Samsung Adds Software to CXL Portfolio

Article By : Gary Hilson

Samsung views open source software as key enabler for CXL adoption.

Samsung is following up on its first Compute Express Link (CXL) offering with software tools designed to help foster adoption of the protocol and expand its ecosystem.

Cheolmin Park, vice president and head of Samsung Electronics’ Datacenter Platform Group, said the company sees software and open standards as critical to accelerating uptake of CXL. That’s among the reasons why it released a Scalable Memory Development Kit (SMDK) for heterogeneous memory systems.

The open source software is designed to be easily integrated, offering software-defined memory management, Park said. The approach encourages collaboration and demonstrations of CXL technology with customers and partners while accelerating expansion of a CXL ecosystem.

The kit introduction follows Samsung’s release earlier this year of its Double Data-Rate 5 DRAM-based memory expander aimed at applications such as AI and high-performance computing. Those data-intensive applications require servers that can significantly scale memory capacity and bandwidth.

With a proven memory expander, Park said the shift to applications led to creation of the SMDK, which Samsung considers the first software package for advancing CXL development. The combination is designed to be integrated with existing software tools and stacks.

“Our plan is to open this particular software for the open source community, [making] it available for anybody to use,” Park said.

As its CXL 2.0 DRAM memory expander is sampled by customers, Samsung predicts capacity and bandwidth increases of as much as 50 percent as software tools are integrated with memory to make it more accessible.

A single virtual memory is possible when combining hardware such as conventional DRAM and CXL memory at a specific location in a software stack. “The current framework is very comprehensive to support customers’ seamless integration of their existing software stack.”

Other SMDK elements include compatible API and optimized ASP support, as well as an intelligent tiering engine that supports different software requests and priorities along with bandwidth allocations.

The development kit can create an additional layer in the memory hierarchy below the DDR DIMM and above SSD. Application of the memory expander increases the bandwidth and capacity per CPU. The SMDK workflow also supports various memory use cases. The compatible API aids memory expansion without modifying software Meanwhile, optimized API supports software application modification.

Samsung said it wants extend SMDK into a scalable memory environment, enabling development of a complete software package used in memory disaggregation architectures and for CXL orchestration. “It could be Samsung’s center software framework that can take care of the lot of different CXL devices,” Park said.

AI, machine learning and 5G edge cloud services could benefit from the memory development kit. “It is going to accelerate the adoption of CXL technology,” Park added.

CXL expands

While Micron exited the 3D Xpoint market to instead focus on CXL development, Samsung has outpaced Micron with CXL offerings, as has Rambus. For example, Rambus this week unveiled a CXL 2.0 controller with integrated Integrity and Data Encryption (IDE) modules. Among the features are IDE security with zero latency for CXL.mem and CXL.cache. The IDE module is pre-integrated in the CXL 2.0 controller, as well as its new PCIe 5.0 controllers, to reduce implementation risks.

Embedded security at the hardware level, including memory, has become increasingly important. A key requirement is ensuring security features do not add latency, creating data transfer bottlenecks. The Rambus CXL 2.0 controller is designed to monitor and protect against physical attacks on CXL links while maintaining performance.


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