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Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

see also:- Microsoft - mentions on, Microsoft's SSD pages

11 Key Symmetries in SSD design

some thoughts about SSD customization

say farewell to reassuringly boring industrial SSDs

who's who in the SSD market? - Microsoft

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor -

I began analyzing data companies from an SSD angle before most of them even realized that this was a market which would become very important to them.

It's fun sometimes to see what I said in the old days. Here are my editor's comments re Microsoft and its SSD positioning from May 2012

Microsoft is one of many companies in the SSD software market.

Like other legacy OS companies Microsoft's experiments at trying to do useful things with solid state storage haven't resulted in anything worthwhile.

That's because the SSD market has been discontinuous in its architecture - and often moving suddenly in directions which appeared (to those outside the SSD analyst loop) to be tangents. OS companies like Microsoft prefer to know the shape of new hardware features typically 5 to 10 years before they appear so they can plan support and integrate it in their releases.

Microsoft has been used to getting such roadmaps - regarding future CPUs and interfaces - although chipmakers complain privately that Microsoft can still be slow to do anything with that lookahead info. Sorage history too - demonstrates that Microsoft reacts slowly to real changes which weren't in its fishbowl sights. (It took many years before the company supported iSCSI for example.)

It would be a mistake to look for leadership in SSD support from Microsoft. It won't happen. The best that you can expect is that by 2020 - if Microsoft is still around - then the needs of the SSD market will have stabilized enough to get useful support in the OS. (Although by then - all storage will be solid state anyway - so it won't be necessary to have any special support for SSDs from the OS.) Until then look to SSD manufacturers and SSD software specialists for tactical and proprietary solutions.

Microsoft mentions in SSD market history

Iin March 2010 - in yet another simulated benchmark published today related to Adaptec's SSD ASAP caching technology - which they leverage in their MaxIQ SSD product - I learned that the underlying technology was originally developed by (surprise! surprise!) - Microsoft.

"When our datacenter team came up with some innovative ideas around using solid state devices as read caching devices, we determined it made good sense to license these advances to Adaptec because Microsoft itself doesn't sell these types of products," said David Kaefer, GM of Intellectual Property Licensing at Microsoft. "By collaborating through licensing, Adaptec customers benefit from a product that delivers impressive performance and cost savings over alternatives in the market."
"One petabyte of enterprise SSD could replace 10 to 50 petabytes of raw HDD storage in the enterprise - and still get all the apps running faster."
the enterprise SSD software event horizon
""We'd probably buy EMC first..."
Rick White, CMO, Fusion-io

(email to the editor - October, 2012)

correction to the story

Fusion-io acquires Microsloft's server business
"In November 2006 - Microsoft announced business availability of its new Vista operating system - heralded as being the first PC market OS which included SSD-aware support and native SSD cache management....."
...from:- SSD market history
how fast can your SSD run backwards?
SSDs are complex devices and there's a lot of mysterious behavior which isn't fully revealed by benchmarks, datasheets and whitepapers.

Underlying all the important aspects of SSD behavior are asymmetries which arise from the intrinsic technologies and architecture inside the SSD.
SSD symmetries article Which symmetries are most important in an SSD? That depends on your application. to read the article

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In November 2002 - Bill Gates, talking about Tablet PC's said:- "There are also a lot of peripherals that need to improve here. ...Eventually even the so-called solid state disks will come along and not only will we have the mechanical disks going down to 1.8 inch but some kind of solid state disk... will be part of different Tablet PCs."
...from:- Charting the Rise of the SSD Market
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Microsoft acquires NASA's cloud hybridisor - Avere Systems
Editor:- January 3, 2018 - Microsoft today announced it has agreed to acquire Avere Systems.

Ron Bianchini, President and CEO - Avere Systems said - "When we started Avere Systems in 2008, our founding ideology was to use fast, flash-based storage in the most efficient, effective manner possible in the datacenter. Along the way, our team of file systems experts created a technology that not only optimized critical on-premises storage resources but also enabled enterprises to move mission-critical, high performance application workloads to the cloud." more from Ron Bianchini

Editor's comments:- There was a lot of deep thinking in Avere. I wish them luck in the reset and recompile chaos-sphere.

the SSD empowered cloud
after AFAs what's next? - cloud adapted memory
cool runnings

Rambus and Microsoft team up to coach faster DRAM
Editor:- April 20, 2017 - Back in the early 1990s it was not uncommon to hear about specialist server companies which were using peltier effect heat sinks to refrigerate the fastest workstation processors so that they could be run at higher clock speeds. But this kind of extreme approach to server acceleration only provided short term competitive gains in a single dimension.

One of the biggest bottlenecks in the past decade has been RAM architecture and DRAM implementation itself. (You can read more articles about the background to this on the DRAM resource page here on

A new angle on extending the performance of DRAM was announced recently by Rambus and Microsoft who are collaborating on the design of prototype super cooled DRAM systems to explore avenues of improvement in latency and density due to physics effects below -180 C.

A new article - Rambus, Microsoft Heat Up With Cold DRAM - by Junko Yoshida , Chief International Correspondent - EE Times - discusses these plan in more detail.

In the article - Craig Hampel, chief scientist at Rambus, told EE Times that "Microsoft isnt alone... heavy data center users like Google, Facebook and Amazon are all in search of new memory architecture. Indeed, these tech giants who have primarily grown their business via their technological prowess in software development are now finding the future of their business growth severely constrained by hardware advancements." the article

Editor's comments:- At room temperature the main problem in fast DRAM systems is that the energy required for refresh cooks the chips which means cells lose charge faster which creates data integrity risks which in turn needs more frequent refresh.

This is a limiting design factor.

It means that even if you have a miraculous packaging technique which can sandwich more chips into a box - DRAM loses out to nvm technologies which don't require refresh - when the scale of the installed capacity (and watts) in the box is high.

Because if you can't fit enough RAM into the same single box then the memory system accrues a box-hopping fabric-latency penalty which outweighs the benefits of the faster raw memory chip access times inside the original box.

If you freeze DRAM then the refresh cycle can be extended (which means you can pack more capacity in a box) but also the native transit time for data in the copper interconnects and inside the silicon gets faster too.

Although Rambus and Microsoft are pitching this a progressive research exercise I don't think that it will provide a general solution for data intensive factories.

While it's a good thing for researchers to play around and explore the limits of what can be done with all kinds of memory devices - I think that the answer to greater performance lies in new architectures rather than freezing old ones.
Microsoft's SSD-aware VMs - discussed on InfoQ
Editor:- September 24, 2014 - There are now so many enterprise SSD software companies that keeping track of them all is a little like tallying 2.5" SSD makers - a tedious chore -which in most cases isn't worth the bother.

Nevertheless - SSD-centric software is strategically important - and some vendors are more important than others - despite having been latecomers in the enterprise flash wars .

One such company is Microsoft.

A news story today - Microsoft Azure Joins SSD Storage Bandwagon on InfoQ - discusses Microsoft's D-Series SSD-aware VMs - and places this in the context of other products from well known sources.

The blog's author - Janakiram MSV says "One important aspect of SSD based VMs on Azure is that they are not persistent. Data stored on these volumes cannot survive the crash or termination of virtual machines. This is different from both Amazon EC2 and Google Compute Engine, which offer persistent SSDs. On Azure, customers have to ensure that the data stored on the SSD disks is constantly backed up to Azure blob storage or other VMs." the article
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