This page is mostly
about hybrid storage drives - in which a
hard drive is packaged
in the same proprietary (factory integrated) drive module as an
SSD. This is primarily a
concept. The hybrid storage drive has not found favor in enterprise
applications (for reasons which were obvious right back in 2005 when the hybrid
SSD-HDD concept began). Instead in storage array systems which use a mixture of
solid state and magnetic drives the designers prefer to mix and match whole
SSDs and whole HDDs at the drive level which gives a better choice of COTS
components and contributory costs and technical characteristics and where also
the tiering and caching intelligence occurs at a systems appropriate efficiency
hybrid storage arrays,
storage market research
|Toshiba samples subtly
different SAS hard drives|
Editor:- December 19, 2017 - I thought
this was a joke at first. But it's for real. Toshiba today
it is sampling the AL15SE - a 2.5" SAS HDD with 10,500 RPM spin
This is the first time there has been a new
speed since the 1990s although it falls between the previous two fastest
Now I guess that rotating
experts can start worrying about whether the new frequency drives will create
subtle reliability reducing resonances if they are mixed in the cabinet with
Seriously though - the combination of 12Gbs SAS in
the new hard drives and the almost imperceptible improvement in latency (hard to
notice when it's so slow compare to SSDs) shows that the storage industry which
has been desperately seeking more SSDs than it could get or afford in 2017 has
become receptive to any new nuanced device which can store data in an array
better than what came before.
Everspin quantifies MRAM cache opportunity in AFAs
May 12, 2017 - Everspin Technologies
spoke about various design ins and design wins for its MRAM in enterprise flash
arrays in a conference call
Q1 FY17 results. Sizing the market opportunity the company said that a
typical U.2 flash SSD in a storage array can use between 5 to 9 of its devices.
And in revenue terms this would mean upto about $1,000 of MRAM revenue in a
typical rack designed by its customers.
Everspin's first publicly disclosed design win in an AFA system was in 2014 -
Skyera - whose
buyer - WDC -
invested in Everspin in
what does Infinidat think about the SSD market?
March 22 , 2016 - Views differ
about many things in the SSD market and one of the fundamental bones of
contention has always been - the pace of the (decade long predicted)
race towards the
solid state storage data center and how long (7 years already) there will
remain a viable market for
hybrid storage appliances
(hybrids which include hard
drives - as opposed to hybrids which consist of
multiple latency adapted
That prompted me to ask Steve Kenniston, VP
Product Marketing at
(which sells multi-petabyte hybrid appliances) for his suggestions for the
series on StorageSearch.com
You can see what Steve recommends you read today on the
home page, and if you like these
links and want to easily find them again later - his SSD bookmark
suggestions are permalinked
Toshiba demonstrates 3.5" ethernet hybrid
May 18, 2015 - Toshiba
demonstrations of a new hybrid drive which combines HDD and flash in a
3.5" form factor
with an Ethernet interface.
Editor's comments:- for reasons
which were obvious to systems architects 10 years ago - and haven't changed
today - you will always get better control of performance and cost by designing
a hybrid storage array
with distinctly separate HDDs
and SSDs compared to combining both these functions in a single type of drive.
the dream of combining these functions in a single drive to add value to hard
drives does re-emerge in different guises from time to time.
only merit I can see to such a product - as the new hybrid from Toshiba - is
that if you have very simplistic and primitively designed systems
with using large arrays in a single type of applicaton - then combining both the
flash and magnetic storage in a single drive could simplify the
aspects of the design by spreading the risk and consequences of drive failures
in a homogenistic way which makes writing the software easier.
consumer market -
where we've seen most of the past market experiments with
- it doesn't matter if the product is withdrawn from the market after a year or
so - because the design costs only have to make sense for a brief window of
But in the enterprise market - the risks of
committing an array design to a drive type which is single sourced and hasn't
got an independently arguable credible future roadmap means that such system
implementations are rare.
WD demos 3.5" PCIe hybrid HDD
2, 2015 - "WD is committed to working with the industry to push the
boundaries of what you might expect from a traditional
hard drive," said
Rutledge, senior VP , Storage Technology, WD recently as the company
the demonstration of a prototype 3.5"
WD's 4TB 3.5" hybrid hard drive includes upto 128GB flash cache
and looks like a single volume to the application.
