Microsoft’s Project Denali offers new standard for cloud SSD storage

Microsoft is introducing a new specification for solid state device (SSD) storage called Project Denali. In conjunction with Project Cerberus, this new standard should provide a critical component for security protection when it comes to server hardware, particularly in the areas of protection, detection, and recovery from attacks on platform firmware.

Here’s a bit more about Microsoft’s advancements in these focus areas and what it means for the future of the cloud.

Project Denali: New standard for cloud SSD storage

Project Denali

The new standard, which is being established with CNEX Labs, is known as Project Denali. Basically, Microsoft is trying to define a new standard for flash storage that’s targeted for cloud-based workloads. To accomplish this, they’re standardizing the SSD firmware interfaces by disaggregating the functionality for media management and software-defined data layout.

With all of the new defined roles and support, users can work with an architectural framework that is actually cloud first. The effects should include improved agility and workload performance through closer integrations between applications and SSD devices. In addition, the management of data placement being separated from the NAND management algorithms may free up non-volatile storage media so that it can follow its own schedule for innovation. Finally, another potential benefit could be that it allows hardware companies to build simpler hardware, which could lower cost, decrease the time it takes to bring those products to market, and improve the tuning and development features of new NAND and memory technologies.

Hardware security

Alongside Project Denali, which provides an industry standard for cloud SSD storage, Project Cerebus is made to provide a similar standard for hardware platform security. To accomplish this, the project includes a cryptographic microcontroller, which runs secure code that intercepts accesses from the host to flash over the SPI bus. In doing this, it can measure and attest accesses to ensure the integrity of firmware and protect against malicious activities.

Photo credit: Microsoft

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