click to visit home page
leading the way to the new storage frontier .....
SSDs over 163  current & past oems profiled
SSD news ..
SSD SoCs controllers
SSD controllers ..
DIMM wars ..
Test Equipment
testers & analyzers ..
image shows software factory - click to see storage software directory
SSD software ....
image shows mouse dangling from broken link - click for  storage reliability articles and news
reliability ..
Flash Memory
flash & nvm ..

the interface glue chips and IP page

SSD controllers
flash and other nvm
what's RAM really?
memory channel SSDs
what changed in SSD year 2015?
Surviving SSD sudden power loss
SSD ad - click for more info
hold up capacitors in 2.5" MIL SSDs

do you really need them?
image shows Megabyte's hot air balloon - click to read the article SSD power down architectures and acharacteristics
0 to 3S
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.

My blog - Zero to three seconds - demonstrates the extreme range of hold up times now in the market inside leading edge 2.5" military flash SSDs. the article

SSD ad - click for more info

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 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? the article
flash wars in the enterprise - MLC brand X
First you learned about SLC (good flash).

Then you learned about MLC (naughty flash when it played in the enterprise - but good enough for the short attention span of consumers).

Then MLC SSDs learned how to be good.

Now some MLC is much nicer than others. - When it's preceded by an "e" (extra-good). But it costs more.

But other people say you don't need the expensive "e" - because their controllers empathize better with naughty flash. (They really care about naughty flash being sent to bad block jail too soon.)

Is your head ready to explode yet?

It's going to get even more complicated.

......from sugaring MLC for the enterprise
flash SSD capacity - the iceberg syndrome
Have you ever wondered how the amount of flash inside a flash SSD compares to the capacity shown on the invoice?

What you see isn't always what you get.
nothing surprised the penguins - click to read  the article There can be huge variations in different designs as vendors leverage invisible internal capacity to tweak key performance and reliability parameters. the article
How big was the thinking in this SSD's design?
Does size really does matter in SSD design?

By that I mean how big was the mental map? - not how many inches wide is the SSD.

The novel and the short story both have their place in literature and the pages look exactly the same. But you know from experience which works best in different situations and why.

When it comes to SSDs - Big versus Small SSD architecture - is something which was in the designer's mind. Even if they didn't think about it that way at the time.
click to read the article - Big versus Small SSD  architectures For designers, integrators, end users and investors alike - understanding what follows from these simple choices predicts a lot of important consequences. the article
3 things that could have killed flash SSDs
The emerging size of the flash SSD market as you see it today was by no means inevitable. It owes a lot to 3 competing storage media competitors which failed to evolve fast enough in the Darwinian jungle of the storage market in the past decade.

One of these 3 contenders is definitely on the road to extinction - but could one of the other 2 still emerge to threaten flash SSDs?

The article - SSD's past phantom demons explores the latent market threats which hovered around the flash SSD market in the past decade. They seemed real and solid enough at the time.
SSD past phantom demons image - click to read the article Getting a realistic perspective of flash SSD's past demons (which seemed very threatening at the time) may help you better judge the so-called "new" generation of nv memory contenders - which are also discussed in the article. the article
this way to the Petabyte SSD
In 2016 there will be just 3 types of SSD in the datacenter.

One of them doesn't exist yet - the bulk storage SSD.

It will replace the last remaining strongholds of hard drives in the datacenter due to its unique combination of characteristics, low running costs and operational advantages.
click to read the article -  reaching for the petabyte SSD - not as scary as you may think ... The new model of the datacenter - how we get from here to there - and the technical problems which will need to be solved - are just some of the ideas explored in this visionary article.
storage chip news
PCIe 4.0 Multi-Lane PHY milestone

Editor:- March 14, 2016 - Signs of onwards and upwards progress towards future PCIe SSD speeds emerged today in an announcement that Cadence and Mellanox have demonstrated electrical interoperability for PCIe 4.0 with "robust signal integrity" (BER below 10-15) at 16Gbps with 4 lanes running traffic concurrently.

new blog looks at DRAM latency creep

Editor: March 3, 2016 - We've got used to the fact the performance and characteristics of fast flash SSDs owe more to the interface, controller design and software than to the intrinsic timing and reliability of a nand cell. But what about DRAM? Isn't that much closer to the raw, organic memory ingredients?

In a new blog on - DRAM's indeterminate latencies and the virtual memory slider mix - I look at the growing gap between server memory performance and the capabilities of raw, organic DRAM cells.

As enterprise RAM performance is progressively bounded more by controller traffic analysis needs and power consumption rather than DRAM cell capability - there's an argument for saying if the statistical distribution of DRAM latencies is so wide - maybe no one would notice if you slipped in a different kind of memory in the virtual slider mix.

