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storage news - January 2009, week 2

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SiliconDrive Blade Gets Editor Award in Electronic Design Magazine
Editor:- January 13, 2009 - SiliconSystems announced that its SiliconDrive Blade has been selected as a "2008 Best Electronic Design" technology of the year winner in the embedded small form factor category.

The awards are chosen by the editorial staff of Electronic Design magazine from announcements they have received during the year. Editor Bill Wong cited SiliconDrive Blade's innovative design as a necessary development in accelerating wide-spread adoption of SSDs in embedded systems.

See also:- SSDs on a chip, industrial SSDs

Seagate Maintains the 3.5" HDD Flow for Market Laggards

Editor:- January 13, 2009 - Seagate today announced 2 new models in its Cheetah 3.5" hard disk range.

Now sampling, Cheetah 15K.7 - is Seagate's highest performance HDD. It spins at 15K RPM and has upto 600GB capacity with a SAS or FC interface.

Now shipping, Cheetah NS.2 - is aimed at power sensitive applications. It spins at 10K RPM and has upto 600GB capacity.

"External storage system OEMs continue to consume the majority of 3.5" performance-optimized HDDs shipped each quarter, whereas server manufacturers consumed nearly all of the 2.5" performance-optimized HDDs that shipped in 2008," according to John Rydning, IDC's research director for hard disk drives. "Seagate's new 3.5" Cheetah disk drives with up to 600GBs of capacity will fill a critical need for both its customers and end users looking to extend the life of existing external storage system platforms."

Editor's comments:- when technology markets approach the end of their market life, they can be more profitable for vendors than products in newer more competitive markets. The 2.5" form factor is likely to be less profitable for a hard disk oem right now - because the performance end of the market is getting pressure from over 40 manufacturers of 2.5" SSDs in addition to traditional HDD oems. So although you may have read elsewhere forecasts predicting the end of 3.5" hard drives - in a recession - there could still be a sweet spot in this market.

See also:- How will the hard drive market fare... in a solid state storage world?

Dave Hitz Publishes Bio

Editor:- January 12, 2009 - NetApp's founder, Dave Hitz has written an autobiography called - How To Castrate a Bull.

It's published tomorrow. ...order the book, ...Network Appliance profile, Animal Brands in the Storage Market, Storage People

New Edition - the Top 10 SSD OEMs

Editor:- January 10, 2009 - today published a new edition of - the Top 10 SSD OEMs.

Based on storage search volume in Q4 2008 - the ranking is the most reliable indicator and predictor of future success in the fast growing SSD market. The article includes a market commentary and summary of movements in the past quarter. The 7th quarterly edition of this series is eagerly anticipated by users and vendors alike. the article

RMI Chip Aims at Consumer NAS Market

Cupertino, CA - January 9, 2009 - RMI Corp announced the availability of a comprehensive reference design kit for the SMB NAS Market.

The solution is based on RMI's XLS Processor, a dual-core multi-threaded SoC which, the company says, supports outstanding networking performance, a rich feature set, and flexible interface options, allowing customers to quickly release a powerful solution for multimedia NAS applications. ...RMI profile, storage chips

Toshiba Announces Groundbreaking 2.5" SAS SSDs
IRVINE, Calif. - January 8, 2009 - Toshiba announced it will start volume production of dual port SAS interface SLC flash SSDs in Q2 2009.

The 2.5" SSDs will have 100GB capacity, and 25,000 read IOPS, and 20,000 write IOPS. ...Toshiba profile

Editor's comments:- One of the enabling factors for the high write IOPS is the use of a non-volatile cache - which was predicted in's article - the Flash SSD Performance Roadmap. This brings the number of oems who have announced SAS SSDs to 6. See SSD Buyers Guide table for the full list. We'll publish a dedicated SAS SSD guide later this month.

pureSilicon Unveils Terabyte 2.5" SSD

Editor:- January 8, 2009 - according to a news report on Marketwire - pureSilicon is sampling the highest density 2.5" SSD - with 1TB capacity in a 9.5mm high form factor.

Sustained read / write performance is said to be 240MB/s and 215MB/s respectively. The SATA SSD has latency under 100 µsec and is rated at 50,000 read IOPS, and 10,000 write IOPS.

