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storage news - October 2009, week 4

SSD history
what's the state of DWPD?
the Top 10 SSD Companies
flash SSD Jargon Explained
memory channel SSDs versus PCIe SSDs -what's the difference?
Another Last Call for Tape Backup - from Storage Guardian

Editor:- October 28, 2009 - Storage Guardian has launched a 'Dust-Off Your Tapes' campaign to promote its tape to online backup migration service.

"We've seen tapes stacked in basements and hidden in dusty storage closets, and it makes you wonder what will happen when someone needs to restore that information," says Dave Minns, client services manager at Storage Guardian. "What we're telling small-business owners, and the resellers and managed service companies that work with them, is that the time is right to migrate that information from those dodgy tapes to the safety of online backup." History of Migration from Tape to Disk Backup

Editor's comments:-
In the decade that I relied on tape backup I lost data due to various causes including - tape snapping due to optical sensor failing to stop rewind, tape submerged by water, tape chewed up, and data drop-out due to bad media or dirty heads.

In the 2 decades since I switched away from tape - I've learned that every other type of backup also has its own peculiar problems and vulnerabilities too. The key to data survival is diversity in media types and backup software. Any single critical point can fail - and then fail again.

Error Correction in MLC Flash SSD RAID

Editor:- October 28, 2009 - ECC Technologies has published a new article which examines data reliability issues in RAID systems using MLC flash.

In his survey of RAID and error correction related to SSDs the author Phil White said he thinks that "MLC NAND Flash memories should implement nonbinary error-correcting codes such as a Reed-Solomon (RS) codes so that all of the bits from one cell are in one symbol. The communications industry has been doing that for decades, but the Flash industry has been implementing a scheme that forces the bits from one cell to be in separate records (pages) so that one cell failure can cause multiple binary symbol failures – which seems illogical."

I asked him to expand on this for our readers.

In reply - Phil said he doesn't think that most NAND Flash (SSD) companies have a high level of expertise in the field of error-correcting codes.

"Many of the NAND Flash controllers that are out in the market now have ECC Tek's ECC designs in them. None of the controller companies who have come to us have any idea how to implement binary BCH encoders and decoders in hardware. I doubt if any of the Flash manufacturers have that expertise either."

"For years the Flash manufacturers implemented a simple binary scheme that corrected only 1 bit in a page. I don't have evidence to prove this, but I believe the NAND Flash manufacturers simply decided to extend their original scheme to correct N bits in instead of 1 bit to handle higher error rate devices. I also believe that they implemented a scheme for MLC NAND Flash to "randomize" the errors when a cell fails.

"Consider 4-bits/cell. When a cell fails, 0-4 bits may be in error. In order to keep using binary error-correcting codes that only correct bits, they designed the chips so that all of the bits from that cell are in different pages.

"To the best of my knowledge, they never considered using RS codes so that all of the bits from one cell are in one RS symbol. For example, assume a RS code with 12-bit symbols. Each RS symbol can hold the data from three 4-bit cells, and if those three cells happen to fail, it will only corrupt one RS symbol. RS codes can correct t "symbol" errors and s "symbol" erasures as long as 2t+s is less than or equal to R where R is the number of "symbols" of redundancy. The most natural and powerful thing to do is to put all of the bits from one cell in one RS symbol." the article

See also:-
Data Integrity Challenges in flash SSD Design - a recently published article by SandForce.

RDX QuikStor Now 640GB

Editor:- October 27, 2009 - Tandberg Data now offers a 640GB model in its RDX QuikStor cartridge "10 year data life" removable disk archive product line.

This is 28% more than the previous maximum 500GB capacity model. Tandberg Data has shipped more than 150,000 RDX QuikStor drives and more than 450,000 compatible cartridges worldwide. disk to disk backup

Editor's comments:-
You may not be impressed by the capacity - but reliability is more important than density for backup applications.

Originally launched in November 2005 - "RDX uses a patent-pending error correcting format, which makes the data 1,000x more recoverable than in a standard hard drive. This means that RDX-stored data will be readable even after the cartridge has been archived and non-operating more than a decade."

In comparison - if you use standard hard drives for removable disk archiving my own experience is that 50% are unreadable after 4 years and 80% are unusable after 6 years.

SMART Pays Down Long Term Debt Early

Editor:- October 27, 2009 - SMART today announced it used $25 million cash to reduce its long-term debt.

Editor's comments:- I'm not a finance whiz - but this looks to me like the kind of thing a company does when:-

(a) - it has the cash
(b) - it's pretty confident it can generate more, and
(c) - it's strengthening its position for the long term.

Another SPC-1 Record for TMS SSD

Editor:- October 27, 2009 - Texas Memory Systems today announced that its RamSan-620 - (2U 5TB SLC flash SSD, price $220,000 approx) - has achieved a record setting SPC-1 result.

It produced 254,994.21 SPC-1 IOPS with average response time of 0.72mS and at a cost of only $1.13 per SPC-1 IOPS - which is better than any competing RAID or Flash solution.

