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Samsung and Western Digital Form Zoned (Block) Storage Collaboration

Samsung Electronics and Western Digital today announced a collaboration around zoned storage, which is a form of block storage, focused on data placement, processing and fabrics (D2PF) technologies. Western Digital has said zone storage is designed for workloads with increasingly voluminous and complex data management needs, creating “block storage devices that have their address space divided into zones… (that) impose unconventional writing rules:  zones can only be written sequentially and starting from the beginning of the zone.”

Intended to focus on enterprise and cloud applications, the partnership is intended to spur standardization and software development for D2PF technologies, raising end user “confidence that these emerging storage technologies will have support from multiple device vendors as well as from vertically integrated hardware and software companies.”

“Storage is the essential foundation for how people and businesses consume and use data. To enable today’s needs and tomorrow’s next big ideas, we must innovate, collaborate and keep pace as an industry in bringing new standards and architectures to life,” said Rob Soderbery, EVP/GM, Flash Business Unit at Western Digital. “In order for a technology ecosystem to be successful, overall frameworks and general solution models must come together so they do not suffer from fragmentation, which delays adoption and adds unnecessary complexity for software stack developers.”

Soderbery added, “For years Western Digital has been laying the foundation for the Zoned Storage ecosystem by contributing to the Linux kernel and open-source software community. We are excited to bring these contributions to this joint initiative with Samsung in facilitating wider adoption of Zoned Storage for users and application developers.”

“This collaboration is a testament to our relentless effort to exceed customers’ needs now and in the future, and holds special meaning in how we anticipate it will actively grow into a larger basis of engagement for Zoned Storage standardization,” said Jinman Han, Corporate EVP, Head of Memory Sales & Marketing at Samsung Electronics. “Our collaborative efforts will embrace hardware and software ecosystems to ensure that as many customers as possible can reap the benefits of this highly important technology.”

The two companies have already kickstarted an initiative around Zoned Storage devices, including ZNS (Zoned Namespaces) SSDs and SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) HDDs. Through organizations such as SNIA (Storage Networking Industry Association) and the Linux Foundation, Samsung and Western Digital will define high-level models and frameworks for next-generation Zoned Storage technologies. With a commitment to enable open and scalable data center architectures, they have founded the Zoned Storage TWG (Technical Work Group), which was approved by SNIA in December 2021. The group is already defining and specifying common use cases for Zoned Storage devices, as well as host/device architecture and programming models.

In addition, this collaboration is expected to serve as a starting point to expand zone-based (e.g. ZNS, SMR) device interfaces, as well as future-generation, high-capacity storage devices with enhanced data placement and processing technologies. At a later stage, these initiatives will be expanded to include other emerging D2PF technologies such as computational storage and storage fabrics including NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF).

 

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