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posted by janrinok on Monday March 17 2014, @12:36PM   Printer-friendly
from the faster-and-faster dept.

NezSez writes regarding an article in extremetech:

"SATA Express is SATA and PCIe over cables (preserving backwards compatibility) and NVMe is the next improvement of AHCI with much lower latencies by using the PCIe bus/lanes. Both have been developed to improve access to SSD's which have their own processors on-board and can communicate quicker than mechanical drives. The specifications look good (up to 4 times faster and can scale with improvements of PCIe) but analysts suspect it will only be adopted for small form factors.

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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by wantkitteh on Monday March 17 2014, @12:46PM

    by wantkitteh (3362) on Monday March 17 2014, @12:46PM (#17536) Homepage Journal

    I'm hoping by "small form factors" they mean this will replace mSATA in laptops, because if they do they have overlooked the fact that we already plug RAM into our desktop motherboards, so there's no reason we shouldn't do the same thing with high performance persistent storage as well. The majority by volume of 2.5" SSDs is the packaging and the cabled SATA connection shouldn't be able to compete with a direct-to-board interface.

    • (Score: 1) by NezSez on Monday March 17 2014, @01:45PM

      by NezSez (961) on Monday March 17 2014, @01:45PM (#17575) Journal

      I cannot tell whether by "compete" you mean bus contention, or go head-to-head performance wise.
      The idea is to use SATA cables to traffic data over the PCIe bus itself, which *is* the direct to board interface, so yes there is bus contention (and TFA notes the limits of using the PCIe 3 lanes as this could be swamped by the video card). Regarding performance, SATAe is much faster than mSATA (with speeds faster than SATA6gbit)and it scales directly with PCIe (a faster bus equals faster performance in a linear sense I assume). They don't think it will be adopted in enterprise data centers because PCIe is entrenched, but, like you point out, I don't see why this wouldn't also be an improvement over eSATA for external RAID and such unless it would indeed thrash the bus.

      --
      No Sig to see here, move along, move along...
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mhajicek on Monday March 17 2014, @02:28PM

        by mhajicek (51) on Monday March 17 2014, @02:28PM (#17604)

        Can't be sure but I think he was thinking about plugging the ssd straight onto the mobo kind of like a video card.

        --
        The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
        • (Score: 1) by guises on Monday March 17 2014, @02:52PM

          by guises (3116) on Monday March 17 2014, @02:52PM (#17624)

          Doubtless he was, but you lose flexibility that way and only gain a tiny impedance advantage. I can't imagine that has a significant impact on speed.

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by wantkitteh on Monday March 17 2014, @03:22PM

            by wantkitteh (3362) on Monday March 17 2014, @03:22PM (#17645) Homepage Journal

            I wasn't thinking so much about impedance as the drastic reduction in the conductor length (millimeters instead of meters) reducing signal noise.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by wantkitteh on Monday March 17 2014, @03:19PM

          by wantkitteh (3362) on Monday March 17 2014, @03:19PM (#17642) Homepage Journal

          I was visualizing another row of slots very much like SIMM slots on the motherboard, effectively segregating the market into performance storage (solid state) and volume storage (mechanical). I'm assuming there would also be cartridge-style hot-swappable SSD units as well, much the same way the SATA backplane layout has enabled standard internal drives to be hot mounted into bays without the use of caddies.

      • (Score: 2) by wantkitteh on Monday March 17 2014, @03:03PM

        by wantkitteh (3362) on Monday March 17 2014, @03:03PM (#17627) Homepage Journal

        I was using the word compete in terms of performance and should have known better than to leave it unqualified here of all places.

