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Two days ago, Samsung announced a new prototype key-value Solid State Drive (SSD) that is compatible with industry-standard API for key-value storage devices. The Key value SSD prototype moves the storage workload from server CPUs into the SSD without any supportive device. This will simplify software programming and make more effective use of storage resources in IT applications.

The new prototype features extensive scalability, improved durability, improved software efficiency, improved system-level performance, and reduced write amplification (WAF).

Applications that are based on software-based KV stores will need to handle garbage collection using a method called compaction. However, this affects system performance as both the host CPU and SSD work to clear away the garbage. “By moving these operations to the SSD in a straightforward, standardized manner, KV SSDs will represent a major upgrade in the way that storage is accessed in the future,” the press release states. Garbage collection can be handled entirely in the SSD, freeing the CPU to handle the computational work.

Hangu Sohn, Vice President of NAND Product Planning, Samsung Electronics, said in a press release, “Our KV SSD prototype is leading the industry into a new realm of standardized next-generation SSDs, one that we anticipate will go a long way in optimizing the efficiency of network storage and extending the processing power of the server CPUs to which they’re connected.”


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Samsung’s KV SSD prototype is based on a new open standard for a Key-Value Application Programming Interface (KV API) that was recently approved by Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA). Michael Oros, SNIA Executive Director, said, “The SNIA KV API specification, which provides an industry-wide interface between an application and a Key Value SSD, paves the way for widespread industry adoption of a standardized KV API protocol.” 

Hugo Patterson, Co-founder and Chief Scientist at Datrium said, “SNIA’s KV API is enabling a new generation of architectures for shared storage that is high-performance and scalable. Cloud object stores have shown the power of KV for scaling shared storage, but they fall short for data-intensive applications demanding low latency.”

The KV API has the potential to get the server out of the way in becoming the standard-bearer for data-intensive applications, and Samsung’s KV SSD is a groundbreaking step towards this future,” Patterson added.

A user on Hacker News writes, “Would be interesting if this evolves into a full filesystem implementation in hardware (they talk about Object Drive but aren’t focused on that yet). Some interesting future possibilities:

– A cross-platform filesystem that you could read/write from Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android etc. Imagine having a single disk that could boot any computer operating system without having to manage partitions and boot records!

– Significantly improved filesystem performance as it’s implemented in hardware.

– Better guarantees of write flushing (as SSD can include RAM + tiny battery) that translate into higher level filesystem objects. You could say, writeFile(key, data, flush_full, completion) and receive a callback when the file is on disk. All independent of the OS or kernel version you’re running on.

– Native async support is a huge win

Already the performance is looking insane. Would love to get away from the OS dictating filesystem choice and performance.”
To know more about this news in detail, read the report on Samsung Key Value SSD.

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