click to visit StorageSearch.com home page
leading the way to the new storage frontier .....
SSD SoCs controllers
SSD controllers ..
pcie  SSDs - click to read article
PCIe SSDs ..
click to see directory of SAS SSD companies .
SAS SSDs
image shows megabyte waving the winners trophy - there are over 200 SSD oems - which ones matter? - click to read article
top SSD companies ..
image shows mouse building storage - click to see industrial SSDs article
industrial SSDs ..
Fast Purge flash SSDs directory & articles
Fast Purge SSDs
.....

BiTMICRO

BiTMICRO®, founded in 1995 and headquartered in Fremont, Calif., was a pioneer of high performance rugged flash SSDs and the company has recently begun production of a new range of fast PCIe SSDs for the enterprise market which are based on its own TALINO controllers.
Bitmicro logo - click for more info
.......... ..........
..........
see also:- BiTMICRO - editor mentions on StorageSearch.com, BiTMICRO's news page
..........


Editor's comments:- January 2014 - it's been over 6 months since BiTMICRO last made any product announcements.

Of all the markets in which it operates - the 2 which have seen most changes in that time have been - the PCIe SSD market (in which there were a bunch of significant acquisitions) and the SSD controller market where native gen 2 PCIe support is now available in new LSI controllers. This makes it even easier for SSD companies to design PCIe compatible products which range from entry level (using a single controller) to high performance (using an array of controllers). The result is a narrowing application space for Talino based enterprise SSDs.

These factors - taken in conjunction with the lower valuation of some leading enterprise SSD systems companies (due to their inability to sustain revenue growth) will make it harder for BiTMICRO to grow its enterprise focused Talino controller business.

BiTMICRO has retrenched back to its rugged SSD roots before - so that still remains an option.

All the enterprise SSD companies I've talked to recently understand that the marketing and software support investments needed to develop credible enterprise SSD business - in a market where there are hundreds of competitors - are orders of magnitude higher than they were before.

When even an established old style enterprise storage company like Network Appliance failed to get more than 1 per cent of enterprise flash market share in 2013 - what chance for industrial companies - or the customers of such companies?

These options to move from one SSD market segment to another - such as from industrial to enterprise - won't be as easy in 2014 as they were back in 2004.

SSD ad - click for more info

Earlier comments:- January 2013 - recently BiTMICRO officially confirmed that it had changed its business strategy from being (mainly) a supplier of rugged embedded SSDs for the industrial and military markets - to becoming a supplier of fast SSD controllers and fast SSDs aimed primarily at the enterprise SSD market.

Behind this change has been the long drawn out development of the company's fast enterprise focused Talino controller family - which is also the core enabling technology in its recently sampling PCIe SSDs.

Late to market and lacking the business resources to productize the controller family in all the competitive market slots into which it might be used in SSDs - BiTMICRO's strategy is to offer it to other SSD makers and systems companies.

The enterprise market isn't entirely new territory for the company.

BiTMICRO put out tentative steps into the server market with its parallel SCSI SSDs in 2004 and later (in 2007) with a range of 3.5" FC SSDs too. But those early customer experiments didn't leave much in the way of enduring routes to market.

So - in the much more competitive and complex SSD market of today - it's fair to say that the company is making a fresh start.


Who's who in SSD? - by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - February 20, 2012

BiTMICRO is 1 of more than 100 companies listed in these directories:- military SSDs, industrial SSDs, 3.5" SSDs, 2.5" SSDs, FC SSDs, SATA SSDs, PATA SSDs, PCIe SSDs, SCSI SSDs and also in the Top 20 SSD companies.

There have been many times in SSD history that a company which everyone is talking about as the technology and market leader - fails to maintain its momentum - and disappears from view...

Sometimes for years.

Often forever.

In the past 30 years I can only think of 3 companies which have achieved significant comebacks after a protracted multi-year market sabbatical and yet managed to generate the same level of excitement (or more) as they did the first time around.

