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12 months of headlines
October 2016 SSD news
September 2016 Everspin files for IPO to expand MRAM
August 2016 Seagate previews 60TB 3.5" SAS SSD

Nimbus demonstrates 4PB 4U HA AFA at FMS
July 2016 Diablo announces 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 New funding for endurance stretching NVMdurance

Cadence and Mellanox demonstrate PCIe 4.0 interoperability at 16Gbps.
February 2016 It's not worth paying more for SLC reliability in PCIe SSDs says Google field study
January 2016 Quarch says many SSDs fail their first hot plug tests.

Plexistor announces availability of its Software Defined Memory
December 2015 NSF funds NxGn Data project to progress in-situ SSD processing
November 2015 Netlist allies with Samsung to codevelop flash-as-RAM DIMMs

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past Octobers in SSD market history
October 2001 Adtron was named one of America's entrepreneurial growth leaders by Inc magazine in its annual ranking of the Inc 500, the nation's fastest-growing private companies.
October 2003 Memtech announced that its Wolverine - a military 5GB 2.5" 9.5mm high PATA SSD designed for use in submarines, space vehicles and aircraft carriers - was guaranteed to exceed a minimum of 8 million erase/write cycles.
October 2004 Sun Microsystems signed an agreement to resell rackmount SSD accelerators from Texas Memory Systems. The RamSan product line from TMS was later acquired by IBM and renamed to FlashSystems.
October 2006 STEC acquired UK SSD maker Gnutek. Gnutek's Maracite - a 3.5" FC flash SSD with R/W IOPS performance of 52K and 18K - provided core founding IP for what later became STEC's most successful enterprise focused SSD product line - the ZeusIOPS.
October 2007 Samsung developed the world's first 64Gb MLC NANDflash memory chip using 30nm technology.
October 2010 DensBits got series B funding for its Memory Modem (adaptive DSP) controller IP.
October 2011 LSI announced it would acquire SandForce (the best known SSD controller company).
October 2012 Hybrid storage arrays from Tegile Systems were part of the technology which supported the US Presidential Debate at Lynn University.
October 2013 McObject showed that its in-memory database operating in NVDIMMs could survive the power cord being pulled during intensive memory operations.

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what were the big SSD, storage and memory architecture ideas which emerged and came into sharp focus in 2016?

the SSD ideas in 2016?

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - - October 13, 2016
In popular fiction about time travel it has often been said that the paradox you want to seriously avoid is meeting yourself coming forwards while you are actually traveling back.

In writing about the computer market this is something which happens to me a lot - as I look back on detailed technology and market predictions from the past and compare them to what happened. There's nothing too mysterious about this swinging back and forth in content time. It's just something which happens when I randomly dip into past pages I've written or edited on the web over 2 decades to remind myself - what was all that about?

One of those prediction paradoxes occurred recently in connection with an SSD news story in August 2016 - which intersected with a prediction article published in 2010 - which I had illustrated at the time with this spoof press release.
Stealth mode startup wakes petabyte SSD appliance market

Editor:- October 17, 2016 - Exabyte SSD Appliance emerged from stealth mode and today announced a $400 million series C funding round and immediate availability of its new Paranoid S3B series - a 2U entry level Solid State Backup appliance with 1PB (uncompressed) capacity. ...Latency is 10 microseconds (for accesses to awake blocks) and 20 milli-seconds (for data accesses to blocks in sleep mode.) The scalable system can deliver 20PB of uncompressed (and RAID protected) nearline storage in a 40U cabinet - which can be realistically compressed to emulate 100PB of rotating hard disk storage using less than 5kW of electric power.
Although some of the detailed flash memory predictions in that article 6 years ago were embarrassingly pessimistic compared to what we expect to be seeing in the near term future - the purpose of that article - this way to the petabyte SSD - was to explore the user value propositions which would enable solid state storage to become an attractive proposition to buy for high capacity enterprise storage even if hard drive capacity cost less per physical bit.

even if enterprise hard drives are free

And to make my point I used the extreme market boundary condition that even if magnetic storage drives cost nothing to buy - they would still be displaced by SSD based storage due to physical size, and operating costs.

