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SSD & storage news - April 2009, week 3

how long for hard drives in an SSD world?
exciting new directions in rackmount SSDs
Adaptive R/W and DSP ECC in flash SSD IP
Efficiency - making the same SSD - with less chips
how will Memory Channel SSDs impact PCIe SSDs?
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Dolphin's New StorExpress SSD Ships in May

Editor:- April 21, 2009 - MAGMA and Dolphin jointly announced they have collaborated to develop an improved version of the latter's previously announced StorExpress (2U rackmount PCIe connected SSD product line) which will ship next month.

Capacity options include 0.5TB (under $20K), 1TB and 2TB. It achieves 270K read and write IOPs (512 bytes to 4KB blocks) and up to 2.8GB/s of sustained bandwidth. Latency is less than 50µS. The StorExpress enclosure can be positioned 1,000 feet away from the host server using fiber.

"PCI Express, with its tight linkages to microprocessors is the natural technology for creating high performance systems" said Tim Miller, CEO Dolphin. "By partnering with Magma we have created an exceptional solution - simple, elegant, cost effective yet capable of delivering world class performance and flexibility."

Seagate Anticipates Another Flat Quarter for Hard Disks

Editor:- April 21, 2009 - Seagate reported results for the quarter ended April 3, 2009.

Revenue was exactly in line with the guidance issued last week. So no surprises there.

But what does make today's announcement interesting is Seagate's views about short term prospects for the hard disk market. Among other things, it says...

"For the June quarter, in light of the company's view of the current market environment, the company is planning for the overall demand for disk drives to be relatively flat as compared to the March quarter."

New Module Aims at 100 terabytes Enterprise SSD Users
Editor:- April 21, 2009 - Texas Memory Systems announced the RamSan-620 - a 2U rackmount SLC Flash SSD with 2TB ($88,000 list price) to 5TB capacity and 2 to 8 FC or InfiniBand ports.

Throughput is 3GB/s. R/W latency is 250µS and 80µS respectively. Transactional performance is 250,000 random IOPS. Power consumption is 325W. Multiple RamSan-620s can scale to higher capacities. Upto 100TB can fit in a single 40U rack.

"The IT community is looking for ways to increase storage efficiency while boosting productivity," said Greg Schulz, founding analyst at StorageIO and author of "The Green and Virtual Data Center".. "It is time to stop moving around I/O or other bottlenecks and start enabling storage efficiency via performance optimised storage that does more work, in a smaller footprint (power, cooling, floor-space, economic) while boosting productivity. Anyone can attach flash SSD to a computer or storage system; however the real trick and business benefit is when a storage system or applications server can fully utilise the technology without introduction of, or moving I/O and performance bottlenecks elsewhere. The RamSan-620 is an example of a new breed of storage solutions that have been optimised to leverage the capabilities of flash SSD while preserving application QoS and service level objectives."

Editor's comments:- there has been a lot of debate in the fastest lanes of the SSD accelerator market about whether it's better for users to deploy this technology inside the server box (as PCIe cards) - or outside the box (on the SAN). This is reminiscent of the old CISC vs RISC processor debates of the mid 1980s.

Entertaining as it is to analyze these polarized approaches I explained in my 2009 - Year of SSD Market Confusion and rackmount SSD articles why I believe that users will, in fact, do both.

Texas Memory Systems has in the past told me, that whenever they launch a new rackmount SSD they have some customers who just fill up a complete cabinet with the new model and use that as their basic unit of solid state storage until the next new model comes around. They'll only need 6.5kW for the 100TB SSD enabled by this model - and they'll get the transactional performance of 10,000 hard drives.

See also:- this way to the petabyte SSD

Solid State Central is New SSD Disti Down Under

Editor:- April 21, 2009 - Solidata announced it has appointed Melbourne based Solid State Central as its new exclusive distributor for the SSD market in Australia.

Editor's comments:- SSDs aren't new to the Australian market. In fact one of the SSD market's pioneers, Platypus Technology was founded in 1999 in Sydney, Australia.

Spectra Dims Sun's Lights at NASA Ames

Editor:- April 20, 2009 - Spectra Logic today disclosed that it has ousted Sun in a big tape library installation - following a 9 month evaluation.

Spectra recently installed 2x T950 tape libraries which together offer approximately 20,000 data storage slots and up to 32 petabytes of storage capacity, with data compression.

By replacing multiple, legacy Sun/STK 9310 silos with Spectra Logic technology, NASA Ames has freed more than 1,400 square feet of valuable data center floor space.

Editor's comments:- according to Sun's website, its own suggested replacement for the 9310 is the SL8500 Modular Library. So I guess that's the product (or the service offering) which Spectra beat in this case.

WD Ships New 2TB Enterprise Hard Drive

Editor:- April 20, 2009 - Western Digital - announced details of a new 2TB 3.5" SATA hard drive - the WD RE4-GP.

Features include time-limited error recovery for use in RAID systems, and lower power consumption than older hard drives. MSRP is $329.

Editor's comments:- this kind of drive is optimized to provide high capacity at low cost, rather than high performance. Typical applications include disk to disk backup and video or other massive content storage.

Oracle Sees Bright Future for Sun

Editor:- April 20, 2009 - Oracle today announced an agreement to acquire Sun Microsystems for approximately $7.4 billion.

