We build prototype storage systems based on next-generation memories to explore the future of fast storage. Our first prototype was Moneta, a PCIe-attached SSD that first demonstrated an OS by-pass interface for storage. Rather than rely on the operating system to access an SSD on the application’s behalf, Moneta takes over the file system’s permission checks so that the application can access storage directly. The result is dramatically faster performance and simpler, more flexible software.

With Moneta as starting point, we built a series of prototype SSDs that redefined the role that storage places play in computer systems:

  • QuickSAN allowed SSDs to communicate directly with one another and for a large, distributed storage system.
  • Onyx was the first publicly-demonstrated phase change memory SSD.
  • Willow was the first SSD to provide a secure programming environment for executing user code in an SSD.
  • Minerva used FPGAs to accelerate data-intensive computations in an SSD.
  • MARS provided support for transactions processing.

Many of the ideas we explored with Moneta, Onyx, and Willow, have found their way into commercial products and inspired further research — Samsung ships SSDs that provide basic database functions and many researchers are now0 exploring how to move compute closer to storage.  If you want to build high-impact systems like these, join our group.