Zoned Storage

Higher Capacities, Lower TCO & Improved QoS

The Increasing demand for data center storage capacities

Data volumes created by enterprises, machines, and consumer-generated content continue to drive demand for data center storage capacities at petabyte, exabyte and even zettabyte scale. Today, large scale data infrastructure already uses tens of thousands of SSDs and HDDs. Managing the extreme scale of data in a cost-effective manner is quickly becoming a requirement.

Benefits of Zoned Storage for the Datacenter

Zoned Storage is an open source, standards-based initiative to enable data centers to scale efficiently for the zettabyte storage capacity era. There are two technologies behind Zoned Storage, Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) in HDDs and Zoned Namespaces (ZNS) in SSDs.

Zoned storage devices, such as ZNS SSDs are divided into zones, significantly simplifying the drive architecture and minimizing the need for complex data management. With a unified software stack, the host is able to intelligently place data in different zones which enables these key benefits:

Increased Capacities

Higher density and scale as virtually no over-provisioning is required

Reduced Cost

Significantly reduced DRAM requirements and fewer support logic functions are required

Improved QoS

With minimal garbage collection required, the device controller can respond quicker

Increased Endurance

Because the data is not constantly re-written, the endurance is improved

The act of implementing Zone Storage on the host allows the system software and hardware to work together more efficiently by eliminating the multiple (duplicated) levels of indirection required for logical to physical mapping between the host and the SSD controller and the file system to the device. ZNS also reduces the need for over-provisioning and removes the issues associated with write amplification and QoS variability. In short ZNS addresses the issues of scale, QoS and TCO which hinder conventional SSDs.

Zoned Storage enables cost effective storage scaling for the zettabyte age

Zoned Storage consists of SMR for HDDs and ZNS for SSDs. Zoned Named Spaces is an extension of the NVMe™ standard. This technology allows us to offer SSDs that are zoned similarly to SMR HDDs, thereby allowing HDD and SSD storage to be seen as though it were one technology. Zoned Storage leverages both SMR and ZNS technologies and open source standards to enhance data center scaling.

With a unified software framework, data can be intelligently placed on both SMR HDDs and ZNS SSDs to increase storage capacity, lower TCO and improve QoS. With Zoned Storage, data center and cloud providers can more cost effectively scale storage for the zettabyte age.


Device controls data placement


Applications control data placement in zones

Achieving Increased Capacities Through Zoned Storage

Featured Articles


ZNS ratification

Read about the zoned storage standard, ZNS which was ratified by the NVMe consortium.

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Intro to Zoned Storage

Learn how Zoned Storage enables data centers to scale, improve QoS and lower TCO. The technologies that make up Zoned Storage, Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) for HDDs and Zoned Namespaces (ZNS) for SSDs are introduced.

Learn More


ZNS: Avoiding the Block Interface Tax for Flash-based SSDs

Learn how the Zoned Namespaces represent a new division of functionality between host and SSD that enables both higher performance and lower-cost-per-byte when adopted.

Learn More

Forward Looking Statements
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1. Source 1: What is Zoned Storage and Why Does it Matter by William G. Wong (Electronic Design, 9/20/2020)
2. Source 2: The Next Step in SSD Evolution: NVMe Zoned Namespaces Explained by Billy Tallis (, 8/6/2020)