First AI 16 channel PCIe Gen5 SSD controller

First AI 16 channel PCIe Gen5 SSD controller

New Products |
By Nick Flaherty

Microchip has launched a 16 channel PCIe 5.0 solid state disk controller with machine learning for high performance data centre storage.

The Flashtec NVMe 4016 controller provides over 14 GB per second throughput and over 3 million IOPS and adds Credit Management for Quality of Service (QoS). The 16 high-speed programmable NAND Flash channels are capable of up to 2400 M transfer/s using the full PCIe Gen 5 bandwidth. This allows existing customers to still use their existing firmware from previous generations.

The NVMe 4016 is also the first PCIe Gen 5 controller to introduce PCIe link encryption support as one of the many feature enhancements in this new generation of Flashtec controllers. With dual signature authentication and Trusted Platform support, the NVMe 4016 controller meets all critical storage and enterprise application security needs.

The virtualization capabilities enable the large-scale deployment of Virtual Machines (VMs) as well as Physical Functions (PF) per port for the most efficient utilization of the PCIe resources in data centre and cloud computing infrastructures.

The controller uses a new, programmable Machine Learning (ML) engine capable of a variety of pattern recognition and classification functions that are employed in AI and ML applications. 

“[The] performance, coupled with our proven and flexible architecture, means the NVMe 4016 can provide our cloud and OEM customers with a cutting-edge platform for their PCIe Gen 5 NVMe SSD solutions,” said Pete Hazen, vice president of Microchip’s data center solutions business unit.

“Intel’s upcoming Next Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors, code named Sapphire Rapids, will implement PCI Express 5.0 running at up to 32.0 GT/s to deliver the low-latency and high-bandwidth I/O solutions our customers need to deploy,” said Dr. Debendra Das Sharma, senior fellow and chief architect, I/O Technologies and Standards at Intel. “We are pleased to see Microchip’s PCIe 5.0 Flashtec drive controller investment strengthen the ecosystem and drive broader deployment of PCIe 5.0 solutions.”

“Microchip’s controller solutions are a strong match for our wide array of TLC and QLC SSDs and future NAND technologies,” said Greg Matson, vice president of strategic planning and marketing, Data Center Group at Solidigm. “They offer a compelling combination of features, scalability and security for next-generation cloud and enterprise architectures.”

As an NVMe 2.0 compliant controller, the NVMe 4016 not only supports all the latest storage and performance compute applications, including Zoned Name Spaces (ZNS) and cloud Open Compute Platform (OCP), its flexible architecture also enables customers to future proof for continually evolving NVMe specifications.

“Meeting the challenging demands of hyperscale data center environments for scalable efficiency in terms of manageability, power, performance and thermals has been the focus of industry standards such as the OCP data centre NVMe SSD Specification and EDSFF E1.S as a form factor,” said Ross Stenfort, hardware system engineer, Storage at Meta (Facebook). “The Flashtec NVMe 4016 controller supports these requirements to enable SSD makers to meet hyperscale needs.”

“The Flashtec NVMe 4016 Gen 5 SSD controller provides the needed performance and architecture for next-generation NAND,” said Dr. Taile Zhang, chief executive officer of Memblaze. “Memblaze and Microchip have developed a great partnership to advance data centre efficiency and bring the flexibility needed to address the cloud storage requirements of today and tomorrow.”

The Flashtec controller supports a wide variety of form factors, including EDSFF. Supported by a comprehensive development platform, debugging tools and dedicated, best-in-class, applications team, the Flashtec NVMe 4016 controller serves all the requirements for the latest SSD solution needs: high capacity, high performance, security, power optimization, and computational-storage ready.

Development Tools

Microchip’s Flashtec NVMe 4016 SSD controller is sampling now and has several options for software and hardware support. A complete software development kit includes Microchip’s reference firmware with optional hardened firmware modules, simulation tools, debug tools including Microchip’s Chiplink diagnostic tools, evaluation boards and reference designs, global support and a full suite of collateral.

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