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Storage news - July 2010, week 4

SSD history
the fastest SSDs
what's the state of DWPD?
flash SSD capacity - the iceberg syndrome
SSD Pricing - where does all the money go?
Write IOPS - inflation problems in flash SSDs
razzle dazzling SSD cell care and retirement plans
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Compression-past company acquired by IBM

Editor:- July 29, 2010 - Storewiz announced a definitive agreement to be acquired by IBM.

Editor's comments:- Storewiz's real-time compression technology was predicated on a legacy model in which there were no SSDs (compression-past). This was a short sighted market view - because SSD IOPS will enable new types of storage array economics - as discussed in my article Reaching for the petabyte SSD (compression-future).

IBM's acquisition may have short term tactical benefits for the company - and help them collect some patent license fees but is otherwise irrelevant.

Dataram's revenue up 70% - increases investment in SSD ASAP

Editor:- July 29, 2010 - Dataram today reported that its annual revenue for the year ended April 30 grew 70% to $44 million incurring a net loss of $1.6 million.

Among other things, Dataram's president and CEO - John H. Freeman commented on the company's SSD ASAP.

"The development of our XcelaSAN product line continues to progress... In August, we plan to release enhanced features and functionality which are currently in development to support sales initiatives. These changes increase the products ease of use, ease of installation and interoperability.

"High Availability systems are expected to be available for sale in December. We anticipate that our enhancements and the shipment of high availability systems will accelerate product sales and broaden market adoption. We have made and are continuing to make significant investments in research and development in XcelaSAN. In part, this investment is being used to develop and implement client recommendations based on their actual test experiences.

"We will require additional financial resources to complete development of these enhancements. To that end, we have entered into an agreement with a financial institution for secured debt financing of up to $5 million. We have also entered into an agreement with a vendor to consign up $3 million of certain inventory into our manufacturing facilities. This will allow us to substantially reduce our inventory carrying requirements while still maintaining our ability to service our customers. We expect that these 2 agreements will generate sufficient additional liquidity for us to meet our operating plans for fiscal 2011."

Fusion-io accelerates 3d movie releases

Editor:- July 28, 2010 - Fusion-io today revealed how it's been helping Hollywood's 3D movie makers.

Fusion-io's SSDs have been used in the production of:- Alice in Wonderland, Avatar, How to Train a Dragon and Clash of the Titans.

Utilizing Fusion-io, the S3D conversion of Clash of the Titans took under 8 weeks instead of typically 6 months using conventional systems.

"Fusion's ioDrives really helped us meet a tough deadline" said Sean Konrad, Project Manager for Stereoscopic Conversion on this project at Prime Focus. "With typical VFX projects, we complete about 20-30 shots per day. The ioDrives (from Fusion-io) scaled our data load capabilities by about 20x. Using Fusion-io drives, each review session covered far more shots and we could continue cycling work in between sessions. We don't have to worry anymore about defragmenting disks, rebuilding RAIDs, or swapping out disks. We are buying many more ioDrives to implement throughout our different locations."

how to make "SSD reliability" believable - marketing case study

Editor:- July 28, 2010 - today published a new article - the cultivation and nurturing of "reliability" in a 2.5" SSD brand.

Reliability is an important factor in many applications which use SSDs. But can you trust an SSD brand just because it claims to be reliable?

As we've seen in recent years - in the rush for the SSD market bubble - many design teams which previously had little or no experience of SSDs were tasked with designing such products - and the result has been successive waves of flaky SSDs and SSDs whose specifications couldn't be relied on to remain stable and in many products quickly degraded in customer sites.

As part of an education series for SSD product marketers - this new case study describes how one company - which didn't have the conventional background to start off with - managed to equate their brand of SSD with reliability in the minds of designers in the embedded systems market. the article

Foremay ships 2TB 3.5" SSDs

Editor:- July 26, 2010 - Foremay announced it is shipping 2TB 3.5" and 1TB 2.5" SATA flash SSDs in its EC188 M-series model V product range.

R/W speeds are up to 200MB/s. ECC is 24-bit. The SSDs are bootable and support all major operating systems.

Editor's comments:- BiTMICRO was the 1st company to announce a terabyte class 3.5" SSD (announced in November 2007). But this unit was a non standard height.

pureSilicon was the 1st company to sample a terabyte 2.5" SSD in a 9.5mm high form factor (in January 2009).

The price of these early TB SSDs meant they were only useful in niche applications. The lower cost of flash today means that this class of product can be economic in providing acceleration in legacy server designs - which combine high capacity and concurrency. Foremay says application examples include - IPTV and VOD servers.

Fusion-io unties storage software from 30 years of data spin

Editor:- July 23, 2010 - Fusion-io recently released what it calls a "Virtual Storage Layer" which provides a set of enhanced programmatic interfaces for optimizing operations which use its ioMemory family of SSDs.

Editor's comments:- I had a briefing with Fusion-io's CEO David Flynn - ostensibly to fill me in on more details about the new software tools - but as you can imagine - once we started talking about what's happening in the SSD market - and what we think might happen - we covered a wide range of topics - enough for several articles.

Infortrend joins the STEC inside club

Editor:- July 22, 2010 - Infortrend today announced it will use STEC's ZeusIOPS (SAS SSDs) in its ESVA F60 product line (FC RAID systems).

earlier storage news

The enterprise SSD story...

why's the plot so complicated?

and was there ever a missed opportunity in the past to simplify it?
the golden age of enterprise SSDs
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Significant news stories in past 12 months
Each link below takes you to a week of news.

SNIA publishes SSD performance doc - July 2010
Anobit aims at SandForce SSD slots - June 2010
SandForce brings branding to SSD chips - May 2010
Nimbus designs own SAS SSDs for arrays - Apr 2010
OCZ gets $15 million funding - Mar 2010
Seagate ships 2TB SAS HDD - Feb 2010
ioSafe launches disaster proof SSD - Jan 2010
Micron samples SATA 3.0 SSDs - Dec 2009
Google's new SSD based OS - Nov 2009
Active Media launches USB 3 SSDs - Oct 2009
Dataram ships auto-tuning SAN SSD - Sep 2009
STEC samples 6Gb/s SAS SSDs - Aug 2009
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The fact that I've only written this article after more than 10 years writing about SSDs and more than 20 years thinking about them - shows that the need for a symmetry based view of SSD design has only become apparent after reading about and mentally evaluating thousands of actual SSDs in all types of markets and being dissatisfied with the understanding I could convey to my readers by using other ways to describe aspects of SSD design.
how fast can your SSD run backwards?

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