Samsung’s newest SSD is unlike any you’ve come across before

Samsung’s newest SSD is unlike any you’ve come across before

The second-generation Samsung SmartSSD is here. Samsung Electronics has lifted the lid on the second iteration of its SmartSSD, an enterprise-focused drive capable of much more than just data storage.

The new SSD is classified as a computational storage device (CSD), which means it handles data processing on-board, thereby minimizing bottlenecks created by the need to pass data between storage and the CPU, GPU and RAM.

Powered by a Xilinx SoC from AMD, the second-generation SmartSSD is said to cut processing time for heavy database queries by 50% and energy consumption by up to 70% as compared with traditional non-CSD configurations.

Is computational storage the future?

Computational storage has been billed by market players as one of the next big things in computing for a number of years now.

There are two types of such systems: those that incorporate processors into the storage device itself (as with Samsung’s SmartSSD) and those that pass compute operations to a storage accelerator located close to the storage drive.

Although computational storage is not appropriate for every use case, it has the potential to dramatically accelerate applications that are limited by I/O performance rather than compute.

“There is clearly a broad class of applications that benefit from offloading compute functions from a main CPU to a more efficient processing engine that is more suited to the specific problem of interest,” said Richard New, VP of Research at Western Digital, in conversation with Epblogs last month.

“In the context of storage, we can classify applications like database acceleration, video transcoding, and compression as belonging to this group. While avoiding needless I/O and data transfers throughout the system, a video transcoding device and storage device can help a video server stream content more effectively at various quality levels.

But creating a successful CSD hasn’t been simple. The relatively low-performance cores that can be built into storage have been unable to match the performance available with a standard CPU since SSDs typically use 100% of their power and cooling resources to serve their primary job.

But courtesy of advances at a processor and software level, Samsung appears to have overcome these barriers, at least to a workable extent.

The business originally introduced the SmartSSD in 2020 and has since sold the drive to several “major IT firms.” The South Korean company anticipates a significant increase in the market for CSDs over the coming years.

The first-generation SmartSSD’s commercialization in partnership with AMD demonstrated the enormous potential of the computational storage market, according to Jin-Hyeok Choi, Executive Vice President and Head of Memory Solution Product & Development at Samsung.

As we broaden the horizons of the next-generation storage market, Samsung will be able to quickly handle growing customer needs in the database and video transcoding sectors thanks to the increased processing functionality of the second-generation SmartSSD.

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