Intel’s Knut Grimsrud explains how to get another 20x improvement in SSD performance

“The coolest consumer devices use NVM (non-volatile memory)” said Intel Fellow Knut Grimsrud, who gave a keynote speech at this week’s Flash Memory Summit We’ve seen SSD (solid-state disk) performance advances on the order of 20x from 2005 through 2011, just based on data from three generations of Intel’s SSDs he said. Then Grimsrud looked forward to the next 20x in performance improvement—from 20,000 to 40,000 IOPS (I/O operations/sec) to more than 1 million IOPS. Surprisingly, it’s not the foundation NAND Flash technology that’s needed to get there. SSDs are inherently parallel devices with several banks or ranks of NAND Flash devices that can operate simultaneously. No, the bottlenecks are the SSD I/O interface and the OS driver.

Consequently, said Grimsrud, we’ll be using something like an 8x PCIe Gen3 interface to connect these future SSDs and we’ll need a more efficient programming interface like NVM Express (NVMe), released just last March by the NVMe Work Group ( A slide Grimsrud presented during his keynote showed command-processing overhead dropping from 7.6 microseconds to 1.6 microseconds just by switching from a SAS I/O driver to an NVMe driver.


About sleibson2

EDA360 Evangelist and Marketing Director at Cadence Design Systems (blog at
This entry was posted in EDA360, SoC Realization, System Realization and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Intel’s Knut Grimsrud explains how to get another 20x improvement in SSD performance

  1. Anu Murthy says:

    Hey Steve,
    Did you really thing the 100s of videos playing simulataneously on the screen in full HD was realistic futuristic use case?

  2. sleibson2 says:

    Hi Anu,

    Whether or not it was a realistic use case, it did illustrate the concept of why you’re going to need a lot more bandwidth and storage performance. Cool demo too. A video browser is not so far out that I could say it would never happen. After all, we use still-photo browsers all the time.


  3. Anu Murthy says:

    Agreed in general I am a big fan of Knuts presentations especially in the early days of SSDs. I think his point was that would be a very IO intensive usecase and still SSDs would deal with it easily and beautifully done as usual..

  4. Can anyone bring me in contact to Knut Grimsrud, because of getting a solution on Intel ssd 320 160GB 8MB bad_CTX problem. We have an customer which has this problem. I’m data recovery expert and want to get a solution for this issue without data loss. I’m sure there will be a solution, but I cannot find any. So I would like to ask him for a Solution which i could provide also to other users which have same Problem. FW 4PC10362 is on the drive and FW Flash does not work. Please Help! Thomas Kaltenstadler Datapower – Data recovery Germany. My email: google
    Thomas Kaltenstadler

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