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SSD & storage news - 2008, March week 3

IMI Launches SATA SSD Testers

Milpitas, Calif - March 20, 2008 - International Microsystems today announced immediate availability of 3 new SATA SSD testers.

The IMI testers support functional testing including read/write functional tests, read/write speed tests as well as parametric standby/dynamic current tests. Also supported is the initialization of the SSD controller which is normally required as the first step in production testing.
  • The M7305 is a 4 slot engineering tester.
  • The M7300 is a 4 - 16 slot benchtop production tester.
  • The M7310 is a 4 to 16 slot burn in chamber production tester with a temperature range from -73°C to +180°C.
All 3 testers come with user-friendly software and are supplied as fully functioning standalone systems with display, keyboard and mouse along with Ethernet connectivity. The powerful GUI allows user definition of all parameters governing the chosen tests. All models can be used as SATA SSD duplicators with master data being supplied by either a master drive or by a master binary file.

Enhance Technology Claims Lower Cost 2U iSCSI Storage

Santa Fe Springs, CA - March 19, 2008 - Enhance Technology today announced the R6 IP series, a 2U 6-disk RAID 5 rackmount with dual GbE iSCSI ports and up to 100MB/s throughput.

Flexible RAID slicing allows administrators to partition RAID sets into smaller segments allowing storage to be distributed on up to 16 servers, and adding more hard drives is a simple task with no downtime required.

Aaron Eskridge, Enhance's Director of Channel Sales said "With prices starting at just $2,695 (1TB model), we're offering an incredible storage solution at just a fraction of the cost of Sun, HP, Dell or EMC." ...Enhance Technology profile, Rackmount Storage

Toshiba's MLC SSDs in Mass Production

IRVINE, Calif. - March 18, 2008 - Toshiba has started mass production of MLC flash SSDs aimed at the notebook market.

The new Toshiba SSDs have SATA interfaces and will be available in 3 form factors:- module, 1.8" and 2.5", and with upto 128GB capacity. Toshiba says overall performance is better than 5,400 RPM and 7,200 RPM HDDs. Read / write speeds are 100MB/s and 40MB/s respectively. Initial production is for Toshiba's own notebooks. ...Toshiba profile

SiliconSystems Enhances SiliconDrives

ALISO VIEJO, Calif - March 18, 2008 - SiliconSystems, Inc. today announced its enhanced 2nd generation of SiliconDrive SSDs.

Capacity and read/write speeds have been increased. SiliconDrive II are aimed at embedded systems in which design factors such as reliable operation, elimination of drive corruption and the ability to forecast useable life are calculated to deliver significant cost benefits compared to expensive field failures and replacements over a multi year installed life - which can come from using hard disks or less glitch resistant consumer SSDs. Available form factors include 2.5", CF and miniature modules. Available interfaces include PATA, SATA and USB. ...SiliconSystems profile

Editor's comments:-
when you look at SiliconDrive performance and capacity specs relative to many other available consumer market oriented flash SSDs they aren't the fastest or the biggest. But within the spectrum of flash SSD reliability there's more than an order of magnitude difference even within SLC devices.

Unhappy Notebook Maker Has High Rate of SSD Flash Backs?

Editor:- March 18, 2008 - a report that flash SSDs in notebooks are incurring double digit customer reject rates has been attributed to Avian Securities, LLC

Avian's own news page links to an article on which quotes an Avian partner as the source of this story.

Stories about storage reliability can't always be taken at face value.

Flash SSDs came from the military and industrial applications where bad things can happen - but the SSDs have to survive. So don't assume from one little story that flash SSDs have intrinsic secret problems. The unsecret ones I'll tell you about.

I remember similar things happening with ST-506 interface 5.25" hard drives in the mid 1980s. In my own experience I had a batch with over 50% DOAs. But how many were dead when they left the disk factory - compared to how many had been killed by handling in our own factory was a moot point.

In the early 1990s a leading European PC maker Amstrad sued both Western Digital and Seagate for market damage allegedly due to unreliable hard disks. That bounced around for years and I can't remember how it ended. There were many other similar stories too. Eventually PC makers learned how to handle HDDs more gently and HDD reliability and ruggedness improved too.

A few months ago I predicted that many SSD customers could be unhappy with mis-sold products not delivering the anticipated application speedups. In that context I was thinking about EMC SSDs. Enterprises can only afford fractional capacity shifts to solid state. But if you don't put the critical files in the SSD you don't get a speedup - just the check. That means the human part of the integration process is critical to customer satisfaction. 2 different SSD wizards integrating the same rackmount SSD in the same customer site might get 2 different application speedups (or none at all.)

Back to today's story. I don't know the details - but I do know that the difference in performance between flash SSDs on the market today is like the difference in speed between a pushbike and a Porsche. Just buying something with wheels doesn't mean you'll get the ultimate speed. You have to see if it's got an engine. And make sure the wheels are screwed on tight.

The wheel falling off my wife's car because I didn't tighten it properly - is another story. - What's that rattling noise? - we both asked as the bolts started popping out on our dash to catch the ferry for an island vacation.

...Later:- Dell (the notebook maker implied in the CNET article) responded that the rumors were "just not true."

CAS Pioneers Reunited at Caringo

AUSTIN, Texas - March 18, 2008 - Caringo Inc. today announced the hiring of Jan Van Riel as its VP of Advanced Technology, reuniting him with fellow co-founder of Content Addressable Storage, Paul Carpentier, Caringo's CTO.

Van Riel and Carpentier together invented the technology that created the CAS industry while they were partners at FilePool, a company they sold to EMC (in April 2001). EMC went on to incorporate the CAS concept into its multimillion-dollar Centera and Van Riel served 8 years as EMC's Director of Technology.

"With EMC scaling down the Centera unit and the future of Centera unclear, the chance to join Caringo, which understands the potential of CAS, and partner once again with Paul Carpentier was too good of an opportunity to pass up," said Van Riel. "The need for CAS solutions is ever increasing and I am excited to participate in the next chapter of the technology at Caringo." ..Caringo profile, Storage People

SMART Launches XceedCF Industrial-Grade CompactFlash

FREMONT, CA - March 17, 2008 - SMART Modular Technologies, Inc. announced today the release of its new XceedCF line of low-power high-performance CompactFlash products.
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Available in densities from 64MB to 16GB, the new XceedCF cards have 47MB/s read/write speeds combined with low power operation and support self-monitoring analysis and reporting technology.

As with all of SMART's industrial-grade flash products, the XceedCF cards incorporate advanced static and dynamic wear-leveling algorithms for extending lifespan in the most demanding applications with greater than 2 million program/erase cycles. ...SMART profile, Flash Memory
XceedCF   from SMART

EMC Improves Offer for Iomega

Editor:- March 17, 2008 - Iomega says it has received a better offer from EMC (than the unsolicited one last week) to buy the company.

It's thinking about it. ...Iomega profile, ...EMC profile

...Later:- the deal did take place.

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