Seagate reports low take up of hybrid drives
September 10 , 2014 - Seagate
that it has shipped its 10 millionth solid-state hybrid hard drive (SSHD).
says it has experienced rising demand over the last 2 years for these
solutions that offer the speed of SSDs combined with the industry's highest
Editor's comments:- The low take up of
Seagate's hybrid drives for notebooks - which are 10x smaller than equivalent
SSD shipments - rather than (as Seagate must have hoped when they launched these
products 10x bigger) shows that StorageSearch.com's original assessment about
the flaws in the concept (reported on these news pages in April 2005) were
At that time I pointed to the segmental shrinking
acceptability of the integrated hybrid drive concept concept which my
analysis suggested was due to the inflexibility of having to fix the ratio of
flash to magnetic media when the drive is made rather than being able to
adapt and optimize these ratios of capacity and performance at the system
level. The all in one hybrid also precludes optimum integration of the caching
regimes with the various OSes.
Having said that - a niche market is
better than no market. And the recent acquisition of LSI's SSD business -
which gives Seagate control of the
SandForce SSD controller
family - will give Seagate the leverage to grab a sizable chunk of the
notebook SSD market - if it chooses to use that leverage.
Apacer will unveil new MLC-mix hybrids next week
May 30, 2014 - Apacer
said that next week at Computex
Taipei 2014 it will unveil a new type of
which it calls MLC-mix products in which a single SSD embeds both
MLC and SLC to extend the
lifetime by 6x and speed upto 2x compared to MLC alone.
comments:- it's not a totally new concept. In
June 2008 -
launched SSD controllers
which supported exatcly the same idea.
Hybrid Memory Cube gets x2 speedup
25, 2014 - Although the market for Hybrid Memory Cube compatible
RAM has barely begun - a
new Gen2 specification was
today which doubles the fastest short-reach data performance (previously
15Gb/s) upto 30Gb/s. See also:-
Everspin's MRAM caches Buffalo's industrial SSD
November 18, 2013 - 18
months ago it was reported that Buffalo Technology was
designing MRAM as the cache in a "soon to be shipping" new SATA 3 SSD
aimed at the industrial
market. Bringing that up to date - the identity of the MRAM supplier is now
known to be Everspin
Technologies - which today
about this application.
"As an early adopter of ST-MRAM, Buffalo
Memory is taking a bold step to continue as an innovator in the SSD market,"
LoPresti, president and CEO of Everspin. "Spin-Torque MRAM
technology will give Buffalo Memory a strong differentiator in the market for
high-performance industrial SSDs."
Editor's comments:- Everspin's
ST-MRAM (pdf) obviates the need for supercaps in
fail situations while providing very fast write latency (compared to
flash). Other past applications for these chips include flight recorders and
write logs in RAID systems.
skinny flash SSD
controllers can also solve some of the same problems - and also don't need
supercaps - they do need more complex data management within the
controllers to work dependably.
new ORG founded to ensure future of rotating magnetic storage
August 13, 2013 - Today a new storage org was
to conserve and nurture the interests of rotating magnetic hard drives and
hybrids. Founder members of the
Association are HGST,
other things - the
SPA's faqs page
says "the SPA will seek to clarify how hard drive technology, solid-state
technology and variations of these technologies may be combined to effectively
meet the needs of a growing storage requirement."
How will hard
drives fare in an SSD world?,
directory of past storage ORGs
Super Talent launches PCIe hybrid SSD
12, 2013 -
a new entry level (800MB/s) PCIe hybrid SSD which combines 192GB of flash with
an integrated hard drive.
The company says that their new Super Hybrid product line is "the solution
for high performance storage at a low cost."
comments:- As "price"
is the sole reason why consumers
would want to look at this product I was surprised it wasn't mentioned in the
press release. I asked the question - and if I find out - I'll add a note here
The word "enterprise" also appeared hopefully in
Super Talent's blurb about this product. But saying so - doesn't make it so.
- OCZ launched a very
similar hybrid called the RevoDrive Hybrid back in
August 2011. See
SSDs, not all
PCIe SSDs are the same
new WD hybrid has SanDisk SSD inside
Editor:- May 7,
2013 - a new 2.5"
from WD -
called WD Black
SSHD (500GB HDD
capacity, 5mm high SATA)
- has a tiny SSD from
- it was
Editor's comments:- SanDisk' contribution to this is
a tiny SSD which they call
iSSD which has
9K/1K R/W IOPS performance and measures 16mm x 20mm x 1.2mm for capacities
upto 16GB. The height budget moves up to 1.85mm for 128GB of flash.
