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SSD & Storage news - 2007, September week 3

Megabyte's selection of storage news
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SSD ad - click for more info
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the SSD Bookmarks
Debunking Tier 0 Storage
What's a Solid State Disk?
After SSDs... What Next?
flash SSD Jargon Explained
the Top 10 SSD Companies
Introducing the 1" SSD Market
3 Easy Ways to Enter the SSD Market
Overview of the Notebook SSD Market
How Bad is the Fallout from Choosing the Wrong SSD Supplier?
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Data Recovery from Flash SSDs?
Editor:- if the flash SSD market reaches the levels of penetration predicted by many analysts - then in a handful of years nearly half of all new notebook PCs will use flash SSDs instead of hard disk drives.

What happens when those SSDs inevitably fail - and there's no backup?

Most consumers don't do regular backups - and most small businesses don't either.

When hard drives fail, get submerged in water or get damaged in fires - the solution of last resort - is to call a data recovery company.

These superheroes can often recover a lot of data - even if the pcbs and chips in the disk drive have been damaged. Superheroes don't come cheap. The cost for a difficult recovery can run into thousands of dollars (for a single disk) but for many satisfied customers that's a much better result than being left with no business or months of lost time rewriting reports, novels etc.

Although flash SSDs are new to the consumer market - they've been around for many years in markets which absolutely needed their levels of ruggedness (and could bear the high cost). So you may be thinking that there's a well established industry already out there ready to process your flash SSD - if you are unlucky enough to need a data recovery service today.

You would be wrong.

The reason is that the biggest traditional customers of flash SSDs have been the military or industrial users who didn't want enemies / competitors stealing their secrets.

Erstwhile flash SSD manufacturers like Adtron, BiTMICRO and STEC (who all make SSDs whose performance or capacity leave Samsung's SSDs in the dust BTW) specialise in having on-board disk sanitization of various forms to make sure that that the data is never recovered by the wrong people.

So there isn't a public track record of data recovery for flash SSDs.

The closest that the market has to offer - is experience with recovering data from simple flash memory storage (like USB keyring style devices or camera memory cards). Unlike SSDs - those devices aren't designed for intensive write applications - and there is nothing very complicated between the interface controller and the flash chips themselves. So if the controller gets zapped by static - or crunched by your car driving over it - the data is relatively easy for experts to recover from the flash chips.

That isn't the case with most flash SSDs - which use complicated controller technology to extend the reliability and speed of storage. The architecture inside a high performance SSD is more complicated than that in most RAID systems. The algorithms which map addresses to physical media locations vary from manufacturer to manufacturer - and in many cases - like the formula for making Coke or Pepsi - the details are closely guarded commercial secrets.

Data recovery (at the single SSD level) is not so much of a problem for datacenter applications - because most often the SSDs are in some kind of RAID protected array - and are also backed up (internally or externally) to other disks.

But one thing missing in the consumer notebook SSD market is a clear signal by oems - that data in their devices can be easily recovered - if there is no backup - or the backup failed. Maybe the next generation of products will address that issue.

Although flash SSDs are inherently much more reliable than hard drives - that's no consolation for the customers who will be the pioneers in SSD data recovery.
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SSD ad - click for more info
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Heck no! - whatever gave you that silly idea?
Can you trust SSD market data?
SANAT Launches NAS Gateway..................................................................
Chennai, India - September 19, 2007 - SANAT Technologies Pvt. Ltd. today announced the launch of India's first NAS gateway - the SANAT g4000.

The SANAT g4000 is a rackmount unit with 2 Ethernet ports and 2 Fibre Channel ports. The g4000 NAS gateway typically removes the administrative nightmare involved with managing multiple "NAS heads" in multi-vendor storage environments. Additional storage can be seamlessly added by enterprises without needing to do any reconfiguration of any separate machines. The g4000 NAS gateway model has been extensively tested with WMS 100 / AMS 200 / AMS 500 storage systems from HDS. The storage from these arrays allocates seamlessly through the g4000 NAS gateway product to Windows/UNIX client machines. ...SANAT Technologies profile, storage routers


ATTO Releases New iSCSI Initiator for Mac OS X

Amherst, NY - September 18, 2007 - ATTO Technology, Inc. announced today that it has released Version 3.0 of its Xtend SAN iSCSI Initiator for Mac OS X.

New features include:- CHAP support, iSNS support and Login Redirect - which redirects users to their intended targets in situations where the targets may not be available at the expected address. ...ATTO profile, Storage Software, iSCSI


Nirvanix Secures 12 million in Funding

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – September 18, 2007 – Nirvanix, Inc today announced that it has closed a $12 million equity financing round led by Mission Ventures and Valhalla Partners with participation from Windward Ventures.

Nirvanix will use the funds to expand its business-to-business Storage Delivery Service globally. Nirvanix was founded by a team of storage and content delivery veterans from EMC, Brocade, McDATA, Apple, Intel, Microsoft, and Yahoo who recognized the need for a scalable storage service that would power the backbone of web applications and services. The Nirvanix service has been built from the ground up to support Internet-scale media storage requirements and to remove the barriers of managing and storing billions of files for millions of users. ...Nirvanix profile, online storage


Tapewise Enterprise Checks Tape Media Errors

Farnborough UK - September 18, 2007 - Data Product Services today announces the release of Tapewise Enterprise.

