Monday, February 6, 2023

Seagate develops RISC-V based processor for faster & secure HDDs

The company built a system on a chip, demonstrating one of the cores as functional in hard disk drives

Storage solution giant Seagate Technology has announced that they have designed two processors based on the open RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA). One is designed for high performance while the other features a design specialized for area optimization. 

The former enhances real-time processing performance in HDDs by introducing advanced servo algorithms. While the latter features a flexible microarchitecture configuration and feature set, optimized for footprint and reduced power consumption. 


This has been tried to work with HDDs, and at the initial stage, it is said that it was possible to achieve up to 3 times the performance of the current one. Seagate made this announcement at the virtual RISC-V Summit 2020, here’s what they have stated:

“Having shipped close to one billion cores over the last year, Seagate has developed significant expertise in system-on-a-chip design,” said Cecil Macgregor, Vice President, Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) Development. “We now expanded the capability to add customized RISC-V cores to our portfolio, which is critical to future products. We live in a time of unprecedented growth of enterprise data—and much of this data is in motion. These cores will allow devices to share a common RISC-V ISA. Using open security architectures, they will enable more secure movement of data.”

The high-performance core offers up to triple the performance for real-time, critical HDD workloads versus current solutions. In an initial use case, this core enabled Seagate to dramatically increase the real-time processing power available. The processor paves the way for finer positioning by implementation of advanced servo (motion control) algorithms.

The area-optimized core boasts a highly configurable microarchitecture and feature set. It’s optimized both for footprint and power savings. It powers auxiliary, supporting, or background workloads. It can execute security-sensitive edge computational operations (including next-generation post-quantum cryptography) while targeting a small-footprint implementation of security features over performance.

One of the key use cases for this core is security. A member of OpenTitan, Seagate is committed to open and transparent security.

As both of the processors offer RISC-V security features, the benefits add up to more robust edge-to-cloud data trustworthiness, security, and mobility, making newer HDDs faster and secure.

“Introducing RISC-V to storage devices creates an opportunity to implement application-specific computational capabilities that enable massive parallel computational storage solutions,” said John Morris, Seagate’s Chief Technology Officer. “We believe that these architectures support many important use cases that include scientific simulation (for example, weather prediction) as well as the learning part of machine learning.”

Learn more here.


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Raunak Saha
Raunak Saha
A cs engineer by profession but foodie from heart. I am tech lover guy who has a passion for singing. Football is my love and making websites is my hobby.


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