        With the removal of the intermediary SATA from the mass storage data flow route, I would assume that latency would drop and throughput would rise. Given that today's SSDs can push 500MB/s over SATA3, which itself is limited to 600MB/s, I can't see that increase being a lot, although faster storage would most likely be right behind SATAe in the release pipeline. A single PCIe v4.0 lane can handle just shy of 2GB/s, so there would be an argument in favour of designing multilane SATAe for workstations and servers that need to aggregate the full throughput from multiple SSDs. As such I can't see any argument beyond legacy architecture for SATAe failing to penetrate the enterprise market where performance is preferable over GB:#LOCAL_CURRENCY.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by hamsterdan on Monday March 17 2014, @03:59PM

          by hamsterdan (2829) on Monday March 17 2014, @03:59PM (#17673)

          A faster interface will allow SSD manufacturers to parallelize them more (ie, run 32 or 64 NAND chips in something similar to a RAID-0 array, enabling even faster speeds)

          Ditch the 2.5 form factor too, I'm guessing my 120GB drive only uses maybe half or less of its casing.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by tynin on Monday March 17 2014, @01:49PM

    by tynin (2013) on Monday March 17 2014, @01:49PM (#17579) Journal

    Someone like Supermicro will no doubt design some server boards with NVMe if it performs better. Many enterprise grade servers have been moving to SSDs, especially when the cost of 1TB drives have been falling in price [amazon.com] to be extremely competitive with 10k SAS drives [amazon.com], nevermind how much better random IOPS are with these SSDs.

    Other companies will no doubt follow, and next thing you know it, it'll be available on practically every motherboard.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Monday March 17 2014, @02:31PM

      by VLM (445) on Monday March 17 2014, @02:31PM (#17609)

      Only slightly off topic, I bet I'm not the only guy here on SN trying to milk my legacy spinning hard drives as long as I can get them to work, until SSDs like the link are cheap enough for the upgrade. Come on Moores law, got less than a factor of two till I pull the trigger on two of those 1 TB from the link for my home server...

      • (Score: 1) by WizardFusion on Monday March 17 2014, @02:36PM

        by WizardFusion (498) on Monday March 17 2014, @02:36PM (#17613) Journal

        I agree, I just bought 4x 4TB HD simply because I need the space (RAID-10) and 4TB SSDs are just a pipe dream at the moment.

      • (Score: 1) by tynin on Monday March 17 2014, @02:36PM

        by tynin (2013) on Monday March 17 2014, @02:36PM (#17615) Journal

        Agreed completely. The price is SO close I'm almost ready to buy one of those. The days of HDD are very much numbered, except perhaps for banks of slow spinning disks for archival purposes.

        • (Score: 4, Informative) by wantkitteh on Monday March 17 2014, @03:28PM

          by wantkitteh (3362) on Monday March 17 2014, @03:28PM (#17651) Homepage Journal

          I don't think the days of spinning disks are anywhere near over. The cost per GB and size per unit is still a hell of a lot better than solid state can manage yet.

          • (Score: 3, Informative) by wantkitteh on Monday March 17 2014, @03:34PM

            by wantkitteh (3362) on Monday March 17 2014, @03:34PM (#17656) Homepage Journal

            ...although having said that, I realised that I'm automatically in my head comparing 7k SATA and SSD, not 10k SAS and SSD. So I must qualify my statement and say that the only defense SAS will shortly have is it's legacy support in everyone's racks.

        • (Score: 2) by hankwang on Monday March 17 2014, @07:25PM

          by hankwang (100) on Monday March 17 2014, @07:25PM (#17762) Homepage

          "The days of HDD are very much numbered"

          Moore's law applies to memory, CPUs, hard disks, and video file size. Unless you don't store multimedia, I wouldn't count on SSDs surpassing HDDs anywhere soon...

          • (Score: 2) by tynin on Monday March 17 2014, @07:41PM

            by tynin (2013) on Monday March 17 2014, @07:41PM (#17768) Journal

            Indeed, that is why I mentioned the spinning disks will still be used for archival (of multimedia it sounds like for your purposes). Still, I suspect things may very well change in this arena in the next 3 years. Time will tell.

          • (Score: 2, Informative) by emg on Monday March 17 2014, @09:26PM

            by emg (3464) on Monday March 17 2014, @09:26PM (#17804)

            "Moore's law applies to memory, CPUs, hard disks, and video file size."

            Not any more. I've had 3TB drives for at least a couple of years, and it looks like 5TB has only just been announced, with 4TB the largest that's widely available.