Tapewise is software that writes data to a tape and then reads it again, tracking any errors, soft recoverable ones or unrecoverable ones, that occur. It streams a whole tape through a drive in this way and, with its Tape Error Map technology, produces a 3D graph showing errors encountered along the length of a tape when data was being read and written.

The user can decide what an acceptable error rate is and that boundary will be shown on the graph with any error rates above the user-defined norm instantly visible. The software supports a large number of tape formats: 3480; 3490; DLT; SDLT; 3590; 9840; 9940; T10000; LTOs 1, 2 and 3 and 3592. Costs start at $16,000 approx. A free 14-day evaluation copy is available. ...Data Product Services profile, Tape drives, Storage Testers


Fastest SCSI SSD on Wall Street

New York City, NY - September 17, 2007 - Solid Access Technologies today demonstrated the Universal Solid State Disk 200 at the High Performance on Wall Street event.

The USSD 200 augments existing server hardware and eliminates the root cause of I/O bottlenecks by increasing random I/O access speeds 250x faster than hard disk drives.

The demand for rapid information retrieval is growing at an incredible rate. Impressive improvements have occurred in CPU performance and storage capacity, but hard disk drive I/O processing speed has not experienced comparable advances. Mechanical disks cannot access data fast enough to keep up with the speed of contemporary processors. As a consequence, transaction-intensive enterprise applications continue to be plagued by I/O bottlenecks that limit their throughput and productivity.

Recently named one of the Top 10 Most Important SSD Manufactures by Storagesearch.com, Solid Access is helping to dramatically improve response times in high-volume I/O traffic applications with the USSD 200 acceleration device whose features include:- world's fastest SCSI SSD, the industry's first and only SSD with 3GB/s SAS interface, 95,000 random IOPS via a single fibre channel port and 3,600MB/s aggregated bandwidth via multi fibre channel links (full duplex).

Tomas Havrda, managing partner, Solid Access Technologies commented - "(Our) mature SSD technology attacks the root cause of I/O bottlenecks by augmenting existing hard disk drive environments for just those files that make the difference between success and failure.¨ ...Solid Access Technologies profile, Calling for an End to Unrealistic SSD vs HDD IOPS Comparisons


Cavium Introduces TCP Accelerators

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif - September 17, 2007 - Cavium Networks today announced the new OCTEON XL NICPro2 accelerator PCI-X card family.

All accelerators support the OCTEON Plus CN58XX processors with up to 16 MIPS64 cores, which include integrated hardware acceleration for TCP, encryption/decryption, compression/decompression (upto 10Gbps operation for GZIP, PKZIP and variant protocols), and pattern matching. Pricing starts at $1,495 in 1K quantities. ...Cavium Networks, iSCSI


Caringo Expands Exec Team

AUSTIN, Texas - September 17, 2007 – Caringo Inc. today announced the hiring of 3 industry veterans to help manage the company's rapid growth.

Gascon (VP of Marketing) comes to Caringo from Hitachi Data Systems where he served as Senior Director, Global Product Marketing.

Devening (VP of Business Development) brings nearly 20 years of marketing, sales and business development experience to Caringo. Most recently, she served as VP of Business Development and Sales for UnWired Buyer, a voice publishing platform for mobile phones.

Jos Keulers (VP of Business Development, Europe) was responsible for selling the first CLARiiON disk arrays in the Netherlands for Data General back in the early 1990s. ...Storage People


Texas Memory Systems Launches World's Fastest Flash SSD

Houston, Texas - September 17, 2007 - Texas Memory Systems today announced the RamSan-500 - the first enterprise-class cached flash storage system, and the fastest flash-based SSD currently available.

Available in 1 or 2 terabyte capacities in a 4U rackmount chassis, the RamSan-500 delivers 100,000 IOPS sustained random read, 10,000 IOPS sustained random write and 2 gigabytes per second of sustained random read or write bandwidth and yet only consumes 250 watts of power. The system can be SAN-attached with up to 8x 4Gbps Fibre Channel ports. Multiple RamSan-500s can be combined to deliver additional high-performance capacity.

"We see a great opportunity to integrate flash storage technology into our SSD lineup and solve a wider array of customer performance challenges than ever before," said Woody Hutsell, Executive VP at Texas Memory Systems. "With the RamSan-500 we have engineered a solid state disk system that uniquely capitalizes on the best attributes of both DDR and flash, at a price point that we think will be attractive to customers who might otherwise compromise with HDD-based arrays, which offer lower performance and higher power consumption."

Texas Memory Systems is now accepting orders for the RamSan-500 from existing customers. General availability is expected in the 4th quarter of 2007. ...Texas Memory Systems profile, flash-SSDs, RAM-SSDs

Editor's comments:-
TMS has published a white paper which includes more details of the technology inside the RamSan-500.

Using a RAID-5 array of inhouse designed flash-SSDs - the write performance (typically the weak part of traditional flash SSDs) is maximized by writing to an already erased ready to write new physical flash location every time a block is written. A background process, which uses a 64G RAM cache, ensures that ready to write pools are nearly always available. In the rare event that they are not - the worst case latency for a cache miss is only 2ms, which is better than most hard disk arrays.

In the past TMS has been characterised by competitors as making the world's "most expensive SSDs" (as well as the "world's fastest"). Their new flash SSD product line means that they will be affordable by a much wider range of customers.

See also - article- RAM versus Flash SSDs in which experts discuss the state of the market and exciting new directions in rackmount SSDs.

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