The Companies That Support Linux: SanDisk Advances Storage Industry

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Nithya RuffA growing dependency on digital data has spurred new interest in flash storage technologies along with cloud-based services and storage. With the broadest portfolio of flash-memory based solutions in the industry, SanDisk is on the leading edge of this transformation, with Linux and open source at the heart of its innovation. By working with hundreds of open source projects in compute, storage, and networking, SanDisk can help enable software stacks to take advantage of flash’s behavior and performance, says Nithya Ruff, director of the SanDisk Open Source Strategy Office.

SanDisk recently joined the Linux Foundation as a corporate member along with Adapteva, GitHub, Seagate, and Western Digital. Here, Ruff explains why SanDisk uses Linux and open source software, why the company joined the Linux Foundation, which trends in the storage industry are affecting them, and how they are participating in the storage industry transformation.

Linux.com: What does SanDisk do?

Nithya Ruff: SanDisk Corporation is a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company and a global leader in flash storage solutions for more than 25 years. SanDisk has expanded the possibilities of storage, providing trusted and innovative products that have transformed the electronics industry. Our quality, state-of-the-art solutions are at the heart of many of the world's largest data centers, and embedded in advanced smart phones, tablets and PCs. You can also find our consumer products at hundreds of thousands of retail stores worldwide.

How and why do you use Linux?

Open Source is used in tools and as a core for some of our embedded devices such as the SanDisk Connect™ Wireless Media Drive. We also work with open source ecosystems, like Android and OpenStack, where we enable users to truly take advantage of the full benefits of flash from performance to energy efficiency to small footprint. These ecosystems start on a Linux base and encompass hundreds of compute, storage and networking projects which form the basis of mobile devices and datacenters.

Why did you join the Linux Foundation?

The Linux Foundation has become the central place for all things Linux and open source. It brings together education, sponsorship for emerging projects, events for commercial and community collaboration and a place to showcase our support for Linux and open source. As leaders in flash storage, SanDisk can bring its knowledge of flash enabled storage to the table and to engage with the community to drive new ways to incorporate open source to flash-enabled storage devices. We are excited to be part of the Linux Foundation.

What interesting or innovative trends in the storage market are you witnessing and what role does Linux play in them?

Storage is undergoing a dramatic transformation from the creation of more data at the edge to the transportation and eventual storage and use of the data. As a company that plays in all of the points of storage, we see a number of trends. 

  • Proliferation of edge devices – mobile, wearable, Internet of Things – all capable of data generation and some storage.

  • Massive generation of data of all kinds that needs to be stored and ready for on-demand access.

  • Cloud is becoming a dominant media for the storage of data with object storage as a dominant means of storage.

  • Use of more open source and open standards based software in all aspects of the datacenter.

  • Need for faster and high-performance access from multiple devices and applications and hence more flash-transformed datacenters.

  • Need for more efficient storage of the data in datacenters – smaller footprint, less energy usage, less cooling etc.

How is your company participating in that innovation?

Because SanDisk plays in all aspects of the data journey - from the generation of content at the edge in smart phones or devices to that data's transportation to the cloud or an enterprise datacenter - we are in the middle of all this change. We are driving the transformation by enabling high performance, small footprint, highly efficient storage needed in the next generation of datacenters. Being a vertically integrated company from fabs to applications, we can truly drive what is needed in storage to handle the new cloud and service oriented datacenter. Being an expert in flash, we can enable software stacks to take advantage of flash’s behavior and performance through flash optimization with software. We can also bring the right footprint and quality to the edge devices and enable never before seen innovation.

What other future technologies or industries do you think Linux and open source will increasingly become important in and why?

Open source is transforming everything, especially how we work together across companies and communities to innovate and create. It provides a model of collaborative creation that can be used to create anything including art, music, better education, better hardware and better cities. It will be the use of the model that will transform industries and the way we live more than any one specific technology.

Are you hiring?

We are always looking for good talent. You can find more specifics at http://www.sandisk.com/about-sandisk/careers/