"We are delighted that the RamSan-620 has joined our RamSan-400 and RamSan-320 to create a dream team of SSDs that is setting the standard for performance and value as verified by SPC-1," said Woody Hutsell, President of Texas Memory Systems. "Our proprietary Zero Quest technology is deployed across both our DRAM and Flash products to ensure that our latency remains the best in the market. This translates into sustained application acceleration and unrivalled value for our customers."

See also:- the fastest SSDs

Foremay Enters PCIe SSD Market

Editor:- October 26, 2009 - Foremay has entered the PCIe SSD market with its EC188 Dragon series - which is now sampling and will ship in volume in Q1 2010.

Supporting both x8 and x16 slots - R/W performance is upto 1.5 GB/s and 1.3 GB/s respectively. Both MLC and SLC models are available. Capacities range from 128GB to 4TB. Sequential R/W IOPS is up to 90,000/80,000. Random R/W IOPS is up to 27,000/12,000.

Features available with the EC188 Dragon PCIe SSD include power outage protection, dual PCIe configuration through a built-in PCIe RAID controller, and active garbage collection. OS support includes Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, Linux, and UNIX.

Editor's comments:- Foremay is coy about publicly announcing prices for the new Dragon models. But the pricing disclosed to me for a terabyte MLC unit looks competitive - as it has to be.

Intel Offers Tool to Retro-Fix Missing Active Garbage Collection

Editor:- October 26, 2009 - Intel joined the growing roster of SSD companies who have announced support for Trim functions.

These benefit flash SSDs which don't have internal fast active garbage collection. The company recommends users install the firmware update and toolbox, and run the Trim function daily to ensure best performance.

pureSilicon Unveils New Military SSDs

Editor:- October 26, 2009 - pureSilicon says it will start shipping its Renegade R2 Series 2.5" SATA SLC flash SSDs later this week.

Sequential R/W speeds are 255MB/s and 180MB/s respectively. IOPS performance is:- 18,000 IOPS random read: (4K) and 1,200 IOPS random write.

The drives are available immediately in a wide range of densities (4GB, 8GB, 16 GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB) in a low profile (9.5mm height) 2.5" form factor and -40°C to +85°C operating temperature.

256GB, PATA, 1.8", and encryption versions will start shipping in Q1 2010.

"pureSilicon is dedicated to providing high-performance, rugged storage solutions to the defense, military, industrial, and government markets," said Jason Breakstone, founder and CEO of pureSilicon. "While many SSD manufacturers are focusing their efforts on the mass consumer markets, pureSilicon is committed to designing and delivering technologies that will provide significant benefits to our customers such as full-disk encryption and data declassification methods. Renegade R2 is designed to operate in the harshest conditions."

pureSilicon says the specs it publishes are "steady-state performance" results. These are achieved by performing proper preconditioning, which prepares the drive for real-world usage scenarios and yields realistic performance benchmarks. Other SSD manufacturers claim 'clean' (new) drive performance specifications on a new drive, and users should expect to see performance reductions in real world use as a clean drive settles into its stabilized (steady) state — once the drive is nearing capacity and is consistently performing garbage collection, wear leveling, and bad-block management.

storage news

 storage news
SSD ad - click for more info
SSD Jargon explained - click to see article
flash SSD Jargon Explained on
Megabyte didn't always understand the signposts
he saw on the trail to the new storage frontier.
top news stories in recent weeks

October 2009

week 1 - Active Media launches market's 1st USB 3 SSDs
week 2 - Storspeed unveils NAS SSD Appliance
week 3 - Samsung invests in Fusion-io

How adaptive is the SSD behavior to changes in itself?

The degree to which this passing of the intelligence can impact behavior in other parts of the SSD - is what I call adaptive intelligence flow symmetry.
11 Key Symmetries in SSD design

Top 20 Storage Articles - October 2009
  1. the Solid State Disks Buyers Guide
  2. the SSD Bookmarks
  3. the Top 10 SSD OEMs
  4. War of the Disks: Hard Disk Drives vs. Flash SSDs
  5. the Fastest SSDs
  6. SSD Myths and Legends - "write endurance"
  7. NAS, DAS or SAN? - Choosing the Technology
  8. Flash Memory vs. Hard Disks - Which Will Win?
  9. A Storage Architecture Guide
  10. the Benefits of SAS for External Subsystems
  11. Overview of the Notebook SSD Market
  12. After SSDs... What Next?
  13. What's a Solid State Disk?
  14. Can you trust flash SSD specs & benchmarks?
  15. RAM SSDs versus Flash SSDs - which is Best?
  16. Z's Laws - Predicting Flash SSD Performance
  17. flash SSD Jargon Explained
  18. the 10 biggest storage companies in 2012?
  19. LVD, SE, HVD, SCSI compatibility - or lack of it
  20. 2009 - Year of SSD Market Confusion?

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Re Foremay, Dragons and SSDs...

Would users buy an SSD just because it has an animal in the name?

If so - what animal should it be?
animal brands in the SSD market

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