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"The storage network is the computer" said Megabyte, misquoting something from the sunnier days of his youth...
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Primary Data contributes enhancements to Parallel NFS

Editor:- December 7, 2016 - Primary Data today announced that its open standards Parallel NFS (pNFS) contributions developed to seamlessly orchestrate data across different types of storage have been accepted into the NFS 4.2 standard.

Among other things the company's contributions to NFS 4.2 include enhancements to the pNFS Flex File layout to allow clients to provide statistics on how data is being used, and the performance provided by the storage resources serving the data.

new MIL-STD-461E/F EMI filtered NAS JBOD SSD from V&G

Editor:- August 24, 2016 - I found it interesting to see the level of detail available in the datasheet for a new rugged 8TB NAS JBOD SSD box (8.66 in (L) x 7.61 in (W) x 4.65 in (H)) from V&G because often such vital info is missing unless you sign up to get it. Among other things - the RVAS3400 (pdf) has these features and options:-
  • rugged NAS SSD JBOD from V and G256-bit AES encryption utilizing NIST, CSE, and FIPS140-2 certified encryption chips. Encryption keys can be loaded over ethernet or stored on the system's controller. The controller has a TPM security device for secure storage of the encryption keys.

    The RVAS3400 supports zeroization (SSD erase) procedures, meeting both DOD NISPOM 5220.22 and NSA/CSS 9-12 specifications.

    The time to erase using ATA Secure Erase is approximately 5 seconds, using NSA Erase it is approximately 16 minutes, and using DOD Erase it is approximately 48 minutes. (Erase times do not vary based on the amount of storage.)
  • Internal holdup:- 100ms @ 70W.
  • Integrated support for MIL-STD-704 28 VDC.
  • Weight:- less than 12 lbs.
See also:- the business of SSD customization

Pivot3 acquires NexGen

Editor:- January 27, 2016 - NexGen Storage announced today it has agreed to be acquired by Pivot3.

Editor's comments:- The last time I wrote about Pivot3 was 7 years ago. I had a good feeling about their big controller architecture thinking which was being applied to hard drive arrays but I viewed it more as a valuable efficiency boost to buy breathing space for the last gasp years of enterprise HDD rather than the new direction I was focused on - which was heading towards the solid state storage datacenter. And so - from my point of view - I had nothing more to say.

On the other hand we're heard about NexGen many times in recent years.

Combining the software and architecture from these 2 companies could produce a platform with characteristics comparable to the best upwardly stretched efforts of much better known competitors if Pivot3 and NexGen can draw the integration boundaries in the right places (and get it done quickly enough).

SolidFire to be acquired by NetApp

Editor:- December 21, 2015 - Network Appliance has agreed to acquire SolidFire for $870 million in cash according to an announcement today - which also said that "with SolidFire, NetApp will now have all-flash offerings that address each of the 3 largest AFA market segments."

Pure Storage reports high revenue growth

Editor:- December 2, 2015 - Pure Storage reported that revenue in the recent quarter was $131.4 million - which was 2.6x the revenue of the year ago period.

Pure Storage said it grew its customer base to over 1,350 organizations, adding more than 250 new customers in the third quarter, including Domino's Pizza and The Boston Globe. Existing customers ConocoPhillips, LinkedIn and ServiceNow also expanded the scope of their relationships with Pure Storage.

Editor's comments:- Pure Storage's revenue in the most recent quarter was approximately 10x the revenue reported today by Violin.

dual port GbE and USB in the same M.2 SSD from InnoDisk

Editor:- November 3, 2015 - InnoDisk today announced a product first for the M.2 SSD market in the shape of a dual port isolated GbE compatible model - EGUL-G201 - which also has a USB 3 interface, and fits in a 22x60mm footprint. InnoDisk says the ethernet modules have strong electrical isolation, ESD and surge protection.

NVMe over GbE - incredible latency from Mangstor

Editor:- September 16, 2015 - In a conversation with Mangstor I saw some impressive competitive benchmarks - and even more impressive - a low box to box latency which is delivered by their NVMe over GbE - which is almost unbelievable and which will enable the viability of new applications which until now have required risky new technologies like top of rack PCIe fabrics - from PLX and A3CUBE.

Can a company with less employees than cores in its SSD controller be significant for the market? more

Toshiba demonstrates 3.5" ethernet hybrid

Editor:- May 18, 2015 - Toshiba today announced 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.