How "solid" is an SSHD? - when less than 2% of the
capacity is solid state
Editor:- March 5, 2013 - Seagate would like you
to believe that the best way to make a
better (more affordable) is to put it in a
company describes this as "SSD + HDD = the best of both worlds."
latest offerings at the
hybrid drive altar
SSHDs (Solid State Hybrid Drives) - which are designed to deliver
response from your favorite applications and files" are now shipping
in 2 main wrapper styles:-
engineers have really out done themselves this time" said Scott Horn, Seagate's VP
of marketing in a
Desktop SSHDs - are similar to the notebook drives and have upto 2TB
magnetic capacity in a higher package (26mm rather than 9.5mm).
"Our new SSHDs serve up your favorite
content with the lightning-fast performance you have to experience to believe.
With these new drives it's like adding a turbo-charge to your PC, without having
to sacrifice capacity, at a price that's easy on your wallet. Now consumers can
create, store and consume digital content like a pro without having to
spend like one."
Editor's comments:- Hybrid drives like this are aimed at the
Seagate says they'll boot 5x faster than a
RPM HDD based notebook. But will that translate into the kind of product
which users will rave about?
Ask yourself this question.... If this
kind of flash to HDD caching ratio (125 to 1) works so well - how come the
enterprise rackmount storage market isn't dominated by racks stuffed full of
Seagate hybrids - using an enterprise-adapted version of Seagate's
What are all the clever people in the enterprise
storage market doing wrong? - with their different ways of doing
Accelerated Pools of storage?
That's the question I asked myself
about the viability of hybrid drives on these pages back in 2005 - when the
hybrid drive market
began. And I concluded that - if as a user you want better performance - you
will generally get better results and economics by using vanilla HDDs in your
That doesn't mean to say that millions of people won't
buy hybrid based PCs. The question is - would they choose to buy the same
product again? And would they recommend it to their friends?
really want park bench performance in the PC experience- rather than
benchmark experience - here's 2 ways to dissect and improve the Seagate
- lose the SATA interface
- lose the hard drive
does ReRAM have role in hybrid enterprise SSDs?
June 15, 2012 - A research group led by Professor Ken Takeuchi
at Chuo University in Japan has published results of using
ReRAM in a hybrid design
with flash which can reduce power consumption by an order of magnitude and
increase the operating life by 7x according to -an article
in Nikkeibp.co.jp. The research is looking at implications for enterprise
RAM flash cache
Buffalo puts MRAM into flash SSD cache
21, 2012 - Buffalo
Technology is using a
nvm approach in a new
design of SSD - according to a report in Tom's
Hardware - which says the company will use
in its cache.
Editor's comments:- this was anticipated in my
2008 article - the Flash
SSD Performance Roadmap.
RAM cache flash
ratio in SSDs varies from close to zero (skinny) upto
RAM makes it easier for designers to meet
which are desireable in some applications - but it also creates additional
cost and complexity in the
loss management subsystem.
RAMlike NVMs such as MRAM aren't a
golden bullet either - but by compressing the time window required to maintain
holdup for critical save operations from milli-seconds to microsends (and
cleaning up the state on the next restart) such chips can enable a smaller
footprint than other approaches.
At the other end of the spectrum -
designers of skinny cache controller architecture can achieve the same
in-system apps results with virtually no RAM. So - as usual in SSDs - you will
see a diversity of
approaches in competing SSDs. They aren't all going down the same path -
even if the destination looks the same.
will OCZ's new hybrid SSD be a market game changer?
September 1, 2011 - OCZ
hybrid PCIe SSD - the
RevoDrive Hybrid - which integrates 100GB SSD capacity along with an onboard
terabyte HDD and
SSD ASAP / auto hot spot
cache tuning controller capable of 910MB/s peak throughput and upto 120,000
random write IOPS (4K) - all for an MSRP under $500.
RevoDrive Hybrid leverages the best attributes of both solid state drives and
traditional hard drive technology to deliver dynamic data-tiering on a single
easy to deploy PCIe storage drive," said Ryan
Petersen, CEO of OCZ.
Editor's comments:- although
many oems have tried to make a success of
all in one SSD-HDD
hybrid drives - the hybrids which have come to market in the past 6 years
have mostly been failures - as I predicted back in 2005 they would be. That's
because there's an infinite number of permutations which designers can choose
to blend the mix of interface, SSD and HDD capacity and budget - whereas there
is only a small and finite market in which any such combination of features will
work and be competitive. Many past hybrids have also failed to ignite user
buying chain reactions - because they were too slow - having been designed with
interfaces which were too slow, controllers which didn't work, and not enough
SSD capacity relative to the hard drive storage.
