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Huawei signs partnership with Micron over Flash technology

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November 2, 2015

China-based telecom equipment maker Huawei has entered a new partnership with Micron. Huawei will now be using Micron flash technology in its OceanStor storage arrays.

To be sure, Huawei already has an OceanStor range of unified file and block storage arrays plus a separate OceanStor Dorado line of all-flash array with two products: the 2100 G2 and the 5100.

The Dorados are dual controller systems and have less than 500 microseconds of network latency.

Details of Huawei's expanded flash strategy are sparse but it says it is introducing its OceanStor flash strategy to Europe with the ultimate goal of increasing flash adoption in data centres and heading towards an all-flash implementation.

It will be integrating solid-state drives into its storage products sold throughout Europe, following the launch of this new initiative in China at the beginning of September 2016.

Huawei says these SSDs are equivalent to 15K RPM SAS disk drives in price, so they are a bit on the expensive side.

Huawei signed its first collaboration agreement under this strategy with Micron at the September 2015 Huawei Cloud Conference in Shanghai.

The idea is to produce "innovative technologies to expand the adoption of SSD flash memory in data centres," the company said.

A quote from Yuan Yaun, CTO of Huawei IT Solutions Sales in Western Europe said-- “The decision to integrate flash memory in data storage will deliver an optimal user experience and low power consumption. It is well suited to customers' business needs now and in the future, and is a vital tool in addressing the challenges of Big Data.”

We usually think of Big Data meaning petabytes of storage, requiring disk as it is the only cost-effective online storage method currently when speed is of the essence.

Yuan talked of the co-operation with Micron as a "shining example of Huawei's long-term commitment to building a sustainable ecosystem for partners within the industry chain, and jointly developing industry-specific product solutions.”

He added: "We cannot achieve innovation by ourselves. Everything we have created, obtained, and achieved would not be possible without the joint efforts of our industry partners and the unflinching trust of our customers."

However, you must have noticed by now that there is distinctly different verbiage here, the "unflinching trust" of customers, for example. Customers might find dealing with Huawei is different from what they expect.

At Huawei's storage summit this week in Shenzhen, China, November 3 to 4, Micron's Director of NAND planning, Kevin Kilbuck will present a whitepaper on the future of flash storage.

A subsequent presentation by Xiaobing Lee, the Chief Architect of Storage Algorithm at Huawei's Hardware Engineering Institute, will discuss a unified memory bus to expand DDR4-DRAM space and to cluster DDR4-SSD and new NVM devices.

The talk abstract mentions 3D Xpoint memory. A panel session will discuss emerging memories and their potential applications as well.

Not be left out, Intel also has a speaker at the event. Jerry Xu, General Manager of Intel's PRC NVM Solutions Group will talk about various possibilities with innovative non-volatile memory technologies.

It looks like Huawei will probably move quickly to adopt 3D NAND and 3D XPoint memory. We expect to see new Dorado-brand solid state arrays and, given XPoint is a memory technology, new Huawei servers as well.

These new arrays and servers could emerge in 2016. How integrated they might be is an interesting question, however.

Micron and Intel will possibly be fighting it out to supply Huawei with XPoint chips although Micron looks to be in the pole position, at least for now anyway. It will be interesting to see how this all pans out. We'll keep you posted.

Source: Huawei.

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