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to - how will SSDs change the future?

Since the 1990s our readers have been accelerating the growth of the SSD market and setting its direction and agenda.
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what are the big storms in SSD right now?

The market is plowing through some heavy design issues with DIMM wars and a widening range of segmentation opportunities in all memories not to mention a new plot twist in DWPD with metascale advised, life-cycle fitted, virtually hardened flash endurance.

Many reference points in the memory storage framework which were long thought to be stable are now cracking apart like ice floes - while flurries of IP volcanoes are spawning new islands of cinder which may be too hot to safely reach for without a promise of cloud-hanging softly insulated boots, bridges and roadmaps.
SSD futurologists click here to see our directory of SSD market analysts
how did thinking change in 2015? annual roundup
what SSD articles are others reading? image shows Megabyte reading a scroll - the top 50 SSD articles and recommended SSD blogs

90% of the enterprise SSD companies which you know have no good reasons to survive.
market consolidation - why? how? when?

"If you've ever watched the movie Black Hawk Down... It's like the chopper scene..."
Surviving SSD sudden power loss

Who are the top SSD companies?... the companies which you absolutely have to look at if you've got any new projects involving SSDs?
the Top SSD Companies

Reliability is more than just MTBF... and unlike Quality - it's not free.

The battle for storage reliability never stops.

It has to be fought - in every place where physics intrudes on data integrity.

It must be fought and won anew - in every technology generation and in every new product design.
storage reliability
high availability enterprise SSDs

Little words can have with big meanings in the world of SSDs.
flash SSD jargon explained

The arguments about flash in enterprise SSD accelerators have changed.

First you learned about SLC (good flash).

Then you learned about MLC (naughty flash when it played in the enterprise - but good enough for the short attention span of consumers).

Then naughty MLC SSDs learned how to be good. (When strictly managed.)

Now we're writing silly rhymes about endurance.
sugaring flash for the enterprise
(12 years of taste tests)

Play it again Sam - as time goes by...
Write IOPS and flash SSDs

Apple vs FBI shows it's not easy.
SSD data recovery stories

For 13 years MRAM makers have been saying they will "soon" replace flash.
SSD's past phantom demons

more SSD topics from A to Z
1" SSDs
1.8" SSDs
2.5" SSDs
3.5" SSDs
6 user value propositions for SSD adoption
7 different SSD roles for all enterprise needs
11 key design symmetries in SSD
108 PR agencies to tell your SSD story

About the publisher - founded 1991
(that's old - but still hoping to learn more)

Acquisitions in the SSD market
Adaptive R/W & DSP ECC in SSDs

Advertising SSDs

Analysts - SSD market
Animal brands in SSD
Articles and blogs - top 50
Architecture guide - storage
auto tuning, caching, tiering SSDs

Bad block management in flash SSDs
Banner ads for SSDs
Benchmarking SSDs

click to read the article - Big versus Small SSD  architecturesBig versus Small - SSD architecture

BOM issues SSDs
Branding Strategies in the SSD market

see more...A to Z list

the past 19 months news from

40 years of SSD history
November 2014 Steve Wozniak joins Primary Data
December 2014 WDC acquires Skyera
January 2015 California Court halts sales of ULLtraDIMM SSDs (the ban was lifted 3 months later)
February 2015 FalconStor enters the enterprise SSD software platform market
March 2015 Toshiba samples 48-layer 3D nand
April 2015 A3CUBE publishes an infographic showing the shape of R/W in remote shared NVMe memory fabric
May 2015 Researchers at Oak Ridge National Lab publish survey of data compression techniques and applications in cache and main memory
June 2015 Altera introduces adaptive flash controller IP leveraging technology from NVMdurance into its FPGA product line
July 2015 interest in Micron surges based on rumor that Tsinghua Unigroup might buy it
August 2015 DIMM wars heat up with Memory1 (flash as RAM) from Diablo and 3D XPoint (alt nvm) from Intel and Micron
September 2015 Mangstor gets series B funding for fastest NVMe flash
October 2015 OCZ offers "Host Managed SSD Technology" in 2.5" SSDs
November 2015 Netlist allies with Samsung to codevelop flash-as-RAM DIMMs
December 2015 NSF funds NxGn Data project to progress in-situ SSD processing
January 2016 Quarch says many SSDs fail their first hot plug tests.
February 2016 It's not worth paying more for SLC reliability in PCIe SSDs says Google field study
March 2016 New funding for endurance stretching NVMdurance

