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storage news - 2008, October week 2

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RRAM Dash to Replace Flash

Leuven, Belgium - October 14, 2008 - In order to explore solutions to overcome the scaling limitations of conventional flash memory cells, IMEC has started new research activities on resistive RAM (RRAM) cells.

Resistive switching memories are based on materials whose resistivity can be electrically switched between high and low conductive states. RRAM is becoming of interest for future scaled memories because of their superior intrinsic scaling characteristics compared to the charge-based Flash devices, and potentially small cell size (enabling dense crossbar RRAM arrays using vertical diode selecting elements). IMEC sees RRAM as a potential candidate to replace conventional flash memory and hence to push NVM technology towards the (sub-)22nm technology node. ...IMEC profile

See also:- 10 years after MRAM etc promised to replace flash - it's still here

New Edges Announced for SiliconDrive Blades
Aliso Viejo, Calif. - October 14, 2008 - SiliconSystems, Inc. said it will extend the range of interfaces available in its miniature SiliconDrive II Blade form factor.

Already available with USB, SiliconDrive II Blade products featuring the SD, MMC and SATA interfaces will be available for volume shipment in the first quarter of 2009.

"...SiliconSystems clearly saw the market need for a smaller, more rugged SSD form factor that could accommodate a broad range of storage interfaces," said Gary Drossel, vp of product planning at SiliconSystems. "The rapid and wide-spread adoption of our SiliconDrive II USB Blade product led us to move quickly to develop additional SiliconDrive II Blade products featuring a variety of industry-standard storage interfaces." ...SiliconSystems profile, SSDs & HDDs - 1.0" and under


Hifn Launches Hardware Dedupe Accelerators

LOS GATOS, Calif. - October 14, 2008 - Hifn today introduced new hardware-accelerated, data de-duplication products.

The Hifn De-Dupe Accelerator 250 (PCI-X) and 255 (PCIe) can deliver upto 250MB/sec combined hash filtering, compression and encryption per card. Upto 4 cards can be combined into a single node. OS support includes Suse and RedHat Linux. List price starts at $1,995 per unit with OEM volume discounts available. ...Hifn profile, deduplication faqs


LSI Announces 16 Port SAS I/O Processor

SNW, TX - October 14, 2008 - LSI Corp today introduced a 16-port SAS storage processor chip.

The new LSISAS2116 is the industry's first single-chip, 16-port 6Gb/s SAS storage processor for external storage systems. It integrates a PowerPC application processor, x8 PCIe 2.0 bus and support for 8GB of 800MHz DDR2 memory. ...LSI profile, storage chips


1.5TB Removable Disk Available for Teralyte D2d

Gaithersburg, MD - October 14, 2008 - Idealstor announced today availability of a 1.5TB removable SATA disk option for use with their line of removable disk backup systems.

Jeff Main, President of Idealstor Channel Partner Questec said - "We used to sell LTO-3 drives for these customers because of the capacity LTO offered. We have since switched to selling the Idealstor Teralyte because it not only offers faster transfer rates and more reliable backups, their native capacity is nearly 4 times that of LTO-3 and twice that of LTO-4. Now with 1.5TB drives available this product is even more compelling as we can offer up to 1.5TB of removable media capacity/cartridge for only $1,995." ...Idealstor profile, Disk to disk backup


Austin Semiconductor Offers First US Assembled TSOPII Military SDRAM

Austin, Texas - October 13, 2008 - Austin Semiconductor, Inc. has expanded their semiconductor assembly services by adding the only onshore (US) TSOPII capability.

The first product is a 512Mb, 54-Pin TSOPII SDRAM with copper lead frame. The TSOPII features a Lead on Chip (LOC) design, which allows the size of the package to be approximately the chip size, which reduces the size to the minimum. The device is a 512Mb, 32Mb x 16, 3.3V, SDRAM, measuring 22.30mm x 11.76mm, with a height of 1.2mm. Full Military temp (-55°C to 125°C) processing is available. This product is currently available and Austin Semi is capable of providing 8,000 – 10,000 parts per month.

"Austin Semiconductor is pleased to be able to support the Hi-Rel community's need for thermal efficient and mechanically robust plastic packaging with our 54-pin TSOPII. In addition, we are offering our Hi-Rel customers more security and confidence by being the only domestic supplier with the TSOPII capability," says Frank Muscolino, President of Austin Semiconductor.

The TSOPII is ideally suited for High-Temp applications in the Automotive / Industrial / Military industries, cellular base stations, gas / oil explorations, Aerospace & Avionics, Engine Control, On-Board Flight Computers and Radar / Sonar. ...Austin Semiconductor profile, RAM, storage chips


Apple Co-Founder, Joins Fusion-io Advisory Board

Salt Lake City, UT - October 13, 2008 - Fusion-io today announced that Steve Wozniak has joined the company's advisory board.

Wozniak is co-founder of Apple. and the engineer who launched the home computer revolution. In his role at Fusion-io, Wozniak will advise the company's CEO, Don Basile, on future market trends; consult with senior management on company R&D efforts and product road-mapping; and introduce Fusion-io to key strategic alliances in the industry, as well as sales opportunities.

