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Storage news - May 2010, weeks 3 to 4

the fastest SSDs
the SSD Buyers Guide
the Top 10 SSD Companies
how fast can your SSD run backwards?
Are you ready to rethink enterprise RAM?
SSD Pricing - where does all the money go?
good versus naughty nand flash in the enterprise
Imprinting the brain of the SSD - (SSD branding series)
why the enterprise SSD ASAP hockey stick is flat...

(the problem with) Selling revolutionary SSDs to technology laggards

Editor:- May 28, 2010 - in a new blog today - I share my analysis of why the hybrid / auto-tiering / auto-caching enterprise SSD appliance market has been slow to get off the ground for vendors- and why OCZ being added to Intel on Adaptec's MaxIQ SSD compatibility list - announced yesterday - will not make them rich quick. the article

Storage in the 3rd Dimension - diary note for Creative Storage Conference

Editor:- May 27, 2010 - the Creative Storage Conference invites speakers, sponsors and visitor registration for this 4th annual event which takes place August 3, 2010 at the Radisson Hotel West Los Angeles in Culver City, CA. Preliminary themes for the sessions are:-
  • Content Capture: Many cameras, many effects, many storage devices
  • Soothing the bits, Posting the Passion: Storage for Editing and Post Production
  • Delivering the goods: Storage for Content Delivery
  • Keeping the good stuff to last: Content Archiving and Asset Management
  • So that's what you mean--Entertainment and Media Users Talk About How they Use Digital Storage

Accusys wins award for PCIe SAN

Editor:- May 26, 2010 - Accusys today announced that its ExaSAN has won the prestigious "Best Choice" of Computex Award in the category of Data Storage Products.

Judges selected ExaSAN from a pool of more than 400 products from 170 oems based on the criteria of innovation, technical merit, and marketability. - Accusys wins award for PCIe SAN - click for company profile
ExaSAN connects 2x RAID systems (upto 96 SAS/SATA disks) through a PCIe switch to form a SAN-like system with upto 80Gb/s bandwidth. Optimized features for the video market include "Equalization Mode" which the company says ensures smoother consecutive I/Os to prevent real-time frame dropping in editing applications. See also:- PCIe SSDs.

Memoright expected to show PCIe SSD at Computex

Editor:- May 25, 2010 - Memoright previewed the themes of its SSD display next week at Computex.

Memoright will show visitors new SSDs which meet both the U.S. MIL-STD-810F/G and China GJB standards - which include environmental tests including low pressure for altitude testing, exposure to wide temperature (both operating and in storage), humidity, fungus, salt fog for rust testing, shock, vibration and so on.

As well as extending its range of military SSDs - the company is expected to show a new PCIe SSD - pictured below.
PCIe SSD - from Memoright - source

Seagate launches hybrid for notebooks

Editor:- May 24, 2010 - Seagate today launched the Momentus XT a 2.5" hybrid drive - for the notebook PC market - which internally has a 500GB HDD cached by a 4GB SSD ASAP controller.

Seagate says the new drive is OS agnostic and delivers SSD-like performance at the lower price of a hard drive.

This isn't a new concept - as you can see on this archived product page for the Platinum HDD from March 2008. Except that pioneering old product from DTS was a 3.5" form factor and used a RAM SSD. (Since then DTS has moved on to market a fat flash SSD - called the Platinum M-Cell SSD.)

In 2006 the reputation of hybrid hard drives in notebooks (as a poor man's SSD placeholder) was ruined by the poor performance of Microsoft's ReadyDrive support in VISTA. So experienced users may be cautious about Seagate's new product. Anyone who needs serious PC application performance won't be wasting their time with a hard drive.

When Seagate introduced 7,200 RPM HDDs in 1992 computer users were impressed by its performance. But Seagate's press release headline today - "World's Fastest Hard Drive for Laptop Computers" - is a bit of a joke. Because hard drives aren't fast. ...Momentus XT results on

Violin preparing for relaunch?

Editor:- May 23, 2010 - Violin Memory recently announced a strategic partnership with Landmark Ventures a technology-focused strategic advisory and investment-banking firm.

No details were given but there have been several signs in the past year that Violin is restructuring itself to better cope with the competitive and growth demands of the rackmount SSD market. For example - earlier this month Violin announced the appointment of former Cisco VP Larry Lang to its board.