OCZ's new product
therefore is coming into a market which has been littered with the bodies of
past failures from other larger storage oems. What's different - and what
could make a difference in this case - is that the ratio of SSD capacity to
typical desktop RAM is a usable number (it's been much too low in all previous
hybrids from hard disk makers) and the ratio of SSD to HDD looks right too. And
the interface - PCIe means that the controller latencies won't get in the way
between the host and the SSD - which has been a weakness in SATA based hybrids.
Therefore it looks like a balanced design.
Is there a big enough
market for this exact combination of features? OCZ with its track record of
high performance consumer SSD sales is better placed to judge this than most SSD
companies (and most analysts).
If any hybrid SSD is going to provide the kind of user experience which leads
users to spread the word and become part of the sales force - this one might
well just be it.
Jim Handy says hybrid drives will replace HDDs in mainstream PCs
October 25, 2010 - Objective Analysis
has published a new market report
Hybrid Drives Finally Coming of Age? - ($5,000 54 pages).
explains hybrid drive technical principals, the technology's potential market,
competing technologies, and how the NAND, PC,
HDD markets will all be
impacted by this new twist on an old technology.
The report tells
why the technology failed in the past, and forecasts its anticipated growth.
Objective Analysis says this technology was well conceived but poorly
implemented in its first generation. Now that working versions have been
implemented the hybrid drive promises to sweep the PC hard drive market.
"We expect the
market to nearly double every year for the 5 years following its initial
adoption, reaching 600 million units by 2016," said the report's author
Jim Handy. "This
blazing growth will result from hybrid drives replacing standard HDDs in
Editor's comments:- this is the scenario which
Seagate is hoping will
come true - according to their recent statements.
StorageSearch.com's view is that instead of hybrids - users will do better using
vanilla SSDs in light weight notebooks and in higher capacity notebooks
using a combination of vanilla SSD (on the motherboard) working with vanilla
HDDs tuned by SSD ASAP
techniques (controller or software).
The market will decide which
approach they prefer. For more differences of opinion about how solid state
storage should fit in with computer architecture see
the SSD Heresies.
NVELO launches notebook SSD ASAP
Editor:- August 17,
2010 - NVELO
Dataplex - a software product
aimed at PC oems - which provides
functionality inside a
Since Dataplex works with off-the-shelf storage devices, PC OEMs and
consumers have complete freedom to choose any SSD and any HDD, from any vendor.
"Consumers love the idea of SSD performance, but there is still a
huge (price) gap
between HDDs at $0.20/GB and SSDs at $2.00/GB; as an HDD replacement, the
economics simply don't work for all but a very small percentage of the market,"
said David Lin, VP of product management at NVELO. "With Dataplex, we are
making SSD performance economically feasible for a much larger market by using
the strengths of SSD and HDD technology together. And we're not talking about
simply installing the OS and whatever applications can fit onto a small SSD.
Dataplex learns user behavior, and intelligently caches all important data and
applications in an SSD device while maintaining the full capacity of the HDD for
Dataplex will begin shipping from select Tier 1 PC OEMs
in 2011. NVELO is currently in discussions with leading
SSD vendors to enable
aftermarket sales and bundling options for Dataplex, and has begun development
of an enterprise version of Dataplex for server systems.
comments:- if successful - NVELO's product will render obsolete most
aimed at the notebook market. In the server ASAP market - it's a direct
competitor to the unloved
SSD Cache Performance Kit created by
Microsoft, taken to
Adaptec - and now owned
Seagate launches hybrid for notebooks
23, 2010 -
XT a 2.5" hybrid
drive - for the
market - which internally has a 500GB
HDD cached by a 4GB
SSD ASAP controller.
says the new drive is OS agnostic and delivers
performance at the lower
price of a hard
This isn't a new concept - as you can see on this
product page for the Platinum HDD from March 2008. Except that pioneering
old product from DTS was a
3.5" form factor and used a
RAM SSD. (Since then
DTS has moved on to market a
fat flash SSD
- called the Platinum M-Cell
In 2006 the reputation of hybrid hard drives in notebooks
(as a poor man's SSD placeholder) was ruined by the poor performance of
ReadyDrive support in VISTA. So experienced users may be cautious about
Seagate's new product. Anyone who needs serious PC application performance
won't be wasting their time with a hard drive.
When Seagate introduced
RPM HDDs in 1992 computer users were impressed by its performance. But
Seagate's press release headline today - "World's Fastest Hard Drive for
Laptop Computers" - is a bit of a joke. Because hard drives aren't fast.
2.5" hybrid flash SSD/HDDs are a waste of space - says
Editor:- May 17, 2010 - a recent
discusses prospects for the
market and includes the above quote from yours truly.
written by experienced storage commentator
came out of a discussion that
Toshiba might be thinking
of new hybrid SSD products.
