Sunday, July 20, 2008

Micron and Seagate to Lead Solid State Drive Standardization Efforts at JEDEC

Following announcement of the intention to standardize solid state drives (SSDs) last August and a subsequent survey of storage industry companies, a subcommittee scope was defined to develop standards for SSDs used for embedded or removable memory storage at JEDEC, a standard setting organization. What is quite surprising is that Seagate Technology, a hard drive maker, will co-chair the committee with Micron Technology.

“The industry needs to adopt more comprehensive standards for solid state drives to accelerate global acceptance of SSD products at optimal performance levels, for the greatest benefit to consumers,” said Mian Quddus, chairman of the board of JEDEC.

The responsibilities of JEDEC Committee 64.8 (JC-64.8) include defining new form factors leveraging existing interface standards (command protocols and electrical interfaces), mechanical interconnects, environmental aspects, and electrical quality, reliability, and durability methods and procedures that are not included in the interface standards. Applicable portions of proposed documents will be done in cooperation with other JC-64 subcommittees, JEDEC committees JC-11, JC-14 and JC-16, as well as with external standards organizations, such as the T10 and T13 technical committees of the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS), the Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO), USB 3.0, and others.

Seagate Technology, the world’s largest producer of hard disk drive, has never been a strong believer in SSDs due to their high cost per gigabyte compared to HDDs. In a recent interview the firm even said that it sees almost no prospects for solid state drives in mobile or server markets, not talking about desktops. Still, the company also recently sued a maker of SSDs for alleged patent infringement. But while Seagate officially sees no value in flash-based storage, it realizes that going forward the technology may gain value as the prices of flash are constantly decreasing, whereas reliability of the chips is increasing.

Thanks to Micron’s expertise in flash and Seagate’s experience in creating hard drives, the tandem provides a knowledge base from major companies in the two industries to the subcommittee.

Companies considering a variety of SSD technologies are encouraged to contact the JEDEC office to become involved with the JEDEC standards development for SSDs.

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