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SSD and Storage news - June 1-7, 2010

the new dedupe? - Permabit inside

Editor:- June 7, 2010 - Permabit today announced that its high performance data deduplication software has achieved multiple design wins with leading OEMs who will embed it in storage solutions coming to market by the end of 2010.

Permabit says its Albireo dedupe architecture scales to petabytes of network storage (FC, iSCSI, NFS, or CIFS), has application aware tuning and can deliver upto 800MB/s ingest on dual quad core processors with an extremely small memory footprint.

HDD shipments expected to double in 5 years

Editor:- June 7, 2010 - Coughlin Associates has published its 14th annual HDD Capital Equipment and Technology Report (pdf) (189 pages / $7,000).

Fueling the need for more capex the authors anticipate that disk drive volumes will more than double - from about 670M in 2010 to 1.4B in 2015 - and that technology developments will result in HDDs with following maximum capacities:- 10TB 3.5", 5TB 2.5" and 1TB 1.8" .

Editor's comments:- in my article - this way to the Petabyte SSD - I said that the highest capacity 2.5" - bulk archive SSDs - (a product category which doesn't exist yet) could store 50TB in 2016 - which would be 10x the best hard drives - and with better R/W performance and a lower power footprint.

I also said that a key difference would be that the SSD could use wire-speed compression (with minimal impact on R/W performance) to deliver even more virtual storage capacity.

It's the combination of SSD's unique factors which will make the difference in big disk backup systems at the end of this decade - not just the raw media cost / density which transfixes many market commentators. Will there still be a market for hard drives? - Yes. And much bigger volumes than today. But not in the datacenter or the enterprise. See also:- Can you trust SSD market data?

Solid Access reveals fast NAS SSD rackmount has SAS inside

Editor:- June 4, 2010 - I was curious to learn more about the flash SSD modules inside the UNAS 100 - a very fast rackmount NAS SLC flash SSD launched last month . - so I asked Tomas Havrda, Managing Partner for more info.

He confirmed my guess that the internal interface in the rackmount SSD is SAS - an interface with which they are very familiar - having shipped the world's 1st SAS RAM SSD in 2005.

"After a search of almost 2 years, we partnered with a Flash SSD vendor that provided the type of sustained, predictable performance Solid Access required to bring an entry to market. This has always been one of the major attributes of our DRAM SSD appliances and we needed to find Flash technology that reasonably approximates this capability to continue to project Solid Access's image as a high performance storage appliance vendor offering products that will perform next month or next year the same way as today.

"We were also equally concerned about performance drop off from Burst to Steady State mode and our selected vendor has the least performance loss of the vendors we tested or have been able to obtain results for."

He didn't say whose SSD module they use. The advantage of using a pre-existing product is performance and reliability and lower cost in low volumes - compared to the cost of making your own flash SSD which is only a lower cost - if it works and after you've sold enough of them to amortize the cost of the initial design. These tradeoffs are discussed in 3 Easy Ways to Enter the SSD Market.

chipmakers rehash trashed flash cached HDD concept

Editor:- June 3, 2010 - Objective Analysis published a new white paper - Flash Cache is Back (pdf) in which they argue the case for their belief that soon all computing platforms will employ a cache layer between the HDD and the DRAM.

The author Jim Handy points out that early projections from notebook SSD makers that SSDs would already have replaced tens of millions of HDDs were over optimistic and may "never happen". Instead Handy says that a flash cache, supported by a properly designed SSD ASAP controller "will provide near-SSD performance at near-HDD prices".

Early implementations of such flash cache schemes from vendors named in the article didn't work properly - which he says is partly because the ratio of flash to magnetic capacity was too small. The article says that - several SSD controller companies - including Denali Software are working on new solutions. And that it's simpler for these to be implemented in SLC rather than MLC flash. the article (pdf)

Editor's comments:- in my 2007 article - How Solid is Hard Disk's Future? I explained why "entertainment PCs" would remain a safe haven for HDDs for several years. Will a new generation of hybrid storage work any better than previous designs? In a news related article (May 17, 2010) - I listed the reasons I thought the SSD ASAP concept couldn't be scaled down to a single flash SSD cached hard drive. (Which is the opposite view to the new predictions by Objective Analysis.)

And the market opportunity window is short. In my view the magnetic storage industry has 5 or 6 years to do consumer market experiments on this problem before flash SSDs come below the price/capacity TCO of the highest capacity HDDs - which I expect will also involve SLC rather than MLC flash (but for very different reasons). If you're interested in storage cache dynamics see also:- RAM Cache Ratios in flash SSDs.