Cadence and Mellanox demonstrate PCIe 4.0 interoperability at 16Gbps.
April 2016 Samsung began mass producing the industry's first 10nm class 8Gb DDR4 DRAM chips.
May 2016 efficiently coded memory architecture unveiled in new systems by Symbolic IO

Encrip announces tri-state coded DRAM IP which can be used with any standard process
June 2016 Pure Storage said its AFA revenue in Q1 2016 was more than the leading HDD array brand


where are we heading with memory intensive systems and software?

there's more to upcoming change in SSD than DIMM wars

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - - June 17, 2016

 directory of SSD market analystsThe SSD market is moving into a new phase at the core of which is changed thinking about the role of memory and storage and software.

In past such transitions (for example the RAM SSD to flash SSD transition in enterprise SSDs followed by years of successively different types of flash) it was much easier to predict what problems needed to be solved to enable such memory adoptions in different markets - because they were all about how do you make reliable enough systems out of new, higher density memories which have intrinsically poorer data reliability than the devices which they will replace?

And once SSD architects understood flash well enough - the direction of successor challenges was predictable...

Another denser type of flash.

These presented detailed problems for controller designers and memory makers - but didn't change the inevitable laws of memory succession.

The background business principles for adopting such products were also clear and had remained the same for 10 years.

what's different now?

What we've got in the market now is a new melting pot - which I alluded to in last year's article - the SSD Bookmarks - why we need to begin thinking again.

At its simplest - the factors now at play are these:-
  • When all storage is made from memories the dividing line between storage and memory is much more fluid than it has been before.

    If you have enough flash memory chips you can build an SSD.

    And if you start with that very same flash SSD - you can make it behave like core memory - DRAM - which is an entirely different type of memory than that used inside the SSD.

    Interesting questions are:- How much memory can we replace with such an SSD? Where does it work best? What are the limits?

    You could say - using an analogy from thermodynamics - that storage has lower data entropy than memory - because you can do more with raw memory than with raw storage. The heat pumps which change the roles of one memory package to another are coming from the software market.

    And just as flash SSDs needed characteristics like endurance and DWPD to help us understand their limitations perhaps virtual RAM needs entirely new latency spectrum based specifications too...
  • There are more type of memory entering the storage / memory mix than ever before.

    It's not just flash (which itself has got more dimensions of choice than before) but alternative nvms too.
  • What do want our memory systems to do for us? And how do we want them to behave?

    In the past all such efforts focused on making memory systems more reliable and compatible with past software.

    An important emerging trend has been to demand much more from memory systems, and to offload data compute and other functions where ever it makes more sense from an energy and performance point of view to perform such functions inside the memory array.
Who are the companies leading these changes?

Which are the products and technologies which can be regarded as iconic in their classes?

From the marketing point of view one of the loudest technology categories which falls within the above market changes has been the SSD SCM DIMM wars market. If you click on that link you'll see a long list of companies which have made promises in that direction (Micron, Intel, Diablo and many more).

But that's only part of the story of the rewriting of the memory plot.

In the past 3 years there have also been growing developments in the area of making memory systems more capable, more manageable by software and more flexible.

Here are some of the companies and strands of thinking involved.

in-situ processing

NxGn - in-situ processing in flash SSDs.

Altera - DRAM coresident FPGA architecture to enable CPU offload of IO and compute.