As readers know I always have an opinion
about everything - but as I thought the Toshiba idea was not a very good one -
I didn't want to waste my time writing about it. Chris asked why I thought
that - and as a result he has written a much better article than I would have
done myself anyway. ...read the
...Later:- after seeing the above article -
a long time SSD reader reader asked me to say more about about my dismissal of
single hybrid drives for consumer markets.
While agreeing that past
solutions in this market had failed - he asked if the
SSD ASAP concept
couldn't be scaled down to a single flash SSD cached hard drive.
what I said.
As you aware many companies have tried to include various
caching schemes to leverage the benefits of a small amount of flash SSD capacity
compared to a larger amount of HDD capacity. There are also companies in
stealth mode looking at this problem. I think when it comes to the consumer
case - economics and the philosophy of computer architecture clash in an
If we look closely at the detail we meet all kinds of problems -
which individually seem solvable - but taken together aren't.
1 - SSD caching applications have to be designed with a particular
data usage model in mind. An algorithm that works for 1 type of app may be
useless for another - and in the worst case give even worse performance than no
caching at all.
2 - The best results for SSD speedup are when the CPU is limited by
the IOPS it is seeing from the HDD system. Enterprise motherboards are mostly
designed so that peripherals can get access to a fast processor type of bus
(originally designed for comms etc) and it's possible to access more latent CPU
power than is used by HDD systems. But the budget conscious nature of consumer
means that there usually isn't much CPU headroom available. If there was - it
would mean that the design was using too much battery power - or the oem was
paying for faster chips than
it needs for most application.
But if we take a step up from all these issues - there is another
obstacle in the current market which works against the idea of an SSD ASAP for
The success of flash speedups in an SSD is due
to the SSD controller.
If you have a small capacity flash SSD - most of the cost is in the controller
and not in the flash.
Speeding up the flash SSD controller to make it better able to manage
a hybrid storage pool is possible - but at some point the cost and power of this
SSD CPU will be higher than that of the notebook CPU to which it is connected.
That's why - it's economically unlikely to happen - regardless of the caching
In the long term notebooks should be designed with the chipsets
optimized for SSD (with CPU headroom - like portable servers in architecture).
I don't think any flash SSD / HDD hybrid for consumer apps will be good value
for money - unless it is designed for 1 particular application. In that case the
market segment will be so small it won't be viable.
For apps like playing video - your don't need SSDs - because the
sequential pattern of data usage matches HDDS well. (It's different for video
servers - because when you have hundreds or thousands of users - you can't
dedicate a fixed fraction of a physical disk stream to each. That's where SSDs
XLC invites HDD partners for "enterprise" x4 hybrids
Editor:- April 1, 2010 -
announced details of a paper it will discuss later this month at the NV
Memories Worskhop (UC San Diego) called - Paramagnetic Effects on
Trapped Charge Diffusion with Applications for x4 Data Integrity.
company says its findings could have applications in the enterprise storage
market by solving the data integrity problems in x4 MLC SSDs within a new class
of hybrid storage drives. ...read more
Avere Launches Hybrid NAS SSD Rackmounts
October 5, 2009 - Avere
Systems unveiled its
FXT Series of
clusterable 2U rackmount
module contains upto 8x 3.5"
hard drives, 64GB
DRAM and 1GB of
nv RAM. The embedded
provides storage acceleration by dynamically tiering between the internal
rotating and solid state storage. List pricing starts at $52,500.
"The FXT Series is a milestone in the evolution of storage
products with its dynamic use of storage media to maximize speed while
minimizing cost," said Ron Bianchini, co-founder and CEO of Avere Systems. "The
end-result is a product line that can deliver tremendous business value to
customers by providing high performance and high efficiency to the storage
Editor's comments:- Avere is the
3rd company in recent weeks to announce an automatic solution for the age old
problem of accelerating
legacy hard disk array applications with solid state storage. There are
some interesting differences in approach and target markets.
product is aimed at NAS
systems. It's a complete end user solution which includes the hard disks
which are to be accelerated. Avere says the new product can be configured with
upto 1.6TB of DRAM per cluster.
Dataram's product is
aimed at SAN systems.
It's an end user upgrade solution which fits between the customer's
FC switch and
pre-existing SAN rotating storage arrays. In some cases where users have already
over provisioned hard disks - the
may also, as a side effect, increase the usable storage capacity as well as
speed up the apps.
product is aimed at DAS
SSD Cache Performance Kit an integrator / oem solution which simplifies
the task of building a hybrid storage pool.
