In 2009, I was working for a small controller company. Back then, hard drives were simply being swapped out for SSDs, so most SSDs on the market used SATA, SAS or Fibre Channel. Around this time, a group of people in the industry—myself included—began to recognize that these interfaces were not exposing the full potential of flash. It was evident that PCI Express® (PCIe®) architecture was going to be the future of flash storage. And once system architects had the desire to design SSDs in systems as opposed to being interchangeable with hard drives in legacy architectures, a standards committee was formed called NVMHCI (Non-Volatile Memory Host Controller Interface), which ultimately became the NVM Express™ (NVMe™) standards body that we know and love today.
Joining the NVMe organization was a no-brainer. There was an unquestionable need for an interface purpose-built for flash; the interfaces that came out of the hard drive era were not going to cut it. Toshiba has been a part of the committee for four years now and participates in all aspects of the organization including the technical working group, the management interface group, the marketing group, the NVMe-oF™ (NVM Express™ over Fabrics) initiative, and the recently formed interoperability working group. I am also on the board of directors and see the value firsthand in all these programs and how they accelerate innovation.
It wasn’t long after the group’s formation before device manufacturers and ecosystem adopters saw the writing on the wall—NVMe architecture was the future. Next generation products and platforms were designed from the ground up with NVMe technology in mind and these new features and capabilities were standardized and brought to market. Benefiting everyone, the NVMe specification serves an array of different markets from consumer devices to the most advanced storage systems that are sold into enterprises today. Every day we take steps toward replacing SATA and over a longer timeframe NVMe architecture will replace SAS and become the leading flash-based storage device protocol.
As one of the leading SSD manufacturers in the world, the NVMe specification is tremendously valuable to a company like Toshiba. Today, we are shipping millions of NVMe drives into multiple end-markets. We want to continue to innovate, and the standardization body allows us to bring new ideas to the community, refine them, and create the ecosystem support that’s necessary to rapidly introduce new technology. At the end of the day, our customers benefit from that collaborative innovation as it reduces the overall investment required to bring that technology to market, ultimately benefiting everyday people.
PCI Express and PCIe are trademarks or registered trademarks of PCI-SIG.
NVM Express, NVMe and NVMe-oF are trademarks of NVM Express, Inc.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Toshiba Memory America, Inc.