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SSD standard preps for much-awaited update

Posted: 22 Jun 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:JEDEC Solid State Technology Association? SSD? standard? flash? data centre?

The JEDEC Solid State Technology Association is in the process of finalising an update to the solid state drive (SSD) standard for the first time in more than four years. Given the recent progress in SSD-related technology, there will be a number of factors that will influence the next iteration of the standard.

Originally published in September 2010, the last update to the JESD218 standard for Solid State Drive Requirements and Endurance Test Method was released in February 2011. As flash becomes more pervasive in data centres, vendors are diversifying their SSD offerings, in part to address different workloads, which JEDEC describes in a separate document.

In a news release, JEDEC said the latest update to JESD218 has been underway for some time and will primarily address improvements in test methodologies to better reflect product expectations, reduce testing options to remove unused methods, and add clarifications to improve the readability and understanding of test methods and artifacts caused by accelerated testing.

JEDEC noted in the release that the standard has been receiving a great deal of attention of late following some misconceptions about retention of data on SSDs, which underscores the need to define "meaningful, real-life endurance and reliability metrics" for SSDs.

Last month, there was much concern about newly-minted SSDs may losing data in "just a few days" when stored in a hot room. The misunderstanding was sparked by a blog that misinterpreted a five-year-old JEDEC presentation.

While improving performance is always a goal of an updated memory technology specifications, usually by double, and reducing power consumption, often by half, endurance is a particular focus of innovation for SSDs. Earlier this year, Micron introduced FortisFlash for enterprise storage systems as an alternative to eMLC, which trades off performance for more endurance. Last year, the company unveiled a client SSD aimed at the mobile computing segment that leverages its 16nm process technology and with a feature that enables multi-level cell (MLC) NAND cells to act like single-level cell (SLC).

Pro series SSD

Samsung announced its first Pro series SSD based on 3D vertical NAND (V-NAND) technology in July 2014.

Triple-level cell (TLC) NAND is also becoming more common. To date, it has been primarily used in USB drives, flash memory cards, low-cost smartphones and client SSDs, but it is projected to make further inroads into the data centre over the next two years, with MLC still prevalent. Gartner forecasts some TLC adoption by select data centre customers, while 3D will be the focal point of NAND technology evolution over the next year.

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