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.. is about thought leadership in the SSD market and was the first publication to recognize and promote the tremendous disruptive growth potential of SSDs.

Since the 1990s our readers have been accelerating the growth of this market and setting its direction and agenda.

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sugaring flash for the enterprise - 2004 to 2017
6 years ago in SSD market history
In June 2011 - FlashSoft - which soon after became one of the first software companies to break into the Top SSD Companies List in Q3 2011 - announced free trials of its software which provided form factor agnostic tiering, caching and pooling of enterprise flash SSDs.

Like many other innovative SSD technology companies which earned fast market prominence - before and since - it inevitably joined the growing ranks of acquired SSD companies.

In 2017 we're now in the post modern memoryfication era when a 4U multipetabyte AFA includes over 250,000 flash memory chips (SSD news September 2016) so it's not surprising that enterprise users need software to manage the millions of memory devices which populate a modern storage cabinet.

Ever wonder why there's a memory shortage?

But assuming you have got those millions of chips (and remember this is just one cabinet in a datacenter) is it right that when you have such large semiconductor memory assets that the pooling model and interfaces still revolve around pretending to be storage?

Or crazier still - SSD arrays pretending to be memory!

That's why the memory systems market continues to be interesting.

There's so much more you can read about this.

Don't worry about right or wrong answers. Or not understanding everything.

Whatever you choose you're in the right place to do your own thinking. We've come a long way since the 1990s and the world's first mouse-managed continuously updated resource on mission critical SSDs.

Every year even I have to discard one or two hard learned and cherished SSD ideas which served me well in previous years but which now have as much relevance as that rest stop you took when all the roads to where you were heading were closed a few holidays ago.

Here are some suggested articles.

the SSD heresies

after AFAs - what's next?

why DRAM wasn't good enough to make big memories

towards SSD-everywhere software - progress updates

Is more always better?
The ups and downs of capacitor hold up in 2.5" military flash SSDs

recently in the SSD news archives
May 2017 Micron enters the rackmount SSD market.

Everspin's MRAM exits emerging status.
April 2017 IP-Maker released NVMe FPGA IP to enable use of enterprise performance SSDs in low wattage "no CPU" embedded systems.

Rambus said it was working with Microsoft on the design of prototype super cooled DRAM systems to explore avenues of improvement in latency and density due to physics effects below -180 C.
March 2017 Excelero - emerged from stealth.

Everspin began sampling an NVMe PCIe SSD based on its ST-MRAM.

Intel began sampling an NVMe PCIe SSD based on Micron's 3DXpoint memory.
February 2017 Tachyum emerged from stealth mode
January 2017 Pure Storage said the "new stack" is becoming the standard thing.

Crossbar announced it was sampling 8Mb ReRAM based on 40nm CMOS friendly technology.
December 2016 Violin sought bankruptcy protection.

4Gb MRAM prototypes unveiled by SK Hynix and Toshiba
November 2016 Silicon Motion announced the "world's first merchant SD 5.1 controller solution."
October 2016 Rambus announced it was exploring the use of Xilinx FPGAs in its Smart Data Acceleration research program.
September 2016 Everspin filed its IPO to expand MRAM
August 2016 Seagate previewed 60TB 3.5" SAS SSD

Nimbus demonstrates 4PB 4U HA AFA at FMS
July 2016 Diablo announced volume availability of its Memory1 128GB DDR4 DIMM
June 2016 Pure said its AFA revenue in Q1 2016 was more than leading HDD array brand
May 2016 efficiently coded memory architecture unveiled in systems by Symbolic IO

Encrip announces tri-state coded DRAM IP which can be used with any standard process
April 2016 Samsung began mass producing the industry's first 10nm class 8Gb DDR4 DRAM chips
March 2016 Cadence and Mellanox demonstrated PCIe 4.0 interoperability at 16Gbps.
February 2016 A Google field study of enterprise PCIe SSDs concluded it wasn't worth paying more for SLC reliability compared to MLC.
January 2016 Quarch said many SSDs fail their first hot plug design validation tests.

