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SSD & storage news - May 2009, week 3

WD Sells Disk Substrate Plant to Hitachi GST
Editor:- May 20, 2009 - WD announced it has agreed to sell the assets of its media substrate manufacturing facility in Sarawak, Malaysia, to a subsidiary of Hitachi GST.

The employees of WD at the facility will become employees of the purchaser. Acquired storage companies, Hard disk drives

FCIA Reports on 2nd FCoE Plugfest

Editor:- May 20, 2009 - the Fibre Channel Industry Association today announced that it successfully completed its 2nd FCoE Plugfest the week of May 12th at the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab.

"This year's FCoE Plugfest was timed appropriately given tough economic times we are facing today – IT decision-makers are looking for savings in numerous areas such as power, space and cooling management while preserving their existing Fibre Channel investments" says Skip Jones, chairman FCIA and director Technology and Planning at QLogic. "Last week's FCoE Plugfest proved that this new technology is ready for prime time and ready to deliver the cost-savings that customers are looking for and underscores the arrival of a new efficient data center." Storage Events, Storage ORGs

Seanodes Warns of Virtual Storage Indigestion

Editor:- May 20, 2009 - in what I initially assumed would be a bland press release yesterday from Seanodes I saw this thought provoking observation from Frank Gana who founded the iSCSI software company.

He said - "The paradox in the 'virtual world' is that businesses invest in VMware Infrastructure to reduce costs and simplify their environment, but then find they need high-end network storage, which eliminates a large part of these benefits. Although the model is sound, Storage Virtual Appliances are not immune from some of the same pitfalls, so we caution users not to trade a headache for a stomachache just because their budget is small."

Seanodes is warning that although IT users are looking at storage virtual appliance to control costs during the economic downturn - there can be hidden costs or technical problems if you choose the wrong route.

Amen to that - I say. Rushing to save costs by tampering with quick fixes to technology infrastructure can be the worst way to go about it. Action is not a substitute for careful research and planning to avoid failure.

Unity Semiconductor Unveils Flash's Successor

Editor:- May 19, 2009 - Unity Semiconductor exited stealth mode and stated its aim to have the lowest manufacturing cost per bit in the non volatile memory industry with a new breakthrough technology called CMOx.

The company said it will ship 64Gb devices in volume in 2011. Unity Semiconductor says it will develop and produce NAND flash successor technologies and products that, in time, will extend into high ]performance embedded and enterprise applications.

"It's a Technology for Terabits that will challenge high volume rotating magnetic media" said Unity Semiconductor Chairman, President & CEO Darrell Rinerson a former executive at Micron Technology and at AMD.

The company, also announced today it has closed a Series C funding round for $22 million. This brings to nearly $75M the total funding to date in Unity Semiconductor.

Inside PCIe Gen3

Editor:- May 19, 2009 - Electronic Design today published a new article - PCI Express And The PHY(sical) Journey To Gen 3.

"PCIe Gen3 will make possible legacy channel functionality at 8 Gbits/s per lane."

The article looks at the legacy of PCIe and the interactions between error correction, data transmission and power saving strategies. And it describes the architectures and strategies required for the next generation of speedup.

See also:- SSD Controllers / IP, storage chips, PCIe SSDs

OCZ Raises Performance Summit for its 2.5" Consumer SSDs

Editor:- May 19, 2009 - OCZ today launched its fastest 2.5" consumer SATA SSDs - the Summit Series - with 200MB/s sustained write and 250GB capacity.

Although not the fastest SSDs in the industry, they are more than 2x as fast as OCZ's Core series launched in July 2008.

WD Ships 2TB Surveillance Drive

Editor:- May 19, 2009 - WD announced availability of a 2TB model in its AV-GP line of hard drives designed for the surveillance market.

Designed to last in always-on streaming digital audio/video environments the new SATA compatible drive (MSRP $299) supports playback of up to 12 simultaneous HD streams.

Editor's comments:- SoleraTec has a whitepaper on its site called - the Video Surveillance Marketplace (pdf) which provides a good introduction to this market.

Samsung Buddies up to Fusion-io

Editor:- May 19, 2009 - Fusion-io announced it's collaborating with Samsung on memory technology for its ioSAN (its PCIe form factor SSD card with dual integrated 10GbE or Infiniband ports.

"Fusion-io has developed new types of solid state storage products, and our work with them will enable enterprises to take advantage of this innovative technology in the very near future," said Jim Elliott, Vice President, Memory Marketing of Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.

...Later:- May 22, 2009 - an article in The Register summarizes recent people IO changes at Fusion-io.

New Standard for 1.8" SSDs

Editor:- May 18, 2009 - JEDEC today published a new standard for 1.8" Slim SSDs.

MO-297 defines the dimensions, layout and connector position for 54mm x 39mm SSDs with a standard SATA connector.

"MO-297 is the first document to standardize a physical outline for a solid state drive. Adoption of this standard has the potential to deliver significant benefits for the industry by creating a single outline for storage suppliers and systems manufacturers to use and reference," said Jim Leidy, Business Development Manager for Tyco Electronics and Chairman of the JEDEC Task Group behind the effort. Storage ORGs

Debunking Tier 0 Storage Babble

Editor:- May 18, 2009 - in a new article published today on I explain - Why I Tire of - "Tier Zero Storage"

You don't need to waste any of your precious brain cells by investing "tier 0 storage" with an importance this travesty of storage jargon really doesn't deserve. the article

Article Peers into Nanocrystal NAND

Editor:- May 18, 2009 - a good article published on Semiconductor International called - Peering into Nanocrystal NAND - looks at factors affecting the potential for future shrinks in flash memory.

The author David Lammers tackles an issue which I know has been worrying many flash SSD designers. He starts with this sobering observation... "As the polysilicon floating gate becomes smaller, fewer electrons are used to store a single bit. Any rupture in the floating gate allows the electrons to leak away, presenting reliability challenges." the article

Super Talent Refreshes Tired Flash SSDs
Editor:- May 15, 2009 - Super Talent today announced new firmware for its UltraDrive ME series 2.5" SSDs.

This includes what the company calls a "Performance Refresh Tool" to fix performance degradation problems in its earlier generation of SSDs.

Although some commentators on the web have attributed such problems to fragmentation - that's completely incorrect! Since the access time for random reads in a well designed SSD is nearly identical for all locations - the real problem in Super Talent's SSDs (and some models from Intel) was due tobadly designed products which were rushed to market too soon without adequate testing. For a deeper look at these issues see Can you trust flash SSD specs & benchmarks? - published nearly a year ago - which first alerted buyers to these problems. See also:- SSD controllers and IP.

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