A 4th one of those in 2012 could well be BiTMICRO.

talking "enterprise flash SSD" in 2000

Like all the flash SSD pioneers in the mid to late 1990s BiTMICRO started out in the rugged embedded industrial / military market.

(There was no such thing as a "consumer" market for SSDs in those days - because high capacity fast MIL SSDs cost upwards of $10K each.)

But amongst all the ruggedness and reliability talk - which were part of the flash SSD vernacular - BiTMICRO sometimes threw in a word which was seldom mentioned in the context of flash SSD storage - "enterprise".

There already were enterprise SSD companies around at the start of the new millenium - but "enterprise SSDs" were understood to be "RAM SSD". You didn't even have to add the word "enterprise". All SSDs were either - RAM for server acceleration - or flash for rugged apps. The distinctions within flash came much later.

BiTMICRO was the first flash SSD maker to seriously raise the topic of using flash SSDs to replace HDDs in enterprise storage. And this was no - pigs might fly talk - because BiTMICRO had the technology to do it - even if the costs were still prohibitive.

For example in 2000 when they launched the 1st true hot-swappable SCSI SSD they talked about using it in RAID systems.

And in 2004 the company published a case study showing how a single one of its 3.5" flash SSDs was able to accelerate a 25,000 user email system - giving performance 4x faster than RAMdisk and 15x faster than HDD RAID.

And at the tail end of 2007 the company unveiled a high speed terabyte class 3.5" FC flash SSD.

That was exciting stuff - and for a brief time it looked like BiTMICRO might step out of its industrial / military safety blanket to emerge as one of the future leaders in the enterprise flash SSD market too.

But that didn't happen.

And if there was even a tentative step in that direction - it took too long - and nobody noticed in the glare coming from a rush of new start up traffic racing along the newly enlarged SSD market highway.

just another SSD company

By the end of 2008 there were over 100 companies in the SSD market - and many SSD pioneers were sidelined by the competitive onslaught.

Customers didn't have to wait for pioneers like BiTMICRO to scale their technologies and design new products. In the next few years - new companies were entering the SSD market at a rate greater than one a week.

Our readers didn't hear so much from BiTMICRO and it appeared to go back into stealth mode.

If you'd asked me a year ago what I thought about BiTMICRO - I would have said - this is a company which was once a mover and shaker in the early days of the flash SSD market - but its most notable achievements have been in the past.

BiTMICRO's website had become so dormant it gave the distinct impression of being another "gone-away" storage company.

re-emerging from stealth mode

When BiTMICRO contacted me again in the summer of 2011 after a long period of silence I said I was surprised to hear they were still in business.

BiTMICRO's Marketing Manager, Cecilia Martorillas told me that the company had been working in its heartland of high performance rugged SSDs and that unlike many others in their market who had chosen the SandForce inside route as the way to market continuity - all the SSDs BiTMICRO offered still used their own design of controllers.

At that time all BiTMICRO's SSDs used SLC flash but Cecilia said they would soon be announcing details of new MLC SSDs and controllers.

BiTMICRO unveiled details of its new SSD controller architecture in November 2011 - and in January 2012 announced that it had taped out the new chips.

So we can expect to see new SSDs based on this new controller - called the TALINO-DE - sometime in the next few quarters.

has the long wait for a new BiTMICRO enterprise SSD been worthwhile?

The multi-core TALINO-DE is big SSD architecture (manages hundreds of flash chips) and includes full data path protection, end-to-end data integrity, embedded AES engines for data security, embedded XOR engines for delivering faster transaction processing in RAID configurations, power management, and other resource optimization.

It is expected to deliver upto 400,000 IOPS performance, support upto 5TB capacity and will be available in SSDs with SAS, SATA, Fibre Channel, and PCIe interfaces .

When it ships - this enterprise SSD controller will be the most significant product family from BiTMICRO in more than decade.

In performance terms it fits Depending how the product will be marketed - and it's not publicly known at the present time - whether SSDs using the new controller will only be available from BiTMICRO - the new SSDs could create a market buzz like we haven't seen since SandForce emerged from stealth mode in 2009.