1.0" SSDs
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1973 - 2017 - the SSD story

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2016 - SSD market changes

20K RPM HDDs - no-show

About the publisher - 1991 to 2017
Adaptive R/W flash IP + DSP ECC
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Bad block management in flash SSDs
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Chips - SSD on a chip & DOMs
Click rates - SSD banner ads
Cloud with SSDs inside
Consolidation trends in the enterprise flash market
Consumer SSDs
Controller chips for SSDs
Cost of SSDs

Data recovery for flash SSDs?
DIMM wars in the SSD market
Disk sanitizers
DRAM (lots of stories)
DRAM remembers
DWPD - examples from the market

Efficiency - comparing SSD designs
Encryption - impacts in notebook SSDs
Endurance - in flash SSDs
enterprise flash SSDs history
enterprise flash array market - segmentation
enterprise SSD story - plot complications
EOL SSDs - issues for buyers

FITs (failures in time) & SSDs
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Garbage Collection and other SSD jargon

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Hold up capacitors in military SSDs
hybrid DIMMs
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Iceberg syndrome - SSD capacity you don't see
Imprinting the brain of the SSD
Industrial SSDs
Industry trade associations (ORGs)
IOPS in flash SSDs

Jargon - flash SSD

Legacy vs New Dynasty - enterprise SSDs
Limericks about flash endurance

M.2 SSDs
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Marketing Views
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Military storage

Notebook SSDs - timeline
Petabyte SSD roadmap
Power loss - sudden in SSDs
Power, Speed and Strength in SSD brands
PR agencies - storage and SSD
Processors in SSD controllers

Rackmount SSDs
RAID systems (incl RAIC RAISE etc)
RAM cache ratios in flash SSDs
RAM memory chips
RAM SSDs versus Flash SSDs
Reliability - SSD / storage
RPM and hard drive spin speeds

SCSI SSDs - legacy parallel
Symmetry in SSD design

Tape libraries

Test Equipment
Top 20 SSD companies
Tuning SANs with SSDs

USB storage
User Value Propositions for SSDs

VC funds in storage
Videos - about SSDs

Zsolt Kerekes - (editor linkedin)

animal brands in SSD
The SSD market isn't scared of mice.

But mice aren't the only animals you can find in SSD brands.

There are many other examples of animal brands in SSD as you can see in this collected article.

And before the SSD market became the most important factor in the storage market there were also many animals to be found in other types of storage too.
.. is published by ACSL founded in 1991.

© 1992 to 2017 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 still learn about new SSD companies every week, 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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say farewell to reassuringly boring industrial SSDs

this is not your Grandfather's industrial SSD market

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - June 13, 2017
This blog began this morning as an update about - where we are with industrial M.2 NVMe PCIe SSDs - but it grew into something else.

re industrial M.2 NVMe PCIe SSDs etc

One of the new emerging markets for industrial temperature SSDs in 2017 is high performance NVMe PCIe SSDs in the M.2 form factor.

You can judge the newness and size of this market by the fact that when I researched the availability of production products in this category earlier this year I was only able to confirm 2 manufacturers with products:- Foremay and Virtium.

All the other industrial M.2 SSDs I found at that time were good old SATA.

I expressed my surprise about this in a news story in March 2017. The headline if you look it up was - M.2 PCIe SSDs for secure rugged applications?

Now - you may have been less surprised - because (apart from the applications need) you would rightly say that the other side of NVMe PCIe adoption is the availability of suitable industrial grade host resident controllers and server motherboards.

When you have enterprise grade throughput and IOPS aren't you also straying into the kind of power guzzling territory which is anathema to most industrial equipment designs? More power, more heat, less reliability - you know the score...

Well that circle was squared neatly in a news story in April 2017 - which I tagged with this headline - now Cinderella industrial systems with "no-CPU" budgets and light wattage footprints can go to the NVMe speed-dating ball.

