at a point where we need to align with the technologies and systems that will drive data storage for the near future and for decades to come – in the smartest and most efficient way. possible.”

For the benefit of all

This collaboration between Samsung and Western Digital reflects both companies’ belief that critical new standards are needed for the storage industry to keep pace with data demand.

The two companies have already launched an initiative involving zoned storage devices, including ZNS SSDs. As part of an effort to enable open and scalable data center architectures, they founded the Zoned Storage Technical Working Group, which SNIA approved in December 2021, and are working with the Linux Foundation to implement set up a similar project working group. Within these industry organizations, Samsung and Western Digital will help define high-level models and frameworks for any innovative zoned storage technology.

ZNS is the first of many D2PF collaborations designed to pave the way for innovative new data centers and cloud services. Samsung and Western Digital are committed to enabling a high degree of cooperation among key stakeholders to generate storage solutions that are ideal for a data-driven world, as well as everyone.

Source: Samsung