HGST has been at the heart of some really interesting and ground-breaking storage technologies. About two years ago, it announced the first helium-filled hard disk drives, and now, the company has just demonstrated what it calls "the world's fastest SSD" at the Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, California.
The drive uses a typical PCIe slot but HGST's special low-latency interface that was developed with future solid state media in mind. According to HGST, it runs on top of standard PCIe, but its high-level interface defines things like how a command gets transferred and initiated and how the server knows a transmission is completed.
That said, HGST isn't setting out to beat NVMe or to necessarily push its low-latency interface over any open standard. Ulrich Hansen, HGST's VP of SSD Product Marketing said, "NVMe will evolve, right? So who knows?"
Apart from the low-latency interface, HGST's SSD also uses new PCM (Phase Change Memory), that can make bits available to the host system many times quicker than traditional NAND memory. Typically NAND takes about 70µs to respond to a request, whereas PCM takes only 1µs. Unfortunately, it is going to take some time before PCM becomes dense and cheap enough for mainstream adoption.