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storage history - June 2009, week 3

SSD pricing
After SSDs... What Next?
flash SSD Jargon Explained
the Top 10 SSD Companies
3 Easy Ways to Enter the SSD Market
How Bad is the Fallout from Choosing the Wrong SSD Supplier?
Crocus Ports MRAM to Tower Fab
Editor:- June 18, 2009 - Tower Semiconductor, announced it has taken an equity position (value approx $1.25 million) in Crocus Technologies, and announced it is porting Crocus's MRAM to its 200mm wafer fab.

Editor's comments:- Crocus's whitepaper - the Emergence of Practical MRAM (pdf) - gives the best explanation I've seen of why, despite so many companies entering the MRAM market, so few useful products have actually come out. It describes flaws in the intrinsic technology which lead to data corruption (similar in concept to read-disturb errors in flash - although completely different physically). It's necessary to fix these problems to enable reliable data storage.

The paper describes the proposed solution and also compares MRAM's data density to other semiconductor memory technologies, including SRAM, DRAM and flash.

91% of Compellent's Customers Want to Evaluate SSDs

Editor:- June 17, 2009 - Compellent today announced results generated through attendee polling conducted at its annual customer conference.

91% of business partners and 78% of customers responded important, very important or critical when asked, "What is your level of interest in evaluating SSDs in your environment?"

NextIO Unveils PCIe flash SSD

Editor:- June 17, 2009 - NextIO today announced it will demonstrate a 12 slot PCIe flash SSD system, designed in collaboration with Marvell later this month.

Each slot will be capable of over 200,000 IOPs and offer 400GB capacity.

Editor's comments:- there are nearly as many companies making PCIe SSDs today - as there are making 2.5" SSDs. And it wouldn't surprise me to see the PCIe SSD oem count to become the larger of the two.

With the growing number of SSD controller and IP companies in the market it's getting easier to design SSDs.

An electronics college graduate could probably build a passable demonstration product as a summer project. But it's another matter entirely - how well such a college demo unit would work in a variety of applications and OS platforms. There's no shortcut to market experience. Users will have to judge how much it's worth becoming beta sites for the mass of new SSD companies flooding into the market.

NextIO is better funded than most students. The most recent $15 million funding round announced earlier this month took their total to over $55 million.

Avnet to Distribute WEDC

Editor:- June 17, 2009 - Avnet has become a distributor for White Electronic Designs

"WEDC products offer defense and aerospace customers unique package solutions with extended environmental performance," said Bryan Brady, vp of defense/aerospace for Avnet Electronics Marketing Americas. "This strengthens our ability to offer distinct product size, weight and performance advantages for high reliability applications."

WD Ships SiliconDrive III

Editor:- June 16, 2009 - Western Digital Solid State Storage announced that it has begun shipping its new SiliconDrive III SSD product family which includes 2.5" SATA and PATA and 1.8" Micro SATA products with target read speeds up to 100MB/s and write speeds to 80MB/s in capacities up to 120 GB.

"SiliconDrive III is the first example of how WD plans to productize solid state technology developed by SiliconSystems. The launch of SiliconDrive III will also enable WD to leverage its global sales and distribution channels to accelerate the adoption of SSD technology beyond SiliconSystems' traditional embedded systems OEM customer base into data streaming applications such as multimedia content delivery systems and data center media appliances," said Michael Hajeck, senior VP and GM of WD's solid state storage business unit. "SiliconDrive III is an ideal solution for OEMs that require increased performance, capacity, reliability and data throughput in their applications."

Editor's comments:- some oems in the small form factor flash SSD market have earned a bad reputation due to shipping sexy sounding products in volume before the design and qualification process was adequately completed.

In contrast - SiliconSystems' SiliconDrives were never the fastest products in their class - but due to the background of its founders - the company's prime concern was to design SSDs that were reliable and stayed reliable. When WD looked at the spectrum of SSD technologies to acquire - an important consideration was this proven reliability - established in millions of products over many years.

Of all the SSD parameters to tweak - the easiest one is to make a product faster. But. as many other HDD and SSD companies have learned you can't quickly fix a reputation for flaky products.

