Founder's Podcast with NGD Systems Founder Nader Salessi

Paul Barker | Feb 10, 2020 | The News

The company’s intelligent Solid-State Drive is loaded with intelligence that could soon be used in everything from automotive AI to the protection of hacking and data leaks.

Becoming a leader in anything is impressive, but when the company you form happens to invent something new and unique then you enter a whole new level.

Such is the case with Nader Salessi, founder and CEO of NGD Systems, Inc. (formerly known as NxGN), the Irvine, Calif.-based company that has patented a new and innovative way to not just store data, but “make sense” of it via an intelligent Solid State Drive (SSD).

For Salessi, it was a challenge he simply couldn’t resist. During an interview held at Edge Computer World in December at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., the subject of ECA’s second Founder’s Podcast, says “large companies with large amount of data were looking for a new solution that didn’t exist, which is why we started the company.”

With 30+ years experience in the storage industry, he had lead technology teams with sTec Inc. and following that Western Digital and their enterprise SSD product platform when he made the decision to launch his own company with a group of co-founders. Their goal? “Develop an emerging solution to the SSD market,” and in doing so “create the world’s first computational storage device.”

“It’s a new generation of solid-state drives,” says Salessi.

“The next level of challenge is how to make sense out of the data. What we have done is bring that compute capability inside the storage device so that you can make sense out of the data without bringing it on-site.”

“What that does is brings new capabilities particularly when it comes to edge computing. You are either collecting a lot of data from the IoT at the edge that you just don’t have the bandwidth to send it to the cloud or you have large amount of data or video that you need to serve end users in which there is not enough bandwidth in existence to bring it from the cloud.”

Asked whether founders are wired differently, he agreed they probably are. Spurred on by one- part passion and one-part finding a solution to a technological challenge.

In edge computing he and others realized there were “pain points” that NGD could address based on the fact findings revealed a mere one in 10 enterprises are truly satisfied with their compute and storage performance at the edge.

A survey of more than 300 storage professionals by the company found that bottlenecks and compute problems continue to plague them as they struggle to support their growing edge workloads. In the study entitled The State of Storage and Edge Computing conducted by Dimensional Research, barely one in 10 respondents gave themselves an “A” grade for their compute and storage capabilities.

“We were not surprised to find that while more than half of respondents are actively using edge computing, more than 70% are using legacy GPUs, which will not reduce the network bandwidth, power and footprint necessary to analyze mass data-sets in real time,” said Salessi.

“Computational Storage provides an innovative solution to today’s architecture, in which compute moves closer to where data is generated, rather than the data being moved up to compute. This is why (it) is ideal for any organization deploying edge computing as its new model; it makes it possible to process data right where it’s created and needed, speeding up the time to analyze petabytes of data.”

The survey revealed that with the rapid growth of edge computing, compute cost and speed are still major challenges, as more organizations look for faster and more intelligent storage solutions.

Meanwhile, in August, there was another first achieved at the Flash Memory Summit when the company announced it had embedded the Azure IoT Edge service directly within its SSDs.

“The Azure IoT Edge service enables organizations to run cloud workloads on edge infrastructure,” it said in a release. “By moving parts of a cloud workload to the edge, an enterprise’s IoT devices and other distributed endpoints can spend less time sending data to the cloud and react more quickly to events.”

There are many applications that can be aided by computational storage, according to content on the company’s web site and one of the most interesting is Automotive AI: “Have you wondered what’s next for the parking meter and the card swipe at the gas pump? There’s technology being developed today aimed at using programs that will allow you to simply park, walk away, and get billed based on where and how long you parked.

“Additionally, when you are at a gas station, it will enable Artificial Intelligence tools to let you simply get out, pump gas, and go. No messy meters or even apps to deal with.

“These incoming solutions are products of “Edge Computing.” But they do not come without challenges. To solve these challenges, computational storage can “offer a 20-times or more improvement in capability and smaller overall space, is necessary. It will allow AI-enabled systems to read, analyze and authorize your car in ways never seen before.”