NVMe Flash Storage and Data Recovery

Flash storage, while already way faster than spinning disks, have the potential to reach new found speeds thanks to the advent of NVMe, a new standard that’s based on PCIe. What is this new type of flash storage and what does it mean for data recovery?

NVMe is a new protocol designed for the performance of flash, and will replace the SAS and SATA protocols that in turn were developed as a replacement for the spinning disks found in traditional magnetic hard disk drives. The rise of flash storage has been particularly apparent in recent years, and it’s not hard to see why – the format has far greater performance than spinning disk media. The current protocols – SAS and SATA – aren’t able to fully take advantage of the benefits that flash storage brings. Enter NVMe, non-volatile memory express, developed by industry leaders for higher performance in solid state drives. NVMe is based on peripheral component interconnect express (PCIe), and the format marks the first true standard in new flash technology. Lack of coordination and no standard in SSD production is one of the main reasons why flash data recovery can be very tricky.

So what are the benefits of NVMe-based flash storage? Basically, the format provides greater bandwidth than SAS and SATA, which hugely improved queuing. SATA III provides 6GBps and 600MBps, and SAS provides 12GBps and 8GBps throughout. NVMe, on the other hand, has a bandwidth of around 1GBps per lane, so up to 16GBps in a 16-lane drive. NVMe can also handle more queues than SATA and SAS. All of these characteristics mean that NVMe-equipped flash storage won’t experience the same performance degradation that SATA and SAS do if they’re overloaded with I/O requests. For this reason, PCIe SSD storage cards with the NVMe protocol are doing incredibly well in the market right now, despite being new technology.

At Data Recovery Specialists, see flash storage in the form of SD cards and solid state drives (SSDs) in the data recovery lab on a daily basis, and we utilise the latest technologies in order to retrieve data from these devices? But what about data recovery from NVMe-based devices? SSD data recovery is very different from hard drive data recovery, and as such, requires different tools. Our research and development team are constantly looking into new data recovery techniques, and will be keeping an eye on this new flash technology very carefully. 

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