By Lucas Mearian, Computerworld (US) | Apr 5, 2012
The Solid State Storage Initiative (SSSI) PCIe SSD Task Force , which is being organized under the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), will deal with current standards, any standards gaps that need to be filled and end-user concerns over interoperability between products.
Solid-state storage devices come in so many shapes and sizes that the electrical signal standards and OS drivers can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Unlike SAS and SATA interconnects, which only increase in speed with each new generation of product, PCIe is a good fit for SSDs, as it allows the interface speed to be increased quickly by adding PCIe lanes, according to Paul Wassenberg, chair of SNIA's SSSI.
But not every SSD or systems manufacturer is speaking the same language when it comes to PCIe, Wassenberg said.
For example, standard SAS and SATA drives plug into a south gate on an Intel motherboard. If you plug that gate into a PCIe bus, it doesn't automatically show up as a mass storage drive on the computer system. A software driver is required for the operating system to recognize the PCIe SSD as a mass storage device, according to Eden Kim, chair of SNIA's Solid State Storage Initiative's technical group.
In addition, in array environments where multiple drives are used for higher capacity and data resiliency, PCIe SSDs do not act the same way as SAS or SATA drives. For example, they cannot be swapped out without disrupting the system. And, in consumer computers, laptops and desktops, there is no easy way to gain access to PCIe cards, Kim said.
"That's a mother board layout issue," Kim said. "So now you can have a cable coming from your card in the PCI slot on the motherboard to your drive bay that allows you to plug in a PCIe 2.5-in form factor SSD. That's the Micron product ."