For more info about BiTMICRO take a look at the links above and BiTMICRO - editor mentions on StorageSearch.com.

I currently talk to more than 300 makers of SSDs and another 100 or so companies which are closely enmeshed around the SSD ecosphere - which are all 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.
.
BiTMICRO recent mentions from SSD market history

In November 2007 - BiTMICRO announced plans to sample a terabyte class 3.5" flash SSD in Q108. With 1.6TB capacity and a 4Gbps Fibre Channel interface - it will deliver sustained throughput more than 230MBps and upwards of 55,000 IOPS. ...Later:- BiTMICRO announced the 1st customer shipments of this much anticipated product line in November 2008.

In March 2009 - BiTMICRO's CEO - Rey Bruce - shared his SSD Bookmarks with readers of StorageSearch.com.

In May 2010 - BiTMICRO published a white paper (pdf) which describes the risks of SSD data loss from power disturbances - and outlines the design approach they have taken to minimize data corruption in their E-Disk Altima SSD product range. - "Power is a fundamental need but it can also be the biggest threat to the reliability and operation of any system." ... read the article (pdf)

in October 2011 - BiTMICRO collaborated with Cadence and Synopsys to set up a new micro-chip design training center in the Philippines - called the Bruce Institute of Technology - named after the Bruce brothers who founded BiTMICRO.

In November 2011 - BiTMICRO announced that it has designed a new generation of enterprise SSD controllers which will deliver upto 400,000 IOPS performance, support upto 5TB capacity and will be available in SSDs with SAS, SATA, Fibre Channel, and PCIe interfaces in the first half of 2012.

In January 2012 - BiTMICRO announced that its new TALINO-DE - SSD controller - has just gone through tape-out with Global Unichip.

"The combination of GUC's PCIe, SATA, SAS PHY IP products and the broad scope of their flexible SoC design services, manufacturing capabilities and strong relationship with TSMC gave us no reason to hold back in our designs. From the start, we are confident the TALINO-DE controller will create a huge impact in the storage industry. Backed by GUC's world-class testing facilities, we know they are the most viable option for us," said Rey Bruce, CEO of BiTMICRO Networks.

In June 2012 - BiTMICRO has obtained over 600 IP assets from QualCore whose portfolio includes analog, digital, and mixed-signal IC design. Engineers retained from QualCore's IP and ASIC services team have joined the recently established BiTMICRO India.

In January 2013 - BiTMICRO launched a marketing program to license its Talino SSD controller.
.
BiTMICRO's new Big SSD Architecture - ASIC platform
Editor:- November 21, 2011 - BiTMICRO today announced that it has designed a new generation of enterprise SSD controllers which will deliver upto 400,000 IOPS performance, support upto 5TB capacity and will be available in SSDs with SAS, SATA, Fibre Channel, and PCIe interfaces in the first half of 2012.

BiTMICRO's new ASIC based platform architecture consists of a multi-core SSD controller integrated with multiple high-speed serial on-chip buses and embedded processors

"It is with high anticipation that we see these technologies come to fruition and work for our customers" said BiTMICRO's CEO, Rey Bruce.

Editor's comments:- 4 years ago BiTMICRO was at the top of its game (and #1 in the top SSD companies list) with an industry leading terabyte class 3.5" FC SSD sampling (called the E-Disk Altima ) but the company's market was in the gunsights of about 50 newly emerging flash SSD companies in that Year of SSD Revolutions which soon after grabbed many of the sub-markets which previously had been divided up among just a handful of enterprise flash vendors.

Back to today's news from BiTMICRO...

A 2 stage SSD controller architecture - with a core intelligent unit - which fans out to distributed flash slave teams is a proven architectural concept in high performance enterprise SSDs.

For example it's used in products by Virident Systems (whose controller can keep 256 flash die active concurrently on R/W garbage collection etc) and a 2 stage design is also used by Texas Memory Systems (whose host side facing controller can packet up multiple FC channels into a single virtual route into the flash array).
click to read the article - Big versus Small SSD  architectures These are examples of what I call big SSD architecture - which is more efficient (higher percentage of usable capacity), faster and more reliable in large capacity SSD products than the alternative - which is building arrays of "small architecture" SSDs.
.
SSD sudden power loss vulnerability guide
Why should you care what happens in an SSD when the power goes down?