The arguments I usedback then are accepted as everyday reasons to buy such systems nowadays - but I can confirm at the time of publication they fired the imaginations of many movers and shakers in the market.

Since 2010 as I've written various stories about various SSD systems companies I have from time to time wondered which company is going to show such products first. Several years ago I thought a hot contender was Skyera. But a few weeks ago on a booth at FMS - Nimbus Data was showing boxes which looked very similar to this concept. Although the Nimbus boxes are much faster than I predicted - because SSD power management has evolved to be much faster at cold boot than the good-enough examples I used in my old article. A critical ingredient of the spoof story and today's reality is software.

The petabyte SSD was (I thought in 2010) an elegant wrap up and last bullet point in a set of predicted user value propositions for SSDs which I had been writing about since 2003.

Upto that point (in 2010) my technology predictions had been pretty reliable at anticipating disruptive changes many years before any such products or companies made them happen.

But the set of user value propositions wasn't as complete as I thought.

Storage and CPU equivalence were to be joined later by virtual memory equivalence.

This happened because the market experience of virtualizing storage and memory and leveraging ideas from the early adopters in the enterprise PCIe SSD market - uncovered yet another big gap - tiered memory and trading latency for density by adding more layers and a new core construct of persistent memory (with fast memory boot which doesn't rely on preloading from magnetic storage).

Thiese permutations been playing out in the SSDs news pages in the past 2 -3 years but the memory systems market still has a ways to go yet.

what happened to big SSD ideas of 2016?

Which reminds me of the tentative title of this blog.

It's traditional at this time of the year for me to start collecting together and reflecting on the big SSD ideas of the year.

You can see recent examples of these "big ideas" or annual round up blogs for various years here:- 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.

In a long overdue break with past editorial tradition I'm going to change the format for my big SSD ideas of 2016 article. And as part of this - I've been asking people in the industry this question.

From the perspective of your company... what were the big SSD, storage and memory architecture ideas which emerged and became clearer in 2016?

Here are some of the early answers.
"As 3D NAND gets designed into all upcoming products we see everybody trying to manipulate and characterize the flash at a low level in ways that they did not all need to do before, partly because LDPC is required just to meet the specified endurance. This is delaying roll-out for many because they either do not have the required flash skills or they (other than our customers) do not have access to a tool for automatically characterizing the flash and generating the LLR tables."

Pearse Coyle, CEO - NVMdurance
"The integration of the PMEM/DAX driver into the Linux kernel allowing us to expose persistent memory as a block device so it can tie into existing block and filesystem infrastructure....

And also the NVMe over Fabrics standard and OS support. Allowing us to present NVMe over RDMA to enable a new level of performance for remote block storage."

Stephen Bates, Senior Technical Director - Microsemi
"The major storage manufacturers used the Flash Memory Summit (FMS) in August to make clear the importance of Storage Class Memory (SCM).

Their choices tell us a lot about the limitations of their existing NAND Flash technologies specifically in the area of endurance. It has been known for a while that Intel and Micron have chosen 3D XPoint as their approach. WDC stated that their approach will be ReRAM built into a 3-D NAND process architectural frame.

What this means is that Intel, Micron and WDC have decided to jettison a program/erase (P/E) mechanism, namely quantum mechanical tunneling, that has been at the heart of NAND Flash since its inception in the late 1980's.

The improvements in endurance in going from 2-D to 3-D NAND have clearly not been enough for Intel, Micron and WDC to remain with these technologies for SCM.

Samsung on the other hand look like they wish to stay with a tried-and-trusted P/E mechanism with their Z-NAND SCM offering. If Z-NAND is indeed an SLC version of their V-NAND, then endurance is probably in the tens of thousands. Schiltron technology is ideally suited for SCM in that we can reach millions of cycles of endurance while remaining with the tunneling-based P/E mechanism.

