Active Drive

Traditionally, storage devices such as hard disk drives (HDD) have with very little functionalities. It replies on the upper layer file system stacks or RAID controller to manage and provide the data functionalities and interface abstraction to support data interactions with applications. However, as the HDD capacity grows into tens of terabytes and more, this existing storage architecture becomes increasing restrictive in linear scalability, performance and cost structure as now the host machine or RAID controller has to deal with much larger data to transfer and manage.

In 2012, DSI successfully built and demonstrated a fully-functional 2.5” 5mm Hybrid HDD. In this project, we proposed the development of Active Drive, the next generation of hybrid HDD that is intelligent with the autonomous capability for self-managing and data processing. It uses the Ethernet network interface with richer object and clustering semantics instead of the conventional SAS or SATA block interface. The Active Drive distributed storage eliminates the need for centralized storage server or RAID controller for abstracting the underlying HDDs as applications can now communicate and transfer data directly to the Active Drives in the cluster. As a result, Active Drive can scale better than existing designs, deliver higher performance, reduce energy consumption and save estate space in data centers. By bringing compute (data processing) close to storage, Active Drive converges compute and storage together for hypserscale data center architecture.

Emerging Storage Drive Technologies Landscape

Application transfers data directly and in parallel to the Active Drives

Storage networking system architecture for future data centers

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