And that - of course - was precisely the open barn door - which ushered in the explosion of DRAM lookalike alt nvm announcements in 2015. the new article

EZchip's acquisition by Mellanox cleared to close

Editor:- January 19, 2016 - After various delays and interventions it was confirmed today that the shareholders of EZchip Semiconductor have approved the merger deal with Mellanox announced last September which valued EZchip at over $800 million.

memory tiers for datacenters and ultra high endurance flash for automotive market to be discussed at ISSCC

editor:- January 14, 2016 - ISSCC (International Solid-State Circuits Conference) will start January 31 (in San Francisco, cost $1,030 or less for IEEE members) so I looked at their program (pdf) to see papers relevant to SSDs. Among others things:-
  • Basics of Memory Tiers in Compute Systems and a server TCO model - by Rob Sprinkle Technical Lead - Platforms Advanced Technology Team - Google
  • Rethinking Memory Architecture - by Dean Klein VP Memory System Development - Micron
  • 256Gb 3b/Cell V-NAND Flash Memory with 48 Stacked WL Layers by a team from Samsung
  • A 90nm Embedded 1T-MONOS Flash Macro for Automotive Applications with 0.07mJ/8kB Rewrite Energy and Endurance over 100 million cycles by a team from Renesas

IDT samples power management chip for enterprise SSDs

Editor:- November 19, 2015 - IDT today announced it is sampling a new multi-channel power management IC (PMIC) optimized for enterprise SSDs.

The P8300 ($5.20 each, 1,000 unit price point ) is a flexible, programmable PMIC which can shorten time to market by enabling the reuse of power management subsystems across multiple protocols - SAS, SATA and PCIe - and form factors. Its design delivers an effective power backup system that's been proven in the field, as well as stability proven in earlier generation SSD products.

PMC-Sierra agrees to be acquired for $2 billion

Editor:- October 6, 2015 - PMC-Sierra has agreed to be acquired by Skyworks for $2 billion it was announced yesterday.

"With our acquisition of PMC, Skyworks will be uniquely positioned to capitalize on the explosive demand for high performance solutions that seamlessly connect, transport and store Big Data," said David J. Aldrich, chairman and CEO of Skyworks. "Specifically, we plan to leverage PMC's innovative storage systems, flash controllers, optical switches and network infrastructure solutions to expand our engagements with some of the world's leading OEMs and ODMs as well as emerging hyperscale data center customers."

Atmel - who?

Editor:- September 22, 2015 - It had been a long time since I last heard from Atmel (November 2005 according to my inbox - and that was about DVD chips) but 10 years is not so long that I had entirely forgotten that they once had a distant connection to the SSD market.

So when I saw an article alert to - Dialog and Atmel, 2 cultures to build 1 successful company? - by Eric Esteve, founder of market research company IPnest - that was my way of learning the recent announced that Dialog Semiconductor (which is not an SSD company) will acquire Atmel for $4.6 billion.

Eric who worked for Atmel at the time writes - "In year 2000, Atmel had more than $1,500 million of revenue from flash..

But he goes on to say that in 2014 "their flash product line was almost dead" - however they had "about $150 million of revenue related to other nvm".

Eric's article reassured me that although my eye had been off the ball of Atmel - there may have been good reasons (from an SSDcentric context). And it's a great way to wrap up the story of a company from the history archive. Eric's article

2.5 to 3D architectures point the way to DDR4's successor says new blog on

Editor:- July 12, 2015 - "DDR4 will be the last version of the DDR interface route for RAM, don't ever expect to see DDR5" - says Eric Esteve , in his blog - Which High Bandwidth Memory to Select after DDR4? - on - in which - as part of getting us to contemplate the big architecture picture - he also says - "DDR4 is not only the last DDR, it's also the last protocol based on 2D (layers) only." the article, SSD glue chips, RAM in an SSD context

Avago agrees to acquire Broadcom

Editor:- May 28, 2015 - Avago today announced it will acquire Broadcom for approximately $37 billion.

IP-Maker's NVMe IP passes UNH-IOL's compatibility

pcie  SSDs - click to read article
Editor:- May 22, 2015 - IP-Maker - which is represented in the US by Fides Sales - today announced that its NVMe data transfer manager design has passed the UNH-IOL compatibility tests and is now listed on their NVMe compatibility integrator's list.

IP-Maker's IP supports performance in the range of 350K IOPS and 10µs latency in a Gen2 x4 configuration.

"We are pleased to announce this important milestone", said Mickael Guyard, co-founder of IP-Maker. "We are now able to provide a compliant and high performance NVMe solution, helping storage companies to develop PCIe SSD in a reduced design time."

Microsemi acquires Vitesse

military storage directory and news
military SSDs
Editor:- March 18, 2015 - Microsemi today announced it has agreed to acquire Vitesse Semiconductor for approximately $389 million.

Vitesse designs a diverse portfolio of high-performance semiconductors, application software, and integrated turnkey systems solutions for carrier, enterprise and IoT networks.

Avago acquires Emulex for $600 million

Editor:- February 25, 2015 - In 2014 - Avago Technologies - which until then had not seemed much involved in enterprise storage - suddenly got religion.