The story was that about a new FPGA controller IP for industrial PCIe applications - from IP-Maker who claimed it could deliver enterprise performance while obviating the need for a watts guzzling processor. (Or sometimes any processor at all.)

And... just as interestingly the briefing notes in the news pack described some of the new applications which the new technology will help to make more feasible.

We know from experience that "applications notes" from controller and processor companies are often founded on wishful thinking rather than hard reality. And I expect that - given the imagination of systems designers - we may find that the biggest roles for industrial NVMe PCIe M.2 SSDs may be something entirely different.

The wishful thinking effect is also part of the fuel and inspiration for companies in the storage market research business. If you want numerical guesstimates for SSD shipments (to confirm or inform your own guesses) before you embark on your next SSD project that's a good place to look.

other changes coming

When looking at strands of upcoming change in the industrial SSD market - the embracing of high speed products is just one dimension. Other degrees of freedom I expect to report more about in news stories include:-
  • the use of much larger memories in IoT leveraging architecture and IP from phones and the cloud.

    This has been a long time in coming. And isn't here yet.

    I included this as a prediction for 2016. And 2 quarters later Marvell's FLC technology looked like an early match in that development stream. That was 1 of only 4 path lighting SSD technologies which I picked for a special mention at the end of 2016 which I had encountered across all SSD application markets - not just industrial.

    Don't expect too much too soon in tiered industrial memory, however. Even the better funded tiered memory market for the enterprise has been slower to ship products than expected due to a proliferation of competing solutions arising from the SCM DIMM wars market pulling in different directions and centered around multiple memory types.

    Some of the contenders in the enterprise nvm market may not even be suitable for industrial temperature operation yet (for example Micron's 3DX) whereas other nvms with high temperature remanence and possibly even good radiation resistance (such as Everspin's MRAM) haven't got the density (Gb per chip) to provide a complete solution and need to be supplemented by a tier of flash.
  • discarding the conventional industrial market wisdom and exclusive reliance on the "solo SSD".

    Industrial SSDs have traditionally been used as solo devices. This saves space and power but places great dependence on the reliability of each single SSDs. And you know what that does to the price.

    The enterprise learned decades ago that incorporating array concepts for self repair and reliability enables systems reliability to be created from architecture and management and doesn't depend critically on the reliability - or cost - of any single drive.

    But hey - they've got big racks and big power supplies and engineers (or robots) who hang around day 24x7 sipping coffee (or electricity) itching to plug in new upgrades and replace faulty modules.

    That's in contrast to the typical industrial market when space and budgets are tight.

    For the industrial market I think the array direction is a story which will unfold and change the industry during the next 10 years.

    It's easier to see how this would work at the high wattage and high data processed value end:- simply as the evolution of the mobile datacenter.

    But at the low wattage end - in cars and IoT feeds - it will require the integration of processors and persistent memory at the SoC level and entirely new product architectures.

    It may be that the array level industrial SSD will always have to be a custom device rather than a standard COTS product - because weighting the internal design factors in software repairable industrial drive arrays will be very applications dependent and a slippery moving target compared to the stark simplicity that if everything depends on a single solo industrial SSD then it had better be good.
One thing I can say for sure about the future of the industrial SSD market is that the industrial rugged world is everywhere - and as the world moves to being able to value data wherever it may originate or be needed - and as new memory technologies evolve and get proven from the high stakes enterprise casinos - we're going to see big revolutions coming in the traditionally staid and conservative industrial data systems market.

This will not be your grandfather's industrial SSD market.

And with SSDs everywhere it's likely that its importance in financial terms will grow too.
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the Top SSD Companies - new edition

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - May 24, 2017

the top SSD oems The Top SSD Companies in Q1 2017 - was published recently by

This is the 40th quarterly edition in this market defining series.

