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SSD & storage news - March 2009, week 1

Megabyte's selection of storage news
Megabyte loved reading news stories
about the storage market
... the Fastest SSDs
the SSD Buyers Guide
What's a Solid State Disk?
After SSDs... What Next?
flash SSD Jargon Explained
the Top 10 SSD Companies
Data Recovery for flash SSDs
Are MLC SSDs Safe in Enterprise Apps?
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Pliant Technology Kicks off - the SSD Industry Bookmarks
Editor:- March 5, 2009 - Pliant Technology's VP of Marketing, Greg Goelz shares his SSD Bookmarks in the 1st episode of a classic new series starting today on

The topic of SSDs on the web is clouded by misunderstanding and misinformation making it hard to find reliable information. The new series will include suggestions for SSD links and articles from SSD visionaries and thought leaders at the pinnacle of the SSD market which introduce you to quality vetted resources outside the well known StorageSearch space.

Winchester Systems Unveils Rugged Rackmount SSD RAID

Editor:- March 5, 2009 - Winchester Systems says its will launch a range of rugged rackmount SSDs next week at FOSE .

Among the new products is a 1U RAID 5 / 6 protected rugged SSD array - the RX-1300 FlashDisk - which houses 12x 2.5" SSDs. Interface options for the array include SAS, FC and PCIe.

"Customers find that they need field deployable storage and servers that exceed standard commercial capabilities but not full military rugged specifications or prices," explained Joel Leider, the company's CEO. "Our rugged storage and servers provide extra security and protection against dust, rain, shock and vibration at COTS prices which are about half of full military standard costs."

The US Army has approved these units for field use. They are deployed in harsh environments worldwide in HUMVEEs and stationary shelters.

Creative Storage Conference Invites Visitors and Sponsors
Editor:- March 4, 2009 - The 3rd Annual Creative Storage Conference will be held in conjunction with the The NAB Show at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas on April 19, 2009.
Registration for CS09 visitors opened today. Price for the 1 day event is $295 until April 10th - and $395 thereafter.

The organizers say sponsorships and exhibits are still available.

See also:- Storage Events
Creative Storage Conference

Solid Access Breaks the $10K Price Barrier for 16GB Enterprise RAM SSD

Editor:- March 4, 2009 - Solid Access Technologies announced today it has broken the $10,000 price barrier for a high performance rackmount RAM SSD.

It's offering a 2U 16GB FC or SAS connected USSD 200 model for just $9,900.

Fast IOPs and fast ROI can go together if you've got the right applications. The company has published a white paper (pdf) which shows what one customer in the GIS market did with this entry level configuration. Their current Q1 2009 price lists go all the way up to $375k for a 1TB 8 port 4Gbps FC model.

On a historical note - Solid Access was the first SSD manufacturer to display end user pricing online for the full range of its enterprise SSD products - back in April 2006. Before that SSD oems were coy due to the ever volatile nature of memory pricing. That strategy seems to be paying off - because in 2008 - the company's sales grew more than 400%.

A-DATA Launches 512GB 2.5" SSD

Editor:- March 3, 2009 - A-DATA launched a 512GB 2.5" flash SSD today at CeBIT.

The dual interface (USB and SATA) compatible SSD has R/W speeds upto 230MB/s and 160MB/s respectively, and is aimed at notebooks.

A-DATA's press release mistakenly claims this is the highest capacity 2.5" SSD.

Pretec Samples Highest Capacity ExpressCard SSD

Editor:- March 3, 2009 - Pretec Electronics announced today it is sampling a 128GB ExpressCard SSD for the notebook market with 38/30MB/s R/W speeds and hardware encryption.

Volume shipments are expected next month.

Other ExpressCard SSD oems listed in the SSD Buyers Guide include:- A-DATA, Cenatek, Lexar Media, PQI, Transcend and Verbatim

HP oems Fusion-io's SSD Accelerator Technology

Editor:- March 3, 2009 - Fusion-io announced an oem deal with HP whose new PCIe based StorageWorks IO Accelerator for for HP BladeSystem c-Class servers is based on Fusion's ioMemory SSD technology.

A low level formatting tool for the HP SSD enables users to choose what level of over-provisioning is used - as a performance tweaking option.

What's Holding up the SSD market? - Podcast on

Editor:- March 3, 2009 - has posted an interview with Tom Coughlin on the subject of - 'What's Holding up the SSD market?'"