The company emerged from stealth mode in October 2008 as a military storage oem - but the new products could find a much bigger market in commercial servers. I asked if compression was involved in achieving the capacity - but was told - no. Internally it's got 128 pieces of 64Gb MLC NAND.

SanDisk Offers Cheap Fast SSDs for Q3 Notebooks

CES, LAS VEGAS - January 8, 2009 - SanDisk Corp today unveiled a new family of 1.8" and 2.5" MLC flash SSDs that will ship in mid 2009.

SanDisk's G3 Series will have capacities (and anticipated MSRPs) as follows:- 60GB ($149), 120GB ($249 ) and 240GB ($499). Anticipated sequential performance is quoted as:- 200MB/s read and 140MB/s write.

"Web-Feet Research has tested the replacement of the HDDs in 3 year old Notebooks with SSDs and has found an improvement in boot times, application loading and general user responsiveness that, in many cases, exceeds what a new notebook with an HDD can deliver," said Alan Niebel, Principal at Web-Feet Research. "In these challenging economic times, IT managers are looking for ways to reduce IT spending without adversely affecting their user base and the SanDisk G3 SSD solution extends the notebook replacement cycle an additional 2 years at minimal cost." ...SanDisk profile, 1.8" SSDs, 2.5" SSDs

Editor's comments:- SanDisk doesn't quote an IOPS figure for these new SSDs preferring instead to quote a proprietary 40,000 virtualRPM to indicate how they compare to hard drives.

The soothsaying in this press release from Web-Feet Research doesn't stand up to any realistic scrutiny. Upgrading your old notebook with an SSD is only an economic proposition if you ignore the cost of the time lost while the notebook is being upgraded - and also the time to perform the upgrade. But it does convey a useful message about what SSDs can do for new notebook performance - as described in my SSD market penetration model.
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M.2 SSDs
hostage to the fortunes of SSD
how fast can your SSD run backwards?
How did we get into such a mess - with SSD software?
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Choosing words which make your SSD product name sound good is an important challenge for SSD marketers. And using inanimate words which suggest Power, Speed and Strength for your SSD - enables you to draw on a much wider set of cultural references than just limiting yourself to animals. But take care that your customers understand them too!
Metaphors in SSD brands
inanimate Power, Speed and Strength

(examples from the market)

Flexxon SSDs for indistrial medical and automotive applications - overview image

IMA (Industrial, Medical & Automotive)
XTREME series SSDs - from Flexxon
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How do you recognize a military SSD? After 30 years of contact with MIL electronics customers and designers I find that easy. So I thought I'd try to compile a simple list of military SSD companies.
here's why I failed
Flashbacks from Storage History
1 year ago - Nanochip Aims to Trash Flash - Nanochip said it was developing a new class of ultra-high-capacity non volatile storage chips. Nanochip said its first products could exceed 100GB per chip set, reaching terabytes in the future, and at a substantially lower cost compared with flash memory solutions.

...Later:- the number of alternative non-volatile memory technologies which have claimed they will beat flash (one day) is close to double digits. Some of these have found niche applications in low density applications - but it's cold out of the incumbator. None of these technologies have yet made it as far as the consumer shelf.

2 years ago - First Terabyte Hard Drive - HGST was the first to announce TB HDDs. Initial pricing was $399.

...Later:- all the main HDD oems followed with their own TB drives. In 2008 the biggest shipping drives were:-
  • 3.5" - 1.5TB - from Seagate
  • 2.5" - 500GB - from various oems
  • 1.8" - 250GB - from Toshiba

3 years ago - Maxell Announces DVD that will Endure - Maxell said that the surface of its DVD-RPRO disks was 40x more scratch resistant and 20x more dust resistant than standard DVD media.

...Later:- DVDs lost the high definition optical format war to Blu-ray in 2008. One of the problems with all "long life" removable storage media is that eventually it becomes impossible to buy drives that will read the archived data. Just as true for optical drives as it was for tape.

5 years ago - Toshiba Introduces World's Smallest Hard Drive - Toshiba's 0.85" hard disk drive was the first to deliver multi-gigabyte storage in a sub-one-inch form factor.

...Later:- today the miniature storage drive market includes nearly 20 manufacturers.

8 years ago - M-Systems Introduces World's Smallest 16MB Single-Chip Flash SSD - This was the first product containing both the flash memory and controller in a single 48-pin Thin Small Outline Package (TSOP).