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Zsolt Kerekes (linkin) -

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what's been happening in SSD year 2015 so far?

raw highlights from the SSD news archive

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - - October 9, 2015

Novachips acquired HLNAND.

Toshiba showed the 1st BGA PCIe SSDs.

"Storage-class 3D ReRAM will ship in 2016" - said Tezzaron.

"Clearly we're doing something right... XtremIO will be the fastest product we've ever done that hits a billion dollars a year" - said EMC.

Avago acquired Emulex for $600 million.

Northwest Logic provided FPGA support for Everspin's MRAM.

"Our consumer SSDs are 40x more reliable than before" - said OCZ.

FalconStor's FreeStor made a pitch for the SSD platform market. (Now it's clear why it has taken FalconStorso so many years to launch an SSDcentric next software thing.)

Waitan launched an autonomous self destruct SSD for the military market triggered when 2 or more customizable trigger conditions had been met. (To avoid false positives.)

Toshiba sampled 48-layer 3D nand.

8TB 2.5" PCIe SSDs were promised soon by Novachips

SanDisk launched a white box rackmount SSD - InfiniFlash.

"That whole dominant storage architecture thing has totally flipped... SAN is on the decline" - said StorageGaga

"What scares me is when companies fall into the trap of trying to architect a single application to work across multiple different cloud providers... Unfortunately, this effort eats into the productivity gains that compelled the organization to the cloud in the first place." - said AWS's Head of Enterprise Strategy.

"Recently I've seen a resurgence in numbers of industrial focused SSD companies" - said

WD's enterprise SSD revenue was $1 billion / year run rate

Diablo resumed shipments of MCS following legal victories.

Silicon Motion agreed to acquire PCIe SSD maker - Shannon Systems for $57 million.

"Now consider this... 90% of the enterprise SSD companies which you know have no good reasons to survive." - was the intro to's "most dangerous new article of the year" (and most popular too) - drivers, mechanisms and routes towards consolidation in the enterprise SSD market .

Tegile got another $70 million funding.

OCZ shipped 2.5" hot swap NVMe SSDs with programmable power envelopes.

Nimble's CEO commented in an earnings conference call about the problem of his company being perceived as only a hybrid storage supplier by potential customers who had what they considered to be all flash applications. (Nimble started with hybrids but now does AFAs too.)

"We're #1 in flash arrays." "No we are." "You're both wrong - because we are." - 3 different vendors claimed enterprise flash array in the same month based on similar raw market data. These claims were swiftly dissected and disambiguated in a blog by Objective Analysis

Nantero got $31 million funding for 300 C retention nvram.

Altera launched an adaptive DSP controller for the PCIe SSD market in the same month it was acquired by Intel.

"51% of enterprise flash arrays customers expect to see an ROI in 12 months or less" - according to survey results sponsored by Tegile.

"The classic bath tub failure curve is not the most useful way of thinking about PCIe SSD failures" - according to a large scale study of PCIe SSD failures used in Facebook's infrastructure over a 4 year period.

34% of FC SAN sites used custom performance scripts as part of their pre purchase and deployment evaluations - according to a survey by Load DynamiX

"Longsys is the biggest buyer of Samsung flash in China, and our revenue is $800 million /year" - a spokesperson from Longsys informed the editor of who up to that time hadn't heard of the company before. (Shows how big the market really is.)

Micron was the #1 most researched SSD company in 1H July by readers of (Metrics were collected before the story broke that Tsinghua Unigroup was rumored to be talking about acquiring Micron - and 2 weeks before the 3D XPoint preannouncement with Intel.)

Savage IO's new rackmount has most internal lanes of SAS than any other box.

Radian Memory Systems was one of several SSD companies noted to be preening their emergence from stealth mode in advance of the annual Flash Memory Summit.

"In situ processing by application specific arrays of FPGAs integrated in the flash array in regular servers is not a replacement for fat RAM servers - but can deliver nearly the same apps performance at much lower cost and lower electrical power" - paraphrase of key SSDcentric findings from BlueDBM - an experimental big data architecture project by MIT

Aupera launched the world's first M.2 MRAM SSD.

Seagate said would acquire Dot Hill Systems for $694 million.

Pure Storage filed documents for its IPO. (This showed that Pure had over 1,100 customers and coincidentally - 1,100 employees. I asked myself and readers - is 1 to 1 a sustainable ratio?"

Intel and Micron song and danced their way around their mutual aspirations for future Optane memory (but unlike Les Mis - this performance lacked any hard edged gritty credibility).

Diablo launched Memory1 - a flash based replacement for big data DRAM. (The most significant development in the enterprise flash market in the past 3 years.)

"Why can't you just install a new storage solution from a different vendor, migrate data from existing storage to new storage, decommission existing storage, and move on?" - asked Maxta's founder in his blog which discussed the past, present and future of storage vendor lock-in.

Mangstor got $10 million series B funding for fastest NVMe flash.

Crossbar got $35 million series D funding to make RRAM SSDs a reality in 2016.

"Marvell may have been boosting quarterly sales by pulling them forward a quarter" - was one of several quotes on as the reaction to Marvell's admission that its financial reporting included unreliable elements.

"After numerous delays, a new wave of next-generation, nonvolatile memories are finally here. One technology, 3D NAND, is shipping and gaining steam. And 3 others - Magnetoresistive RAM, ReRAM and even carbon nanotube RAMs - are suddenly in the mix" - said the Executive Editor of Semiconductor Engineering
the Top SSD Companies - 33rd quarterly edition

Editor:- October 1, 2015 - has published a new edition of the Top SSD Companies.

