There can be no doubt – flash and emerging non-volatile memory (NVM) like 3D XPoint are having a profound impact on the storage industry, and will for decades to come. More so than any technology since the advent of the hard disk drive (HDD) nearly 60 years ago.
And this is a good thing. An exciting thing! A tangible opportunity to step back and re-examine everything we know about storage software, solutions, and even operating system (OS) design.
But I’m getting ahead of myself...On April 12th we formally launched the new Micron Storage Solutions Center (MSSC) in Austin, Texas. If you missed the live webcast, you can view the recording here. We were privileged to have in attendance valued customers, partners, and many leading storage industry analysts. It was an opportunity for us to share with them our vision for storage going forward and how the MSSC will help realize that vision. It was also a great opportunity to hear directly from them about how they expect data centers to be transformed by the inevitable transition to solid state drives (SSDs) and other NVM-based storage.
Decorated wall at the new Micron Storage Solutions Center in Austin, TX.
We established the MSSC as a center of excellence for three focus areas. I’ll touch on each of these briefly, but as you’ll see they all share some common tenants: customer workloads, ecosystem enablement, and meaningful collaboration.
Customer workload optimization is a key focus area at the MSSC and a guiding principal for all of our storage engineering. We work closely with customers to develop a deep understanding of their application workloads and the demands placed on the storage infrastructure. We analyze the impact of application and OS configuration parameters and how they are influenced by the performance characteristics of different classes of Micron SSDs. And armed with this data we develop collateral that enables customers to successfully deploy their applications with Micron storage products to create cost-effective solutions that meet their requirements.
Partner "solutioning" is another critical focus area at the MSSC. OK, that’s a made-up word, but it has real meaning for us and has already yielded some great results. The use of SSDs for primary storage is still relatively new in the data center and early in the adoption curve. And there’s still a significant amount of work to do in storage software, server platforms, and the SSDs themselves to take full advantage of the underlying memory technology. To this end, we are working closely with ecosystem partners to create Micron Accelerated Solutions. This is not just a packaging exercise – it is meaningful engineering collaboration that brings together the domain expertise of all the partners to create great customer-focused solutions.
Storage software innovation is the third focus area at the MSSC and perhaps the one you might find most surprising. But consider this – the storage software stacks we have today were designed around HDDs. So what would these look like if we had started with NVM instead? To really extract the full economic value of flash and emerging NVM we need to revisit storage stack design from first principals.
We are certainly not the only ones to recognize this imperative – it is widely discussed in the storage research community. However Micron has nearly four decades of leadership in memory technology and nearly a decade in SSDs, and so has a lot to bring to the table in helping drive this imperative forward.
Of course this can’t happen in a vacuum, and as we’ve already seen collaboration is a key tenant of the MSSC. Along these lines Micron is a continuing sponsor of the Linux Foundation and recently became a founding member of the Center for Research in Open Source Software.
So there you have it – the Micron Storage Solutions Center in a nutshell. How can we collaborate with you? We want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter @MicronStorage and on LinkedIn.