|Nearly everything I've written about
the SSD market was written on the same day it was seen here. Indeed I
upload most of my notes and comments to the web as I'm writing them -
paragraph by paragraph - sometimes before reading back the complete text.
As this is the web - that doesn't present a clarity problem - because
it's easy enough to add updates, cuts and corrections and additional links
to articles anytime from seconds to years later - depending how popular the
topic is. And - as you may have seen already in other pages - if later
events have made a big impact on the original idea.
general exceptions to this writing habit of mine (till to now) have been:-
- blogs started and abandoned on the same day (because I realized the
original idea wasn't compelling enough), and
The blog here below is a rare exception to what I've just
said above because I've always thought the subject matter - who designs and
makes military SSDs? - was important - but this is the only SSD article which
having been started, and intended for publication, has lingered in an
incomplete state in the ftp out tray while I've continued to think about it
from time to time over a long period.
- longer articles - which can take me one or two days elapsed time to
What held me back from posting
this blog before was that after exploring what I thought was a simple topic -
which should've had a simple conclusion and left you with an easily defined
bunch of associated links - developed - after much thinking about it - into
something quite different which didn't feel like it had a proper ending.
now - after looking back - I see that this aspect of the story (the lack
of a tidy wrap up) may indeed be the most important aspect of the story.
So here it is - warts and all.
a simple list of military SSD
For a year or so before publishing this article - I had
the idea of compiling a simple list of military SSD companies here on
StorageSearch.com to act as a pool for designers and specifiers of products
involved in applications which needed militarized, tough and secure SSDs.
was a part of me which naggingly said - why's it taking so long?
This should only take an hour or so - as you've already written about
most of these companies and to compile the list all you need to do is datamine
the past 15 or 20 years of writing about the SSD market - extract a list - and
it's almost done.
But there was another voice in my head which said -
what's the real purpose of doing this?
If it's not to be merely a
search engine optimization (aimed at web bots) but is designed to be useful to
real people - you have to do a better job than a mere cut and paste of past
resources. And delays in getting started meant that I had to be clear about
several factors in advance such as:-
- how simple should a "simple" list be? - in a way which can
still be useful but not be too misleading.
Is a list of company names
(without links) enough?
How about adding links? If so - should the
links be to the home page of the company or to their main mil product page or to
a profile page which descrobes their company?
In a simple list
(whatever formula is adopted) is it "useful" to append tags or
comments attached to each company name - based on what I know about each
company? (For example list of interfaces, memory types used, customer stories
Or are such tags misleading?
Because such anecdotes
- which might make the list more interesting to read - run the risk of
being biased and disproportionate and inevitably drawing reader focus away
from companies I know less well.
- what kind of definition of "military SSD" should I use?
the "military" nature of a mil SSD mostly about temperature? In that
case where do you draw the line with industrial SSDs. And what about high
temperature rated SSDs designed for pure scientific research which may lack
required mil features?
Or is a mil SSD mostly about security?
problem is that some secure SSDs designed for gaming or banking or medical uses
don't fit the picture of a mil SSD.
And what about enterprise
accelerator SSDs which have been used for particular military applications - but
which otherwise don't have any obvious military attributes?
important are serviceability attributes?
You might see a new rugged,
secure SSD appear on the market for an application like cameras - but then when
you need it again you may not be able to buy the same product again as soon as
6-12 months later - because the camera market has moved on. So is the ability
to have a defined BOM and longevity of supply something which is essential to
the definition of mil SSD? And if so - is the 7 years or so which many
industrial manufacturers offer reassuring enough for a market which typically
looks at volume deployments starting years after initial design and spares
requirements stretching to decades.
In a random conversation about
semiconductors I had in an airport queue yesterday (April 13, 2016) someone
told me their company was still making EPROMs.
the simple list of companies - more clarification required concerning - what
- Supposing the filtering questions are resolved and we can agree what a
military SSD company is... how far back in time should the list of such
companies go? - especially given the longevity of military projects
Some of questions I looked at in designing this page
- should I just name the companies?