Key questions for customers
are going to be:- Does it work? How does the price / performance compare to
vanilla SSDs and human tuning? And how
reliable are the
new products going to be? Understanding the
failure modes in
large SSD arrays is not something that traditional storage designers know
very much about.
Adaptec Enters the SSD Market
Editor:- September 9,
2009 - Adaptec
announced a new platform for integrators building
pools using SSDs.
SSD Cache Performance Kit (which operates with upto 4x customized 32GB
Intel SSDs) includes
software that identifies frequently (hot) read data blocks and optimizes
subsequent "reads" by moving "hot" data directly into the
SSD cache for lower latencies and higher system performance.
president and CEO Sundi Sundaresh said that the new product "Underscores
the potential that we see for significant future management and conditioning of
data through the I/O path, which is central to our new ... strategy."
DTS Hybrid SSD Wins Best of Show
Editor:- June 12,
2009 - DTS today
confirmed it has won a
of show award at Interop
Tokyo 2009 for its Platinum SSD.
DTS's original Platinum drive was a
hybrid - which
included a RAM SSD accelerated
hard drive. The
internal SSD controller
virtualized the interface to make it appear as an OS agnostic
recent versions of this drive embed a
flash SSD (instead
of HDD). The best way to think about this product is as a scaled down single
disk version of an SSD
accelerated RAID. It can significantly increase random IOPS for some types
of application - at a cost which nothing else comes close to (using SLC
flash technology). It's scalable too. Some DTS customers use these drives in
This is the kind of product which requires extensive
benchmarking in the production environment in which it's going to be used. If
it's a good fit - then great. But actual speedup and competitiveness depends on
a variety of factors which are too difficult for most users to model. DTS says
it will ship a 2.5" SSD which delivers about 40,000 IOPS later this
Sun Responds to User Needs for More SSD Capacity
May 27, 2009 - Sun
Microsystems announced today it has
its hybrid rackmount storage systems to support an additional 600GB of
flash SSD cache (compared to the current 64GB internal limit) for enhanced
The Sun Storage
is available today and starts at a price of $40,165.
comments:- terabyte SSDs become commercially available in
2002 - so
Sun's initial product offering last November - which supported a mere 36GB per
4U rack - was a sure sign that the company either didn't know what it was doing
- or was being overly cautious.
There are plenty of
vendors in the market - and soon there will be hundreds more. There's wide
diversity in product architectures (open versus proprietary) and applications
experience in this part of the SSD market (ranging from months in the case of
Sun - to more than a decade for companies like
Solid Data Systems and
Texas Memory Systems).
you are thinking of buying an SSD from Sun - timing the purchase is a something
to think about. In recent years Sun used to steeply discount towards the end of
its quarter. I'm not sure how being part of
affect that. See also:-
DDRdrive Launches Low Cost PCIe RAM SSD
4, 2009 - DDRdrive
emerged from stealth mode and launched the
DDRdrive X1 - a
RAM SSD with onboard
|Load / restore time is 60S. I/O
performance is over 200K IOPS (for 512B blocks). For 4kB blocks IOPS is:- 50k
(reads) and 35K (writes). R/W throughput is 215MB/s and 155MB/s respectively.
Capacity is 4GB. OS compatibility:- Microsoft Windows (various). Price is
|Using Microsoft Windows
built-in RAID support,
DDRdrive X1's can be spanned (capacity), striped (performance), mirrored
(redundancy), and RAID-5 configured.|
|Editor's comments:- the
DDRdrive X1 looks competitively priced for accelerating database applications in
which the hot files can be squeezed into a capacity range from about 4GB to
12GB. Above that - you get into the region of entry level
and high performance PCIe
flash SSD cards
from companies like Fusion-io
and Texas Memory Systems.
There's definitely a gap in the market for this scale of product (low
entry price, low capacity - high IOPS). For the past year or so DDRdrive
shipped an earlier generation of its SSD accelerators exclusively to a large
enterprise for secret internal projects.
Samsung Announces 40nm Geometry for Flex-OneNAND
Korea - March 10, 2009 - Samsung
Electronics - today announced that it has begun using 40nm process
technology to produce an 8Gb
fusion memory chip.
SLC and MLC NAND on
a single piece of silicon, allowing application designers to choose the portion
of SLC and MLC NAND storage to be used in any particular design through a simple
adjustment to the accompanying software. This maximizes the performance and
efficiency of the embedded flash chip. storage chips
DTS Launches Fastest 3.5" SSD
San Jose, CA - February 17, 2009 - DTS,
Inc today announced availability of the fastest 3.5" SATA SSD -
the Platinum HDD 2009 model.
