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SSD news - June 2010, week 3

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the Top 10 SSD Companies
SSDs - the big market picture
how fast can your SSD run backwards?
SSD Pricing - where does all the money go?
S/e/brand X/ LC - flash wars in enterprise SSDs
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and Super Talent... brings SAS SSD headcount to 14

Editor:- June 21, 2010 - Super Talent Technology entered the 2.5" SAS SSD market by announcing imminent shipments of its ShuttleCraft brand - which includes SLC and MLC models with capacities upto 240GB .

SSDs - the big picture

Editor:- June 21, 2010 - today published a new article - What's the big picture message re SSDs?

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 - this may be the link they need.

And here's a video link to the masterly lyrics of Tim Rice and unforgettable music of Andrew Lloyd Webber - What's the Buzz? Tell me what's a happening? (video) - from the musical that made them world famous.

Storage Superstars

Editor:- June 21, 2010 - CRN published an article called - Storage Superstars which is like a who's who in the storage industry.

new demi-terabyte notebook SSD is battery friendly

Editor:- June 17, 2010 - Samsung today announced imminent volume production of a demi-terabyte (512GB) SATA SSD for the notebook SSD market - the 1st to use toggle-mode DDR NAND which enables sequential R/W speeds upto 250MB/s and 220MB/s respectively while using about half the power of a regular flash SSD of the same capacity and performance.

Furthermore Samsung's new SSD controller analyzes usage patterns to automatically activate a low-power mode that can extend a notebook's battery life for an hour or more. The new SSD includes encryption and supports Windows 7 TRIM garbage collection.

Editor's comments:- apart from French speakers - who would find it natural to talk about a "demi-terabyte" (half terabyte) - the earliest citation I can find for this term is a 2004 article caption in Soon the gigabyte storage age will fade away - and as we head for the petabyte SSD (which will store 1,000TB) we'll get more used to talking about terabytes, their multiples and fractions.

Is "demi SSD" (the terabyte is assumed) easier to say than "five hundred twelve gigabytes"? - It saves time. I hope we'll see more of it.

Violin selects a high gear for NAS SSD acceleration

Editor:- June 16, 2010 - Violin Memory today announced it has acquired the technology assets of of Gear6.

"Gear6's installed base of (over 30 customers) is highly synergistic with our current go-to-market strategy," said Violin Memory COO Dixon Doll, Jr. "Gear6 was founded to accelerate data center applications and solve the I/O bottleneck which matches well with Violin's 'silicon data center' vision."

"Gear6's proven high speed NFS caching combined with the Violin 3000 10 Terabyte Memory Array will allow us to front end NFS installations solving the performance issues of today's NAS devices," said Violin Memory CEO Don Basile.

Editor's comments:- in the search volume based ranking of SSD companies which I get to see internally (we only publish the top 10 or so) Gear6's rank was lower than that of Platypus Technology - a company which has been out of business for 6 years - so I'm not really surprised they fizzled out... as a reader said to me "after they burned $24 millions and didn't have much to show for it."

See also:- Decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise

Macronix research pushes flash density

Editor:- June 16, 2010 - Macronix today announced its research results related to its patented BE SONOS (barrier engineering) charge-trapping technology which could make terabit NAND flash feasible.

Using 3D stacking, NAND Flash may achieve higher data storage capacity and effectively lower fabrication cost without relying on advances in lithography technology. Consequently some memory manufacturers have invested in 3D research recently.

Re tape's protracted demise

Editor:- June 16, 2010 - How tape dies is the latest blog from StorageMojo, Robin Harris.

Tape market's body is still twitching - so it's not technically a corpse (yet) - but the life signs are getting smaller. See also:- Historic Milestones in Enterprise Disk Backup

Fusion-io SSDs deployed in nuclear safety program

Editor:- June 15, 2010 - today it was announced that Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has deployed over 100TB of Fusion-io's dual 320GB enterprise MLC ioMemory modules deployed in ioSAN carrier cards that connect over Infiniband in a testbed project to develop high-performance simulation computing capabilities needed to ensure the safety, security and reliability of the nation's aging nuclear deterrent without underground testing.

With the addition of Fusion-Powered I/O, the Hyperion testbed will deliver over 40 million IOPS and 320GB/s of bandwidth from just 80 1U appliances (2 racks) compared to 43 racks and more power if implemented in an HDD based system.

"This project demonstrates how flash that performs like memory, rather than disk, can scale to the highest levels of performance," said Neil Carson, CTO of Fusion-io. "Equally important, it demonstrates that it is possible to accomplish this with a fraction of the infrastructure."

Anobit aims at SandForce SSD SoCs slots

Editor:- June 15, 2010 - Anobit announced it is sampling SSDs based on its patented Memory Signal Processing technology which provide 20x improvement in operational life for MLC SSDs in high IOPS server environments.

Based on proprietary algorithms that compensate for the physical limitations of NAND flash, Anobit's MSP technology extends standard MLC endurance from approximately 3K read/write cycles to over 50K cycles - to make MLC technology suitable for high-duty cycle applications. This guarantees drive write endurance of 10 full disk writes per day, for 5 years, or 7,300TBs for a 400GB drive, with fully random data (worst-case conditions).

First-generation Anobit Genesis SSDs deliver 20,000 IOPS random write and 30,000 IOPS random read, with 180MB/s sustained write and 220MB/s sustained read.

Anobit says that some of the world's largest NAND manufacturers, consumer electronics vendors and storage solution providers currently utilize Anobit's MSP technology in their products.

"For too long, the high prices of SLC SSDs and concerns about MLC SSD endurance have slowed the adoption of flash memory storage in the enterprise. Anobit Genesis SSDs effectively neutralize both of these concerns," said Prof. Ehud Weinstein, Anobit CEO. "By delivering true enterprise-class SSD reliability at affordable MLC SSD prices, Anobit Genesis SSDs unlock the full promise of solid-state enterprise storage."

Editor's comments:- superficially the endurance delivered by Anobit's SSD controller is better than that obtainable from SandForce - whereas the performance lead is the other way around. For most oems what will be more important is that they do not need to be locked into a single technology supplier to get adequate metrics for their MLC SSD product lines.

See also:- Adaptive R/W flash management in SSDs

Virident Systems launches enterprise PCIe SSD

Editor:- June 15, 2010 - Virident Systems today announced the immediate availability of its tachIOn - a fast PCIe SSD using SLC flash - with 800MB/s sustained R/W throughput, 200K sustained random IOPS (320K peak) and capacity options of 200 / 300 / 400GB.

Aimed at the enterprise acceleration market - the tachIOn's data intergity features include end to end error correction. Endurance is quoted as 24 years at 5TB writes / day.

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"You won't be surprised to learn that almost no-one has ever been able to guess the correct answer to question #3 - what will my next box look like?"
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Significant news stories in past 12 months
Each link below takes you to a week of news.

Indilinx supplies SSD controllers to Hitachi - 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
Denali says flash price slope will flatten - Jul 2009
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