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SSD & Storage news - November 2010 - week 3

the fastest SSDs
what's the state of DWPD?
the Top 10 SSD Companies
What's the best / cheapest PC SSD?
Branding Strategies in the SSD Market
Yes you can! - swiftly sort Enterprise SSDs
SSD Pricing - where does all the money go?
Megabyte is wearing his Christmas hat - image for storage news page as we approach that season Megabyte loves reading storage news.
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Fusion-io demos 1 million IOPS SSD card

Editor:- November 18, 2010 - Fusion-io (a PCIe SSD company) this week set new speed records with its double-wide slot ioDrive Octal SSD - achieving 1 million IOPS 6.2 GB/s of bandwidth while offering capacity up to 5.7TB.

Dataram's SSD ASAP accelerates rocket defense science

Editor:- November 18, 2010 - ever since the first SSD ASAPs came to market just over a year ago - I've been curious to know what type of real customers would get a benefit from this new type of technology.

Dataram this week provided a clue. It says that Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab has purchased and installed Dataram's XcelaSAN acceleration appliance for use in its missile defense research. Dataram also provides server and workstation memory products to JHU/APL.

new book - Inside NAND Flash

Editor:- November 17, 2010 - Forward Insights (an SSD analyst company) is one of the contributers to a new book called - Inside NAND Flash Memories.

The publishers say that SSD designers must understand flash technology in order to exploit its benefits and countermeasure its weaknesses. The new book is a comprehensive guide to the NAND world - from circuits design (analog and digital) to reliability.

look again - update on Violin's SSD business

Editor:- November 17, 2010 - Violin Memory (which makes rackmount SSDs) recently unveiled a multi-terabyte SSD cache solution for NAS systems which use NFS.

Violin says its vCACHE expands to 15TB of useable cache and delivers over 300,000 NFS operations per second over 8x 10GbE ports. It uses software from Gear6 which Violin acquired in June 2010 after the software developer had burned its way through $24 million funding and crashed.

Editor's comments:- I spoke to Don Basile, CEO of Violin Memory, and Matt Barletta a few days ago to get a current view of how the company sees itself, competitors and the SSD market. here to read the interview

Intel invests in SSD controller company

Editor:- November 16, 2010 - Anobit today announced that it closed a new funding round of $32 million led by Intel Capital - bringing Anobit's total funding to over $70 million.

Editor's comments:- unlike another well known SSD controller company (can you remember what they're called - without me prompting?) - Anobit is a company which until today has been known by a very small number of analysts - and competitors and maybe even some SSD companies who might be using their products.

I'm sure that - as a result of today's announcement - they will get better known. But it's always much harder when you're the 2nd company in a market concept - and come in much later. Still can't remember that other name? That's why SSD branding will be an important factor in the next year or so.

NextIO demos 4 million IOPS 4U rackmount SSD

Editor:- November 16, 2010 - NextIO (a PCIe rackmount SSD company) demonstrated over 4 million IOPS and 10TB capacity in a 4U SSD system attached to 3GHz Opteron servers at Supercomputing 2010 today.

The new vSTOR S200 - which has 16x Fusion-io ioMemory cards inside will be generally available in early 2011.

Editor's comments:- it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that all you need to do to design a fast SSD box is to stuff a box with fast SSDs. But if the internal bandwidth and latency isn't right - the incremental performance you get from adding each SSD can drop considerably. NextIO specializes in designing scalable PCIe accelerator boxes.

Virident gets 2nd round funding

Editor:- November 16, 2010 - Virident Systems (a PCIe SSD company) announced that it has closed a new round of funding led by Sequoia Capital.

The Series B round was co-led by another new investor, Globespan Capital Partners, together with participation from existing investors including Artiman Ventures who see continued value in Virident's vision for solid-state storage solutions in the enterprise datacenter. The funding will be used to accelerate Virident's solid-state storage solutions and scale to address this rapidly growing market demand.