Editor's comments:- this ends nearly a decade of speculation about the future of Sun Microsystems, a company which created a unique server business peaking at over $20 billion annual revenue at the turn of the Millenium.

You can read how Sun created that market, then lost it piece by piece and then finally lost itself in the storage market in the article which tracks the 22 History of the SPARC systems market.

WhipTail Announces Channel Partners for its Rackmount SSDs

Editor:- April 20, 2009 - WhipTail Technologies today named 5 new channel partners who are selling its rackmount flash SSDs.

These are:- ARKAY Systems, MANAGECAST, Scale Datacom, TheAdmins and XLNsystems.

This follows last week's announcement that WhipTail had appointed John Zamites as its channel manager.

OCZ Unveils miniPCI-E Notebook SSDs

Editor:- April 17, 2009 - OCZ today unveiled its 1st miniPCI-Express compatible SSDs.

Aimed at notebooks OCZ miniPCI-E options include:- 16GB or 32GB capacity, and 2 interface options.
  • SATA models - 110MB/s read and 51MB/s write speeds
  • PATA models - 45MB/s read and 35MB/s write speeds

Cache-A Launches Tape Archive for Video Editors

Editor:- April 17, 2009 - Cache-A today announced its 1st product - the Prime-Cache data tape deck - an LTO-4 compatible NAS appliance for the digital film and professional video industry.

"Today's digital film and video professionals working with file-based workflows need a highly reliable and cost-effective storage medium for content archiving, interchange and backup," said Phil Ritti, President and CEO of Cache-A Corp. "We are delighted to offer these professionals a new line of products specifically designed to meet their needs while extending the current base of award-winning A-Series technology into future generations."

Cache-A has licensed Quantum's A-Series technology compatible with industry-standard LTO data tape drives - the most successful line of tape drives ever produced - with more than 2.5 million drives deployed and 100 million cartridges shipped.

Cache-A says that with a single Prime-Cache system, a user could manage a 200TB archive for a total cost of less than $20,000 including media - and with an archive life of 30 years.

Samsung's Misleading SSD Leadership Claim

Editor:- April 16, 2009 - in a misleading press release issued today by Samsung, the company claimed to be the 1st company to offer SSDs with hardware-based encryption.

"Samsung's new 256GB, 128GB, and 64GB SSDs are the first solid state drives to incorporate hardware-based encryption..."

A simple Google query would have disproved that notion.

Many SSD oems have recently sampled products with hardware-based encryption - including Pretec Electronics, pureSilicon and SandForce - and long before that BiTMICRO started offering real-time full-speed encryption as an option in its 2.5" SSDs in 2002.

Does this mean that Samsung's marketers are ignorant about what's going on in the SSD market? That's unlikely. More likely they thought that such a claim would go unchallenged in most publications and get good PR.

...Later:- in reply to my comments I got this note from Brian Beard, SSD Marketing Manager, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.

"It is our understanding that Samsung is the first to actually begin shipping production-level, encryption-capable SSDs (which began last month). You might also like to know that ours is, at this point, the only SSD solution based on the first industry-wide standard for integrating encryption with storage devices (TCG Opal)."

EScon Launches Encrypted Desktop Storage

Editor:- April 16, 2009 - EScon has launched the Guardian MX-4 range of eSATA connected encrypted desktop storage enclosures for the European market.

EScon's Managing Director, Tony Howard, says "Backing up data to protect against hardware failure or accidental deletion is universally accepted as good business practice, however securing data against theft is less easy to guard against and may not even be recognised as a threat. The focus is most often on ensuring the physical security of the building in which the data is housed rather than on securing the data itself."

earlier storage news

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this way to the Petabyte SSD
In 2016 there will be just 3 types of SSD in the datacenter.

One of them doesn't exist yet - the bulk storage SSD.

It will replace the last remaining strongholds of hard drives in the datacenter due to its unique combination of characteristics, low running costs and operational advantages.
click to read the article -  reaching for the petabyte SSD - not as scary as you may think ... The new model of the datacenter - how we get from here to there - and the technical problems which will need to be solved - are just some of the ideas explored in this visionary article.
top news stories in recent months

April 2009

week 1 - Fusion-io Secures $47 million Series B Funding
week 2 - SandForce Unveils New flash SSD Controller

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
week 2 - pureSilicon Unveils Terabyte 2.5" SSD
week 3 - Thousands of USB Sticks Left at Dry Cleaners
week 4 - World's 1st 2 Terabyte Hard Drive
SSD news
the Fastest SSDs
the SSD Buyers Guide
SSD Jargon Explained
What's a Solid State Disk?
the Top 10 SSD Companies
Increasing Flash SSD Reliability
Data Recovery from Flash SSDs?
How Solid is Hard Disk's Future?
Can you trust your flash SSD specs?
Is the SSD Market Recession-Proof?
Are MLC SSDs Safe in Enterprise Apps?
SSD Myths and Legends - "write endurance"
RAM SSDs versus Flash SSDs - which is Best?
Flash Memory vs. Hard Disks - Which Will Win?
Please End Unrealistic SSD vs HDD Comparisons
War of the Disks: Hard Disk Drives vs. Flash SSDs
Z's Laws - Predicting Future Flash SSD Performance

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