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Flash Memory Summit 2017: Flash really on fire

Any claims that “flash is on fire” at Flash Memory Summit 2017 this week drew awkward glances, nervous laughs or groans. That’s because one flash system literally caught fire, causing the exhibition hall at the Santa Clara Convention Center to close for the entire show.

The Innodisk booth caught fire hours before Flash Memory Summit 2017 opened Tuesday morning.  Damage from the fire and water from the sprinkler system that doused it prompted fire marshals to order the exhibition floor closed for the entire three-day show.

The show went on, with meetings and dozens of keynotes and panel sessions discussing all things flash for three days. Product launches went out as scheduled but the shutting of the exhibit hall disappointed vendors who planned demos of new and emerging products.

Fire marshals have not identified the cause of the fire.

Demonstrations that were never demonstrated included the Kaminario K2.N NVMe array due to ship in spring of 2018 and E8 Storage’s shipping D-24 rack-scale NVMe array as well as its coming X24 arrays. Newcomer Liqid wanted to show off what it calls a bare-metal composable infrastructure system using hardware from OneStop Systems.

Other products scheduled for demos included Toshiba NVMe over Fabric software, several new Intel SSDs, Mellanox NVMe over Fabrics devices, Everspin 1 GB and 2 GB DDR4 form factor MRAM devices, and a host of Samsung products including a reference “Mission Peak” 1U server that can store 576 TB of SSD capacity with new form factor 16 TB drives.

“We wanted to show that we’re real, and our stuff is battle tested,” said Julie Heard, E8 Storage’s director of technical marketing.

Flash Memory Summit 2017 wasn’t a complete waste for E8. The team won a best-of-show award for most innovative flash memory technology and showed off its Game of Thrones-knockoff “Game of LUNs” poster.

Other notable Flash Memory Summit 2017 award winners included Western Digital for NAND flash, CNEX Labs and Brocade for storage networking, Excelero for software-defined storage, and Attala Systems Inc. for storage system.

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