- should it just be a list of urls?
- is it useful to know where a company is headquartered?
is an essential hygiene factor for sourcing mil SSDs for obvious geopolitical
reasons. And proximity facilitates on-site visits to review processes and
conformity issues too.
But - as we've seen in other parts of the SSD
market - companies can suddenly change where their HQ is based due to organic
growth or acquisition. So I took the view that geography is too impermanent
an attribute for the "simple list" of mil SSD companies.
- How committed are these companies to the mil SSD business?
I insert a tag which indicates how long each company has been active in the
And how about estimating what percentage of their
business is in that market?
That seems like a deceptively obvious idea.
A company which has been designing military SSDs for 10 years surely rates a
different mention to another which has only been involved in the market for 2
But that signal can be misleading - because the new project
you're designing prototypes for today might benefit from a new technology (or
scaling density) which older companies don't yet supply.
happens when a company which is new to the SSD market - but which is well
funded - buys a long established SSD company? How much of the longevity (in the
mil market) attribute should be inherited by the new owner in such a list?
Clearly the idea of a scoring system like this is important - but best done by
the customer rather than by a disconnected reviewer.
- what about "gone away" military SSD companies - those which are
no longer in the market because they're gone out of business, been acquired or
exited the military market?
In most other markets a list of current
suppliers would benefit from excluding "gone away" companies.
sometimes it can be useful to know that a company (even if it no longer exists)
did once have a standard product which solved a rare niche type of
application - if you have a similar problem today.
Maybe it's just
knowing that someone in the past did solve that kind of problem so it should be
feasible to solve again... Or maybe you need to track down what happened to an
old company and see who owns it now because you need spares and are being
presented with an uncomfortable cost option if you have to emulate an old
product and over engineer it in the absence of original design details.
- what about military systems integrators?
activities can cover a broad spectrum of technical interventions and the
result is more questions than answers.
For example - is the activity of
installing an enterprise SSD array into a box which includes a DC power
supply, with air filters, and anti-condensation and anti-fungus measures enough
to place the integrator on such a list?
Extrapolating from this shows
the problem with this approach.
Such a box can accommodate a wide
variety of systems (servers and HDDs - not just SSDs.) So if we include this in
a list of "military SSDs" what category should it be in?
think here the obvious answer is that the maker of such a box or the
integrator is better placed in a directory of "military electronic
packaging and enclosures" rather than a list of "military SSDs".
Despite that line of thinking, however, the same manufacturers might feature in
a military SSD news story from time to time - even if they don't score highly
enough to appear in an SSD directory.
But another awkward decision
arises at the other end of the integration scale.
Suppose you have a
company which designs and makes its own SSDs for use in a range of integrated
systems (in which the storage is simply a small but essential component). And
what if - that SSD maker doesn't sell its SSDs except as spares or upgrades to
users of the bigger system?
If the purpose of the military SSD makers
directory is to be a useful resource for wouldbe buyers of SSDs then probably
that kind of company shouldn't be on such a list.
But if the purpose of
the military SSD makers directory is to be a useful resource for those wanting
to understand where the hot spots are in SSD design (maybe with the view to a
business partnership - supplying SSD related components to, competing with or
investing in or acquiring such companies) then it would be useful to know that
this type of company is in the military SSD business.
If you're still with me at this point of the
blog - you can see some of the potential incongruities and false signals which
can creep into in any well intentioned simple list of "military SSD
- And what about those invisible mil SSD makers?
There's an agency
which has paid some contractors to develop a standard design platform which
is useful for a lot of its SSD projects. It's simpler than many commercial
designs and does the job well. It's like a COTS or "open standard"
platform. But only this agency (or closely related partners) know about it and
can use it. It's so secret that even mentioning the interfaces and applications
publicly buys you swift entry to the kind of gated community where the doors
are locked on the outside.
