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SSD & Storage news - August 2010, week 3

the fastest SSDs
the SSD Bookmarks
the Top 10 SSD Companies
What's the best / cheapest PC SSD?
SSD Pricing - where does all the money go?
Adaptive R/W and DSP ECC in flash SSD IP
Efficiency - making the same SSD - with less chips
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Foremay describes secure erase options for SSDs

Editor:- August 20, 2010 - Foremay's CTO, Jack Winters presented a paper - Secure Erase Options for SSDs (pdf) - at the recent Flash Memory Summit.

The paper describes the need for SSD data purge and the 3 techniques which the company supports in its Avalanche Secure Erase Suite.

"In a regular SSD, deleting a file only removes its name from the directory or file table. User data remains until overwritten by new data. Even reformatting the SSD leaves data intact," said Jack Winters, CTO of Foremay, during the Flash Security workshop. "The Avalanche Secure Erase Suite employs various technologies to overwrite or destroy all user data in allocated blocks and file tables, as well as data in reallocated defective blocks." the article (pdf)

Editor's comments:- other hardware data destruction technologies for SSDs are also available from other vendors.

Overland launches tape library patent suit

Editor:- August 20, 2010 - Overland Storage announced it is suing BDT AG - for alledged infringement of tape library related patents.

"We owe it to our shareholders and our customers to protect the technology investments we have made throughout the years," said Eric Kelly, President and CEO of Overland Storage. "We believe our technologies are one of the driving forces behind the demand for tape storage solutions today. Our patented technologies allow us and others to bring to market products and solutions that are more reliable, more secure and more efficient."

Editor's comments:- Tape library market revenue has halved in the past 10 years. (2000 tape library revenue was $2 billion according to Freeman Reports .) But that strengthens the case for defending each remaining slice and crumb.

Fusion-io launches 1.3TB single slot PCIe SSD

Editor:- August 18, 2010 - Fusion-io today announced the availability of a new high density PCIe SSD - which supplies 1.28TB of 3x nanometer MLC capacity on a single card - and also a new oem distributor - Dell.

When used in concert with Fusion's recently released ioMemory Virtual Storage Layer the ioMemory technology delivers significant performance enhancements to achieve nearly 300,000 sustained IOPS.

"The 1.28TB ioDrive Duo is a direct response to customer requests for more capacity from a single device" said Fusion-io's CTO Neil Carson. "Our ability to deliver continually greater performance density attests to our superior architecture's scalability without adding the complexity of embedded controllers, processors, and external power supplies."

Editor's comments:- although other companies have previously launched multi-terabyte PCIe SSDs - those other designs spanned multiple card slots and were power guzzlers.

Update on the smallest PATA SSD

Editor:- August 18, 2010 - Micross Components indicated that a future version of its microSSD (the world's smallest PATA SSD - which has a footprint of 14 x 24 x 1.3mm and weighs only 0.8 grams) may be offered with extended operation upto 105 degrees C.

Objective Analysis predicts 40 million unit SSD market in 2015

Editor:- August 17, 2010 - Objective Analysis predicts that in 2015 nearly 40 million SSDs will ship accounting for over $7 billion in revenues.

"We have followed the same methodology as our earliest forecasts, basing our projections upon interviews with prospective SSD customers. This led to projections that should help participants benefit the most from this market," said Jim Handy, author of their new report unveiled today. "Although our early forecasts were the most pessimistic in the industry, they have been the most accurate."

See also:- SSD market research

ACARD's new disk duplicators

Editor:- August 17, 2010 - ACARD Technology today launched new models of 3 way and 5 way SATA disk duplicators.

The data transfer rate for single HDD is as high as 6GB/min, so when copying 1TB of data only takes less than 3 hours (The actual speed varies according to the hard drive). SATA hard drives can support the 1.5Gbps, 3Gbps and 6Gbps specifications, and supports various commonly used hard drive formats such as Windows, Linux and MacOS.

ACS8503H / ACS8505M is easy to operate, and the hard drive insertion utilizes the no-screw design. After the tray is opened just insert the source and target hard drives and press the start button to execute; there are no need for tools. The LCD displays the progress and status, the hard drive status is easy to read, the user does not require any professional knowledge and can learn how to operate it in a very short time.

The supported HPA (Hidden Protected Area) function can fully backup the data stored in the hidden protected segments of the hard drive.

SMART samples 400GB 2.5" SAS eMLC SSD

Editor:- August 17, 2010 - SMART entered the crowding SAS SSD market with the announcement that it is sampling the XceedIOPS SAS SSD - a 2.5" 400GB eMLC SSD with 26,000 / 20,000 R/W IOPS and 250/230 MB/s sustained throughput.

The new XceedIOPS SAS SSD offers high reliability and data integrity due to extensive error-correction and detection capabilities, multi-level data-path and code protection, data-fail recovery, and data-integrity monitoring. Designed to minimize power surges in SSD arrays the the XceedIOPS SAS SSD supports staggered power-on.