As a heavyweight interface chip and IP maker in other markets Avago must have asked themselves - what are the key interfaces we need to be the #1 enterprise storage connect company? - especially as more enterprise storage becomes solid state. And that's the way to interpret the acquisitions (last year) of LSI and PLX followed now (as announced today) by the acquisition of Emulex - for approximately $606 million.

Northwest Logic has FPGA support for Everspin's MRAM

Editor:- February 9, 2015 - Northwest Logic today announced controller support for Everspin's ST-MRAM - with interoperability proven on a Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGA platform.

MRAM's core IP also supports traditional volatile DDR3 SDRAM - so the new support for MRAM will simplifiy the design of power fail protected low latency caches.

Mobiveil supports Spansion's HyperBus NOR

Editor:- February 3, 2015 - Mobiveil today announced it will provide authorized controller support for Spansion's HyperBus flash memories.

HyperBus flash interface
HyperBus flash chips are low capacity, low pin count, faster (5x) NOR flash (BGAs) suited for some applications in the automotive electronics market.

Mobiveils HyperBus flash interface IP (pdf) delivers upto 333MB/s using this 12-pin interface.

Microsem licenses DPA countermeasures from Rambus

Editor:- January 29, 2015 - Rambus today announced that Microsemi will serve as reseller in the government and military sectors for certain differential power analysis (DPA) technologies developed by Rambus's cryptography research division.

As the first major FPGA company to license DPA countermeasures, Microsemi has identified DPA as a significant vulnerability in chip security, specifically for the mission-critical applications found in government and military settings.

Emulex's 16GFC technology supported by DataCore

Editor:- January 28, 2015 - Emulex today announced that DataCore is releasing target mode support in its new SANsymphony V10 software-defined storage platform, for Emulex's Gen 5 (16GFC) HBA technology.

See also:- SSD software, rackmount SSDs

Novachips acquires HLNAND

Editor:- January 26, 2015 - Novachips today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire HyperLink NAND fllash memory technology assets, including approximately 260 related patents, from Conversant (formerly known as MOSAID).

Due to its low capacitance expansion footprint - HLNAND enables large-capacity SSDs.

GUC announces new low power SSD IP portfolio

Editor:- September 25, 2014 - Global Unichip today rolled out an expanded interconnect low power IP portfolio for ASICs targeting SSD applications.

The expansion covers ultra low power PCIe 3/4 PHY, DDR3/4, LPDDR3/4 CTRL/PHY and ONFi4.0 IO/PHY. IP based on the 28HPM/HPC processes in the expanded portfolio are available now, while 16nm macros will be available in Q4 of this year.

Among all NAND applications Global Unichip says SSD is the fastest growing with the Data Center and Enterprise segments showing the greatest potential. GUC is meeting that demand with a complete low power IP portfolio for SSD controllers, including NAND I/O (ONFI, Toggle), DDR I/F (DDR3/4, LPDDR3/4) and Serdes I/F (PCIe-3/4, SATA3/SAS3).

is it time for the SSD market to reconsider RapidIO?

Editor:- May 14, 2014 - You'd think that with all the interfaces already in use within the enterprise SSD market - there wouldn't be enough of a market gap to justify introducing yet another one. - Particularly when that interface strays across low latency server-storage territory which is dominated by PCIe SSDs, under attack by memory channel SSDs and has been flanked historically by InfiniBand.

I thought so too.

But a recent article - Do You Really Know RapidIO? - by Eric Esteve , founder of IPnest says - "Maybe it's time for the server/storage industry to give a second chance for the RapidIO protocol."

Editor's comments:- That's a bold statement - coming as it does from someone who was involved in designing one of the first generation PCIe controllers 10 years ago. Eric argues that the intrinsic fabric architecture and routing support in RapidIO - would make many of the things which architects are trying to do today - such as interconnecting large numbers of servers and SSDs for example - easier and faster.

See also:- Comparing RapidIO, PCIe and Ethernet as sub microsecond CPU interconnects - view from RapidIO (ORG)
SSD glue chips
Megabyte 's SSD glue was a sticky paste of Phy IP,
FPGA and ASIC granular chips stirred in a charge
trapping dielectric suspension and topped with a
quick setting, sweet tasting, firmware emulsifier.
"We've found that a significant number of SSDs will die entirely if the voltage rails are pulled to ground for (as little as) a 1mS period."
an SSD news story from January 2016
other suggested chip sites
Design & Reuse



EE Times

Electronic Design

Semiconductor Manufacturing and Design
The power management system is actually the most important part of the SSD which governs reliability. But many digital systems designers don't give it the scrutiny it deserves.
failures in time, reliability and abstraction levels in modeling SSDs

SSD ad - click for more info

Advanced decoding schemes employing soft decoding use the NAND statistics and soft information to determine the most probable read signal that corresponds to the actual stored data. This allows you to obtain readable data even when the memory cell is severely degraded or there is a lot of 'noise' in cell data.
Adaptive R/W & DSP ECC in flash SSDs

storage search banner is published by ACSL