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storage history - 2008, January week 2

SSD news, SSD market history, SSD articles
Megabyte's selection of storage news
5 years later... perspective
In January 2008 - After a 20 year gap EMC re-entered the SSD market with the launch of its Symmetrix DMX-4 networked storage systems populated with SSDs from STEC.

Editor's comments:- EMC's 2008-vintage SSD racks (just a bunch of hard disks in an HDD controller box interspersed with some traditionally architected 3.5" SSDs) were unimpressive in performance terms compared to competing (big controller architecture) rackmount SSDs (from Texas Memory Systems and Violin) and also too expensive compared to other contemporary options at that time - such as PCIe SSDs - from the fledgling Fusion-io.

And we didn't know it at the time - because SandForce was still in stealth mode - but in addition to the surface visible enterprise SSD competitors in 2008 - STEC's proxy enterprise sales force (EMC) would soon be under attack from a new swarm of SF-inside piranhas nibbling away from below too.

Within 3 years of that 2008 launch - shipment data (in the form of petabytes of SSD storage) confirmed that - despite initial hype and high expectations - EMC's SSD systems had failed to impress the majority of the enterprise SSD market - and EMC's leadership position in hard disk arrays had failed to convert into leadership in flash storage.

And stories which emerged from the SSD companies who either supplied EMC or competed with EMC - later confirmed to our readers that EMC in the 2008 to 2011 period was clueless about the real significance of the SSD market, and had unrealistic aims and weak products which were not competitively credible.

EMC's usual response to such problems - buy a company - wasn't a viable option either.

I had many conversations with (other big companies in a similar fix at that time) which demonstrated that having the money to afford an SSD company was not the same as understanding what to do with it afterwards.

And in such a fast changing market where even SSD's true believers disagreed about fundamentals - there was a real risk for wouldbe acquirers that the SSD glisten from one year might not be the true color of success the year after.

So - unless you knew what you were doing with these devilish SSDs - the safest thing to do was to bide time, watch, wait and participate with a long spoon.

That's why EMC's SSD coping strategy today (in 2013) is the stance of an aggregator and integrator of 3rd party SSD solutions.

Other things have changed too. Those irritating SF-below piranhas have been tamed and domesticated - and now look rather less menacing when swimming around neatly in EMC branded fish tanks. (Although swimming around at the edge of the pinanha swarm isn't as safe as it used to be either.)

One of the tenets of the enterprise SSD survivors guide (August 2012 ) is that "Software used to be SSD's enemy. Now it can be SSD's best friend."

And in my state of the software market article (June 2012) I said - "Good SSD software will change the rules about everything you can do with SSDs."

Taken together those 2 sentiments can be interpreted as saying that whereas EMC lost the opportunity to establish early leadership in SSD hardware architecture in the modern era of the SSD market (where it follows rather than sets standards) in the next round of the enterprise SSD wars - when software will play a bigger part - it still retains a small but nevertheless credible prospect of being a player.
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AMCC Demo at Macworld

SUNNYVALE, Calif - January 14, 2008 - AMCC is showcasing support for Mac OS X Leopard at this week's Macworld.

An in-booth product demo will feature Apple's Time Machine automatically backing up data to a 3ware Sidecar desktop RAID. ...AMCC profile

EMC Re-enters the SSD Market

SANTA ANA, Calif - January 14, 2008 - STEC, Inc. today announced that EMC Corp has selected STEC's Zeus-IOPS line of SSDs for deployment in its Symmetrix DMX-4 high-end networked storage systems.

"We believe that flash-based solid state storage is a game changing technology and that STEC is at the forefront of the SSD market," said Brian Gallagher, senior VP and general manager, EMC Storage Division. "Over the past year, EMC and STEC have collaborated to ensure that the Zeus-IOPS Fibre Channel drive meets the stringent quality, availability and reliability requirements of the enterprise storage market. The resulting integration of enterprise-class SSDs with the full breadth of Symmetrix DMX-4 features, capabilities and traditional disk drives will provide our customers with unprecedented levels of performance and energy efficiency for their most demanding applications."

"This is strong validation of our leadership position in providing SSDs to the Enterprise storage market, and we are delighted to partner with EMC in delivering the highest performance enterprise storage solutions," said STEC's CEO Manouch Moshayedi. ...EMC profile, ...STEC profile

Editor's comments:-
You may not realise that EMC was an SSD pioneer 20 years ago (in 1987) but got burned at that time. In today's market EMC's introduction of an SSD option in its product line fills an important gap. Without this step - I doubt if the company could maintain its market position - as solid state storage will become a bigger part of server spending in the next 5 years.

In a separate communication about this today EMC said that flash SSDs use 38% less energy than traditional mechanical disk drives and that a single (high speed) F-SSD could replace 30x 15,000 RPM Fibre Channel hard disks in transaction intensive applications. None of this is news for readers who have been following the SSD market's progress in recent years. But what is news is that it's EMC saying it.

Goodbye to the Power Cable for eSATA

BEAVERTON, Ore - January 14, 2008 - SATA-IO today announced its Power Over eSATA initiative.

The new specification will provide power to external SATA (eSATA) devices without the need for a separate power connection. Led by the organization's Cable and Connector group, the specification is targeted for completion in the second half of 2008. ...SATA-IO

ATTO Ships New FastStream RAID

Macworld Expo, San Francisco, CA - January 14, 2008 - ATTO Technology, Inc. today announced the general availability of its new line of FastStream storage controller appliances.

