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SSD & Storage news - November 10-13 2008

ATTO Ships Fastest SAS/SATA HBAs

Amherst, NY - November 13, 2008 - ATTO Technology, Inc. announces shipment of its first 6Gbps SAS/SATA host adapters, to select OEMs and partners.

Leveraging PCIe 2.0 and 6-Gb SAS speeds, ATTO says the H608 (8 internal ports) and H680 (8 external ports) deliver the fastest available connection to SAS/SATA storage (up to 8GB/sec. full-duplex). ...ATTO Technology profile, Record Breaking Storage

Virtual Instruments Offers Clearer Views for SAN Traffic Analysis

Scotts Valley, Calif. - November 11, 2008 - Virtual Instruments today announced availability of its SAN Traffic Analysis Point module.

An add-on component for its NetWisdom solution, TAP (which costs $300 per port) enables real-time Fibre Channel network transaction monitoring, analysis and diagnosis. Unlike Mirror or SPAN ports, TAP devices show complete visibility of network traffic and mirror the data flowing between two network points.

Virtual Instruments' CEO, Mark Urdahl said - "IT administrators can find themselves in serious and expensive situations when the storage network experiences a problem or down time with limited visibility into the root-cause of the problem. Having Virtual Instruments' TAP device is like having a window into your SAN traffic. It provides unprecedented access to SAN transactions so that performance and troubleshooting issues can be proactively identified and resolved, allowing our customers to realize tremendous cost savings." ...Virtual Instruments profile, Storage Testers & Analyzers

SiliconSystems Ships New 1.8" SiliconDrive

Aliso Viejo, Calif. - November 11, 2008 - SiliconSystems, Inc. announced shipments of its new 1.8" PATA SSDs with 34MB/s R/W speed and capacities up to 32GB.

SiliconDrive II 1.8-inch PATA SSDs feature SiliconSystems' patented PowerArmor, SiSMART and SiSecure integrated advanced storage technologies that address critical OEM design considerations, including the elimination of drive corruption due to power anomalies, the ability to forecast SiliconDrive useable life and the protection of application data and software IP. ...SiliconSystems profile, 1.8" storage drives

Aleratec Snips Cost of DVD Shredder

Chatsworth, CA - November 11, 2008 - Aleratec Inc. is now shipping the 2nd generation of its award winning compact DVD/CD Shredder with estimated retail price of $44.99.

"Sensitive data stored on CDs or DVDs can change frequently and disposing of old discs is a growing problem. With identity theft and corporate espionage increasing almost exponentially, just tossing them in the trash is more than dangerous," states Perry Solomon, Aleratec President and CEO. "An Aleratec DVD/CD Shredder makes destroying unwanted discs very easy. This light weight desktop unit shreds DVDs and CDs in seconds. With its auto start/stop feature all a customer needs to do is insert a disc and the shredder does the rest." ...Aleratec profile, Disk Sanitizers

Arkeia Partners with Nirvanix

San Diego, CA - November 11, 2008 - Nirvanix and Arkeia Software have partnered to deliver an integrated backup protection solution.

The joint solution combines Arkeia Network Backup with Nirvanix's CloudNAS (online storage) to provide a claimed 80-90% cost saving over traditional backup storage solutions. ...Arkeia profile, ...Nirvanix profile, Backup Software

Violin Advances flash SSD Architecture for Enterprise Acceleration
Iselin, New Jersey - November 10, 2008 - Violin Memory, Inc. today reached out to markets beyond those accessible to its RAM based storage appliance line by announcing the availability of a fast 2U 4TB SLC flash SSD.

Designed for enterprise server acceleration - Violin's flash technology enables over 100K sustained random Write IOPS (4K block) and write throughput is upto 400MB/s. Latency is 70-300 microseconds and the internal architecture eliminates the multi-millisecond variability seen in most current SSD arrays.

Endurance can be an issue with some fast flash SSDs. But you don't have to do the calculations because the Violin 1010 with 4TB SLC Flash can sustain its top speed 100K Write IOPS for a 100% duty cycle over its projected 10 year life. Price is competitive - at a system cost less than $50 per GByte.

System capacities range from 320GB to 4 TBytes within a single appliance. Fibre Channel and Ethernet network attachments are supported via a network head and direct attachment through a low latency PCIe connection. Supported OS's include:- major Linux releases, Windows and OpenSolaris. Violin Memory will be demonstrating the new product next week at SC08. ...Violin Memory profile

Editor's comments:-
although I had been expecting Violin to announce a flash SSD product since last year - I got some real surprises in the detail of the new model announced today.

You'd expect a product which contains over 500 internal flash interfaces and a lot of hardware controller technology to be fast compared to a RAID array built from COTS flash SSDs, but due to some clever tricks and design choices (which Violin pointed out are patent pending IP) the overall product achieves an edge over potential competitors in a number of key areas. You'll have to ask the company for more details - but are some key points.
  • It starts fast - and stays fast. Violin says the sustained performance does not drop off in the same dramatic way as in most other flash SSDs.