Internally it has a 1GB
RAM SSD which operates
as a non volatile RAM cache for an internal
flash SSD (320GB
to 512GB). Aimed at server acceleration applications performance is 25,000 R/W
IOPS, read speed is 250MB/s, and write speed is upto 240MB/s. DTS says the huge
nv cache also attenuates writes (the opposite of write amplification) - thereby
reducing flash wear by x10 to x400 compared to conventional flash SSDs. ...DTS profile
comments:- in my article
Predicting Future Flash
SSD Performance I noted how having a non volatile RAM cache is a key
architectural factor in flash SSD tune ups.
segment the RamSan-500
from Texas Memory Systems
(launched September 2007) and in the
2.5" form factor
the ESSD from
Memoright are other
examples of this type of implementation.
DTS's original Platinum drive
(launched a year ago) was a hard
disk / RAM SSD hybrid. The new 2009 model benefits from the faster IOPS
performance which stems from embedding a flash SSD instead of HDD. It also
builds on the experience of refining the internal cache which
accelerates many types of server app - without any modification to the
application software. You just install it like a hard drive. DTS says it's
particularly good for VMware and similar multiple client environments. Their
website includes comparative benchmarks.
Sun Launches Hybrid Rackmount Storage
CLARA, Calif. - November 10, 2008 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today
announced the availability of its new 7000 family of rackmount storage systems
- which includes hybrid HDD / flash SSD arrays.
Sun says its
Solaris ZFS can use SSDs intelligently as a cache for both application and file
system metadata, placing latency-critical data structures appropriately on flash
media and using algorithms to optimize data placement. In addition, Solaris ZFS
provides acceleration of both read and write operations, and lets administrators
configure the system to match workload demands. ...Sun Microsystems profile,
Verari Announces Intel-SSD-Inside Hybrid Storage Blade
DALLAS, TX. - October
15, 2008 - Verari Systems today announced HyDrive, a hybrid
enterprise storage blade.
The new Verari HyDrive disk blade
integrates Intel's X25-E
2.5" SSD as well
as high capacity 3.5" SATA hard drives into Verari's
BladeRack 2 X-Series
Systems profile, rackmount
Cypress Integrates Non Volatile Static RAM in Controller
Editor:- September 22, 2008 - Cypress Semiconductor
introduced the industry's first device to integrate a non-volatile static random
access memory and a programmable system on chip.
This may be useful
in future hybrid designs of
very fast flash SSDs
which could use nvSRAM in the controller and thereby deliver better latency for
small random reads / writes.
Silicon Motion Enables New Type of Hybrid Flash SSD
TAIPEI, Taiwan - June
23, 2008 - Silicon Motion Technology Corp today announced the launch
of 3 new SSD controllers.
"We are already a market leader in the SSD controller market,
especially in the low cost notebook PC segment. We shipped almost 1 million
units of SSD controllers in 1Q'08, which is more than any other company in
the world" said Wallace Kou, CEO of Silicon Motion.
controllers can support hybrid SSDs that use a combination of SLC and
MLC NAND flash to minimize device cost and maximize endurance. SM2240, for
example, can manage a 64GB SSD using 8GB of SLC and 56GB of MLC flash. Through
sophisticated and innovative algorithms, the controller is able to analyze the
incoming files from the host and intelligently move frequently accessed data to
SLC NAND and non-frequently accessed data to MLC NAND. With this hybrid
architecture, the SSD system cost is significantly reduced to a level comparable
to a pure MLC-based SSD, while endurance is significantly enhanced and
comparable to a pure SLC-based SSD. ...Silicon Motion
Editor's comments:- this new class of hybrid SSDs is
one way to fix the endurance problem faced in cost conscious server apps that
are only viable with MLC type budgets. Another solution is
EasyCo's MFT - which
inherently reduces writes while increasing write IOPS through a host resident
driver. But some of the other risks revealed in my article
Are MLC SSDs Safe
in Enterprise Apps? haven't gone away.
Hybrid Hard Drives Market Report
Gatos, CA - December 19, 2007 - The Hybrid Hard Drive will not make a big
splash in 2008, according to a new 36-page report by Objective Analysis.
PC users who are waiting for this technology to speed their boot
times are going to have to wait a little longer.
"Once all the kinks are ironed out, hybrid drives and their
counterparts should sweep the market," said Jim Handy, the report's author.
"Unfortunately, the hardware is ready but the software support is weak.
