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IBM is the world's largest information technology services and consulting provider. Some 190,000 professionals in more than 160 countries help clients integrate information technology with business value -- from the business transformation and industry expertise of IBM Business Consulting Services to hosting, infrastructure, technology design and training services. IBM services business delivers integrated, flexible and resilient processes across companies and through business partners, enabling clients to save money and transform their businesses to be more competitive. For more information, visit

See also:- IBM - mentions on, IBM's flash storage page

popular SSD articles

A Storage Architecture Guide

the SSD Bookmarks - suggestions from IBM

Auto-tuning SSD Accelerated Pools of storage

enterprise adoption of naughty new flash - 2004 to 2018
This is the first time that an SSD company which focuses on "in-situ processing" has reached the exalted top 5 region of this list.

This is as significant in its own way as when in earlier periods we saw PCIe SSD companies do well in this list (such as when Fusion-io entered the top 10 in 2008) and similarly when we saw NVDIMM SSD companies get high entries in the list (Diablo in 2014).
Top SSD Companies in Q3 2016
Who's who in SSD? - IBM

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - April 28, 2014

IBM was ranked #2 in the Q1 2014 edition of the Top SSD Companies published here on - having moved up 9 places from the previous quarter. (This IBM's highest rank to date - in the 7 years of publishing this series.)

That was a strong affirmation that the SSD market is interested in what it sees IBM doing in the enterprise.

That interest was weighted more towards IBM's rackmount storage systems than in its server side SSD solutions at the time of measuring this - although of course - that could change.

See also:- - It's IBM Jim - but not as we know it

Editor's comments:- re IBM and SSDs - September 2012

It took many years for IBM's SSD strategy to materialize into a recognizable shape.

Like other server companies - initially it was not in IBM's interests to educate customers about SSDs because they feared it would reduce server sales. But as I predicted in my 2003 SSD market adoption article - as soon as user knowledge about SSDs reached a critical mass and other server makers started to adopt them - server makers like IBM potentially realized they would lose server sales if they didn't support them.

Before their born-again enthusiasm for SSDs - IBM (in 2006) had publicly ridiculed products from SSD makers such as Texas Memory Systems - and / or claimed that other SSD products in the market weren't good enough to use yet. (A similar ploy to another SSD latecomer Seagate.)

Like many other server companies IBM initially went for the "safe" option of remarketing, reselling or rebadging proven SSD products from companies like Fusion-io, STEC, SanDisk and others.

IBM's recently announced agreement to acquire Texas Memory Systems (August 2012) has within it the potential to rapidly scale into a multi-billion dollar revenue SSD business unit.
selected IBM SSD milestones from SSD Market History.

July 2007 - SanDisk announced that its SATA 5000 2.5-inch SSD will be offered as an option in IBM's new BladeCenter HS21 XM.

April 2008 - IBM Previews Racetrack Solid State Storage

August 2008 - Fusion-io's SSDs were the secret ingredient in an IBM "million IOPS" story.

September 2008 - IBM announced a technology collaboration with Fusion-io

In February 2009 - IBM published a well written article - SSDs for Enterprise Storage (pdf) which introduces the need for SSD acceleration and explains IBM's strategy in this market.

In May 2009 - STEC confirmed that its SSDs are oemed in several popular IBM servers and storage systems.

In December 2009 - Fusion-io announced that its ioMemory PCIe SSD technology has been adapted by IBM who will remarket these solutions (initially with upto 320GB capacity) as its High IOPS SSD PCIe Adapters for use in System x servers.

In August 2012 - IBM announced it will acquire Texas Memory Systems

In January 2014 - IBM disclosed it had shipped over 1,500 fast rackmount SSDs in its FlashSystem 800 range - based on the RamSan product line acquired from Texas Memory Systems. IBM also launched a new range of servers which were the first in the market to include - as standard - memory channel SSDs (low latency DDR3 DIMM flash SSDs) supplied by SanDisk and based on the design created by SMART and Diablo.

In May 2015 - IBM announced it had been the number #1 all-flash storage array vendor in 2014, having shipped more petabytes and units for Solid-State Arrays than any other competitor - citing an industry market report from Gartner.

IBM said that in 2014 it had sold more than 2,100 FlashSystems, totaling 62 petabytes of capacity.

"With over a third of the world's 2014 all-flash array capacity on IBM FlashSystem, this solution is proving itself as the all-flash enterprise storage solution of choice across Tier 1 enterprise and cloud deployments around the world," said Michael Kuhn, VP and Business Line Executive, IBM Enterprise Storage.
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the Survivor's Guide to Enterprise SSDs
Auto-tuning SSD Accelerated Pools of storage
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High availability fault tolerant SSD arrays market
usable flash SSD capacity - the iceberg syndrome
What were the big SSD ideas to learn and forget in 2015?
latency reasons for fading out DRAM in the virtual memory mix

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re IBM's FlashSystem 9100
Editor:- July 18, 2018 - A recent blog - Introducing the FlashSystem 9100 NVMe with FCM - by Barry Whyte at IBM - provided for me - a satisfying sequel and finale to the story of whatever happened to the longest running enterprise SSD accelerator product line in the history of the market - the SAM>RamSan>FlashSystem - which were all fast big shared memory boxes.