Key factors in the background of the SSD market in this period were:-
  • The memory market was still in a boom cycle.
  • Toshiba's memory business was on the auction block.
  • From a technology viewpoint the SSD market was in preparation for the next big disruption of "big memory everywhere" and the the future memoryfication of the enterprise. the article
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23 years of SSD guides later - but the memory systems market and this publisher are still "under construction"

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - - April 7, 2017

For the past year as I've been writing about the fascinating transition to a multi-tiered and value nuanced memory systems market (in which once complicated SSDs are now viewed as the simple devices whose success has made the next revolution in the post modernist SSD era possible) I have wondered from time to time if I have been aiming too high and risked leaving too many readers behind who could find simpler and more comforting tales of SSDs elsewhere.

As a publisher since 1991 whose salary for over 20 years has come entirely from web advertising that question was more than a theoretical.

Lose too many good readers - or gain too many of the wrong sort - and that would be the end of that.

So I was happy to see that pageviews on in March 2017 grew 25% compared to the year ago period and readers grew 10%.

If you know about web marketing stuff and the diluting effect of seriously minded big content due to social media, mobile browsers and the dumbing down of content you'll appreciate that even standing in the place in the torrents of fickle web change is hard to do.

Thanks for caring so much about making a better future for this market.

Despite many revolutionary changes in memory systems design and adoption in the past decade we are still not at the stage where it's possible to plot the decade as merely an incremental set of refinements of what we've got now.

From time to time we can get glimpses of the challenges to come , however, and you can get a snapshot of the future architecture changes - as I see them - in my blog after AFAs - what's next?

PS - and did I mention the "advertising" word above. Since 2000 when ran the world's first web ads for enterprise SSDs on this site many of the world's pioneering SSD IP companies have funded in their formative and leadership years.

If you're a marketer in this industry and value the differences which you see on this site then contact me to ask about sponsorship / ad opportunities. I think we've got a few more years of massive changes yet to come. And I'd like to think my readers are still the most important people on the planet in our industry.

PPS - What does "under construction" in my headline allude to?

this construction icon is for industrial SSDsIn the early days of the commercial world wide web (1995, 96 etc) many companies rushing to get onto the web pasted up a couple of pages of words and graphics and added a note saying "under construction".

Web marketing purists and SEO diviners frowned on such website design tactics and the "under construction" icons and text mostly disappeared through the dotcom bubble years. (I like the positive image of construction - personally - and use it for industrial SSDs as you may have seen.)

Nowadays whenever SSD vendors (small an huge) launch new websites and branding microsites you'll rarely see such an "under construction" sign - because professional marketers would like to create the illusion that they have always been there for you and are masters or mistresses of all they purvey.

The way I think about the SSD and memory systems market today - is that for sure - we have come a long way - and there have been many places where it seemed to many people that some kind of stasis had been reached. But it was always clear to some of those who analyzed the market and those who founded the next generations of disruptive startups - that these were merely resting places which were needed for the SSD ecosystem to see ahead and establish confidence on the way to the next recuperation area which is rumored to be somewhere still higher than we already climbed before and a mythical destination not yet pinpointed on any maps.

Newcomers to the market who joined when the earlier trails were already well served by paved roads and diners can't see what the fuss was about with the pioneering days. (And to be fair - it's not worthwhile spending too much time trying to understand these past complexities - unless you enjoy grappling with past business tranformations on a philosophical level.)

I guess what I'm saying is - the SSD market (which for me includes the memory systems market) is still very much "under construction".

Sanity suggests this degree of crazy changefulness will surely come to an end sometime. But before then we still have some more mad dashes for the next re-imagination resting point.

So if you see any websites which suggest that everything to come in SSD and memory is now safely predictable and this company or that company has solved all the critical problems. They might be right one day. But hey - this is the web. You can only trust yourself.

Later:- thanks for the responses to "under construction" on linkedin.

optimizing CPUs for use with SSDs
in the Post Modernist Era

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - - March 22, 2017

A new blog on - optimizing CPUs for use with SSDs in the Post Modernist Era of SSD and Memory Systems - was prompted by a question from a startup which is looking at adapting new processors for the SSD market. the article

this may be a stupid question but...

have you thought of supporting a RAM disk emulation in your new "flash as RAM" solution?