Hybrid drives will have to wait for better support to justify their small
Hybrid Hard Drives: How, Why, And When? - is an in-depth review of
the hybrid hard drive market, exploring the technology, implementation costs,
and expected benefits, as it explains why those benefits are not within reach
today. The report takes a special look at alternative technologies like SSDs,
Intel's Turbo Memory, the
SanDisk Vaulter Disk,
larger DRAM main memories
and DRAM HDD caches, and even small SSDs from
Samsung. The report
reviews members of the Hybrid Storage
Alliance members and details their product offerings.
Readers will learn how hybrid drives work and why they are receiving
so much attention today. They will also understand why hybrid drives will
threaten the SSD market, and why neither technology is likely to see much
acceptance until the second half of 2008 or later.
IDC Report Casts Doubt on Hybrid Hard Disk Market
- January 23, 2007 - IDC has published a new report called - "Outlook
for Adoption of Hybrid-HDD or NAND in PCs" It says that so far,
neither the hybrid hard disk drives nor embedded NAND flash technology
convincingly realizes the potential of caching in Vista PC and therefore,
neither can be considered the clear winner. Also the emergence of NAND
flash-based solid state disks
could disrupt the brewing NAND caching technology battle.
Hybrid Storage Alliance Aims to Speed Up Notebooks
Storage Visions 2007 Conference - January
4, 2007 - Hitachi, Samsung, Seagate and Toshiba
have formed the Hybrid Storage Alliance.
The goals of the
industry group are to illustrate how flash memory/hard drive hybrid
technology can extend the capabilities of today's notebook computers and to
accelerate market adoption of the technology.
IDC predicts hybrid hard
disk drives will constitute 35% of all hard disk drives shipped with portable
PCs by 2010.
Hybrid hard drive technology is the industry's answer to growing
demand for notebook PCs that deliver the speed and durability of desktop PCs.
Hybrid technology, which can be deployed in other mobile devices and computing
systems, combines the unmatched capacity and cost-effectiveness of hard drives
with the responsiveness, power-efficiency and durability of flash memory.
...Hybrid Storage Alliance,
Storage Industry Trade
|And this bit goes with that.|
|SLC / MLC / TLC - tactical
/ permanent / real / virtual?|
If you've ever wondered about how to
optimize SSD design by using a mix of flash memory types in the same SSD then
this paper is an invaluable reference guide to the techniques which have been
written about in the public domain.
|tradeoffs in the design
of mixed flash hybrid SSDs (December 2017)|
hold up times in 2.5" military SSDs
farewell to reassuringly boring industrial SSDs
| hold up
capacitors in 2.5" MIL SSDs|
do you really need them?
Editor:- I've been looking at different aspects
of power hold up schemes in mission critical non volatile memory systems for
over 30 years. |
But every time I revisit this vast topic and compare
fresh examples from the market - I learn something a little bit new.
new blog -
to three seconds - demonstrates the extreme range of hold up times
now in the market inside leading edge 2.5" military flash SSDs.
|Hybrid Storage Drives
winners, losers and maybes
editor - July 1, 2008
|My immediate reaction on seeing the first
news about hybrid
hard drives back in
April 2005 was
I didn't think that a flash / magnetic platter hybrid would
be a good investment for users in either desktop systems or servers.
- in single flash hybrid drive installations such as desktops or notebooks -
the theoretical speedup benefit actually depended on how well Microsoft's Vista
supported this function and whether there was enough free
benefits delivered by first generation products are (in my view) so small that
if you don't carefully measure the speedup - with
storage analyzers - you
wouldn't notice any speedup at all.
analysts have published various reports which support a cautious view about
the market. (You can see summaries of these in the news column on the left.)
- in multiple flash hybrid drive installations - such as a
RAID system - there is an
overwhelming cost, performance and reliability benefit in using vanilla
hard disks and / or
vanilla SSDs compared to
You have to
be cautious about placing too much weight on storage soothsayers' reports.
As in the story about the emperor's clothes - many analysts are inhibited from
saying that a new wardrobe (or market segment) is a complete waste of space -
or invisible. That's because flattery works better in the courtier's
I thought that was the end of the hybrid storage drive
matter and let it rest.
For several years I didn't even create a
separate page for this subject. Instead I slotted news and vendor listings about
hybrid disks in the
main hard disk page.
My reasoning was that - just as there isn't a need for a separate
listing of disks which have cache memory or buffers (they all do) - there
shouldn't be a need for a standalone flash-HDD hybrid page either. If successful
it would become part of the mainstream HDD market - if not - then I hadn't
wasted too much of my valuable time on it. It would
So that's why I started this special interest directory
to chronicle significant developments in the SSD hybrid drive market.