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Storage news - August 23-31, 2010

SSD history
the fastest SSDs
the Top 10 SSD Companies
SSD Pricing - where does all the money go?
Capacitor hold up times in 2.5" military SSDs
Write IOPS - inflation problems in flash SSDs
a beginner's guide to semiconductor memory boom bust cycles
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law firm says WhipTail's SSD capacity 4x better than HDD

Editor:- August 31, 2010 - WhipTail Technologies today announced that a law firm customer - Finkelstein & Partners (350 attorneys and staff distributed across 17 locations) had achieved a 4x capacity reduction when using their SSD instead of HDDs in virtualized server apps - due to dedupe and faster IOPS.

PCIe SSDs enable 512 virtual desktops on a single vSphere

Editor:- August 31, 2010 - Fusion-io today showed how its PCIe SSDs can enable users to run 512 virtual desktops on a single vSphere host in a demo at VMworld .

"Fusion-io is changing the way customers think about data-center architecture, driving further efficiency, consolidation and scalability into virtual platforms," said Neil Carson, CTO of Fusion-io. "Fusion's ability to efficiently handle the highly random access patterns prevalent in virtualized workloads, aids customers in reducing the cost and complexity of adding multiple virtual machines."

SSD searches 33% higher than a year ago

Editor:- August 31, 2010 - revealed today that searches for "SSD" this month were 33% higher than a year ago.

We're now 2/3 of the way through the calendar year that I christened the Year of the SSD Market Bubble - so how's it going so far?

It's clear from looking at interim financial data from across the industry - and matching that up with unpublished data from private companies that 2010 will easily end up being the 1st multi-billion dollar year in this market. That's peanuts compared to where the market is headed - but it's a significant milestone in SSD market history.

I do hear a few gripes from vendors that the SSD market isn't doing as well as they expected - these mostly arise from vendors with weak technology whose product managers didn't understand the market when they made their product plans. Customer expectations in the SSD market are being set by the top 10 SSD companies - and not the bottom 10.

StreamStor optical option sustains 3GB/s

Editor:- August 30, 2010 - Conduant announced new optical options for its StreamStor mezzanine data recorders enabling upto 800MB/s per port and 3GB/s for a 4 port confguration and cable lengths upto 16 miles.

Conduant's founder and CEO Ken Owens said - "Our Optical High Speed Serial Mezzanine Board can be upgraded and customized in the field as requirements demand and allows for recording from multiple devices simultaneously in any environment. With our StreamStor technology, all packet formation and management is performed by the hardware so there is no latency or other delays to affect data transmission performance."

SEPATON article on tape dinosaurs

Editor:- August 30, 2010 - Jon Mills, Director of European operations at SEPATON recently published an article - Tape - the T Rex of backup? - which provides anthropological comparisons between tape libraries and these popular creatures.

I guess it takes one soon-to-be-extinct dinosoar to recognize another. My own view is that hard disk based backup will eventually be replaced by solid state backup. So enjoy chewing the spinning magnetic leaves while they last.

Microsemi 's new 16GB PBGA PATA SLC SSD

Editor:- August 27, 2010 - Microsemi now offers a 16GB SLC NAND version of its PBGA SSDs - which are designed specifically for use in the rugged and demanding environments of defense and aerospace applications.

The surface-mountable PATA SSD has an integrated 32-bit RISC flash controller which manages wear leveling, error correction and power interruption protection.

Imprinting the brain of the SSD - MarketingViews case study

Editor:- August 26, 2010 - today published a new article - Imprinting the brain of the SSD - which describes how the SSD market went from:- what's an SSD controller? to "SandForce Driven SSDs". the article

10,000x more reliable than RAID?

Editor:- August 26, 2010 - Amplidata claims that its BitSpread technology is 10,000x more reliable than current RAID based technologies and requires 3x less storage.

Is another new way of fixing reliability problems in hard disk arrays worth the effort just as we approach the end of the hard disk market's life? - I doubt it. See why in - this way to the petabyte SSD.

WhipTail un-races to the datacenter

Editor:- August 25, 2010 - in an effort to improve its prospects in the datacenter market - WhipTail Technologies today announced a new name for its NAS SSDs - Datacenter XLR8r instead of Racerunner - and also unveiled HA options which involve dual failover systems.

The little lizardy creatures are still on WhipTail 's site. Serious SSD buyers aren't scared by animal brands.

pushing the SSD testing rock farther up the hill

Editor:- August 25, 2010 - I'm mostly resistant to the idea of rehashing recent news stories - but yesterday while talking about new SSD technologies a reader asked me to take another look at SNIA's SSD performance testing guidelines - which I reported on a month ago.

I said I had been surprised it took ORGs like SNIA so long to look at these issues - because I had been aware of "Halo effects" in flash SSD benchymarks for years - and commented - "But I guess member led ORGs have a built in lag factor and only move at the speed of the slowest exec members."

The reader - Neal Ekker - whom I knew from his time at Texas Memory Systems - put up a spirited defense for this particular ORG's opus and said...

""...We've all known about the fishy-ness of SSD performance claims for years. But I'd like to draw attention to what an impressive accomplishment the SNIA SSS PTS represents, no matter its technical merits or ramifications. I watched it happen, and I can tell you it was an amazing POLITICAL achievement. And I don't mean that in a negative way. Any time there's more than one person in a room, there's politics. For a collection of engineers representing both their own egos and the interests of their employers to finally agree on even this rather bare-bones beginning standard was just remarkable to observe. I can't begin to give enough credit to some of the chief movers and shakers.

Neal Ekker added - "This is why I want more attention focused on the SSS PTS right now, so we don't lose momentum entirely. There's still plenty of work to be done. We need additional companies and fresh faces and energies to step up and push this rock a little farther up the hill."

Editor's comments:- During the majority of the SSS PTS development Neal Ekker served as the SNIA SSSI Education Committee Chair. He's now a for-hire independent SSD marketing consultant. ...Neal's bio, ...SSS PTS (pdf), Storage People

OCZ dusts off memory flour to bake more SSD cake

Editor:- August 24, 2010 - OCZ today announced plans to wind down its commodity DRAM business and focus more resources on SSDs.

Ryan Petersen, CEO of the OCZ Technology Group, Inc. said - "Our R&D driven SSD business is performing well and is anticipated to be the majority of our revenue going forward..."

Editor's comments:- Once you've got a market acceptable recipe - the profit margins for cake can be much better than those for flour. So if you have a choice it's better to make cake.

The SSD market isn't big enough yet for huge memory makers like Samsung to make the grind or bake decision. They have to do both. But in the distant future it may be different.

STEC made the SSD bake decision in Februray 2007.

HP and Dell battle over unavailable 3PAR

Editor:- August 23, 2010 - 3PAR has become part of a billion dollar acquisition tussle between Dell and HP.

But would you buy software from a company whose home page showed this message today? - "Site Temporarily Unavailable Thank you for visiting This site is currently undergoing maintenance and is temporarily unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience."

...Later:- 3Par-ty tonight – hangover tomorrow? - is a thoughtful analysis of the 3PAR tug of war written by market analyst Robin Harris.

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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
virtual server acceleration mistakes
Editor:- IO Turbine has published a list of 5 Mistakes to Avoid when trying to solve I/O Bottlenecks in Virtualized Servers.

Among other things - IO Turbine says "While many enterprise-class storage providers offer automatic tiering with data migration to and from the SSD storage, these solutions typically take place well after the need for the I/O acceleration has passed."
IO Turbine logo - click to read article ... 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.