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - - February 27, 2017
The idea of RAMdisk software is as old as the hills - and as you know for a long time now there have been real hardware SSDs - so why was I interested in a new blog - RAM Disk technology: Performance Comparison by Alex Khorolets (whose linkedin profile I can't find yet) at StarWind Software?

It wasn't the benchmark itself - although it's nice to see that there's so much choice now.

The blog post had reminded me of something which I had forgotten to ask Diablo Technologies in my recent conversation with them about their Memory1. (Although we had plenty to talk about as you can see by scrolling down below this "stupid question" blog.)

My question - which is now an open question to any vendor of software or related modules which repurposes flash as RAM to provide a high capacity, transparent memory tier is this...

Do you have a supported RAM Disk emulation for it?


how do the benchmark numbers look? (compared to a similar quantity of flash - or maybe even the same physical devices) when they are configured as native flash SSDs?

Now - if you're not into the art of evaluating new technologies - you may be thinking - that's just a stupid thing to ask.

I mean - why would you want an SSD emulation of a flash drive running on a flash system which is emulating RAM?

There are a couple of reasons.
  • The results will reveal interesting performance anomalies (in the flash as DRAM emulation) and (if they exist) complex quality idiosyncrasies.

    That's because RAM disk software is mature and generally well behaved. But flash as a RAM software is relatively new. Running one as an emulation on the other means you can leverage well proven flash SSD benchmark tools to see if there are holes or spikes in the RAM emulation software.

    This isn't going to magic away the need for true RAM tier evaluation tools. Something I've touched on before in a news story is it realistic to talk about memory IOPS?

    But you will learn something useful from the gap between ideal behavior and what you measure.
  • Another reason is this... In the present state of the market the need for pure play vanilla SSD storage (whether it's dressed up as AFA (capacity or performance optimized), or hybrid appliance or SDS is healthy and users will still be buying such quaint old fashioned products for many years to come. But....

    In the long term future... in another 5 to 10 years - such "storage focused" implementations of memory systems will become a smaller part of the overall local storage market. ("Local" being on your premises and not in the cloud. In the cloud we assume they will still find value based uses for cheap old slow stuff in the same way as they currently do with hard drives.)

    Instead - I think that "storage" itself may become just a software selectable setting in resource boxes which are really just big memory systems. The forerunners of which I hinted at in my blog - after AFAs - what's the next box?

    When all storage is made from memory chips - then the decision - sell it as memory or sell it as storage - may become a business and branding decision rather than a true representation of the technology in the box.
That's why I think the "supported RAM disk" emulation question today is a probe into a future market.

And I use the term "supported" advisedly - because it's obvious that a vendor specific "SSD emulation" on "flash tiered as RAM" should include hardware supported datamovers and perform better than a bland software based solution.

Either way - the industry will learn a lot about the "goodness" of new memory tiering products by stressing them in ways which the original designers never intended.

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

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SLC like a legendary blend of Don Quixote and Geronimo has staunchly defied many siren calls to surrender.
Swissbit - reports industrial MLC milestone
SSD ad - click for more info
after AFAs - what's next?
Throughout the history of the data storage market we've always expected the capacity of enterprise user memory systems to be much smaller than the capacity of all the other attached storage in the same data processing environment.
after AFAs - click to read rhe article
A thought provoking blog - cloud adapted memory systems - asks (among other things) will this always be true? the article
controllernomics - is that even a real word?
When storage was slower and memories were smaller and the software assumptions were much older and processors were more deferentially looked up to - all the controller designs in the data food chain looked good in comparison to the other devices surrounding them. But now a factor which I call "controllernomics" is the most important science which sets the limits to the quality of datasystems latency seen at the server motherboard level no matter how good the raw memory cell R/W times.

controllernomics benchmarks in flash tiered as RAM

You can see the effects everywhere.
1 big market lesson in SSD year 2016

SSD ad - click for more info

Data recovery from DRAM?
I thought everyone knew that

The semiconductor memory business has wavered between under supply and over supply since the 1970s. Does that model have lessons for SSDs?
an SSD view of past, present and future boom bust cycles in the memory market

the dividing line between storage and memory is more fluid than ever before
where are we heading with memory intensive systems?