In this 20 minute podcast Coughlin discusses many of the uncertainties and complicating factors that will have to be resolved before flash SSDs can significantly displace magnetic media in the broad range of computing products.

Among the many insights:- many new flash SSD oems aiming at the notebook market just don't know enough about what happens to hard disks in all the many applications they are used in, and this is a multi-year learning curve. - I'd certainly agree with that. In my view there are many hastily designed SSDs in the market which merely represent what the designer could cut and paste from their own IP, sometimes tweaked to look good in benchmarks.

In the server acceleration space (sometimes referred to as tier zero storage) - Coughlin is asked what proportion of this market for hard drives is accessible to SSDs. In line with long established SSD industry thinking Coughlin says that SSDs don't replace hard drives - but that maybe about 1 in 10 drives could usefully be deployed as SSDs. Tom also talks about the importance of Storage Events. ...hear the article, ...Coughlin Associates profile, 100+ articles about SSDs

DOJ Investigates EMC

Editor:- March 3, 2009 - an article today in discusses EMC's disclosure that it is being investigated by the DOJ.

These matters were disclosed in an SEC filing yesterday. ...EMC profile

AFN Manages Video Content with Front Porch Digital

LOUISVILLE, Colo. - March 2, 2009 - Front Porch Digital today announced that the American Forces Network broadcast center has implemented the company's systems to support management, retrieval, and long-term preservation of video content.

From its Riverside, Calif., facility, AFN provides radio and television programming to approximately 900,000 U.S. service men and women, Department of Defense civilians, and families stationed outside the United States. By means of 12 full-time television channels, AFN offers entertainment and information to personnel located in 177 countries and on Navy ships at sea.

"AFN's mandate is to provide 'a taste of home' to U.S. personnel and dependents the world over," said Mike Knaisch, president of Front Porch Digital. "Front Porch Digital's content storage management solutions constitute a flexible, scalable, and cost-effective way to manage video programming content in support of that important mission." ...Front Porch Digital profile, Storage Services, Military & Rugged Storage

Some Hard Disk Markets May Grow - Despite Recession

Editor:- March 2, 2009 - a mixed picture is starting to emerge about storage winners and losers in the current recession.

The single biggest winner still looks like being the SSD market. But even within the battered hard disk market there are signs of both winning as well as losing categories.

In February 2009 - pageviews on the HDD Duplicators page here on declined by 18% compared to the year ago period. These products are mainly purchased by systems integrators and oems rather than end-users. With PC and server volumes in declining year on year - there are enough of these duplicator systems in place already - without the need to buy more.

In contrast, due to growing user awareness and fears about storage data security, pageviews for Disk Sanitizers (some of which are essentially disk duplicators populated by different firmware) increased 5% in the same period. It's the end-user community which drives the market for storage sanitizers. Responsible organizations want to ensure that disk drives with sensitive financial, customer. medical, legal or other information are properly cleansed when those assets are disposed of.

Meanwhile pageviews for the top 5 SSD articles in February 2009 grew 51% year on year.

Spansion Files for Bankruptcy

SUNNYVALE, Calif. - March 1, 2009 - Spansion Inc. the world's largest pure-play provider of flash memory solutions, today filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

The company believes that its current and anticipated cash resources will be sufficient to pay its expenses and maintain its business operations while it explores and implements options to address its long-term cash needs. Spansion emphasized that it intends to maintain customer service throughout the reorganization. ...Spansion profile, Flash Memory Chips & Cards

Analyst comments:-
Jim Handy at Objective Analysis explores what is likely to happen next? (pdf)

NetApp's Denise Ridolfo Joins SNIA Europe Board

Editor:- March 2, 2009 - SNIA Europe announced today the recent appointment of NetApp's Denise Ridolfo to its Board of Directors.

Ridolfo, who is based in the USA and France, is NetApp's Industry & Standards Operations Manager, reporting into the CTO Office, and represents the company in various industry associations. Ridolfo has spent over 15 years in the IT and storage networking industry. Storage People

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Why should you care what happens in an SSD when the power goes down?

This important design feature - which barely rates a mention in most SSD datasheets and press releases - is really important in determining SSD data integrity and operational reliability.

This article (which has become unexpectedly popular) will help you understand why some SSDs which work perfectly well in one type of application might fail in others... even when the changes in the operational environment appear to be negligible.
image shows Megabyte's hot air balloon - click to read the article SSD power down architectures and acharacteristics If you thought endurance was the end of the SSD reliability story - think again. the article
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