Building Fast, Smart Storage Devices

We build prototype storage systems based on next-generation memories to explore the future of fast storage. Our first prototype was Moneta, a PCIe-attached SSD that first demonstrated an OS by-pass interface for storage. Rather than rely on the operating system to access an SSD on the application's behalf, Moneta takes over the file system's permission checks so that the application can access storage directly. The result is dramatically faster performance and simpler, more flexible software.

Onyx, our second storage array prototype, was the world's first publicly demonstrated PCM-based SSD. We built it using our own PCM memory module (at left). Now, we are working with a major CPU manufacturer to build a second-generation Onyx system.

Our latest work focuses on making SSDs programmable (much like modern GPUs are programmable), so programmers can modify and extend their behavior. For instance, you could write an "app" to run on your SSD that accelerates database, caching, or multimedia operations. Our goal is to make programming SSDs as easy as programming your phone or your GPU. As a result, anyone will be able to fully leverage the performance than non-volatile memories can offer.

Publications