Radian Memory - providing offload functions in flash SSDs

software managed memory

Plexistor - manages the convergence of memory and storage in big systems from a software approach it calls Software Defined Memory.

Marvell - has a firmware and controller associated architecture called Final-Level Cache - which provides flash as DRAM functionality - which can deliver higher performance and lower electrical power.

new things in DRAM

Symbolic IO - has used data coding techniques embedded at CPU level to dynamically extract more usable capacity and performance from in all the memory types within its enterprise systems from DRAM upwards.

Encrip - has demonstrated a chip level IP which can be retrofitted to most conventional DRAM chip designs - to provide 3 levels of internal coding instead of 2 (binary). The IP can deliver more usable capacity and higher performance - or it can be used to save power by reducing the amount of raw DRAM needed in systems.

DRAM fabrics

No matter how much memory (of whatever type) you can place in a rack it's never enough for everyone. A3CUBE has been at the forefront of companies pioneering low latency DRAM fabrics based on PCIe connected servers.

related articles

DRAM's indeterminate latencies

what's RAM really? - RAM in an SSD context

DIMM wars in SSD servers - the Memory1 salvo

are you ready to rethink enterprise DRAM architecture?

a beginner's guide to semiconductor memory boom bust cycles

SSD ideas which changed in 2014 - first appearance of in-situ SSD processing

SSD ideas which changed in 2015 - retiring and retiering enterprise DRAM

PS - One of the things which makes me laugh when I see big systems companies pouring money into born again "flash" marketing messages is that the enterprise SSD centric market existed before most of them had any SSD product lines. And solid state storage and big memory thinking - "SSD" for short - isn't tied to any specific type of memory.

It's the interaction of memory, data architecture, processing and software and their changing economic costs and application opportunities which are at the heart of the market.

Flash has played a big part in making SSD architectures affordable to be sure. But there's more to SSD thinking than flash.

SSD ad - click for more info


the Top SSD Companies

new 36th quarterly edition

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - - June 1, 2016
For 9 years the Top SSD Companies has been one of the most popular articles here on the mouse site.

image shows megabyte waving the winners trophy - there are over 200 SSD oems - which ones matter? - click to read article
top SSD companies
You may ask - is it still needed? -The answer is yes. Because despite the number of big acquisitions in the SSD market in recent years - we're still on the last stretches of an upward ramp of vendors in the SSD market because of new opportunities being created by changes which are necessary and predictable before we get to the kind of standardized product roles and ecosystem which will lead to a collapse in distinct brands needed to sustain the market.

So it's the same problem as we had before...

Too many companies to track and still many new ways of doing things better which break away from the restricted capabilities of past technologies. And that's why it's still useful to have a short list of companies ranked by the research activity of hundreds of thousands of readers like you. the new article


a simple list of military SSD companies

(how hard can it be to compile one?)

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - - April 15, 2016
It was very hard.

And the difficulties reveal interesting dynamics of the military SSD market - which operates in complicated ways on many different levels of technology and service offerings. the article

Hmm... it looks like you're seriously interested in SSDs. So please bookmark this page and come back again soon.

enterprise segmentation
"Do you think we should add a heater?"

Decloaking hidden and missing segments in
the analysis of market opportunities for
enterprise rackmount flash

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© 1992 to 2016 all rights reserved.

Editor's note:- I currently talk to more than 600 makers of SSDs and another 100 or so companies which are closely enmeshed around the SSD ecosphere.

Most of these SSD companies (but by no means all) are profiled here on the mouse site.

I learn about new SSD companies every day, including many in stealth mode. If you're interested in the growing big picture of the SSD market canvass - StorageSearch will help you along the way.

Many SSD company CEOs read our site too - and say they value our thought leading SSD content - even when we say something that's not always comfortable to hear. I hope you'll find it it useful too.