SSD event - Flash Memory Summit

Editor:- June 2, 2010 is a media sponsor of the Flash Memory Summit which takes place in August in Santa Clara, Calif.

The main theme of the event will be SSDs . Go to to see preliminary info about the 3 day conference, exhibition and how you can take part.

ever wondered - why a NAS from Avere Systems will solve your problems?

Editor:- June 1, 2010 - Avere Systems today published an opinion piece article called - 5 Things to Consider Before Upgrading Your NAS.

It talks about HDDs versus SSDs (a long running theme with our readers) and suggests that buying a NAS compatible SSD ASAP - like the one they design and sell - is a really good idea.

I just use this example to illustrate why you don't see many vendor written articles here on Even if some of the sentiments appear reasonable - the overall quality of the "analysis" in vendor originated articles is often patchy. The sweeping market assertions are often incorrect. And the remedies to user "problems" are suspiciously unique. the article

OCZ's PCIe SSD Saga - episode 5 or 6?

Editor:- June 1, 2010 - OCZ today unveiled the RevoDrive a bootable PCIe SSD with R/W speeds up to 540MB/s and 530MB/s respectively and 75,000 IOPS.

Editor's comments:- OCZ has been announcing successively faster PCIe SSDs since March 2009.

From my viewpoint it has looked a lot like watching a serialized version of the mythical race between the tortoise and the hare - in which OCZ has been playing the part of the tortoise - starting with pitifully slow products compared to industry leaders - in a segment whose sole reason for being is speed - and then in successive episodes seeing OCZ inching upwards in R/W speeds and IOPS through many press releases over many quarters - until by a cunning genetic twist in the plot the tortoise today is starting to resemble the hare we saw back in episode #1.

I'm unclear as to whether OCZ's earlier PCIe SSD "products" were genuine attempts to fill market needs - or merely "web marketing" placeholders - designed to put an RSS stake in the ground for a consumer market which isn't ready to buy this type of product in volume yet - but is anticipating tasty crumbs from the enterprise SSD accelerator banquet currently being hosted by Fusion-io and Texas Memory Systems - and being packaged for take-out in a fat pizza box designed by NextIO. Whatever the past thinking has been - the new scriptwriters are making the OCZ tortoise appear like a more serious character than it was in the pilot episode.

SSD searches maintain double digit growth

Editor:- June 1, 2010 -'s overall readership in May 2010 increased 15% compared to a year ago - for all subjects - not just SSDs.

Pageviews for the SSD Buyers Guide increased 25%, pageviews for the top 5 SSD articles increased an average of 26% and searches for "SSD" (the #1 incoming search term referred from external search engines) grew 42% year on year.

"Thousands of web sites now talk about SSDs" said editor Zsolt Kerekes. "The SSD Bookmarks Series - launched last year - was designed to help readers find high quality external SSD articles recommended by industry leaders. There are more coming in this series - and later a new SSD bookmarks series - will include moderated suggestions from any readers."

Indilinx supplies SSD controllers to Hitachi

Editor:- June 1, 2010 - Indilinx announced it is supplying SSD controllers for use in a hybrid storage module - called the HyDrive - designed by Hitachi-LG Data Storage - which includes a 32GB flash SSD integrated with a Blu-ray optical drive.

"HLDS has been the global leader and technology innovator in optical disk market. With the introduction of HyDrive with INDILINX Barefoot SSD controller solution, we are demonstrating once again that HLDS is the leader in ODD market," said Luke Choi, HyDrive Team Leader at HLDS. "HyDrive will offer all the benefits of ODD + SSD in ODD form factor... delivering the best performance boost and lowest power consumption in the minimal available space."

SanDisk samples new netbook / notebook SSDs

Editor:- June 1, 2010 - SanDisk is sampling higher capacity versions of its netbook compatible SSD modules with upto 128GB capacity.

SanDisk says the "mSATA mini" form factor - which is 26.8mm x 30 mm x 3.4 mm - is its "tiniest" SATA compatible SSD. If you need even smaller SSDs click here.

The company is also sampling 256GB models in its notebook SSD range - the SSD G4 - which has sequential R/W speeds upto 220MB/s and 160MB/s and burst random 4KB performance of up to 600 IOPS.

In an effort to allay user worries about flash wear-out - SanDisk says the G4 is rated for 160TB of writing - which they say is "sufficient for over 10 years of PC usage." However, you wouldn't want to use this drive in an SSD backup system - because in that application it would last less than 2 years.

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Significant news stories in past 12 months
Each link below takes you to a week of news.

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
Denali says flash price slope will flatten - Jul 2009
Fusion-io pitches consumer PCIe SSDs - Jun 2009
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