Storage Interfaces

Tuesday,   May 11, 2021

1:30 – 3:00 PM PT

Co-sponsored with the IEEE Santa Clara Valley Magnetics Society


Garden of Earthly Delights, Gamma Iron Oxide Valley, Silicon Valley or whatever one calls it, the valley is the home of the hard disk drive industry. Its companies, products and technologies have been the subject of much historical interest.  The history of their attachment to systems is the little explored subject of this webinar.  The focus is primarily on disk drives (SSD and HDD) and their control but much of the history is common to other storage devices like tape.

Evolution of storage controllers

Storage connects to systems thru layers with interfaces between the layers that have evolved over time – smaller size, lower cost and higher performance.  Early on “dumb” interfaces evolved in the market from the wide interfaces of dominant mainframe and minicomputer interfaces, e.g., DEC RP0x, SMD, etc.  Over time the interfaces became smarter, serial and sponsored by industry consortia (e.g., SCSI, SATA, NVMe), while at the same time function moved around in the various layers (e.g.  RAID, Caching, etc.)

Four industry participants will share with you their experiences in making storage work with computers.


Presentation – Part 1

Presentation – Part 2


Amber HuffmanAmber Huffman is a distinguished Fellow and Chief Technologist in the IP Engineering Group at Intel Corporation. Huffman has devoted her career to I/O and memory interfaces since joining Intel in 1998 with her early work focused on Serial ATA (SATA) technology. A respected authority on storage, memory and IO architecture, she defined, created and drove the NVMe storage standard including forming and chairing the NVM Express (NVMe) Workgroup and continues to chair the board of directors for the NVMe Workgroup and the Open NAND Flash Interface (ONFI) Workgroup. Huffman earned a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University and has been granted more than 20 patents in storage architecture.
Jai MenonJai Menon is the Chief Scientist at Fungible, a pioneer in data-centric computing. Previously he served as CTO for multi-billion dollar Systems businesses (Servers, Storage, Networking) at both IBM and Dell. At IBM, he impacted every significant IBM RAID product between 1990 & 2010, and he co-invented one of the earliest RAID-6 codes in the industry called EVENODD. He was also the leader of the IBM Research team that initiated and drove the creation of the industry’s first, and still the most successful, storage virtualization product.  Jai holds 53 patents, has published 82 papers, and is a contributing author to three books on database and storage systems. He is an IEEE Fellow and an IBM Master Inventor, a Distinguished Alumnus of both Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and Ohio State University, and a recipient of the IEEE Wallace McDowell Award and the IEEE Reynold B. Johnson Information Systems Award.
Grant SaviersGrant Saviers was with Digital Equipment Corporation from 1968 to 1992.  As VP Storage Systems he grew the business from $3M to $4B+ and was responsible for all disk, tape (inventing DLT), memory, subsystem, and clustering products.  DEC at one time was the largest purchaser of large disk drives. In 1990 he became VP PC Systems and Peripherals.

He joined Adaptec as a COO/President in 1992, becoming CEO in 1995 and chairman in 1997. Subsequent to retiring from Adaptec in 1998, he was a private investor/founder in several storage startups and served on the board of Analog Devices for 17 years.  He is now retired.   He earned his B.S. and M.S. in engineering (computing) from Case Tech/CaseWestern Reserve University.

Tom GardnerTom Gardner the moderator, is a member of the SV Technology History Committee and a long time participant in Silicon Valley’s storage industries starting with the interface between Memorex disk drives and DEC Systems that became the first OEM industry standard.  He testified on interface issues for the people in the US v. IBM anti-trust case.  At Shugart he was responsible for its SASI/SCSI product line and later at Auspex was an early participant in iSCSI.  He has an MS in Control Theory from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), an MS in Management from Stanford Graduate School of Business and is either retired or unemployed.