IDT introduces first NVM Express enterprise flash controller

Integrated Device Technology (IDT) has unveiled a NVM Express (NVMe) enterprise flash memory controller with native support for PCIe Gen 3. IDT’s NVMe flash controller family provides a standards-based solid-state drive (SSD) solution, enabling storage and server OEMs to overcome latency and throughput bottlenecks inherent to legacy SAS/SATA-based SSD designs.

IDT’s new flash memory controller family consists of two versions: 16-channel with PCIe x4 Gen 3 (89HF16P04AG3) and 32-channel with PCIe x8 Gen 3 (89HF32P08AG3). The flash controllers are designed to fully comply with the NVMe standard – a standard that defines an optimised register interface, command set, and feature set for PCIe SSDs.

The goal of the standard is to help enable the broad adoption of PCIe-based SSDs, and to provide a scalable interface that will help to realise the performance potential of SSD technology now and into the future. This eliminates the need for OEMs to qualify multiple SSD drivers, facilitating the widespread use of PCIe SSDs and helping bring to market dramatic improvements in storage latency, throughput, power consumption and cost.

“As a founding member of the NVMe promoter group and developer of the world’s first PCIe enterprise flash controller announced last year, IDT is leading the charge in PCIe-based flash controller innovation,” said Kam Eshghi, senior director of marketing of the Enterprise Computing Division of IDT. “For many data centre applications, NAND flash read and write speeds are exceeding the capabilities of legacy SAS/SATA interconnects. IDT has developed a family of NVMe-compliant PCIe flash controllers that dramatically boost the number of random I/O operations per second (IOPS) that a system can process, while concurrently reducing latency, power and cost by eliminating the traditional storage infrastructure. Early traction and other positive indicators suggest a rapid proliferation of this technology.”

“NVM Express delivers a critical building block for the broad adoption of PCIe-based SSD solutions,” said Amber Huffman, senior principal engineer in the Storage Technologies Group at Intel and chairperson for the NVM Express Workgroup.

“The enterprise SSD market is expected to undergo tremendous growth, comprising approximately half of the total SSD market sales in 2012,” said Joseph Unsworth, research vice president at Gartner. “By 2015, we expect the PCIe enterprise controller market to more than quadruple to nearly 3.5 million units. Companies who can deliver fully functional high-performance controller solutions will be best positioned to penetrate the market opportunity.”

IDT’s PCIe flash controllers are sold to enterprise SSD developers who manufacture standards-based NVMe SSDs with PCIe Gen 3 or Gen 2 host interfaces. These SSDs are then used in enterprise-class centralised storage systems, server caching applications, and other systems requiring high-performance storage drives. End users deploy these PCIe SSD-based systems in their data centres for cloud computing and business-critical applications, such as online transaction processing, financial data processing, database mining and any other applications that are sensitive to storage performance.

In addition to fully supporting the PCIe Gen3 host interface for maximum throughput, IDT’s flash controllers are fully programmable, enabling customers to differentiate their solutions with custom firmware that leverages IDT’s reference firmware. Moreover, IDT’s product family is architected to maximize random storage I/O performance – a critical requirement driven by multi-core CPU designs and virtualization. The flash controllers also support enterprise-class features, including advanced encryption, data integrity and reliability features.


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