The new year 2018 is around the corner and it’s carrying lots of new products and technologies in the field of storage devices and technologies from new hard disk releases suitable for humble usage to state of the art SSDs, memory sticks and even GPU powered disk arrays suitable for HPC or crowded servers.
The entry of 2018 seems to carry a hot competition, in which both established vendors and new technology startups are trying to keep up with the escalating demand for high performance storage components to serve the new emerging trends of Big Data analytics, cloud, virtualized environments and fast training for AI algorithms.
In this article we will review some of the most recent technologies and hardware components that are about to be released in 2018 or were already released between November and December, and which is expected impact the market in 2018.
In 2018 Intel to launch Optane DIMM with 3DXpoint technology
Intel’s 3D Xpoint is a promising technology which allows the building of an affordable memory chips that can compete with DRAM in terms of speed , and in addition it’s a non-volatile memory which means that it can keep the data even after power loss\Failure. Intel included 3D Xpoint for the first time in its Optane SSD series ; but it didn’t say whether the technology will be available as DIMM memory or not till the last month when one of Intel’s Directors revealed that intel is planning to make Optane DIMM memories available in 2h of 2018 along with the start up of the new production facilities Lehi, Utah. 
This is a glad news as this technology will change the shape and speed of computer architecture as we know it today (RAM is no more a volatile memory !!) , this will lead to great enhancement in computer speed specially the boot time.
In 2018 we have the first storage server with GPU support !
RAID storage arrays (with its multiple levels) provides a resilient way to store big amounts of data. however some servers’ administrators may believe that owning a RAID array storage means that they secured their Data against being lost or corrupted and that they should feel peace regarding unplanned server down time or the expansion of the array. however this is not always the truth.
uncovering the devil in the details, if more than drive failed (in case of RAID 5) or two (in case of RAID 6) at the same time this would render the entire array to inoperable state and may cause a permanent loss for data or in best case would require much effort for an expensive recovery process. also the more Disks in the array the more time the RAID controller would take to rebuild a failed disk (typically days) and the recovery would cause a performance hit in terms of IO throughput.
2018 will see a great enhancement in this field as Nyriad -HPC startup company- in cooperation with TYAN announced what they call (First GPU accelerated “Storage Server”) solution for ultra dense storage applications.
Storage Server Using Nsulate source:nyriad.com
Nyriad says that by using GPUs, the storage server can support hundreds of simultaneous parallel device failures within a large storage array without affecting the array performance.
The GPU can make the massive calculations required by the Parity 128 based recovery algorithm in contrary of conventional RAID controllers based on Parity 8. Their solution -called NSULATE- also support making cryptographic and Hashing functions (in real time) to secure every Data transactions on the entire array.
At late 2018 Seagate plans to launch HAMR based HDDs
Seagate announced that it’s planning to launch nearline HDD based on its HAMR (Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording) technology to the market by the end of 2018 with capacities starting from 16TB. The planned nearline HDD are suitable for data centers and long term archiving of data.
The HAMR Technology increases the areal density (bits stored per inch) significantly by shooting an ultra tiny laser beam on the area that is being scanned by the writing head ; which raises its temperature to 400-600 °C (it re-cools immediately within few nanoseconds),
however this elevated temperature reduces the coercivity (magnetic resistance of the surface material) which in turn reduces the amount of power needed for the writing process and also in turn opens the door to use materials with smaller grain size which allows to increase storage capacity. The company projects to produce >40TB drives by 2023 using HAMR technology.
In early 2018 Toshiba leads the market with 14TB Helium HDD
A HardDisk from Toshiba
It seems that the Japanese electronics giant is healing from his failing nuclear adventure and started to catch his competitors (WD,Seagate) in the field of storage products, As the company announced the release of its first ultra capacity (14TB) Helium HDD. this release gave Toshiba the market lead as this is the largest capacity in the market of its nearline class using the CMR (conventional Magnetic recording) technology.
CMR allows a greater writing speed than SMR (Shingled Magnetic writing) used by other vendors for the same capacity as there is no need to move data around to rewrite new data tracks on the old ones.
Toshiba is marketing its new helium HDD under the name (MG07ACA series) and it may worth saying that Seagate and WD started product Helium sealed HDD lines earlier at 2016 & 2017 respectively.
2018 seems to carry a hot competition between key vendors , new technologies are emerging , new production facilities are being built to serve the hungry market and elevating big data trends. This hot competition makes many industry analysts to expect a steep price decline by the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019. However it all pours in the benefit of end customers.
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