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Foremay

Foremay, Inc. was established in 2002 and is headquartered in the Silicon Valley, California, USA. Foremay's main business is to design and manufacture high reliability and high performance Solid State Drives (SSDs) for mission critical computing, industrial computing, enterprise computing and high end personal computing.
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Foremay's vision is to bring high ruggedness and high performance SSDs for high reliability systems with "Green Initiatives" in mind.

see also:- Foremay - editor mentions on StorageSearch.com


Who's who in SSD? - Foremay

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - November 2014

Foremay first entered StorageSearch.com's Top SSD Companies list in the 3rd quarter of 2009.

The company temporarily dropped out of the lists in 2012 and 2013 - but then reappeared in Q1 2014.

Foremay offers products which are mainly aimed at embedded applications in these product categories:- industrial SSDs, SATA SSDs, PCIe SSDs, 2.5" SSDs, military SSDs.

Despite many requests to do so - Foremay prefers not to say much publicly about the architecture of its SSDs - preferring instead to share this kind of info with customers via NDA.

One thing which differentiate the company is the consistency of its PR efforts to promote wider appreciation of the different types of secure erase / purge in SSDs.

That was the company's chosen educational subject in our SSD Bookmarks series back in 2011 - and (more recently) Foremay presented a paper Secure Erase for Embedded SSDs (pdf) - updating the topic - in August 2014 at the Flash Memory Summit.
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selected Foremay milestones from SSD Market History

In June 2009 - Foremay announced one of the fastest 2.5" SLC flash SSDs in the market. The SATA compatible SC199 Cheetah V-Series has sustained R/W speeds of 260MB/s and /250MB/s respectively and 42,000 random IOPS. Capacity options range from 32GB to 256GB.

That makes the 3rd Cheetah in my Animal Brands in the Storage Market Directory. Click on the link to see the full storage zoo.

In July 2009 - Foremay announced a new 1.8" SLC flash SSD. The SATA compatible SC 199 Cheetah has sustained R/W speeds of 250MB/s and 220MB/s respectively. R/W IOPS are 6,000 and 5,200 respectively. Capacity options range from 16GB to 64GB. Endurance for the 16GB device is rated at 87 years assuming 50GB sequential writes per day.

In September 2009 - Foremay announced the SC199 Hi-Rel Series SLC flash SSDs in 1.8", 2.5" and 3.5" form factors which meet military standards MIL-STD-810G and MIL-STD-833G. Operational temperature options include -40°C to approx 100°C.

In October 2009 - Foremay launched its EC188 Jaguar Series flash SSDs optimized for the Mac market. Form factors include 1.8", 2.5" and 3.5", interface types include SATA, micro SATA, SATA LIF, IDE and IDE ZIF/LIF. Capacties range from 64GB to 1TB and R/W speeds are upto 260/230MB/s.

Also in October 2009 - Foremay entered the PCIe SSD market with its EC188 Dragon series - which is now sampling.

Supporting both x8 and x16 slots - R/W performance is upto 1.5 GB/s and 1.3 GB/s respectively. Both MLC and SLC models are available. Capacities range from 128GB to 4TB. Sequential R/W IOPS is up to 90,000/80,000. Random R/W IOPS is up to 27,000/12,000.

Features include power outage protection, dual PCIe configuration through a built-in PCIe RAID controller, and active garbage collection. OS support includes Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, Linux, and UNIX. ...Later:- in February 2011 - one of my readers who wanted to evaluate Foremay's PCIe SSD cards for Solaris apps was told that it wan't actually available - but could be expedited for a considerable development fee. Naughty Foremay! Looks like they preannounced a feature that doesn't yet exist!

In November 2009 - Foremay announced it is shipping the world's fastest 2.5" SATA flash SSDs. The SC199 Cheetah Y-Series has R/W speeds up to 290/280 MB/s in 2.5" and 3.5" SATA form factors - which approaches the theoretical speed limit of the SATA-II protocol. It also delivers impressive R/W IOPS of up to 50,000/45,000 respectively.

Also in November 2009 - Foremay announced that secure erase and fast purge options are now available for most models in its SC199 SSD product family.

In February 2010 - Foremay started sampling its EC188 D-series 2nd generation fast PCIe SSDs with capacity upto 4TB (MLC) and 1TB (SLC). The new SSDs deliver sequential speeds up to 1.6 GB/s for reading and 1.5 GB/s for writing, and R/W IOPS up to 200K/180K.

Foremay's new PCIe SSDs aim at the same kind of customers who currently buy from Fusion-io and Texas Memory Systems both of whom have been shipping this type of product for over a year already. Customer qualification by OS and application type is a prerequisite to sales in this part of the market. Foremay will have to be aggressive on price to get volume customers interested enough to test its products.

In April 2010 - Foremay started sampling SAS SSDs in its EC188 product line. The new models (available in 2.5" or 3.5" form factors, and available in commercial and industrial temperature grades) have R/W speeds of 250MB/s and 200MB/s respectively, random read/write IOPS up to 30,000/25,000 and upto 400GB capacity. That brings the number of SAS SSD companies listed on StorageSearch.com to 13.