"Seldom have I seen technology advances that win in almost every way at the same time, in terms of speed, capacity, reliability, endurance, power usage and simplicity," said Wozniak. "The products from Fusion-io are extremely useful to so many different applications, not to mention most of the world's servers." ...Fusion-io profile, Storage People

Editor's comments:-
also today Fusion-io announced that the performance of its PCIe SSD had been validated by Medusa Labs

6 years later - in November 2014 - Steve Wozniak rejoined the band of Fusion-io's founders at their next startup - Primary Data.


Micron Pays $400 million for Bigger Slice of Nanya Technology

Boise, Idaho , Sunday, October 12, 2008 - Micron Technology, Inc., today announced that it is expanding its partnership with Nanya Technology Corp and signing a definitive agreement to acquire Qimonda AG's 35.6% ownership stake in Inotera for $400 million in cash.

In the current Qimonda and Nanya partnership, Inotera operates 2 state-of-the-art 300 millimeter wafer fabrication facilities producing a total of 120,000 wafers per month. Under the agreement, Micron will acquire access to half of the total manufacturing capacity of Inotera, with the other half allocated to Nanya. Micron will also share its industry-leading Stack DRAM technology with Inotera for the production of Stack DRAM products for Micron and Nanya. ...Micron profile, ...Nanya profile, ...Qimonda profile, Acquired storage companies

Background and comments
from - Jim Handy, Objective Analysis

A Shrewd Mover in Tough Times - Micron is once again doing its part to consolidate the DRAM market. The company has a successful track record of acquiring struggling competitors' manufacturing capacity when the market is depressed. This is a strategy that has worked well for Micron to date, and will give them some much-needed 300mm capacity.

We remind our audience that manufacturing costs in a 300mm plant are about 30% lower than they are for the same process running in a 200mm plant. With today's DRAMs selling at or below cost, all competitors need to shed themselves of their 200mm capacity as soon as they can.

This announcement comes only 3 days after Micron announced the closing of their 200mm facilities in Boise. While other companies are converting plants from 200mm to 300mm, Micron is taking the approach of closing 200mm capacity and purchasing 300mm capacity at bargain-basement prices, and this deal is indeed a bargain!

The $400 million that Micron is paying for 60,000 wafer starts in Inotera's 300mm line is significantly less expensive than the $550 million the company had planned to invest in the MeiYa JV for an output we estimate to be roughly half that size.

Nanya – Planning for Tomorrow - Nanya will be playing the same role in with Micron the future that the company has played with Qimonda in the past: Nanya supplies capital and manufacturing competence in return for technology.

Death Knell for Trench? - Qimonda is the last company to continue to support a trench cell process for DRAM – all other DRAM makers use a stacked-capacitor approach. Trench technology, pioneered in the 1990s by IBM, Siemens, and Toshiba, has seen its support base shrink mainly through consolidations. Qimonda is the remnant of the DRAM manufacturing arms of the 3 trench pioneers.

Nanya was the only other company supporting trench technology through its relationship with Qimonda, and in March Nanya signed an MOU with Micron to obtain rights to Micron's stacked-capacitor design. Qimonda itself explained that their path to the 30nm process node would be through their buried wordline design, which harnesses aspects of both trench and stacked capacitor designs.

And What about Qimonda? - This transaction brings some much-needed cash to Qimonda. The company has been suffering significantly during the current protracted downturn. We believe this is the reason why the deal involves cash, rather than stock.


Dataram Forward Integrates into the SSD Market

Redding, CA - October 8, 2008 - it was announced today that Dataram Corp has acquired the strategic assets of Cenatek, Inc.

"I am very pleased that we have successfully completed this transaction," said Jason Caulkins, CEO of Cenatek. "Dataram is providing significant resources to build upon the Cenatek product line, roadmap and IP portfolio."

"This acquisition signifies the beginning of a series of focused efforts to move Dataram into new, growing markets that align well with Dataram's existing products and customer base," said John Freeman, President and CEO of Dataram. "We are moving very quickly to license, acquire and develop these new products, including software, into our customer-focused product lineup."

Caulkins has joined Dataram to lead the company's return to solid state storage, an area they pioneered 32 years ago. "I am looking forward to contributing to the continued growth and success of Dataram," Caulkins added. "I would also like to thank Cenatek's investors and employees for their hard work and commitment to success." ...Dataram profile, ...Cenatek profile, RAM based SSDs

Editor's comments:- this is a very significant milestone for the SSD market because it shows the strategic value that memory makers place on SSDs.

In the past companies like Intel have resold 3rd party SSD cards, STEC divested itself of its vanilla memory business and Samsung would like to own and control MLC patents now in the hands of SanDisk.

Look at it from the viewpoint of a memory maker.

Future server systems will have orders of magnitude more memory in the attached SSDs than installed as main RAM memory. Who owns the brand of the SSD boxes will mean a dramatic difference to attainable revenue. Being locked out of the SSD box - will mean that a memory maker can only access smaller markets - or supply other SSD oems at commodity proces. I expect to report many more such acquisitions during the next few years.

...Later:- when discussing this story my wife said this is an example of a marketing concept called "forward integration."

11 months later:- we saw the next stage of Dataram's SSD strategic plan - when it launched of the XcelaSAN SSD appliance in September 2009
click for more info about the revolutionary auto tuning XcelaSAN SSD accelerator from Dataram
XcelaSAN is a "revolutionary" self optimizing
2U enterprise SSD accelerator
from Dataram

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