Violin launched the world's 1st PCIe connected RAM SSD in August 2007 and followed this up in November 2008 with a revolutionary fast flash SSD architecture. Since then it's almost as if the company - surprised by its initial success (the Violin 1010 Memory Appliance was the most popular product viewed by our readers in Q4 2008) has largely ignored the SSD bubble and given the appearance of a company going back into stealth mode.

This was once a world leading SSD technology company - which maybe due to weaknesses in funding or business development skills has not followed up its initial burst of activity with the expected follow up momentum. My guess is that today's cryptic announcement in an indication that the missing parts of the business jigsaw are being put into place.

Nexenta streams online tv

Editor:- May 20, 2010 - Nexenta Systems announced that its products (which include SSD ASAP features) are being used by the Dutch Public Broadcasting Agency NPO for storing and delivering online tv in a configuration which includes 192TB of hard disk drives and a 1.9TB SSD read cache.

The broadcaster's website has approximately 80TB of video available to online users who want to watch previously broadcasted television programs. During an average evening, between 10 and 20,000 people stream data, adding up to 25GB in capacity. The customer (who evaluated multiple vendors ) says that important selection criteria were:- performance, price, support and power consumption. See also:- SSDs in the tv / movie creation, IPTV server and tv viewing markets

Solid Access launches very fast NAS SLC SSD

Editor:- May 20, 2010 -Solid Access Technologies today launched the UNAS 100 a very fast 2U rackmount NAS SLC fat flash SSD - with 2.4TB capacity, 96GB DRAM Cache, 2x 10GbE ports, 300,000 IOPS, 1,000MB/s bandwidth and under 10 microseconds access time.

Editor's comments:- this is the 1st flash SSD system from Solid Access - which has been in the RAM SSD market for 8 years and has often appeared in our directory of the fastest SSDs. As you'd expect - the new system includes enterprise SSD reliability features - and the flash modules are hot swappable and can be mirrored.

...Later:- June 4, 2010 - I was curious to learn more about the flash SSD modules inside the UNAS 100 - so I asked Tomas Havrda, Managing Partner at Solid Access Technologies for more info. He confirmed 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."

SandForce launches SSD chip branding program

Editor:- May 18, 2010 - SandForce today officially announced a branding program called - SandForce Driven SSDs.

Editor's comments:- This effectively confirms's analysis of the company's marketing efforts which we had described in the past year as "SandForce inside" SSDs.

SandForce was already the best known SSD SoC company in the SSD market - confirmed by its high listings in's quarterly Top 10 SSD Lists which have tracked the SSD search volume of millions of readers. The new branding campaign leverages this - and the company clearly aspires to maintain this early lead - in the same way that Intel did with it famous Intel inside program which was designed to obliterate the x86 microprocessor clone makers (and x86 licensees too).

But unlike the Intel program (which played on the fact that you did need an Intel architecture processor chip to run Microsoft's PC operating system) - you don't need a SandForce controller chip to make a fast SSD. That includes SSD companies like STEC, Pliant Technology, Density Dynamics, Micron, Fusion-io (and many other companies) who make SSDs which are faster than SandForce-driven products but use their own proprietary IP.

And even SandForce customers who find it convenient to fill product line gaps with SandForce driven SSDs - don't necessarily want to reveal that to the outside world.

There are many SSD companies I can think of who do use SandForce controllers - but may not wish to join a branding program like this which implies that their SSDs are the same as all the others listed. That could be because they have added their own IP or are adding other high reliability features and don't want customers to think that their products are merely clones - or that their internal technology resources are weaker than they'd like their customers to think.

See also:- Imprinting the brain of the SSD - How the market went from:- Who cares? to You care! about the identity of SSD controllers.

SSD news

Megabyte's selection of storage news
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Significant news stories in past 12 months
Each link below takes you to a week of news.

RunCore samples SAS SSDs - 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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more SSD articles...
"In 2016 you won't need anywhere near a petabyte of SSD to replace a petabyte of HDD."
meet Ken - and the enterprise SSD software event horizon

Imprinting the brain of the SSD
Editor:- How did the SSD market change from:- Who cares? to You care! about the identity of SSD controllers.
click to read the case study - about the SandForce Driven program My article - Imprinting the brain of the SSD - compares SandForce's SSD processor branding program with previous examples in chip history and analyzes key business success factors.

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