Home Enterprise Samsung and Western Digital Sign MOU To Collaborate On ZNS and D2PF

Samsung and Western Digital Sign MOU To Collaborate On ZNS and D2PF

by Harold Fritts

Samsung and Western Digital have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a unique collaboration to standardize and drive the adoption of next-generation data placement, processing, and fabrics (D2PF) storage technologies. The initial focus will be on aligning efforts and creating a robust Zoned Storage (ZNS) solutions ecosystem. This focus by the two companies will enable the industry to focus on countless applications that create greater value for customers.

Samsung and Western Digital have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a unique collaboration to standardize and drive the adoption of next-generation data placement, processing, and fabrics (D2PF) storage technologies. The initial focus will be on aligning efforts and creating a robust Zoned Storage (ZNS) solutions ecosystem. This focus by the two companies will enable the industry to focus on countless applications that create greater value for customers.

What is Zoned Storage?

Zoned Storage is a class of storage devices that enables host and storage devices to cooperate to achieve higher storage capacities, increased throughput, and lower latencies. The zoned storage interface is available through the SCSI Zoned Block Commands (ZBC) and Zoned Device ATA Command Set (ZAC) standards for Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) hard disks and with the NVMe Zoned Namespaces (ZNS) standard for NVMe Solid State Disks.

According to a blog post by Jorge Campello De Souza on the Western Digital website, Zoned Storage is a new paradigm in storage motivated by the incredible explosion of data. Our data-driven society is increasingly dependent on data for everyday life, and extreme-scale data management is becoming a necessity. Today, large-scale data infrastructures utilize tens of thousands of HDDs and SSDs. Hyperscale companies need to be able to carefully manage them from a global perspective in a cost-effective way. Zoned Block Device technologies were introduced to move us towards efficient data management in large-scale infrastructure deployments.

A First for the Industry

This is a first for Samsung and Western Digital to come together as technology leaders to create widespread alignment and stimulate awareness of storage technologies. Focusing on enterprise and cloud applications, the partnership is expected to drive a range of collaborations around technology standardization and software development for D2PF technologies like Zoned Storage. With this collaboration, end-users can expect emerging storage technologies to have support from multiple device vendors and vertically integrated hardware and software companies.

Rob Soderbery, EVP and GM, Flash Business Unit at Western Digital, explained:

“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. 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.”

Jinman Han, Corporate EVP, Head of Memory Sales & Marketing at Samsung Electronics, said:

“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. 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.”

Kickstarting New Initiatives

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 enabling open and scalable data center architectures, they have founded the Zoned Storage TWG (Technical Work Group), which SNIA approved in December 2021. The group is already defining and specifying common use cases for Zoned Storage devices and 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 and future-generation, high-capacity storage devices with enhanced data placement and processing technologies. Later, 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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