Microchip's PCIe 5.0 SSD Controller Brings Wicked-Fast 14GB/s Bandwidth To The Data Center
You've undoubtedly heard of a microchip, but might not be all that familiar with Microchip, as in the company. It's actually a pretty big one, with billions of dollars in annual revenue and multiple chip fabs in the United States. We'd be just fine if it ever decided to make a bigger splash in the consumer space, though, as its latest generation Flashtec NVMe 4016 controller for the data center brings with its some monstrous bandwidth capabilities.
This is a 16-channel PCI Express 5.0 controller, and according to Microchip, it's the highest-performing PCIe 5.0 out there (though Phison
might have something to say about that). More specifically, it leverages four lanes of PCIe 5.0 bandwidth to deliver more than 14GB/s of throughput and over 3 million IOPS to data center SSDs.
"Microchip is proud to announce the next generation of our Flashtec NVMe controller product line. Its market-leading performance, coupled with our proven and flexible architecture, means the NVMe 4016 can provide our cloud and OEM customers with a cutting-edge platform for their PCIe Gen 5 NVMe SSD solutions," said Pete Hazen, vice president of Microchip’s data center solutions business unit.
In addition to the raw speed capabilities, Microchip says this is the first PCIe Gen 5 controller to introduce PCIe link encryption support. It offers up dual signature authentication and Trust Platform support, along with advanced virtualization capabilities for large-scale deployment of VMs.
Other notable features include ECC support and a new programmable machine learning
(ML) engine that can carry out a variety of pattern recognition and classification functions in AI and ML workloads. This has gotten the attention of companies like Kioxia, SK Hynix, and Facebook/Meta.
"Meeting the challenging demands of hyperscale data center environments for scalable efficiency in terms of manageability, power, performance and thermals has been the focus of industry standards such as the OCP data center NVMe SSD specification and EDSFF E1.S as a form factor," said Ross Stenfort, hardware system engineer, Storage at Meta. "The Flashtec NVMe 4016 controller supports these requirements to enable SSD makers to meet hyperscale needs."
AMD and Intel have taken notice as well, both of which are bringing next-gen server silicon to data centers with PCIe 5.0 capabilities.