some thoughts about SSD customizationby
editor - StorageSearch.com - July 12, 2016
have to look at many different SSD company web sites before you start
asking yourself (as you see similar looking offerings:-
USB yawn etc) how do these
companies differentiate themselves and make money?
Before you reply
with the cynical rejoinder - that's why they don't - the surprising thing I've
found from talking to people in the industry is that sometimes those very
companies with the samey looking websites can sometimes have very substantial
revenues in the SSD market. And when I talk to them about their business
development models - the aspect which explains everything is the high proportion
of business they get from custom SSDs compared to standard products.
the customer perspective - if you've never gone down the customization route
for your SSDs - the first thought which might come into your mind is this...
That means doing more. More up front engineering engagement. More up front set
up costs. More risk. Less competitive alternatives. More qualification time.
Must mean more cost right?
Instead - the counter intuitive view I'm
going to offer is - that's not the way it goes. (Otherwise no one would do it.)
simple reason is that when you ask yourself - what's an SSD? (The
age old answer
it's a virtual device with an infinite range of internal and external
parameters) And when you look at the
cost factors which go
into making an SSD - the cost isn't simply determined by what goes in - but
also what stays out.
Like good software a well designed custom SSD can
greatly benefit from the analysis of expensive functions which can be
reduced in scale or avoided.
In custom SSDs this means some circuits
or processing steps can be removed entirely from the bill of materials
due to knowing from the system environment that they aren't needed or that an
equivalent function is being done elsewhere at the system level.
is contrast to a "similar" standard SSD design - where it wouldn't
be prudent for the product manager to weaken those operating requirements -
because standard SSDs have to cater for a wide range of possible customer
deployments (set by industry expectations). If the design of a standard SSD
is weakened in one attribute it introduces the risk of alienating an
entire customer segment for whom that feature is essential. Another way to
think about it is that standard SSDs are simultaneously over engineered and
under egnineered for many application roles.
The ideal objectives
for customers of custom SSDs can be:-
- to get something which is otherwise impossible from a standard product
(such as fitting into a non standard space)
- to get a better product at a similar price to a standard SSD (by changing
the cost benefit budget assumptions of subsystems in the SSD)
- to get equivalent functionality (in the target system) at a lower price
than using a standard SSD
there are benefits for SSD vendors too.
- to reduce qualification costs over the lifetime of the system in which the
custom SSD is used by reducing risk factors associated with unknown internal
implementation changes, product line
EOL and supplier churn.
- customization creates business opportunities for well proven
technologies which otherwise in a standard market context can only be realized
by the lottery of low pricing and heavy investment in marketing.
example a low performance SATA SSD is an expensive product to promote in today's
competitive market. But if the vendor has added security features, optimized
battery life, RFID tracking, and tweaked environmental factors (conformal
coating, ambient temperature range etc) as a custom build for a medical
equipment company - then they might anticipate a long term supply relationship
for a successful partner.
- The willingness to offer customization and professional design engineering
support opens doors to valuable customers who are leaders in their own vertical
markets but whose unit volumes are too small to be of interest to high volume
standard SSD vendors.
In the right context
customization can be a win win for customers and vendors.
- customers are stickier (if they're satisfied) are also likely to talk to
their suppliers about new projects at an earlier stage than they would if they
were merely considering standard SSDs.
applications where standard products can do the job (and standard product
samples were used to prototype and market test the system concept)
customization can often deliver lower cost.
Bookmarks - series overview|
6 user value
propositions for buying SSDs
hold up times in 2.5" military SSDs
a new shorthand to
describe any SSD accelerated server
what was so different about
the design of Fusion-io's ioDrives?
same box - less chips -
efficiency as an SSD competitive difference
|"We looked at where
the large corporates failed to satisfy their clients, such as when low profits
and inconvenience caused those big companies to be disinterested, we then
approached the clients with customized solutions"
|Kevin Wang, VP
Sales - Longsys
- talking about business growth tactics (Longsys makes 200 million memory
devices each year) in the blog -
Longsys taps into
IoT market with custom-made solutions (June 2016)|
|Competitive pressures from
the market play a big a part in the DWPD numbers you see being published. |
If you've got the wrong number - the customer design team is not going to look
at your SSD.
DWPD is a slippery relative thing rather than a hard and
fast technical absolute.
the state of DWPD?|
|I think that hovering in
the background and influencing many seemingly incomprehensible product changes
in 2016 will be the apparently conflicting tensions between 2 primary Higgs
boson-like SSD forces:-
- an urge towards greater standardization, and at the same time
- an urge towards greater customization
|What were the big
SSD ideas to learn and forget in 2015?|
|See how optimizing
processors for SSD can gain a 2x to 250x speed-up on popular functions as well
as reduce the energy consumed by a similar amount!
|the SSD Bookmarks -
|Why can't SSD's true
believers agree on a single shared vision for the future of solid state
|the SSD Heresies |