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data recovery
Capacitor hold up times in 2.5" military SSDs
exploring the extreme limits of design
There's a growing consensus that DWPD should map into recognizable application zones and price bands.
what's the state of DWPD?
SSD ad - click for more info

Can you trust market reports and the handed down wisdom from analysts, bloggers and so-called "industry experts" any more than you can trust SSD benchmarks to tell you which product is best?
heck no! - whatever gave you that silly idea?

Why can't SSD's true believers agree on a single shared vision for the future of solid state storage?
the SSD Heresies

DRAM latency and why flash can replace it -  article

How much flash is needed to replace all enterprise HDDs?

Will there be enough flash?

Why do SSD revenue forecasts by enterprise vendors so often fail to anticipate crashes in demand from their existing customers?
meet Ken and the enterprise SSD software event horizon

My long held view is that all the traditional ways of prediction can't help but understate the destination size of the SSD market.

That's because SSD is a disruptive market and doesn't only replace old ways of doing things - but will create new markets that didn't exist before and which couldn't have existed before SSDs reached a threshold level of awareness and affordability.
The big market impact of SSD dark matter

The enterprise SSD story...

why's the plot so complicated?

and was there ever a missed opportunity in the past to simplify it?
the elusive golden age of enterprise SSDs

Memory market history is helpful to understand memory business pressures and pricing but the analogies break down when predicting what's going to happen next to SSDs.
an SSD view of semiconductor memory boom-bust

There's no such thing as a "standard SSD".
BOM control and SSDs

Who's got all the answers to help understand how all the changes in the SSD market are coming together? The answer is - no one and everyone and you too.
the SSD Bookmarks

How will the hard drive market fare
in a solid state storage world?
a classic article

In many ways the enterprise SSD market resembles a jungle and the creatures within it are evolving fast.
the Survivor's Guide to enterprise SSDs

where does all the money go?

After 2003 the only technology which could displace an SSD from its market role was another SSD (or SSD software).
SSD market history

I was talking to an end user whose organization has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on EMC storage.

They'd love to decouple themselves and benefit from modern lower cost flash.
"compared to EMC"
the unreal positioning of AFA startups

Now we're seeing new trends in pricing flash arrays which don't even pretend that you can analyze and predict the benefits using technical models.
Exiting the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing

Would users buy an SSD just because it has an animal in the logo or label? If so - what animal should it be?
animal brands in the SSD market

This box uses nearly twice (2x) as many memory chips (to do the same job).
Efficiency as internecine SSD competitive advantage

How much investment does it take to achieve something big in the SSD market?
over 100 SSD VC funding stories

There was a young lady called Prudence
Was worried 'bout flash's endurance...
a limerick and an apology

3 years ago

Samsung entered the PCIe SSD market with an M.2 form factor model aimed at notebooks.
SSD market history

In my role as Occasional SSD Agony Aunt - I've spoken to people about the "SSD acquisition problem" at both ends of the game. Here's what I've learned.
3 Easy Ways to Enter the SSD Market

With hundreds of patents already pending in this topic there's a high probability that the SSD vendor won't give you the details. It's enough to get the general idea.
Adaptive flash R/W and DSP ECC IP in SSDs

"...Application-unaware design of memory controllers, and in particular memory scheduling algorithms, leads to uncontrolled interference of applications in the memory system"
Are you ready to rethink RAM?

"A critical test of whether you really understand the dynamics of a complex market like enterprise SSDs - is whether you can predict what rational buyers might do when offered new product options at the extreme limits of - for example - price."
Boundaries Analysis in SSD Market Forecasting

"You'd think... someone should know all the answers by now. "
what do enterprise SSD users want?

We can't afford NOT to be in the SSD market...
Hostage to the fortunes of SSD

"The winners in SSD software could be as important for data infrastructure as Microsoft was for PCs, or Oracle was for databases, or Google was for search."
all enterprise data will touch an SSD

SSD market perspective