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SSD & storage news - April 2009, week 2

the Fastest SSDs
the Top SSD Companies
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Ratios of SSD capacity - server vs SAN
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SandForce Unveils New flash SSD Controller
Editor:- April 13, 2009 - SandForce today emerged from stealth mode and unveiled its SF-1000 family of SSD Processors - aimed at oems building SATA flash SSDs.

Its 2.5" SSD reference design kit is the fastest 2.5" SATA flash SSD on the market - with 250MB/s symmetric R/W throughput and 30,000 R/W IOPS.

Leading OEMs are expected to release both SLC and MLC flash-based SSDs using SandForce single-chip SSD Processors later this year

"With a deep understanding of both system- and silicon-level issues, we've integrated the right balance of reliability, performance, power, cost, and time-to-market in our SSD Processors while supporting multiple flash vendors' technology," said Alex Naqvi, President and CEO of SandForce. "Our products combine key processing elements with hardware automation to efficiently address the traditional shortcomings of flash memory. This allows OEMs to provide enterprise-class SSDs to the mass-market using both SLC and lower-cost MLC flash devices while delivering peak read and write performance throughout the drive's lifecycle."

Editor's comments:- I asked SandForce's President & CEO, Alex Naqvi, for more details about the various package of technologies which are bundled in the company's "DuraClass Technology" - which achieves impressively high IOPS without relying on over-provisioning or large external RAM caches. In particular I wondered what part, if any its choice of processor SoC (from Tensilica) had to play.

Alex Naqvi explained - DuraClass performance doesn't come from the choice of processor - but in the way that they have integrated various design techniques with very fast hardware (proprietary chips) which the company has designed to accelerate the core bottleneck functions of a flash SSD controller.

In concert with other techniques, such as the ability to reorder data before it is written to flash (thereby attenuating write endurance by 2 orders of magnitude), RAID like internal protection and very fast garbage collection SandForce's DuraClass Technology results in small form factor enterprise class flash SSDs which have no daily write limits for MLC flash and symmetric R/W IOPS.

C-Drive Registrations Up 30%

Editor:- April 13, 2009 - Compellent this week announced that registration for its annual channel partner and customer conference - C-Drive 2009 - is up 30% over the same time last year.

"While other industry conferences are being cancelled or scaled back, C-Drive 2009 is growing rapidly, because we offer our channel partners and customers valuable training sessions, demos and educational sessions in an open environment, making our event truly unique," explained Phil Soran, president and CEO, Compellent. "We're relentlessly striving to provide the most efficient storage available, and are excited to share the latest advancements and Compellent's outlook on the future of storage at this year's event."

Among other things attendees at the event next month - in Bloomington, MN - will get a preview of Compellent's enterprise SSDs.

Editor's comments:- I only mentioned this one because I thought "C-Drive" was a clever sounding name for a storage event.

SAN Solutions will Unveil Media Verification Engine at NAB

Editor:- April 13, 2009 - SAN Solutions announced that it will showcase the company's new Crawler media verification engine next week at The NAB Show.

In scanning file systems and indexing and verifying media across a SAN or NAS based architecture, the Crawler confirms the ongoing utility and value of stored media, and also enables the content owner to federate storage archives and use a central database to search all of its media assets.

Seagate's SSD Apologia?

Editor:- April 8, 2009 - Seagate has effectively published an apology for not being in the enterprise SSD market - in an article published yesterday on TechCrunchIT called - Solid-State Drives in the Enterprise: Raising Standards.

It's a nicely written article by Alvin Cox, a senior staff engineer at Seagate. The plausible sounding line he argues is that Seagate has been taking a cautious stance re SSDs, waiting for standards, not being fooled by hype about performance claims etc.

In an article published over a year ago I analyzed Why Seagate will Fail the SSD Challenge. Seagate's problems are marketing, business and management related - not technical. I'm sure they employ many world-class engineers. But they will still fail. You can see the analysis and what-ifs in my article.

SSDs have been used in the enterprise for decades. As the price curves for memory have dropped - many new opportunities have been incrementally created within the SSD market. Over 110 companies now make and market SSDs. That will more than double in the next year helped by the easy availability of SSD SoCs. Seagate will eventually be among them. Seagate's commentaries on SSDs sound remarkably similar to Sun Microsystems' public agonies with Linux and the x86 server OS market. First denial, then more denial, then explanations of why customers wouldn't buy such products and then too little cautious action too late - when no one really cared any more. And you can see where they are now.

See also:- can you trust SSD market data?

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week 1 - Fusion-io Secures $47 million Series B Funding

March 2009

week 1 - Pretec Samples Highest Capacity ExpressCard SSD
week 2 - Viking Launches SATA Cube SSD
week 3 - Dolphin Launches PCIe Rackmount SSD
week 4 - WD Enters the SSD Market

February 2009

week 1 - SalvationDATA Unveils Data Recovery for flash SSDs
week 2 - SanDisk Announces Imminent X4 Flash
week 3 - Viking Launches SSD Backup Module for RAID Cache
week 4 - Hitachi GST Buys Desktop SSD Company

January 2009

week 1 - EMC Aims to Cut 2,400 Positions
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