(The new heir in the family saga - the FlashSystem 9100 is a 2U box with NVMe SSDs inside which provides 403TB usable uncompressed - and GbE, FC or SAS host connectivity.)

You can get a taster of the family story in these 2 marker articles - selected from my numerous scribblings. IBM's FlashSystem 9100?

It's the same kind of horse show (in market role) but with a different technology animal inside and the recent changes in the design architecture today in 2018 are as significant as when TMS redesigned the main memory array in the RamSan product line from RAM to flash in their 2007 model - the RamSan-500.

Barry Whyte's new blog says among things:-

"The storage development team in Hursley started work on the design of a new generation box back over 3 years ago when I was still based in the UK. The idea was to build a low rack density, and high performance control enclosure that could take NVMe Flash drives, both in terms of NAND Flash based, and look to the future of SCM technologies, such as 3D Xpoint, Z-SSD and whatever else will come along." the blog

Editor's comments:- throughout the 30 or so years history of the RamSan and the multi OS supported SAM - Shared Access Memory system which came before and the new FlashSystem (which cane after (and which may have changed its name again depending on when you read this) is the the idea of a product line which evolves to accomodate new memory technologies but retains the legacy purpose of putting data in a box where it can be accessed by many different servers at the lowest practical latency cost.

See also:- rackmount SSDs
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NVMe and the FlashSystem 900?
Editor:- December 7, 2016 - NVMe was one of the big SSD ideas of the year which was mentioned by several contributors.

Hold onto that thought.

"The only thing better than an improved protocol like NVMe, is no protocol" - says Woody Hutsell, Technologist, Evangelist - IBM in his new blog - Stop waiting on NVMe all flash arrays.

Among other things Woody says - "There is no storage protocol inside the IBM FlashSystem 900. Once the data hits the interface controller it ceases to be SCSI or PCI or NVMe. The only thing better than an improved protocol like NVMe, is no protocol. The FlashSystem 900, like many prior generations of FlashSystem solutions treats the flash inside the system like memory. The result is unmatched latency characteristics." the article

Latency was the central theme of Woody's SSD bookmarks for readers earlier this year too.

Woody has been extolling the virtues of low latency enterprise SSD storage to me and my readers for over 15 years.

I always relax when reading Woody's writings about solid state storage as I can be secure in the knowledge that everything he says is reliable.
It's not worth paying more for SLC reliability in PCIe SSDs says Google field study
SSD news - February 2016
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The enterprise SSD story...

why's the plot so complicated?

and was there ever a missed opportunity in the past to simplify it?
the elusive golden age of enterprise SSDs
What got me thinking about the need to write this blog was thinking back to a bunch of conversations I had on the subject of those many small flash array vendors whose marketing communications energies seem to be inappropriately overinvested in theme songs and musicals which compare their star products with those of EMC.
"compared to EMC"
Don't worry about the endurance of our FlashSystems
Editor:- October 7, 2014 - Worried about endurance?

"None of the thousands of FlashSystem products (fast rackmount SSDs) which IBM has shipped has ever worn out yet! - says Erik Eyberg, Flash Strategy & Business Development at IBM - in his new blog - Flash storage reliability: Aligning technology and marketing. "And our metrics suggest that will remain true in almost all cases for many, many years (certainly well beyond any normal and expected data center life cycle)"
In most markets these vendor knowledge gaps would be fed back up the marketing intelligence chain by a direct sales force.
missed business opportunities in enterprise flash
IBM aims to be multi-billion dollar flash systems supplier
Editor:- April 12, 2013 - 3 years ago I wrote a blog about the confusing nature of the "RamSan" brand of SSDs from Texas Memory Systems given that all the recent models in the family were in fact flash memory rather than RAM based - and furthermore some of the models didn't connect via an FC SAN but used PCIe instead.

So it wasn't a surprise to see in yesterday's announcement by IBM (who acquired TMS last year) that the RamSan designation has been dropped in favor of the more accurate sounding "FlashSystem" in those models which migrated intact to IBM's enterprise flash product line.

So - for example in the category of high availability rackmount SSDs - the old RamSan-720 (SLC) and RamSan-820 (MLC) have become the new IBM FlashSystem 720 and 820.

If you're not already familiar with these fast HA SSDs - the thinking behind their design came out in an interview I has with Holly Frost, CEO of TMS when they were launched in December 2011.

Unless I missed them - then it doesn't look to me as though TMS's PCIe SSD models have been so fortunate. I couldn't see them in IBM's range of PCIe SSDs (High IOPS Modular Adapters) which are based on products and technologies from Fusion-io and LSI.

That no-show may be due to the fact that - unlike TMS's rackmount systems which were software agnostic - a lot more work is required to efficiently integrate server based SSDs into a wide range of server products. But I anticipate that TMS's big architecture SSD controller technology will resurface in future IBM SSD cards.

Much more significant was the news that IBM is investing $1 billion in research and development to design, create and integrate new flash solutions into its portfolio of servers, storage systems and middleware. IBM also announced plans to open 12 centers of flash competency around the globe. That demonstrates confidence in the future scale of the SSD market and its perspective related to computer history.