Due to the proliferation of innovative digital technologies and applications from AI / ML, IoT, edge and cloud, we now produce colossal amounts of information every day. Furthermore, 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 greater value to customers handling large-scale data, Samsung Electronics and Western Digital, two of the largest storage providers in the world, recently teamed up to help usher in the standardization of placement, next generation data fabric (D2PF) processing and storage, including zoned storage.
Both companies believe 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 between storage stakeholders. Through collaboration, enterprises can assure customers that storage ecosystem vendors support new technology standards and system architectures to effectively manage today’s and tomorrow’s data workloads.
The reality of today’s data infrastructures
We are in the era of zettabytes (ZB), an era characterized by so much data that understanding them has become more complicated than ever. The staggering amount of data produced today underscores the urgency to rethink the way data centers and cloud infrastructures are designed and managed.
In this context of overgrowth, the potential for fragmentation around standards and systems could hold back the ecosystem’s efforts to meet growing storage demands.
“We have entered a golden age of 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 lost opportunity and wasted expenses. Adopting effective standards will minimize complexity, eliminate inefficiency and reduce the cost of products and services, to the benefit of both suppliers and end users. If data storage is to meet the future needs of end users, what the industry needs now is broad consensus Zoned storage.“
Focus on the future of zoned storage
As part of the agreement 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, the large-scale data infrastructure relies on tens of thousands of solid state drives and hard disk drives (HDDs). With such scale and the huge amounts of data handled by these systems, even the smallest data placement inefficiencies in the system architecture or storage devices can result in high costs.
Zoned Storage is a standards-based open source initiative that enables the data center storage infrastructure to scale effectively and efficiently. For large-scale enterprise and cloud providers, some of which have ZB-scale storage needs, zoned storage will help improve resource utilization, reduce latency, and reduce costs.
Zoned storage consists of two technologies: shingle magnetic 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, simplifying 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 writing rules. Areas can be written sequentially from the beginning of an area, and data in an area cannot be arbitrarily overwritten. Therefore, it is very important for the industry to align with the host software stack that allows storage systems to leverage 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 necessary 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 lasting performance even when a device is close to full capacity. Additionally, ZNS enjoys a longer lifespan than traditional archiving methods because data doesn’t have 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 management of system-level performance to the benefit of all.
“The ongoing implementation and development of Zoned Storage will enable the storage industry to balance cost, latency and performance through the use of intelligent architectures,” said Wim De Wispelaere, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, 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 foreseeable future and for decades to come, in the most intelligent and 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 demand for data.
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, approved by the SNIA in December 2021, and are working with the Linux Foundation to implement 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 between key stakeholders to generate storage solutions that are ideal for a data-driven world, with everyone inside.