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Netlist

Netlist, Inc. designs and manufactures high-performance, logic-based memory subsystems for datacenter server and high-performance computing and communications markets. Netlist's flagship products include HyperCloud Memory, which breaks traditional memory barriers and NetVault, a flash memory-based subsystem that enables data retention weeks following a disaster. The memory technologies are developed for applications in which high-speed, high-capacity memory, enhanced functionality, small form factor, and heat dissipation are key requirements. These applications include tower-servers, rack-mounted servers, blade servers, high-performance computing clusters, engineering workstations, and telecommunication equipment. Founded in 2000, Netlist is headquartered in Irvine, California with manufacturing facilities in Suzhou, People's Republic of China. For more information, visit the company's website at www.netlist.com.

see also:- Netlist's SSD page, Netlist - editor mentions on StorageSearch.com
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Netlist and the Top SSD Companies List

Netlist entered the list in Q1 2016 - at #24.

Netlist was one of the 2 fastest climbers in the top 20 section of the list in Q3 2016.

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Who's who in SSD? - Netlist

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - StorageSearch.com - February 2014

I've been covering the RAM market in my enterprise buyers guides since 1992.

Netlist first came to my attention in 2002 - when the company joined the Quad Band Memory (QBM) Alliance.

Netlist entered the SSD market in 2007 - with products aimed at the industrial SSD market.

Nowadays Netlist is also engaged in the enterprise SSD market too, in these segments:-
  • PCIe SSDs - Netlist's EXPRESSvault is an entry level (50K IOPS) low capacity (1GB) fat flash cached SSD.
  • memory channel SSDs - unlike the ulltradimm products from Diablo / Sandisk (which are high capacity SSDs with R/W performance similar to fast PCIe SSDs) - Netlist's NVvault (which is very similar to the flash backup DRAM DIMM modules from Viking and Micron) implements a DDR3 DRAM with enough battery backup and power fail protection - to enable backing up the contents of RAM (upto 4GB) to an integrated flash store.

    This is similar to the concept used in the last few generations of RAM SSDs - but scaled down to lower capacities. (In July 2008 - the RamSan-440 from Texas Memory Systems was the first rackmount RAM SSD which backed up to a parallel flash array - instead of a hard drive - to enable faster boot times when power was restored.)
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Netlist - mentions in SSD market history
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In January 2014 - Netlist announced it was 1 of 12 companies to form a new group within SNIA (storage ORG) - the NVDIMM Special Interest Group (NVDIMM SIG). SNIA describes an NVDIMM as "a computer memory module that retains data in the event of an unexpected power loss, planned shutdown or other system failure."

Also in January 2014 - Netlist announced it had filed motions to add two additional patents to the lawsuits against the previously announced ULLtraDIMM memory module from Diablo Technologies and Smart Storage Systems.

In September 2016 - Netlist announced the issuance of U.S. Patent No. 9,436,600 (the '600 patent) relating to a multi-channel hybrid memory architecture that uses non-volatile memory to protect critical data in the event of power loss.


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SSD history

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hybrid DIMMs - market timeline

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what were the big SSD memory architecture ideas in 2016?


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Surviving SSD sudden power loss
Why should you care what happens in an SSD when the power goes down?

This important design feature - which barely rates a mention in most SSD datasheets and press releases - has a strong impact on SSD data integrity and operational reliability.

This article will help you understand why some SSDs which (work perfectly well in one type of application) might fail in others... even when the changes in the operational environment appear to be negligible.
image shows Megabyte's hot air balloon - click to read the article SSD power down architectures and acharacteristics If you thought endurance was the end of the SSD reliability story - think again. ...read the article


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Netlist quarterly revenue up 60% yoy
Editor:- November 14, 2016 - Netlist today announced revenue for the quarter ended October 1, 2016 was $2.6 million, up 60% from the year ago period.

more SSD news in November 2016
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"Ive got the impression that for many systems companies (storage array makers) the attraction of the Netlist type of product is that it looks like a safe choice which they can easily understand and integrate in their software and which isnt dependent on them looking for hidden performance snags - such as they have to evaluate in flash as RAM products. And flash backed RAM isn't subject to the reliability uncertainties posed by new memory types such as Optane."
Zsolt Kerekes, editor - StorageSearch.com - August 9, 2016 - in an email to a reader related to editorial coverage of DIMM wars SSDs.

See also:- DRAM's indeterminate latencies, is data remanence in persistent memory a new risk factor?
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Netlist allies with Samsung to codevelop flash-as-RAM DIMMs aka NV-P
Editor:- November 19, 2015 - Netlist today revealed how it's going to enter the storage class memory SSD DIMM wars market. This by way of a 5 year joint development and license with Samsung which also brings to the table $23 million of funding. The companies expect to sample products in 2016.

Editor's comments:- 2015 was a signficant kick-start year for the server memory market. Retiring and retiering enterprise DRAM was one of the three big SSD ideas of the year.
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DRAM (in 2016) has stayed stuck in the Y2K era of enterprise server latency and that's why its future will go the same way as the 15K hard drive.
latency loving reasons for fading out DRAM
in the virtual memory slider mix
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At stake is a future market for server based accelerators which could be worth 10% to 20% of the entire enterprise PCIe SSD market.

It's inconceivable that a small company like Netlist or Diablo would be able to satisfy such demands on their own - especially given the fact that neither has any core IP related to enterprise flash.

But future licensing partners (or wouldbe acquirers) need to be satisfied that the core technology they're using - is patent troll proof.
California Court halts sales of ULLtraDIMMs (January 13, 2015)
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"We have shipped almost 0.5 million units of NV(DIMM) over the past 5 years... 20x more than the total shipments from all of our competitors combined."
Chuck Hong, CEO Netlist
earnings conference call (November 11, 2014)
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Netlist asks court to shut down SanDisk's ULLtraDIMM production and recall sold units
Editor:- October 10, 2014 - Netlist recently announced it has filed a motion for preliminary injunction which seems to be intended to restrain Diablo and its flash-side SSD integration partner SanDisk from any further manufacture or sale of the ULLtraDIMM (memory channel SSDs).

The Court has set a tentative date of December 2, 2014, for a hearing on Netlist's motion. If granted this would immediately shut down any further manufacture and sale of the ULLtraDIMM. Netlist has further asked the Court to order the recall of any ULLtraDIMM products previously sold.

Editor's comments:- This series of legal disputes has been going on since last year. If you haven't read those stories - the essential story is something like this.

At some time in the past Netlist and Diablo had a technology supplier agreement - as a result of which - Diablo had access to Netlist's IP related to minimizing the capacitive load of complex circuits susch as controllers when they sit on a DRAM style of bus.

Netlist doesn't have any products which are similar to SanDisk's ULLtraDIMM - but Netlist claims that the ULLtraDIMM design has used its patented interface technology without a license. Countering that - Diablo says it did get the rights to use some of the DRAM load interface technology - and that in any case - this aspect of the design is not the essential defining characteristic of their flash SSD architecture.
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