Some suppliers will quote you higher DWPD even if nothing changes in the BOM.
what's the state of DWPD?

Enterprise DRAM is the same latency now (or worse) than in 2000. The CPU-DRAM-HDD oligopoly optimized DRAM for a different set of assumptions than we have today in the post modern SSD era.
latency loving reasons for fading out DRAM

Why would any sane SSD company in recent years change its business plan from industrial flash controllers to HPC flash arrays?
a winter's tale of SSD market influences

In SSD land - rules are made to be broken.
7 tips to survive and thrive in enterprise SSD

There's a genuine characterization problem for the SCM industry which is:- what are the most useful metrics to judge tiered memory systems by?
is it realistic to talk about memory IOPS?

Many of the important and sometimes mysterious behavioral aspects of SSDs which predetermine their application limitations and usable market roles can only be understood when you look at how well the designer has dealt with managing the symmetries and asymmetries which are implicit in the underlying technologies which are contained within the SSD.
how fast can your SSD run backwards?

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

Can you trust market reports and the handed down wisdom from analysts, bloggers and so-called industry experts?
heck no! - here's why

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

the past (and future) of HDD vs SSD sophistry
How will the hard drive market fare...
in a solid state storage world?

Compared to EMC...

ours is better
can you take these AFA startups seriously?

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

Reliability is an important factor in many applications which use SSDs. But can you trust an SSD brand just because it claims to be reliable in its ads?
the cultivation and nurturing of "reliability"
in a 2.5" embedded SSD brand

A couple of years ago - if you were a big company wanting to get into the SSD market by an acquisition or strategic investment then a budget somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion would have seemed like plenty.
VCs in SSDs and storage

Adaptive dynamic refresh to improve ECC and power consumption, tiered memory latencies and some other ideas.
Are you ready to rethink RAM?

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

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

SSD Market - Easy Entry Route #1 - Buy a Company which Already Makes SSDs. (And here's a list of who bought whom.)
3 Easy Ways to Enter the SSD Market

"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

Why buy SSDs?
6 user value propositions for buying SSDs

"Play it again Sam - as time goes by..."
the Problem with Write IOPS - in flash SSDs

Why can't SSD's true believers agree upon a single coherent vision for the future of solid state storage?
More than 10 key areas of fundamental disagreement within the SSD industry are discussed in the classic article - the SSD Heresies.

There's one kind of market research report which you won't find listed on the website of any storage market report vendor - and that's a directory of all the other market research companies they compete with!

Here's my list - compiled from over 20 years of past news stories - which includes all categories of market research companies...
who's who in storage market research?

If you spend a lot of your time analyzing the performance characteristics and limitations of flash SSDs - this article will help you to easily predict the characteristics of any new SSDs you encounter - by leveraging the knowledge you already have.
flash SSD performance characteristics and limitations

The memory chip count ceiling around which the SSD controller IP is optimized - predetermines the efficiency of achieving system-wide goals like cost, performance and reliability.
size matters in SSD controller architecture

Are you whiteboarding alternative server based SSD / SCM / SDS architectures? It's messy keeping track of those different options isn't it? Take a look at an easy to remember hex based shorthand which can aptly describe any SSD accelerated server blade.
what's in a number? - SSDserver rank

A popular fad in selling flash SSDs is life assurance and health care claims as in - my flash SSD controller care scheme is 100x better (than all the rest).
razzle dazzling flash SSD cell care

These are the "Editor Proven" cheerleaders and editorial meetings fixers of the storage and SSD industry.
who's who in SSD and storage PR?