Furthering the concept of evolutionary development that has formed the foundation of silicon technology since its beginnings, Schiltron uses existing Fab tools and materials. We believe this will lead to the Storage Class Memory Revolution."

Andrew Walker, Founder and CEO - Schiltron
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Mike Amidi, CEO - Xitore
"Storage Class Memory... As storage class memories are emerging, the memory hierarchy will be changed. NOR-based NVDIMMs, such as 3D Super-NOR and 3D XPoint, will replace DRAM and SSD at the same time.

Also, software-based NVDIMM-P, such as HybriDIMM, will come to the storage class memory market. Storage class memories mingles fast-but-expensive volatile, and slow-but-inexpensive non-volatile memories together. As a result, it will significantly boost system performance at low cost and create huge market opportunities."

Sang-Yun Lee, President & CEO - BeSang
"SSD capacities exceeding HDD capacities are now shipping in volume this year in the enterprise."

Greg Wong, President - Forward Insights
"The most significant ideas we at Virtium see and are directing our resources toward center on taking SSD security, reliability, durability, and manageability to a much higher level, to meet the needs of increasingly connected industrial embedded environments. These ideas are now being realized through drives self-encryption capabilities, advanced remote-monitoring software, dramatically reduced power requirements, and the development of SSDs specifically for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)."

Scott Phillips, VP Marketing, Virtium Solid State Storage and Memory
"From Mangstor's perspective, we are heavily invested in NVMe over Fabric (NVMf) technology for which our NX-Series Storage Arrays are based.

With the ratification of the NVMf specification this past June, flash devices such as SSDs and storage arrays can now communicate over RDMA networks (such as RoCE or InfiniBand), delivering the same high performance, low latency benefits as local attached NVMe.

Storage arrays based on NVMf, such as our award-winning NX6320, avoid the lower level SCSI transport layer, which results in faster data throughput and accelerated data access making NVMf solutions ideal for compute-intensive HPC and database applications."

Scott Harlin, Director of MarComms - Mangstor
"Nvme and soon 3D Xpoint are affordable, solve low queue depth and write performance issues and will make performance claims from the usual suspects irrelevant... Removing the interface bottleneck was the giant step here."

Guido Meijers, System Engineer at Greenpower
"I think definitely it is NVMe. We have seen the demand has increased unbelievably this year. Most customers told us that NVMe were their first choice of new systems design since it combines ruggedness of traditional SATA and the high speed of PCIe."

Manager at a rugged SSD company
"From our experience in 2016 we have seen 2 major things.

First is the combination of storage with the hypervisor (like our eEVOS). Without which customers would need to use 2 suppliers (storage and hypervisor) which would make support a nightmare sometimes.

The other is NV-DIMM techology, we have customers and partners implementing it with our product. It provides best of both worlds - RAM speed with extreme I/O and data still remains in case of server crash."

Tvrtko Fritz, CEO at euroNAS GmbH
"For Hyperstone, the biggest idea and industry trend that we pushed and participated in is the implementation of page-based-FTL running on DRAM-less controller architectures. This approach improves random write performance, increases endurance while maintaining power-fail robustness at the same time. As this architecture also reduces system cost it is also adopted in consumer markets.

We also see a significant adoption of USB 3.0 in industrial/embedded markets. Certainly, the most hyped topics, at the FMS for instance, were 3D NAND and NVMe but for both we do not yet see any sufficiently mature products or any massive adoption in our markets"

Susan Heidrich, Sales & Marketing Manager - Hyperstone
what do You think?

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I'll be writing more about this later.

Meanwhile here's what I said about 2015.

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a not so simple list of military SSD companies

Can you trust market reports and the handed down wisdom from analysts, bloggers and so-called industry experts?

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meet Ken and the enterprise SSD software event horizon

the past (and future) of HDD vs SSD sophistry
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Exiting the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing

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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...
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