But 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.

The 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 software, combined 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 high availability aspects of the design by spreading the risk and consequences of drive failures in a homogenistic way which makes writing the software easier.

In the consumer market - where we've seen most of the past market experiments with hybrid drives - 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 market opportunity.

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.

Unified Storage in the SSD Age

Editor:- October 31, 2014 - Unified Storage... What does that really mean?

Skyera is putting a lot of effort into joining something which looks a lot like an old fashioned English gentleman's club (think- Forsyte Saga or Sherlock Holmes). But we know that the current members of the club are so old they will die soon anyway. So is it worth it? See SSD news - October 2014 for more.

Maxta invests in Intel

Editor:- August 19, 2014 - In May 2014 we learned that Intel had invested in Maxta. And this week we learned that Maxta has reciprocated that favor by investing in Intel.

More strategically than with mere money - Maxta's investment - announced yesterday - is in the form of a reference architecture - cored on Maxta's MxSP software (SSD ASAP software) which provides an easy to support set of solutions preconfigured for Intel servers and Intel SSDs.

Maxta says its MaxDeploy Reference Architecture offers the framework of a repeatable and standard deployment model - which provides its customers "ease of ordering and predictability" - and which mitigates the risk of hardware or software compatibility issues, while simplifying and shortening deployment time and training.

SSD brand leaders - from IT Brand Pulse

Editor:- July 17, 2014 - Based on votes by end users in its survey sample groups - IT Brand Pulse today named the "2014 SSD Brand Leaders".

Among others - the IT Brand Pulse "Innovation Leaders" included these companies and categories:- Editor's comments:- with so many companies now doing market research which intersects with the SSD market - you've now got more sanity checks than ever to determine whether your assessment of any particular SSD company is broadly in line with that of other people.

Brand awareness, financial reports and online search data - intrinsically provide different numerically weighted views of the same market. And which methodology you prefer depends on whether your priority is in understanding the past, present or future - and what it is you're trying to decide.

For longitudinal market studies you can refine your understanding of shifting patterns of market change and real leadership by comparing these different types of data and correlating the movements in different time periods. So a shift in search volume in one period may correlate to a change in revenue some time later. Or a change in revenue or profitability might be seen to be tied to a change in brand strength later.

The interesting thing about the SSD market is that because the technology hasn't been standing still - it can be shocking to compare the same list and see how it changes over a period of 3 to 5 years and to see which old names have disappeared and which new ones have replaced them. I'm often reminded of this when I trawl back through my own SSD history and news archives. I'm sure it's the same for many of you too.

One of the things we all hope to get out of these lists - is to avoid making too many bad bets on companies and technologies which will prove to be a waste of our time.

See also:- SSD market analysts, Can you trust SSD market data?

Coho Data now shipping 2U MicroArray hybrids

Editor:- March 6, 2014 - Coho Data today announced general availability of its first product - a 2U SSD ASAP called the DataStream (an SSDserver 4/E box) - which integrates PCIe SSDs, hard drives and a server into a web scale expandable unit (using an internal 52 port 10GbE fabric switch) to implement what the company refers to as a "MicroArray" designed with the philosophy of "Turning Tiering Upside Down (pdf)" to deliver a base building block unit of 180K IOPS performance (4KB).

Editor's comments:- you can judge the lofty scale of Coho Data's ambitions by this market soothsayer quote which they integrated in the launch press release - ""By 2017, Web-scale IT will be an architectural approach found operating in 50% of Global 2000 enterprises."

See also:- SSD empowered cloud, SSD hybrid arrays, the enterprise SSD software event horizon

aligning database block sizes with SSDs

Editor:- February 5, 2013 - I often hear from readers designing software for SSDs who - having researched the subject of flash etc - have spent too much time over-worrying about internal SSD hardware details that they really shouldn't be worrying about. Because by the time they learn about such things - that type of hardware anxiety is ancient history.

Today I came across a recent blog by Chas. Dye at Pure Storage called Please DON'T Fiddle with Your Database Block Size! - which also warns about this very issue.

Chas says - "At Pure Storage, we believe that a factor that should never influence the block size decision is your storage subsystem."

Editor's comments:- I'd certainly agree that trying to slavishly make your data structures look like something you've read about which might be inside an SSD controller is probably a waste of time - because unless you know the SSD designer you don't really know what's going on - and the abstraction you read about in some web site is only a small part of the picture.