In July 2010 - Foremay announced it is shipping 2TB 3.5" and 1TB 2.5" SATA flash SSDs in its EC188 M-series model V product range. R/W speeds are up to 200MB/s. ECC is 24-bit. The SSDs are bootable and support all major operating systems.

In August 2010 - Foremay's CTO, Jack Winters presented a paper - Secure Erase Options for SSDs (pdf) - at the recent Flash Memory Summit. The paper describes the need for SSD data purge and the 3 techniques which the company supports in its Avalanche Secure Erase Suite.

In September 2010 - Foremay announced it is shipping SATA 3 versions of its EC188 M-series flash SSDs (2.5" and 3.5" SSDs) - with R/W speeds upto 450MB/s and 350MB/s respectively.

In November 2010 - Foremay announced shipment of the fastest 1.8" micro SATA slim flash SSDs - with 280MB/s R/W and random IOPS as follows:- up to 30,000 read and 15,000 write. The 5mm high SSDs have capacity up to 400GB and are available in industrial temperature versions.

In February 2011 - I became aware from a reader complaint that information on Foremay's website was misleading with respect to Solaris driver availability for its PCIe SSDs - with key documents claiming in was available - when in fact it wasn't available on all models. Foremay acknowledge there was a problem with their documentation which described the OS support of a product family - which did not extend to a newer model with an almost identical model number. In response to a request by StorageSearch.com - the company amended key documents on its web site to make OS compatibility clearer.

In March 2011 - StorageSearch.com published a new update in the SSD Bookmarks series - with links suggested by Jack H Winters, CTO, Foremay.

Foremay announced it is shipping 32GB PATA versions of its OC177 SSD Disk on Chip which measures 22 x 22 x 1.8 mm and has R/W speeds of 70 and 40MB/s respectively.

In August 2011 - Foremay announced that it has shipped SSDs from its SC199 Hi-Rel range for deployment in NASA's next generation space program.

In January 2013 - Foremay shipped 2TB industrial 2.5" SATA SSDs with standard 9.5mm thickness.


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What has become clear in 2014 - is that there is now a greater degree of specialization within the industrial SSD market.

This is because no single company has a single set of IP which is most competitive for all form factors and interfaces.

11 key SSD ideas which clarified in 2014

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Foremay says MIL designers can now have 8TB in a 2.5" secure, rugged SATA SSD
Editor:- November 19, 2014 - How much capacity do you need in a 2.5" SSD?

That depends on the economics of your application and what other alternatives you have. But 2.5" SATA is emerging as a safe roadmap form factor for high capacity embedded projects in the rugged / military market - and now those mission critical designers will be able to stretch their capacities further than most of you.

Jack Winters, CTO - Foremay said "When we asked our customers what we should do for the next step in SSDs, most replied with capacity, capacity and capacity."

That's why Foremay announced this week it is now offering 8TB as a variation in its encrypted, secure rugged SSD range.

Editor's comments:- I spoke to Foremay yesterday to clarify the availability versus "unveiling" status of the new 8TB SSDs.

Foremay said - We are accepting orders for small quantites now. Mass production is expected in Q1'2015

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Fast Purge flash 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 & articles Although 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.





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Foremay ships 2TB 2.5" SSDs for industrial market
Editor:- January 15, 2013 - Foremay today announced immediate availability of 2TB industrial 2.5" SATA SSDs with standard 9.5mm thickness.

Editor's comments:- In its press release for this product Foremay claims to be the first company to do this. But this is one of those situations where I think being "first" tells us more about market conditions (where things stand in the HDD replacement part of the SSD market) than about the technological supremacy - or otherwise - of any particular SSD oem.

It's been technically feasible to make 2TB 2.5" SATA SSDs for the past 2 years. The only reason you haven't seen them flooding into the market is that such products would have been unattractive before to both SSD oems and to SSD buyers.

For the SSD oem - the same bunch of memory chips used to make a 2TB 2.5" SATA drive - have been much more profitably deployed in faster SSD modules such as PCIe SSDs or SAS SSDs.

Meanwhile for SSD buyers and specifiers - 2TB 2.5" SSDs would have been very expensive - compared to the alternatives - while delivering no performance benefits (due to the slowness of the SATA interface) which means that 2x 1TB SATA drives are faster in a storage system then 1x 2TB drive.

In today's market, however, the cost differences between flash SSDs and hard drives have shrunk to the extent that for industrial equipment designers who look at the cost of reliability in a 7 year industrial product operating life timeframe - the alternative of using 1 factory fitted SSD compared to the probability of using 2-3 HDDs in the same slot (taking into account the MTBF distribution over the system population) makes high capacity SATA SSDs attractive.

This class of SSDs will also extend the market life of equipment designs which originally used HDD interface standards as a way of virtualizing and protecting against generational changes in raw flash memory - even if they never used hard drives. The extra storage capacity enables equipment designers to integrate more features and software.


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What's the best way to design a flash SSD?

and other questions which divide SSD opinion
More than 10 key areas of fundamental disagreement within the SSD industry are discussed in an article here on StorageSearch.com called the the SSD Heresies.
click to read the article - the SSD Heresies ... Why can't SSD's true believers agree upon a single coherent vision for the future of solid state storage? ...read the article


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