Time served specialists in the mil SSD
market know this agency and its platform because it has an influence on the
applications which emerge for COTS aspects of some design projects.
any authoritative list of military SSD companies is incomplete without
including the agency (which has a different name in different countries). But
they don't want to be included in this type of list on the web (thanks for
asking Mr Editor and BTW how did you get this email address?) as they're not
looking for business.
So how do we represent their influence in the
list? Add more white spaces in the columns to indicate there are important gaps?
If so - how many spaces?
The more I thought about the processes of filtering
and editing such a list the more I recognized that its usefulness could only be
extremely limited and dependent on how compatible it was with the needs of the
person who encountered it.
Maybe it's because of these difficulties
(and I'm learning more) that my instinct has been to avoid publishing
such a list in recent years.
Instead what I do is try to keep attuned
to companies which may be involved in this type of product activity (which is
any SSD company which has crossed my radar in the past 20 years) and when I
learn something interesting which can be discussed in an SSD news context - then
I write about them and put a note in their profile page. I admit that's not a
fool-proof method but it avoids making a claim to completeness (such as "this
list includes every known military SSD maker") which is doomed to fail.
a long established
buyers guides (long being 24 years so far) I think if you want readers to
trust you - you have to know your own limits. So that's why I (still) haven't
published a simple guide of military SSD manufacturers - despite knowing many
companies which might easily qualify to be placed in such a list.
can find a wide net of potential companies (from the StorageSearch.com
by using site search and a suitable search filter such as "military SSD".
But you'll have to do your own filtering and follow up on the linked-to web
sites to confirm if they're still active in the market.
If you have
views about this, or suggestion which you think other readers might find useful
- email me - Zsolt@StorageSearch.com - and I'll consider adding them as an
update to this article.
the limericks of
the big SSD memory architecture ideas in 2016?
how hard can it be to
jot down such a list?
autonomous data destruction isn't a new idea in secure SSDs - but it wasn't
adopted as quickly as you might have thought due to the disruptive effect of
|Fast purge SSDs|
|In the late 1980's I
noticed that my defense and intelligence customers would, whenever they left
their offices, unplug the removable disk shuttles from their workstations and
lock them in solid filing cabinets which were built like safes.|
|View from the Hill - Storage
|"See how optimizing
processors for SSD can gain a 2x to 250x speed-up on popular functions as well
as reduce the energy consumed by a similar amount! "|
|SSD Bookmarks - from
re a simple list of military SSD companies|
Peter Kindl -
April 20, 2016|
Hi Zsolt, I am getting an error message while trying to
comment on LinkedIn. Here is what I was going to comment - always with a little
grin in my face.
Welcome to the club - "just the two of us?"
Quite simple ;-)
- do a product list and categorize product by compliance with
mil.-specs: environmental mil.-specs (8), mil.-secure erase options (10/11), -
add optional parameters i. e. SLC vs MLC (1/2bit), power loss hold up time (not
just power loss detection and protection (SW)), conformal coating?, full metal
The list won't be big if you only enter suppliers who can prove
compliance by a formal test certificate.
Since 2006 my list only had "Zeus"
(EOL) listed, which met all criteria!
My "supplier's marketing"
version has approximately 40 entries - legacy industrial grade SSDs applicable
for military / aerospace applications (w/o showing any mil. spec compliance in
the data sheet!)
Maybe we should do a major military/defense
application list, in order to understand the client's requirements, i. e. why
some will only accept SLC, others consider MLC; why a military grade NAS uses
commercial grade enterprise class SSDs, ...
BTW: I liked the "Zeus" with the military grade
feature the most, in particular the testing of that feature to prove that it
works ;-D Peter Kindl
the big SSD ideas which emerged in 2016?|
|"I think definitely it is
NVMe. We have seen the demand has increased unbelievably this year. Most
customers told us that NVMe were their first choice of new systems design since
it combines ruggedness of traditional SATA and the high speed of PCIe."|
Manager (who preferred not to be named in this article) who works at a rugged