This important design feature - which barely rates a mention in most SSD datasheets and press releases - has a strong impact on SSD data integrity and operational reliability.

This article will help you understand why some SSDs which (work perfectly well in one type of application) might fail in others... even when the changes in the operational environment appear to be negligible.
image shows Megabyte's hot air balloon - click to read the article SSD power down architectures and acharacteristics If you thought endurance was the end of the SSD reliability story - think again. ...read the article
.

storage search banner

..
BiTMICRO has new VP of Engineering
Editor:- April 16, 2014 - It's been 9 months since I last saw a news announcement from BiTMICRO.

But I heard today that the company recently announced that Bharadwaj Pudipeddi has joined the company as VP of Engineering and Lead Architect.

Among other things - Pudipeddi's past design roles in notable SSD companies include 2 years at Violin Memory.
..

articles related to BiTMICRO's place in SSD market

SAS SSDs
PCIe SSDs
SSD controllers
Fast Purge SSDs
the Top 20 SSD Companies
what changed in SSD year 2013?
Why does size matter in SSD controller architecture?
..
SSD ad - click for more info
..
RunCore is 1st to announce BiTMICRO OnBoard
Editor:- January 29, 2013 - today announced that RunCore will use BiTMICRO's Talino controllers in its new Kylin III MAX family (fast PCIe SSDs).
...
SSD ad - click for more info
...
BiTMICRO invites you to design SSDs and systems using its fast Talino SSD controller
Editor:- January 8, 2013 - BiTMICRO today publicly confirmed that it's offering its Talino SSD controller to other manufacturers in what the company calls the "BiTMICRO OnBoard" Program.

"It's undeniable that the solid state storage industry is growing rapidly," said Zophar Sante, VP of Marketing and Sales at BiTMICRO. "We're not only speaking with companies that want to use our SSD controller technology to develop their own solid state drive solutions, but also with companies seeking to embed solid state storage natively into their own vertical application platforms."

Editor's comments:- in my 2010 article - Imprinting the brain of the SSD - I discussed the most successful design win program in the history of the SSD controller market (so far) by SandForce (now part of LSI) whose award winning controllers are now used by more than 60 SSD companies.

One of the big differences between that original program and what BiTMICRO is doing now - is that BiTMICRO's primary business is selling complete SSDs whereas SandForce didn't sell SSDs and neatly avoided some of the conflicts of interest which LSI is seeing now with frenemmies who use the same controller but compete for some of the same design slots at the complete SSD level.

That suggests to me that potential Talino technology partners are more often going to be systems companies rather than companies which simply sell vanilla SSDs.

Getting access to the Talino SSD controller will provide systems makers with similar raw performance to what they can get from integrating current industry standard PCIe SSDs but at lower cost and in a customizable physical footprint.

Although BiTMICRO's customers will have to invest in a lot more design than if they used ready made SSDs - the scalability and flexibility of a chip family approach means that some system designs which wouldn't be viable with today's building blocks will become competitive.

Just as all PCIe SSDs aren't all exactly the same - I'm sure we'll be surprised in a year or so to see just how different some of the systems based on the Talino will be. My guess is they will span the full range of fast apps from lowly customized 2.5" PCIe SSDs upto supercomputer scale racks.

BiTMICRO hasn't published details of what its partner vetting and getting onboard process will be. They're simply asking potential partners to contact them (if you haven't done so already).
.
high availability enterprise SSDs
how fast can your SSD run backwards?
don't all PCIe SSDs look pretty much the same?
Enterprise SSDs - the Survive and Thrive Guide
adaptive R/W flash care IP (including DSP) for SSDs
.
who are the ideal customers for BiTMICRO 's new (but late to market) Talino based maxIO PCIe SSDs?
Editor:- December 12, 2012 - BiTMICRO today said it's begun manufacturing its pre-announced maxIO (PCIe SSDs) which use the company's Talino (means "talented", big architecture, SSD controllers).

