NVM Express: An Interesting Look Back at 2020


Although 2020 brought challenges beyond our imagination, the NVM Express community stayed hard at work to make flash storage faster and more scalable. We have also seen how NVM Express® (NVMe®) and NVMe® over Fabrics (NVMe-oF™) technology have emerged in various market segments like gaming, medical research, edge computing, artificial intelligence and more.  This broad adoption across many aspects of our lives shows how critical NVM Express technology is to our future.

This past year, the very smart people in NVM Express focused their efforts on technical proposals, such as the Zoned Namespace Command Set, and increased our educational offerings with new website resources, webinars and more. Below we’ve shared the notable 2020 accomplishments:

Zoned Namespace Command Set Ratification

In June 2020, the NVMe Zoned Namespace (ZNS) Technical Proposal was ratified and published in the NVMe 1.4a specification. NVMe ZNS allows the SSD and host to collaborate on data placement, with the host software directing I/O traffic to specific zones, leading to improved performance, decreased costs and improved reliability. Because NVMe ZNS reduces the amount of overprovisioning required in large capacity SSDs, write amplification is reduced and leads to a lower total cost of ownership. Data is also managed in individual zones, enabling new methods to manage reliability and reduced “blast radius” of device failures due to NVMe ZNS.

In November 2020, NVMe ZNS was awarded the Most Innovative Flash Memory Technology for Best of Show Award at Flash Memory Summit (FMS) 2020. NVMe ZNS has also received media buzz and has been deemed the “next step in SSD evolution.” The NVMe Zoned Storage ecosystem is expected to include cloud vendors, all flash-array vendors, solid-state device vendors and more.

NVM Express Educational Resource Development

To better educate those interested in learning more about NVMe technology, NVM Express focused our 2020 efforts on revitalizing the NVM Express website with new educational resources. These resources included:

Thanks to the collective effort of the NVM Express MWG and Website Task Force, these new pages illustrate the NVM Express ecosystem, including NVM Express membership, technology features, helpful training programs, supporting technologies, liaison organizations and much more.

NVM Express FMS 2020 Speaker Track Goes Virtual

This year’s Flash Memory Summit event transitioned to a virtual format. The event’s established attendees rallied to offer the same educational keynotes, presentations and booth content from the comfort of their own homes. NVM Express participated as an organizational sponsor and hosted a presentation track and a keynote session, which offered the latest news on NVMe architecture implementation, use cases and technology updates.

Presentation topics included updates to the NVMe/TCP protocol, the state of NVMe interoperability, an NVMe specification 2.0 preview and a keynote presentation on the future of NVMe technology, presented by NVM Express President Amber Huffman. Those who missed the live event can watch the full presentation recordings here and download the presentation slides on the NVM Express website.

2020 Webcasts Program

NVM Express hosted four successful webcasts, presented by members from Intel, NetApp, Kalray, KIOXIA, Samsung and Western Digital. The presenters shared their expertise on NVMe-oF 1.1 specification features, NVMe SSD management, NVMe Zoned Namespace SSDs and NVMe-oF composable architectures. These webcasts are available for playback on both the NVM Express BrightTALK channel and YouTube channel.

NVM Express Celebrates 10th Year Anniversary

With the first NVMe 1.0 specification released in 2011, NVM Express is excited to celebrate NVMe technology’s 10th year anniversary in 2021. This significant milestone will mark a new chapter in NVM Express history. This year, the storage community can look forward to a brand and specification refresh with continued website upgrades and the release of the NVMe 2.0 Specification. This new specification enables an extensible infrastructure that will foster new areas of innovation and take the industry through the next phase of NVMe technology expansion.

Last year’s accomplishments were made possible by the dedicated members of NVM Express. If you’re a member and looking to contribute your industry expertise to NVM Express in 2021, we invite you to join an NVM Express Work Group. If you haven’t yet signed up, we invite you to learn about the NVM Express member benefits and join now.