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Network Attached SSDs / Storage (NAS)

auto tiering / caching SSDs
this way to the Petabyte SSD
A Storage Architecture Guide - classic article
Why Choose NAS? - a guide for SMEs - classic article
the Survivor's Guide to Enterprise SSDs
consolidation pressures and projections in enterprise flash
NAS, DAS or SAN? - Choosing the Right Storage Technology
Legacy vs New Dynasty - the new way of looking at Enterprise SSDs
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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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NAS news
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.

Unified Storage in the SSD Age

Editor:- October 31, 2014 - Unified Storage...

What does that really mean?

And is SAN + NAS really enough to qualify a rackmount flash system as being Unified Storage in the age of the SSD?

I don't think so.

And I got an interesting response when I said this to Skyera's CEO.

See SSD news for more.

SolidFire gets another $82 million funding

Editor:- October 7, 2014 - SolidFire today announced it has closed an $82 million Series D round of funding, bringing its total funding to $150 million.

Editor's comments:- The basic building blocks of SolidFire's SSD systems are 1U iSCSI rackmount SSDs which include 10x 2.5" SSDs. At that level it's the same as 100 or so other competing systems.

If you want fibre channel access - you add a special 1U adapter rack to the native IP array. So it's expensive - but keeps the unit costs of the most common building blocks down - compared to including native unified storage in each rack. So in the case of a big installation - it's a reasonable cost optimization tradeoff.

A key difference is SolidFire's software architecture and the fact they use a big controller architecture type of RAID - which they call "no-RAID".

In SolidFire's no-RAID (which is really big RAID) - the data is more widely dispersed across the drive population than in classical (small architecture) RAID.

The effect is much less disruption to data access and consistent performance when a drive fails - because SolidFire's software can manage upto about 100 racks as a raw storage resource (1,000 SSD drives) - so the impact of a single drive down is small. Users also have a high degree of flexibility as to how they micro manage different virtualized segments of storage to meet their different QoS goals.

See also:- VCs and SSDs

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?

what's different about Tegile?

Editor:- June 23, 2014 - Tegile is a relative newcomer to the pages of (first SSD news citation in February 2012) and - frankly - I didn't think too much about the company to begin with - but I do now.

You can see the gory details of how and why I recently changed my mind in the new article - an SSD conversation with Tegile.

Nimble says 200 customers have used its bundled stack

Editor:- May 19, 2014 - Nimble Storage today announced that over 200 enterprise customers have used its SmartStack (pre-validated reference architecture) which is centered around the company's hybrid storage arrays.

Skyera begins volume shipments

Editor:- April 30, 2014 - Skyera today announced volume shipments of its petabyte class skyHawk rackmount SSD - which had previously been sampling at select customer sites.

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

NetApp has shipped 59PB of SSDs in past 3 years

Editor:- November 19, 2013 - Among other things - Network Appliance today disclosed it has has shipped over 59 petabytes of flash storage in the past 3 years.

Editor's comments:- What NetApp actually said was "over 60PB to date".

My calculation goes like this...

The company shipped 1PB in its first year in the SSD market - which ended in the 3rd quarter of 2010.

So it's shipped approximately 60PB in 3 years. Probably more than 1/2 of that will have been in the past year.

How does that compare with others?

It doesn't sound like a lot in the context of today's market.

According to a (quirkily pro-HDD) blog by Toshiba - the analyst data which they have aggregated projects that 8,000 PB of enterprise flash SSDs will ship in 2014.

I think the likely figure (PB of enterprise flash installed in systems) will be much higher than even that - because Toshiba's data probably doesn't take adequately into account the ability of some systems vendors to ship enterprise grade SSD racks using consumer grade flash chips (rather than using enterprise SSD drives) due to technologies like adaptive R/W - and the increasing appetite for enterprise SSDs. See also:- petabyte SSD shipment milestones.

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.

Skyera says GbE switches inside SSD save costs

Editor:- September 25, 2012 - Skyera created some waves last month when it launched an SSD rack with the lowest price per terabyte (at the time) using a range of integrated technologies (adaptive R/W DSP, large SSD controller architecture and integrated SSD software).

It's hard to top that kind of announcement. And it may be a long time before Skyera has anything so significant to say.

Pitched at a more mundane level today - a press release from the company talks about one of the other factors in its system which can help to reduce the cost for users. It has multiple embedded GbE switches inside its SSD racks - so you don't need so many outside.

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.

Dell selects Micron's hot-swap 2.5" PCIe SSD

Editor:- March 6, 2012 - Micron today announced that it has developed a 2.5" form factor, hot swappable, PCIe SSD.

The new solution has been selected as a key storage device in Dell's PowerEdge 12th generation servers.

Editor's comments:- this is a natural progression - from the pioneering work last year by SANRAD (the first company to ship front removable PCIe SSDs) and OCZ (the first company to demonstrate 3.5" PCIe SSDs).

In a recent article - are you designing a new PCIe SSD? - I discussed some of the new storage architectural concepts which are being enabled by new PCIe chips from PLX - in the area of fault tolerance and PCIe enabled SANs. So there are a lot more changes in the PCIe SSD product pipeline. 2.5" will be an additional form factor for PCIe SSDs - and won't replace the traditional card / module form factor.

Coraid gets another $50 million funding

Editor:- November 3, 2011 - Coraid today announced that it has closed a $50 million investment round - bringing its total funding to over $85 million.

The company says its EtherFlash solution costs under $10/GB.

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

virtual server acceleration mistakes

Editor:- June 21. 2011 - 5 Mistakes to Avoid when trying to solve I/O Bottlenecks in Virtualized Servers is a new article by IO Turbine published on

Needless to say most of the discussion in here revolves around the best use of SSDs. Among other things - IO Turbine says "While many enterprise-class storage providers offer automatic tiering with data migration to and from the SSD storage, these solutions typically take place well after the need for the I/O acceleration has passed." the article

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

the SSD Bookmarks - WhipTail Tech

Editor:- September 16, 2010 - today published an update to the SSD Bookmarks series (which includes recommended reading from SSD industry thought leaders) - with new links for you to see suggested by James Candelaria, CTO - WhipTail Technologies the articles

New NAS systems will scale to 100Gbps

Editor:- July 12, 2010 - designing quad port 100Gbps ethernet will be made easier by a new interface (PHY) from NetLogic Microsystems .

The device supports 10Gbps SFI-to-XFI, 40Gbps XLPPI-to-XLAUI and 100Gbps CPPI-to-CAUI modes to enable a seamless migration of data centers from 10 Gigabit to 100 Gigabit throughputs. See also:- storage chips.

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
Targa Series 4 - 2.5 inch SCSI flash disk
small, lightweight, rugged GbE NAS with removable SSDs
Data Transfer System for airborne apps
from Targa Systems
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."
all enterprise data will touch an SSD

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