    Most publications mistakenly attribute the performance droop in flash SSDs to "fragmentation" - but that's not correct. The effect is due to what Violin calls "garbage collection".

    That includes a bunch of stuff like... Can the internal controller maintain its house-keeping, supply of erased blocks, wear leveling, and virtual mapping at the fastest speed? Or is there an inbuilt halo effect - which means the product looks good in benchmarks - but degrades over time? I already discussed these in my article Can you trustyour flash SSD's specs? Violin's got a good story on this - which goes into a lot more detail.
  • Violin's specific implementation of "RAID like protection" solves 2 problems at the same time.

    1st - it uses less flash chips than would be needed in a traditional RAID built from COTS SSDs to achieve the same level of fault tolerance. The lower chip count also reduces electrical power, increases MTBF and helps make the box more competitive.

    I asked "Are you seriously hoping to compete with boxes stuffed with commodity SSDs?" - The answer - it's going to a big market - and being competitive due to intrinsic design is a much better option than (in my words) simply lowering margins (which is where the consumer SSD market is today - and where the enterprise SSD market could be tomorrow.)

    2nd - it enables the internal controller to perform a write erase simultaneously to a virtual block which is being read. This is what Violin calls "Non-blocking erase". It's a feature (which when added to everything else) enables the product to offer an industry leading envelope of R/W IOPS and reliability for an enterprise acceleration flash SSD.

Sun Launches Hybrid Rackmount Storage

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - November 10, 2008 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced the availability of its new 7000 family of rackmount storage systems - which includes hybrid HDD / flash SSD arrays.

Sun says its Solaris ZFS can use SSDs intelligently as a cache for both application and file system metadata, placing latency-critical data structures appropriately on flash media and using algorithms to optimize data placement. In addition, Solaris ZFS provides acceleration of both read and write operations, and lets administrators configure the system to match workload demands. ...Sun Microsystems profile, Hybrid Storage Drives, rackmount SSDs

STEC Reports 43% Revenue Growth

SANTA ANA, Calif. - November 10, 2008 - STEC, Inc. today reported 42.5% year on year revenue growth for the 3rd quarter ended September 30, 2008.

Revenue was $63.7 million which was also an increase of 13% compared to the 2nd quarter of 2008.

STEC's Chairman and CEO, Manouch Moshayedi, said "During the 3rd quarter of 2008 we again achieved an increase in revenue from our ZeusIOPS line of SSDs to $13.7 million. We are forecasting sales of ZeusIOPS of more than $17 million during the 4th quarter of 2008 and therefore expect to achieve our long-stated goal for ZeusIOPS revenue in 2008 of $50 million, a target we had set for ourselves more than a year ago. We would also like to re-emphasize our belief in the potential of SSD to be a disruptive technology, even with a less than optimal macro-economic backdrop for adoption."

"We began shipping production units of our SSD products to a major Notebook OEM customer for their entrance into the Ultra-Mobile PC market in the 3rd quarter of 2008. While (notebooks) are not the primary target markets for our SSD products, we believe that our selection as this customer's SSD vendor in a key launch for them showcases our ability to design best-of-class solutions across a full range of SSD applications.... We believe that the current environment of falling NAND Flash prices will help to further reduce the price of SSDs to the end-customer and stimulate demand..." ...STEC profile

Xytron Joins IPDRA

Editor:- November 10, 2008 - Xytron has joined the International Professional Data Recovery Association.

Founded in August 2008 by Disklabs, the IPDRA vets prospective members for Data Recovery experience and publishes a code of conduct for members. In an industry where anybody can set up a web site to attract your broken hard disks / tapes / flash storage - IPDRA aims to be a major leap forward helping clients decide who they will send their critical or precious data to.

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  • RAM Cache Ratios in flash SSDs - it's important to know the underlying RAM cache architecture - even if you're happy with the R/W and IOPS performance.
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Looking for 2009 Storage Plan Inputs?
Editor:- traditionally this is the time of year when storage marketers realize it would be good to include some plausible projections, trends, quotes or even hard facts inside their otherwise "wishful thinking" based business plans for next year.

If you're in that predicament the market research page lists nearly 70 analyst organizations which cover the storage market.

And if you're looking at SSDs you're in luck - because there's an SSD analysts directory devoted exclusively to that very subject. But be warned. It's a very complicated market which will segment into many application strands during the coming years as the market gets bigger.

For many vendors - the outlook next year is dimmed under the shadow of recession. But excellent products and services which solve real customer needs conveniently or economically can actually do better in budget constrained circumstances.

Users too face problems. Because the Old Regime's expensive solutions are no longer affordable - users are forced to look at alternative suppliers and technologies. And although it's hard work and uncomfortable researching new ways of doing things - and thinking in new ways - it can lead to greater efficiency.
the 10 biggest storage companies in 2012 Many parts of the storage market will emerge bigger and stronger after several years of recession - while others (which were already past their use-by- date anyway) will shrink and disappear. We've been here many times before - see what happened last time in - Storage Winners and Losers from the 2000-2003 IT Recession

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