If an SSD is so sensitive to the data you hit it with - it's not the SSD you should have bought in the first place.

Nutanix has a new NFS for PCIe SSD accelerated CPUs

Editor:- June 12, 2012 - Nutanix today Nutanix announced the general availability of NDFS (Nutanix Distributed File System), a bold new distributed filesystem that has been optimized to leverage localized low latency PCIe SSDs such as those from Fusion-io.

By shifting the NFS datapath away from the network directly onto the VMware vSphere host, NDFS bypasses network communications that have historically been fraught with multiple high-latency hops between top-of-rack and end-of-row switches.

Nutanix accelerates both read and writes for any workload. Redundancy and availability are achieved by data mirroring across high-speed 10GbE switches. Nutanix says it harnesses the same distributed system techniques that power webscale clouds such as Google, Amazon, and LinkedIn clouds into an enterprise-friendly package that starts out as a high-density 2U datacenter rack.

Editor's comments:- Nutanix is in the SSD ASAP market - with CPU-SSD equivalency architecture integrated in the OS. The company says their architecture "collapses compute and storage into a single tier." You can get the general idea from their blog and video.

Conduction cooled rugged NAS SSDs find seats in war-planes

Editor:- November 1, 2011 - Curtiss-Wright today announced that it has received a contract from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics to provide its rugged conduction cooled NAS SSDs - Vortex CNS products - to the U.S. Air Force's HC/MC-130J Super Hercules aircraft program.

The initial order is valued at $800,000, with a potential lifetime contract value estimated at $7.5 million.

See also:- military SSDs

Violin does that NFS ops - with SSDs - thing

Editor:- November 17, 2010 - Violin Memory (which makes rackmount SSDs) recently unveiled a multi-terabyte SSD cache solution for NAS systems which use NFS.

Violin says its vCACHE expands to 15TB of useable cache and delivers over 300,000 NFS operations per second over 8x 10GbE ports. It uses software from Gear6 which Violin acquired in June 2010 after the software developer had burned its way through $24 million funding and crashed.

Editor's comments:- I spoke to Don Basile, CEO of Violin Memory, and Matt Barletta. to read interview

Nexenta streams online tv

Editor:- May 20, 2010 - Nexenta Systems announced that its products (which include SSD ASAP features) are being used by the Dutch Public Broadcasting Agency NPO for storing and delivering online tv in a configuration which includes 192TB of hard disk drives and a 1.9TB SSD read cache.

The broadcaster's website has approximately 80TB of video available to online users who want to watch previously broadcasted television programs. During an average evening, between 10 and 20,000 people stream data, adding up to 25GB in capacity. The customer (who evaluated multiple vendors ) says that important selection criteria were:- performance, price, support and power consumption.

storage history

Interested in researching NAS History?

See this page back in time - 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
Now we're seeing new trends in pricing flash arrays which don't even pretend that you can analyze and predict the benefits using technical models.
Exiting the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing
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Targa Series 4 - 2.5 inch SCSI flash disk
small, lightweight, rugged GbE NAS with removable SSDs
Data Transfer System for airborne apps
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re micro tiering and micro clouds

One of the trends in computer architecture in recent years is that new software architectural concepts which deliver sustainable efficiency or management efficiencies have found it easier to get their benefits recognized at a large scale - as part of big web entities or cloud infrastructure.

The lessons learned have been duly noted and reapplied to other use cases and are now finding their way into individual rack scale products too.
10 key SSD ideas which clarified in 2014

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SSD Pricing - where does all the money go?
SSDs are among the most expensive computer hardware products you will ever buy.

Understanding the factors which determine SSD costs is often a confusing and irritating process...
Clarifying SSD Pricing - where does all the money go? - click to read the article ...not made any easier when market prices for identical capacity SSDs can vary more than 100x to 1! Why is that? the article

What's the best way to design a flash SSD?
and other questions which split 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
You're often better off not having had any previous experience or knowledge of enterprise storage or the enterprise server markets.

Because that means there's less to unlearn when examining things from an SSD perspective.
meet Ken - and the enterprise SSD software event horizon

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"The winners in SSD software could be as important for data infrastructure as Microsoft was for PCs, or Oracle was for databases, or Google was for search."
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