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SSD & storage news - November 2009, week 2

... the SSD Heresies
SSD Reliability Papers
can you trust SSD market data?
how fast can your SSD run backwards?
7 SSDs silos for the pure SSD datacenter
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Turnkey SSD Acceleration for Multi-terabyte Oracle - from TMS

Editor:- November 12, 2009 - Texas Memory Systems announced a turnkey SSD acceleration package for Oracle environments called OPERA (starting price $150k, and multiples thereof).

OPERA can improve application performance by reducing latency by as much as 99.7% . The entry-level solution includes 2x RamSan-620 terabyte flash SSDs and a 24 drive SAS RAID for data redundancy. A full-rack solution uses 20TB of RamSan-620 SSDs. All configurations use Oracle's Automated Storage Management. The result is a product that uniquely ensures that every performance sensitive I/O is handled at RamSan speed, at a competitive price point.

BlueArc Versus NetApp Benchmark

Editor:- November 10, 2009 - BlueArc today announced that its Mercury 100 storage system achieved SPEC sfs benchmark results that were 18% higher NetApp's FAS6080 (FCAL Disks) dual controller configuration, while using fewer disk drives for greater spindle efficiency.

OCZ Promises "SandForce inside" SAS SSDs

Editor:- November 10, 2009 - OCZ today announced it will launch a new SAS SSD family based on SSD SoCs from SandForce which will probably be previewed at CES in January 2010.

Editor's comments:- for more examples of who else has already announced SandForce based SSDs (and in some cases is already shipping them) see the article - 3 Easy Ways to Enter the SSD Market.

NextIO Opens Next Phase in PCIe SSD Market

Editor:- November 10, 2009 - NextIO has entered the multi-million IOPS rackmount SSD market via an oem agreement which leverages multiple 225GB / 450GB PCIe SLC SSDs made by Texas Memory Systems.

Available immediately, the 14 slot NextIO application acceleration appliance can be configured and reconfigured with any mix of servers and TMS SSD cards depending on system demands. Pricing for a basic configuration starts at $19,500, which includes implementation, training and onsite application or database tuning assistance.

NextIO will demonstrate a bundled storage appliance utilizing 8 or more TMS RamSan-10 PCIe SSD cards performing at 1.2M IOPs or greater next week at SC09 .

Woody Hutsell, President, Texas Memory Systems said - "Just a few months ago we announced a record-breaking 5 million IOPS in a 40U rack and now with a joint solution from NextIO, customers can realize over 15M IOPs in the same datacenter footprint. This partnership with NextIO provides our customers with a quantum leap in scalable performance by simply combining these 2 world-class technologies."

Editor's comments:- in a little over 2 years the PCIe SSD market first captured the imagination of server architects worldwide and then moved off the page into the datacenter overtaking 2.5" SSDs in blueprints for future enterprise class servers.

Today's announcement is significant. You may ask why? Haven't all the elements in this product mix been available for some while? In some ways that's true:- rackmount PCIe connected SSDs have been shipping since August 2007 (Violin Memory) and very fast PCIe SSDs cards for adding into server slots since March 2008 (Fusion-io), and rackmount SSDs based on multiple PCIe cards since March 2009 (Dolphin). But to my knowledge Dolphin's solution is not available as an unbundled card.

The new thing about today's announcement is it's the 1st time that an already market proven PCIe SSD card from one oem has also been offered in a supported (Dolphin style) rack product from another. That considerably reduces the risk for users - and provides an incremental upgrade path for users who aren't yet in a position to commit to multi-terabyte proprietary rackmount SSDs. For more discussion of open versus proprietary rackmount SSDs see - Market Trends in the Rackmount SSD Market

SandForce Announces $21 million C Round Funding

Editor:- November 10, 2009 - SandForce today announced that it has closed $21 million in Series C funding.

Led by new investor TransLink Capital, the round also included new investors UMC Capital, LSI Corporation, Red Maple Ventures, Darwin Ventures, and A-Data Technology as well as all of the existing SandForce investors –DCM, Storm Ventures, and Tier-1 storage OEMs.

"We have made rapid progress into the marketplace since our launch just 6 months ago, and we are now shipping silicon to top-tier SSD OEM customers," said Alex Naqvi, president and CEO of SandForce. "This new funding will help us through our expansion phase as well as accelerate our new products development that will help us maintain our market leadership."

Editor's comments:- SandForce has achieved remarkable brand recognition for a company which designs SSD SoCs. Here's a test... how many other companies in this category can you even name?

Reputation will become an important factor in buying SSDs next year. Newer SSD oems who haven't already established trusted brands in their own right - may have to start leveraging the reputations of their technology partners.

PS - SandForce says it's hiring. There are 13 jobs available on its website.

ASAPs Webinar

Editor:- November 10, 2009 - Dataram is running a webinar next week (November 18) - Navigating the Maze of Solid State Storage Solutions.

The company says viewers will discover - "How to better gauge your storage traffic to identify bottlenecks and areas where solid state storage can provide a day 1 positive ROI."

Editor's comments:- as I said earlier - will soon publish a new guide to ASAPs (Auto-tuning SSD Accelerated Pools of storage) - and I'm rounding up content and comments on this subject. But the webinar, above, takes place before our new guide will be published.

Storage Market Outlook 2010 to 2015

Editor:- November 9, 2009 - this is a time of year when many of you are working on your storage marketing plans for 2010.

This planning process takes place against a background of long range assumptions which are more confusing than at any time since 9/11.

I've collected together a few ideas which you might find helpful. If you know what's going to happen in the next 5 years - it's so much easier to prioritize your plans for 2010. the article

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New SSD Features - coming soon

Editor:- November 14, 2009 - will publish 3 new major feature articles on the SSD market in the next 30 days.
  • Pros and Cons of ASAPs (Auto-tuning SSD Accelerated Pools of storage ).

    As the number of ASAP vendors heads into double digits we'll look at the risks and benefits.

    How can users easily decide if they should ignore these products - or spend more time looking at them?

    We'll have a simple questionnaire which helps you decide based on your own circumstances. And also a review of recently launched products in this category.

    And in case you were wondering... ASAP - is a new acronym invented by me this morning. I hope you like it.

    It's also a well known abbreviation for "As Soon As Possible" - which fits the role for this type of SSD - because "ASAPs eliminate waits for the SSD Hot-Shot / Hot-Spot Engineer ..."
  • the Problem with SSD Write IOPS.

    Flash SSD random write IOPS are now similar to read IOPS in many fast SSDs. So why are they such a poor predictor of application performance? And why are users still buying RAM SSDs which cost 9x more than SLC? - even when the IOPS specs look similar. We'll tell you why the specs got faster - but the application didn't.
  • Experienced SSD Buyer Seeks Trustworthy Partner.

    We'll be looking ahead at the key issues in the SSD market in 2010. Over 80% of SSD business could be decided by power SSD specifiers who are no longer SSD virgins.

    How was it for you?

    For many it was a rite of passage - and when they choose products for their next projects they'll be looking for more caring, trustworthy partners - not just suppliers who look good in the disco lights. Much of that SSD reputation - good or bad - is already in the public domain. But some is not.
Megabyte is busy writing new articles about his favorite subject - SSDs The new article will also look at key technology and market developments which can be expected in the 2010 timeframe - some obvious (like faster products) - some not. And if you thought that 2009 was the Year of SSD Confusion - next year will be... find out and see.

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