Sage Microelectronic: Achieve High Reliability and Performance with SSD Controllers

Chris Tsu, CTO and Jianjun Luo (Jerome Luo)
From life sciences to astrophysics to quantum physics, advanced computation in every field heavily relies on high-performance computing (HPC) storage systems. While most enterprise applications and software today demand supercomputing, the storage requirements for modeling and simulation, deep learning, Artificial Intelligence, and analytics workloads, have significantly evolved over the years. These requirements have grown more intense, owing to the increased adoption of edge computing for optimizing applications and cloud-storage systems. To meet such requirements, businesses are embracing highly-scalable cloud storage solutions or efficient and reliable SSDs to improve performance benchmarks in end-user devices, servers, and storage arrays. This is where Sage Microelectronic is in a class by itself.

Sage Microelectronic Corporation (Sage Micro) is one of the leading semiconductor companies that provide Integrated Circuits (ICs) and solutions for digital storage and data security applications. “We are designing today’s storage solutions while researching and exploring tomorrow’s technology,” says Jerome Luo, founder of Sage Microelectronic. Headquartered in Hangzhou city, the company has devoted itself to creating superior products and services to prepare its petition to China’s Sci-Tech innovation board (STAR Market) as an IC star providing storage solutions. The company’s products have been widely applied in various customer applications like digital cameras, mobile phones, and personal computers, as well as in enterprise and communication systems such as industrial control, cloud storage, and more. Supported by funding of about $90 Million, Sage Micro’s product line covers mobile flash controllers, SSD controllers, and aggregator/RAID/port-multiplier controllers. Furthermore, the company is facing the increasing demands of many high-end systems, such as communication and aeronautics. “We have enabled the latest and most sustainable semiconductors in the server and the cloud area. While everything is moving from the server room to the edge, there is a tremendous opportunity for new ICs. Sage Micro is primed to reap the benefits of the latest trends, and embeds, merges and integrates new functions into the current storage controllers,” says Chris Tsu, CTO of the company.

Sage Micro is one of the world’s top three bridge controller manufacturers providing consumer storage controllers, including USB-IDE, USB-SATA/PCIe, SAS/SATA-SATA bridge controllers, and more.

We are designing today’s storage solutions while researching and exploring tomorrow’s technology

In 2012, the company announced China’s first SATA SSD controller and is currently focused on developing and shipping enterprise high-performance SSD controllers, with an enhanced partnership with IBM that has pioneered high-end storage systems. Owing to its flexible architecture, Sage Micro is also the first enterprise SSD controller provider to apply the leading MRAM vendor, Everspin’s newly released 1 GB Spin-transfer Torque MRAM.

Sage Micro is building up a whole series of SSD controllers covering all kinds of interfaces, including SATA, SAS, PCIe, and more. “Our recent controllers are provided for MLC and TLC flash but should accumulate technologies for QLC flash memory and even the generation after QLC,” adds Luo. Furthermore, the company is taking a big leap from being a single drive controller vendor to a system-level high-end IC provider by manufacturing storage system controllers such as RAID controllers, port-multipliers, aggregators, and expanders. Some of Sage Micro’s controllers have embedded encryption/decryption engines to provide data security functions.

In essence, Sage Micro is not only delivering storage controllers with high capacity, great performance, and embedded security, but also pioneering the next generation of storage and computing systems. Tsu further presents his aggressive ideas for embedded computing of an SSD or RAID/Expander IC. “Computational storage can be practiced by these chips, and the embedded hardware engines can run much faster than software can. Artificial Intelligence in a surveillance system implemented with these chips can ensure high efficiency in facial recognition applications. It can also be used to build block-chain with the security engines distributed and embedded inside each drive or storage access interface. To sum it up, as storage and computing are having a fuzzy boundary now, we are trying to leverage the merits,” says Tsu.

A bright future awaits Sage Micro, which aims to achieve milestones in the global market after its massive success in China.

Sage Microelectronic

Akron, Ohio

Chris Tsu, CTO and Jianjun Luo (Jerome Luo)

A leading semiconductor company providing bridge controllers, SSD controllers, RAID/Port-Multiplier/Expander controllers, and total solutions for data storage and data security applications