DataSlide Says Revolutionary HD is Closer

Editor:- June 15, 2009 - Dataslide announced it was close to productizing its revolutionary hard drive technology.

DataSlide says it leverages LCD and HDD processes to create an ultra thin massive 2D head array which enables symmetric read and write performance of 160,000 random IOPS with transfer rate of 500MB/s.

"DataSlide's Massively Parallel architecture with 64 heads per surface could saturate a 32 lane PCIe bus," said Charles Barnes, CEO of DataSlide. "The Hard Rectangular Drive has the industry reliability and cost advantages of Hard Disk Drives with superior performance and lower power then Solid State Drives. The HRD is over 60% lower power then HDD and during idle the media has zero power dissipation making it the GREEN storage winner."

Editor's comments:- This journey started 7 years ago - and there are still many marketing hurdles to cross before you can expect to click and add such drives into your shopping basket.

Dataslide made its début in the pages of in 2002 - when it announced it had filed patents for a revolutionary design of hard drive.

In 2004 - Dataslide announced it had demonstrated a prototype (under NDA) with the equivalent of 72,000 virtual RPM and the potential to reach the mechanical equivalent of 12 million RPM.

Is there a place today for such a new technology in the enterprise storage space?

Most hard disk makers have now accepted that SSDs will provide the performance part of heavy transactional loads - while HDDs provide economies of scale for massive content. Meanwhile - within the SSD space - there are many new technology pretenders promising to claim flash's throne at some time in the future. Until more is revealed publicly about capacity and price - the competitiveness of Dataslide's technology can't be judged. And even if that looks promising reliability remains a key question for any new storage technology.

See also:- How will hard drives fare in an SSD world?

Notebook SSD Market Overview - is not pretty

Editor:- June 15, 2009 - published a new article today called - Overview of the Notebook SSD Market.

There's a simple way to summarize the complex view of the SSD Notebook / Netbook market.

Lots of initial hype and optimism that the market would deliver an astonishingly new product experience to users, followed by dismay and disillusion due to a flurry of poorly conceived, badly designed and ineptly executed products. the article

earlier storage news

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top news stories in recent months

June 2009

week 1 - Fusion-io promises $895 520MB/s SSD
week 2 - PhotoFast Launches Fastest ExpressCard SSD

May 2009

week 1 - DDRdrive's new PCIe RAM SSD card
week 2 - Toshiba Ships 512GB Notebook SSD
week 3 - Unity Semiconductor Unveils Flash's Successor
week 4 - Rambus Unveils Faster RAM Technologies
8 Years Ago - June 2001 - from SSD market history

Adtron ships 3.5" flash SSD
click to read storage news from Jun 2001 including this story about Adtron's SSD
$42,000 seems like a lot to pay for a 3.5" SSD today - but it was a very competitive price in June 2001 for this 14GB model. You can see how things have changed in the SSD market.
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Top 20 Storage Articles - June 2009
  1. the Solid State Disks Buyers Guide
  2. the SSD Bookmarks
  3. War of the Disks: Hard Disk Drives vs. Flash SSDs
  4. the Fastest SSDs
  5. SSD Myths and Legends - "write endurance"
  6. the Top 10 SSD OEMs
  7. A Storage Architecture Guide
  8. NAS, DAS or SAN? - Choosing the Technology
  9. Flash Memory vs. Hard Disks - Which Will Win?
  10. the Benefits of SAS for External Subsystems
  11. RAM SSDs versus Flash SSDs - which is Best?
  12. Are MLC SSDs Ever Safe in Enterprise Apps?
  13. Can you trust flash SSD specs & SSD benchmarks?
  14. 2009 - Year of SSD Market Confusion
  15. After SSDs... What Next?
  16. What's a Solid State Disk?
  17. Z's Laws - Predicting Flash SSD Performance
  18. LVD, SE, HVD, SCSI compatibility - or lack of it
  19. the 10 biggest storage companies in 2012?
  20. Overview of the Notebook SSD Market
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