#230 – Seagate NVMe Hard Drives

Chris EvansGuest Speakers, NVMe, Storage Unpacked Podcast

In this episode, Chris and Martin discuss NVMe hard drives with Tim Walker and Mohamad El-Batal from Seagate Research. The concept behind the NVMe HDD is simple – provide a native NVMe interface to traditional enterprise nearline hard drives. Does this approach make sense and what can be gained, other than standardising on an interface? With SMR, multi-actuator and other drive technologies changing the way in which HDDs are managed, NVMe offers an interesting evolution in the medium. Tim and Mohamad walk through the logic behind designing the drive, how it is implemented and ultimately, the benefits that the design can offer. Note that these drives aren’t available yet, but are a genuine development and not just a proof-of-concept, so we can expect hyper-scale and enterprise customers to be using them in a few years’ time.

Elapsed Time: 00:40:41


  • 00:00:00 – Intros
  • 00:02:00 – What is an NVMe Hard Drive?
  • 00:04:15 – The NVMe interface isn’t (just) for performance
  • 00:05:30 – SATA will peak at 6Gb/s
  • 00:06:30 – PCIe will dominate as the external data path
  • 00:08:15 – Consolidation for both internal and external drives will be to PCIe
  • 00:08:30 – Multi-actuator will drive a need for faster interfaces
  • 00:09:35 – Seagate has gone through four emulation steps
  • 00:11:22 – The NVMe HDD operates natively at the controller level
  • 00:12:45 – NVMe specification has added rotational drive support
  • 00:14:10 – U.3 already supports multi-protocol interfaces
  • 00:15:45 – The NVMe HDD is not just a proof of concept marketing exercise
  • 00:17:10 – Could Key value HDDs return with NVMe?
  • 00:19:00 – Is there a future for consumer HDDs?
  • 00:24:00 – Can we envision racks of Ethernet-connected HDDs?
  • 00:25:30 – HDDs could become more autonomous
  • 00:26:20 – SMR and other features could present drives “natively” to the host
  • 00:29:00 – An NVMe interface can reduce the amount of code executed
  • 00:34:00 – Will the enterprise use NVMe HDDs?
  • 00:36:05 – Device efficiency will be paramount with energy costs
  • 00:37:15 – When will devices be available for use?
  • 00:39:45 – Wrap Up

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