NVELO launches notebook SSD ASAP

Editor:- August 17, 2010 - NVELO launched Dataplex - a software product aimed at PC oems - which provides SSD ASAP functionality inside a notebook.

Since Dataplex works with off-the-shelf storage devices, PC OEMs and consumers have complete freedom to choose any SSD and any HDD, from any vendor.

"Consumers love the idea of SSD performance, but there is still a huge (price) gap between HDDs at $0.20/GB and SSDs at $2.00/GB; as an HDD replacement, the economics simply don't work for all but a very small percentage of the market," said David Lin, VP of product management at NVELO. "With Dataplex, we are making SSD performance economically feasible for a much larger market by using the strengths of SSD and HDD technology together. And we're not talking about simply installing the OS and whatever applications can fit onto a small SSD. Dataplex learns user behavior, and intelligently caches all important data and applications in an SSD device while maintaining the full capacity of the HDD for storage."

Dataplex will begin shipping from select Tier 1 PC OEMs in 2011. NVELO is currently in discussions with leading HDD and SSD vendors to enable aftermarket sales and bundling options for Dataplex, and has begun development of an enterprise version of Dataplex for server systems.

Editor's comments:- if successful - NVELO's product will render obsolete most hybrid drives aimed at the notebook market. In the server ASAP market - it's a direct competitor to the unloved MaxIQ SSD Cache Performance Kit created by Microsoft, taken to market by Adaptec - and now owned by PMC-Sierra.

Skinny SSD architecture suits Slim SATA form factor

Editor:- August 17, 2010 - One of the advantages of skinny flash SSDs is the SSD controller fits into a smaller physical space - because it doesn't need external RAM chips.

That's something which SandForce told me a while ago - and they announced more details about this yesterday - and what their technology can do for Slim SATA SSDs.

"Our customers have been mostly deploying our 1st generation SSD Processors in traditional 2.5-inch drive form factors as they are shipping into existing storage sockets with a defined power-density envelope. Beyond that, we see a growing demand for more cost-effective, smaller form factor designs that our single-chip SSD Processors optimally address," said Steffen Hellmold, VP of Business Development for SandForce. "We are excited to see a whole new generation of SSDs come to market optimized around the performance-power-density that only SandForce can enable at price points for mass-market adoption."

STEC unveils enterprise MLC SSD technologies

Editor:- August 16, 2010 - STEC announced details of 2 technologies the company is using to improve data integrity and reliability in its enterprise market MLC flash SSDs.

These are called CellCare and S.A.F.E.

STEC's CellCare uses adaptive flash access, signal processing, data management algorithms and ECC to improve the endurance of MLC flash components enabling them to handle write intensive workloads for over 5 years without limiting performance.

As technology nodes gets smaller, the failure rates associated with MLC flash components has increased. STEC's S.A.F.E. technology drastically reduces component-level failures.

Editor's comments:- competition from merchant market SSD controller companies is forcing those SSD oems who design their own controllers to reveal more about the internal architecture in their products.

Viking samples slim SATA SSD

Editor:- August 16, 2010 - Viking Modular Solutions is sampling its Slim SATA SSD - which provides upto 120GB capacity and 260MB/s R/W speeds in less than half the size of a 2.5" SSD.

"With this optimized small form factor SSD, communications and embedded applications can realize the performance associated with full size SSDs," said Adrian Proctor, VP of marketing at Viking Modular. "Now, system designers can take advantage of an ideal combination of performance, capacity, power, size and cost." See also:- 1 inch SSDs

Linux kernel will support RamSan SSDs

Editor:- August 16, 2010 - Texas Memory Systems has joined the Linux Foundation to help ensure that its SSDs are supported in the mainline kernel.

"Linux is key to our long-term success," said Jamon Bowen, Director of Sales Engineering at Texas Memory Systems.

SSD Bookmarks - suggested by Dataram

Editor:- August 16, 2010 - today published SSD Bookmarks - suggested by Jason Caulkins, Chief Technologist Dataram.

A year ago Dataram was at the forefront of a wave of companies creating a new market for what I called "SSD ASAPs". It's still unclear which type of approach will be most successful in this emerging market. But you can learn about the issues that impinge on Dataram's technology thinking by reading the articles suggested.

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and other questions which divide SSD opinion
More than 10 key areas of fundamental disagreement within the SSD industry are discussed in an article here on called the the SSD Heresies.
click to read the article - the SSD Heresies ... Why can't SSD's true believers agree upon a single coherent vision for the future of solid state storage? the article
SSDs - the big picture
Editor:- was the world's 1st publication to provide continuous editorial coverage and analysis of SSDs (in 1998) and in the 12 years which have followed we've led the market through many interesting and confusing times.
click to read the story about why SSDs are taking up so much time on so many web pages If you often find yourself explaining to your VC, lawyer or non technical BBQ guests why you spend so much time immersed in SSD web pages - and need a single, simple, non very technical reference to suggest - this may be the link they need.
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Can you trust market reports and the handed down wisdom from analysts, bloggers and so-called "industry experts" any more than you can trust SSD benchmarks to tell you which product is best?
heck no! - whatever gave you that silly idea?

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