Samsung and Xilinx Partner for Industry’s First Customizable, Programmable Computational SSD

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Image: Samsung

SSDs are continually advancing. While the norm has been to rely on die shrinks, added layers, controllers, and port specifications, Samsung and Xilinx have partnered for an innovation called the SmartSSD Computation Storage Device, which shifts compression duties from the CPU onto the storage device itself. Here’s a brief description.

The SmartSSD CSD performs high-speed computations on data where it is stored. Combining a high-performance Samsung Enterprise SSD and an acceleration-dedicated Xilinx Kintex Ultrascale+ FPGA with a fast private data path between them, the SmartSSD CSD enables efficient parallel computation on data itself. This unlocks massive performance gains and dense, linear scalability while freeing the CPU to handle other higher-level tasks more efficiently

That translates to up to 2.8x faster SQL query execution on Parquet data from one SmartSSD CSD. When transcoding video, it saw an 87 percent reduction in CPU utilization while maintaining the same conversion rate. In testing 24 of these in a 2U server, it saw read rates up to 24 GBps using LZ4 compressed data. Xilinx also shared how its Kintex UltraScale+ FPGA accelerator technology can increase storage capacities.

The SmartSSD CSD is a standard 2.5-inch (U.2) form factor solid state drive in a low 25-Watt power envelope. It offers a physical storage capacity of 4TBs, with the ability to hold up to 12TBs of data or more when combined with accelerated transparent compression. The integrated Xilinx Kintex UltraScale+ FPGA accelerator features more than one million system logic cells and nearly 2,000 DSP (digital signal processing) slices for hardware acceleration.

These new SSDs are currently aimed at enterprise solutions, but consumers could also benefit from them for transcoding video, playing graphics-intensive games, and other applications. Let’s hope that this tech gains a foothold and spreads into different markets. Xilinx is taking pre-orders now for a planned release in January.

Peter Brosdahl
As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my dad, a used Atari 400, around 1982. Eventually it would end up being a lifelong passion of upgrading and modifying equipment that, of course, led into a career in IT support.

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