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storage news - 2008, April week 3

Megabyte's selection of storage news
Megabyte loves reading news
... fastest SSDs
SSD market history
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SSD endurance - forever war
hostage to the fortunes of SSD
can you trust SSD market data?
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WD Ships Fastest SATA HDD

LAKE FOREST, CALIF - April 21, 2008 - WD said it is now shipping the fastest SATA hard drives.

At under $300 MSRP the 300GB 10,000 RPM VelociRaptor hard drive is built with enterprise-class mechanics encased in a heat sink that fits into a standard 3.5" system bay. ...WD profile

Editor's comments:-
"fast" claims like this have to be seen in an almost legalese PR copywriting context. 15,000 RPM HDDs are faster - although they don't have a SATA interface. Many 3.5" SSDs are faster, and do have a SATA interface, but cost more.

For Sale - RAM Company with Long Pedigree

Editor:- April 21, 2008 - do you want to buy a RAM maker? Qimonda is up for sale according to its owner Infineon .

The company generated net sales of Euro 3.6 billion in its financial year 2007 and had approximately 13,500 employees worldwide.

Back in March 2006 - when the new name Qimonda was first announced - I wrote a short article Siemens Semiconductors? Infineon Technologies? Qimonda? the names change but the problems remain the same.

New $1.1 billion RAM Company

Boise, Idaho - April 21, 2008 - Micron Technology, Inc. and Nanya Technology Corp announced today that the 2 companies have signed an agreement to create MeiYa Technology Corp a new DRAM joint venture.

The partnership will leverage both Micron and Nanya's manufacturing technology, strengths and experience. As part of the joint venture, a 200mm Nanya manufacturing facility in Taiwan will be upgraded to 300mm technology starting this year, with the facility coming online for production in 2009. In addition to MeiYa, the parties will jointly develop and share future technology.

Both parent companies will own 50% of the joint venture initially, and each will contribute $550 million in cash by the end of 2009. ...Micron profile, ...Nanya profile

New Directory - PCIe SSDs

Editor:- April 21, 2008 - published a new article and directory of PCIe SSDs.

It lists all oems who make these products, includes related news and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of bus connected SSDs. the article

STEC Announces Fast 1" SSD

Editor:- April 21, 2008 - STEC, Inc. announced the MACH4 - a 1" SATA / PATA SSD.

The MACH4 is fast:- with sustained sequential reads upto 90MB/s and writes upto 55MB/s. It's expected to be in mass production at the end of April in capacities up to 32GB. Projected OEM pricing for the 8GB capacity point is $45.

"For the numerous applications which were historically challenged by the severe limitations of 1 inch HDDs, STEC is now offering a much more cost-effective, higher capacity and higher reliability alternative..." said STEC's Patrick Wilkison.

Iomega Hard Drives Games Market

SAN DIEGO - April 17, 2008 - Iomega Corp today announced availability of the new Iomega Media Xporter Drive, a $119.95 160GB game-oriented portable hard drive.

The USB powered drive connects to ports on an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 to give gaming enthusiasts a convenient new way to enjoy music, digital movies, and photos through the family game console, without the need of a PC or digital media adapter. It also includes software for converting file formats not natively supported by the game consoles. ...Iomega profile

Unveiling the Flash SSD Performance Roadmap

Editor:- April 17, 2008 - published a new article today called - the Flash SSD Performance Roadmap.

A few weeks ago a reader asked a very good question. "Is there an industry roadmap for future flash SSD performance?"

That prompted other questions like... How fast are flash SSDs going to be in 2009? or 2012? What are the technology factors which relate to throughput and IOPS? And how much faster will they be than today.

There wasn't a simple answer I could give at the time. Clues lay scattered all across this web site and in my many discussions about the market... But I agreed there should be a single place on the web where these answers could be found. Forget Moore's Law. That gives you the wrong answer, and this article explains why. the article

Hitachi Claims Biggest 15K RPM HDD

SAN JOSE, Calif - April 16, 2008 - Hitachi today said it will be shipping the highest capacity 15K RPM hard drives later this quarter.

The Ultrastar 15K450 with 450GB of storage capacity will ship with either 3Gb/s SAS or 4Gb/s Fibre Channel interfaces. ...Hitachi profile

Editor's notes:-
later this week - a Reuters news story commented on Hitachi's future strategy for its HDD business unit.

Seagate fights SSD Market Challenge - with lawyers - instead of engineers

Editor:- April 15, 2008 - Seagate Technology has filed a patent suit against STEC according to a report in the New York Times.

Seagate is claiming that SSDs made by STEC may infringe Seagate patents related to disk interfaces and flash technology.

In an article published earlier this year Why Seagate will Fail the SSD Challenge I explored the business options available for Seagate in the flash SSD market. This move against STEC is in line with that analysis (and conclusion).

It's not unusual for Seagate to sue companies which it sees threatening its hard disk business. Earlier in this decade the business development of hard disk startup Cornice was first slowed down in the courts by suits from Seagate and WD before it was killed off by flash memory.

You can see what some other SSD analysts have to say on this subject in these article links.

Gregory Wong, at Forward Insights says "It's hard to see the financial motivation behind such a move..."

Jim Handy, at Objective Analysis looks at the weight of the patent arsenal but says that SSD Purchasers shouldn't worry. "In such dealings the plaintiff (Seagate in this case) usually will try to collect somewhat equivalent royalties from all players.."

Don Clark reminds us of an earlier patent dispute in the HDD market "that Rodime began in 1992, which ended after Seagate agreed to pay the Scottish company $45 million in 2000..."

...Later:- STEC dismissed the claims in these terms.

STEC is one of the first companies to build (flash) SSDs, having designed, manufactured and shipped SSDs as early as 1994, long before any of the suggested patents were issued to Seagate.

Given the effect SSDs are having on the HDD market, STEC believes that Seagate's lawsuit is completely without merit and primarily motivated by competitive concerns rather than a desire to protect its intellectual property.

STEC believes that Seagate's action is a desperate move to disrupt how aggressively customers are embracing STEC's Zeus-IOPS technology and changing the balance of power in enterprise storage. Seagate is sending a clear signal that it recognizes STEC as the leader in the SSD business and is attempting to slow down part of the growth that STEC is gaining through its SSD offering, particularly in the enterprise segment. STEC will aggressively pursue its defense to this infringement action.
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