The first product in this range will be a full height, half-length 400K random IOPS (4KB), 4.5TB (eMLC) PCIe SSD.

Editor's comments:- A few weeks ago I asked BiTMICRO's new VP of Marketing Zophar Sante (who among other things founded SANRAD) what the company's plans were for leveraging the Talino controller - because it had seemed to me that BiTMICRO didn't have the resources to exploit this technology in all the markets where it might be applicable.

Zoph said BiTMICRO plans to offer the chip set to other companies in what would be in effect - a "BiTMICRO onBOARD" kind of program.

The company's target market for the maxIO product line includes what I call dark matter enterprise end users in addition to the usual enterprise channels such as oems.

Architecturally the closest product to the maxIO is the RamSan from Texas Memory Systems - which is now part of IBM. Closest insofar as it's got one or more ultra fast central controllers which expand via data movers / intelligent I/O peripherals which fan out to more flash.

One of the problems I see for BiTMICRO though is that - because it's so many years late coming into the enterprise PCIe SSD market - it will have to focus its efforts on a very restricted set of technical customers who want to better the performance they can get from arrays of small architecture PCIe SSDs (like those in established PCIe SSD products from OCZ and LSI) and who prefer to use their own software and who don't want to get tied into Fusion-io's seductive APIs - and who also like the idea of raw brute peak performance rather than the predictable rounded performance of Virident and customers who maybe would have been satisfied with a RamSan type of product - but who either see themselves as competitors to IBM or want to retain the option of buying their critical supplier (BiTMICRO) or having large share of mind of that supplier if the maxIO product becomes strategic in the customer's own business.
...
more about BiTMICRO's Talino
Editor:- November 27, 2012 - A year after BiTMICRO first unveiled its quad core Talino SSD controller architecture (which is intended for use in fast enterprise SSDs) the company is now revealing more details about the other part of its 2 tier architecture - the ISIP (Intelligent Storage Interconnect Platform).

"One of the innovative attributes of the Talino architecture is its 'building block' design. A single Talino ASIC can connect to as many as 60 ISIP chips, each connecting to up to 8 flash die," said Zophar Sante, VP of Marketing and Sales, BiTMICRO - "Multiple Talino ASICs can easily interconnect via a PCIe switch to create 1U, 2U and 3U complete storage systems with enormous capacities and blistering performance. These Talino based storage systems can use "off the shelf" front-end file systems that support FC, FCoE, iSCSI, NFS, CIFS, Ethernet and can also include volume management, virtualization and storage services software."

BiTMICRO says the Talino ASIC is very versatile. Interface controllers are built directly into the chip, with 8x 5Gb PCIe lanes, 2x 6Gb SAS ports and 2x 6Gb SATA ports.

"The technology we put into our Talino Architecture puts BiTMICRO far beyond what anyone else is doing with solid state storage," said Rey Bruce, CEO, BiTMICRO. "In terms of performance, scalability, and reliability, there's no other architecture that can match what Talino can deliver. And we will continue the innovation of Talino so it will remain cutting edge for years to come."
..
BiTMICRO acquires mixed signal IP assets from QualCore
Editor:- June 5, 2012 - BiTMICRO today announced it has obtained over 600 IP assets from QualCore whose portfolio includes analog, digital, and mixed-signal IC design.

Engineers retained from QualCore's IP and ASIC services team have joined the recently established BiTMICRO India.

The acquisition also brings BiTMICRO closer to its goal of bringing the entire development cycle in-house, from ASIC design to characterization testing.
.
Fast Purge SSDs
The need for fast and secure data erase - in which vital parts of a flash SSD or its data are destroyed in seconds - has always been a requirement in military projects.

Fast Purge flash SSDs directory & articlesAlthough many industrial SSD vendors offer products with extended "rugged" operating environment capabilities - and even notebooks SSDs come with encryption - it's the availability of fast data purge which differentiates "truly secure" SSDs which can be deployed in sensitive applications.
.