These deliver up to 1,200 Megabytes per second access to data with parity RAID protection and are suited for applications in DVA and IT infrastructures including 4K and 2K digital film production, high-definition video post-production, digital prepress, disk-to-disk backup, audio production and transaction-based environments. The FastStream SC 7500 uses a 4Gbps Fibre Channel interface for the host connection and a SAS interface for drive connectivity. The FastStream SC 7700 uses Fibre Channel for both the host and drive connections. ...ATTO Technology profile

CRU-DataPort Acquires WiebeTech

Vancouver, WA - January 14, 2008 - CRU-DataPort has purchased WiebeTech.

James Wiebe, CEO of WiebeTech has joined CRU-DataPort as VP of product development. Operations for the WiebeTech brand of products will remain in Wichita , Kansas.

"We are pleased to add WiebeTech employees and their highly respected product line to our organization. WiebeTech will become a fully supported brand of CRU-DataPort," said CRU-DataPort's president & CEO Randal Barber. ...CRU-DataPort profile, ...WiebeTech profile

Tandberg Data Launches 100 Slot Tape Library

Oslo Norway - January 14, 2008 - Tandberg Data today introduced the StorageLibrary T40+ 4U rackmount tape library

The StorageLibrary T40+ allows users to stack up to 5x T40+ libraries together, offering from 24 to 188 slots, with capacities ranging from 9.6TB to 150TB (native). Avaialble interfaces include LVD SCSI, Fibre Channel and SAS. MSRP starts at $10,495.

"The 20 to 100 slot LTO tape library segment is the growing segment in the tape automation market," says Hamish Macarthur from Macarthur Stroud International. ...Tandberg Data profile

Mad Media Replaces Sneakernet with Sonnet RAID

IRVINE, Calif - January 10, 2008 - Sonnet Technologies' desktop Fusion D800RAID has been adopted by design and post-production house Mad Media.

It provides Mad Media with reliable storage of its unique high definition video not only for use in Web content, but also for national television ad campaigns, feature-length film projects, and new mobile technology platforms like the iPhone. The dual GbE Fusion D800RAID system replaced the company's "sneakernet" storage scheme that was comprised of a series of 1TB external drives from various manufacturers.

"I have very closely monitored the progression of 'low-cost' data solutions for professional video applications for the past few years, and Sonnet's Fusion D800RAID product was the first to offer RAID 5 redundancy with a storage capacity of more than 6TB and throughput exceeding 500 MB/sec," said Joshua Martelli, director of TV/film at Mad Media. "...We've been thrilled with the result. The Fusion system gives us a central repository from which our editors can access the same data simultaneously, and it's allowed us to organize footage more effectively, safeguarding content from future loss while increasing our productivity." ...Sonnet Technologies profile

P.A. Semi's Processor will be Inside NEC Storage Arrays

SANTA CLARA, CA - January 10, 2008 - P.A. Semi, Inc. today announced that the System Storage Products Division of NEC has selected P.A. Semi's processor for use in its storage-array products.

"We are very pleased with the results of our evaluation of the P.A. Semi 1682M processor," said Mr. Tsuyoshi Kishino, First Engineering Dept, System Storage Products Division, NEC. "In our application, we found that the 1682M delivers the highest application performance at very low power dissipation." ...NEC profile, ...P.A. Semi, storage chips

New CLARiiON Aims at VMware SMBs

HOPKINTON, Mass - January 8, 2008 - EMC Corp today introduced the new CLARiiON AX4 networked storage system for SMBs.

It scales to 60TB and supports either iSCSI or Fibre Channel SAN connectivity. With built-in advanced information management and protection features, it can store, manage and protect data from up to 64 Windows, Linux, Unix, NetWare and VMware Infrastructure hosts simultaneously. Starting price is $8,599. ...EMC profile

Microsoft Buys Storage Search Company

REDMOND, Wash - January 8, 2008 - Microsoft Corp. today announced that it will make an offer to acquire Fast Search & Transfer ASA, a leading provider of enterprise search solutions based in Norway.

The offer values the fully diluted equity of FAST at approximately $1.2 billion. FAST's board of directors has unanimously recommended that its shareholders accept the offer which is expected to be completed in the 2nd quarter of 2008.

"Enterprise search is becoming an indispensable tool to businesses of all sizes, helping people find, use and share critical business information quickly," said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division. "Until now organizations have been forced to choose between powerful, high-end search technologies or more mainstream, infrastructure solutions. The combination of Microsoft and FAST gives customers a new choice: a single vendor with solutions that span the full range of customer needs." ...Microsoft profile, Storage Software, 453 Acquired, renamed etc storage companies

Editor's comments:-
when you think of searching the web - the #1 brand which comes to mind is Google. But even though Google has been marketing storage search appliances for over 5 years only 10,000 or so companies were actually using them as recently as last October. Microsoft's acquisition in this market at 42% above the closing price of the shares last Friday - signals that Microsoft regards this as a much bigger potential market than it has been until now.

Or - if you are feeling cynical - maybe it's just a move that will slow down and kill off the whole segment for a couple of years. Especially if Microsoft embeds free search into its OS.

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