2 of the fastest climbers in the new 33rd quarterly edition - which is based on market metrics in Q2 2015 - are players in the oldest game in SSD town (industrial SSDs) whereas a significant newcomer to the list is at the forefront of an increasingly sophisticated software market. . the new article

DIMM wars in SSD servers

a new / old series on

Editor:- September 25, 2015 - It's clear now that a historic shift is taking place in the enterprise SSD accelerator market - which in the next few years will be as significant to data processing in its own way as FC SAN SSDs and PCIe SSDs were in previous times.

Elements of the new paradigm have been sighted and written about for several years:- these included hybrid DIMMs, memory channel SSDs etc - but although they found their own niche markets they can be seen now as part of the advance spatter of a new storm of server based application acceleration - which coupled with new software ecosystems - will create an impact as big and different as PCIe SSDs did in the 2007 to 2014 era.

This is not (and I repeat not!) about any single company (or pair of companies) nor any single semiconductoR memory technology .

There's much more to it than that.

For the time being in future articles I'm going to refer to this as "DIMM wars in SSD servers".

DIMM - for the obvious reason that DRAM lookalike DIMMs will be the most common manifestation and form factor for this new technology wave.

Note I said - most common - but not exclusively. Some of this technology - process compatibilities permitting - may creep into processors (both ASIC and FPGA) for new types of customizable microservers - which have relatively small electrical power footprints but big application gobbling powers.

SSD servers - for the reason that (while not all the DIMM war technologies are non volatile) they will be designed to compete in and co-operate in an SSD world in which there are already many clearly delineated latency application zones (currently 8 when I counted them) which you will find inside the server and in the classification of SSD storage boxes on networks.

Although it will be another disruptive market phase - with the risks of failures and fallouts much greater than before. In a way it will look like business as usual in the SSD market.

We've got used to the idea that as application niches become bigger markets they get huge amounts of scrutiny and analysis. And problems which once seemed not worthwhile solving suddenly look attractive in new business plans.

Setting the applications context and linking the various technology themes is the challenge for my next blog. See you soon.

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So... what could HP bring to this party for SanDisk?

(what clown at the back said toner cartridges?)
SanDisk and HP ally in SCM DIMM wars
Tidal Systems, Dot Hill, HLNAND, Altera, Shannon Systems, Skyera, Proximal, Fusion-io, PLX, DSSD, GreenBytes, LSI ...
Over 50 SSD company acquisitions in the classic article - 3 Easy Ways to Enter the SSD Market
SSD ad - click for more info
Mangstor, Crossbar, Pure Storage, Virtium, Nantero, Hedvig, Tegile, Coho, Liqid, Infinidat, Everspin, Kaminario, SolidFire...
over 100 VC funding stories
SSD ad - click for more info
how fast can your SSD run backwards?
11 Key Symmetries in SSD design
The enterprise SSD story...

why's the plot so complicated?

and was there ever a missed opportunity in the past to simplify it?
the golden age of enterprise SSDs
When the SSD socket fits - but the datasheet doesn't - the problems in sourcing modern replacements for end of life and obsolete embedded SSDs.
BOM control and the mythical "standard" industrial SSD
SSD ad - click for more info
The SSD market during its short history (spanning only 40 years) has managed to accrue an imaginative body of literature which includes truths, half truths, mysticism, misunderstandings. myths, legends - and in some cases - downright balderdash - when it comes to the subject of SSD costs, pricing and justifications.
Exiting the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing

SSD ad - click for more info

For many AFA startups a single customer like that is bigger than their whole business plan.
what can you infer when all flash array startups compare themselves to EMC?

Have you ever wondered why 3D nand flash endurance is so much better than planar?
the unsung heroes of 3D nand flash endurance

When you read something about the SSD market which seems to contradict something which you previously held as a working hypothesis - what do you do next?
can you trust SSD market data?

New segmentation models are needed because the enterprise SSD market is moving into uncharted territories and use cases where a considerable proportion of the customer needs which affect buying behavior are still formally unrecognized as being significant (in market research data).
Decloaking hidden and missing segments in the analysis and identification of market opportunities for enterprise rackmount flash

0 to 3 seconds - hold up times in 2.5" military SSDs
exploring the extreme limits of design


When the cumulative effects of SSD utilization from using the new improved software features are too good it poses business risks for the SSD vendor.

Because at that point the "SSD system" while becoming more competitive in the market sense (and offering better value than mythical competitors) also starts to compete with itself and cannibalize sales.

And that blows away the sales ramp assumed in the next several quarters business plan.
impacts of the enterprise SSD software event horizon

The user mood is changing from - can I afford to use SSDs? to a realization that - I can't afford not to.
where does all the money go?

Even in its infancy - endurance management was a complicated technical subject - but if we look back from the perspective from the ultra-complexity of today - it was much easier to manage and understand.
SSD endurance - the forever war - now in 3D

You don't have to understand the internal details of how these individual techniques work. And with hundreds of patents already pending in this topic there's a high probability that the SSD vendor won't give you the details anyway (not even under NDA). It's enough to get the general idea.
Adaptive flash care management & 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

Like cosmological dark matter - which accounts for most of the mass in the universe but which is invisible to optical telescopes - the SSD dark matter customers will be bigger in mass than the traditional known enterprise users.
The big market impact of SSD dark matter

don't ask how we're going to make money out of it yet
Hostage to the fortunes of SSD


"...the SSD market will be bigger in revenue than the hard drive market ever was."
How will hard drives fare in an SSD world?


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


"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