"Solid-state storage is the fastest growing segment of the storage market. Virident is positioned as the leader in the PCIe-based Flash enterprise segment," said Mike Goguen, a partner at Sequoia Capital. "Virident's Flash expertise has created a disruptive and unique solution to the rapidly growing data-intensive enterprise-class application workloads such as rich media, web2.0, data analytics, and social media. Virident's tachIOn is the first solution that delivers on the growing requirement for Tier-0 storage solutions: fast storage that occupies the space between servers and traditional hard-drive storage solutions on the server-side and/or the storage-side."

Editor's comments:- like mothers, VCs talk up the accomplishments of their toddlers.

Virident is starting to walk in a market marathon which started some years earlier. But by studying the de facto "leaders" in the PCIe SSD market - Virident may be able to steer a course which is easier. The enterprise PCIe SSD market is - in my view - already a year further along the market growth curve (bigger) than Virident's founders probably assumed when they started. There's more business to be had - but customers have more choices too.

SSDs ensure smooth running in Penguin's new IceBreaker

Editor:- November 15, 2010 - Penguin Computing recently launched a new family of fast 160TB DAS RAID storage systems which the company says provides the performance and scalability of 40Gbps InfiniBand environments.

Called IceBreaker - it's designed for high workflow apps like scientific modeling - which don't need the "frills" (and cost) associated with similar capacity SAN systems.

Editor's comments:- I asked the question - does solid state storage feature in any significant way in the new product architecture? If so - at what level and managed how?

Penguin Computing said - "IceBreaker uses Solid State storage for 3 different purposes:

1) - In all IceBreaker units local operating system and user data are on separate disks. For internal OS drive IceBreakers use small capacity solid state device. Motivation for this choice was ruggedness of the solid state devices - failed OS drive would be very disruptive and cumbersome to recover.

2) - In our scalable IceBreaker SX configuration SSDs are used in the Lustre Metadata Server (MDS) node to accelerate the Lustre metadata transactions. MDS node is an IceBreaker 2716 unit with 8 or 16 solid state devices and high performance RAID. High IOps rates of the enterprise SSDs are well suited for this role.

3) For transaction-oriented demanding workloads IceBreaker FX solution can be implemented with an IB 2716 building block populated with up to 16 high performance SSD devices. Depending on the workload requirements this storage subsystem can be connected to application servers or clients using a 10GigE or InfiniBand QDR attachment which closely matches the throughput potential of the SSD RAID array."
Editor again:- Penguins and icebreakers came together in a novel I wrote in 2001 called - Pirates and Goblins - from which the image on the right appears.

Penguin Computing was already featured in my article - Animal Brands and Metaphors in the Storage Market - in which I have demonstrated that mice are not the only animals in data storage.
Penguins watch the pirate ship in the ice field - image from a story on

storage history

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SSD SoCs - on
SSD Controllers / IP
Initializing the SSD prototype kit.
The SSD SoCs directory here on
lists all the companies in the business, and includes
articles and news for people designing SSDs.
what's editor did during a 4 day ftp clampdown
Editor:- November 17, 2010 - thousands of online publishers who use the services of NTT Verio Europe were unable to update the content on their web sites for more than 4 days recently - due to an ftp clampdown in shared servers which use FreeBSD (a form of Unix).

As one of those affected - Zsolt Kerekes - the editor of - first noticed the problem on the morning of Saturday (Nov 13).

"I've been an online publisher since 1996 - and over a period of years moved all my sites to what I considered to be the most stable hosting platform in the industry. In over 14 years the longest technical outage I've experienced - where I was unable to change what readers saw on my site was just a few hours. Being unable to post new articles to my readers was driving me nuts."

"You can imagine how frustrating it has been to have this ftp problem with my NTT hosted sites" said Zsolt Kerekes. "But I also knew - that switching to another ISP could start its own set of problems. The NTT Verio Europe websites have been stable under heavy load conditions and had good uptime for over ten years. The recent ftp problem has only affected a small percentage of the thousands of articles which my readers have seen this week. It's been a huge problem for me - but most readers probably haven't noticed yet."

What does an online editor do in that situation? And how does he/she deal with the problem?

"I started a blog - " (which had over 1 million readers worldwide in 2009) was first published in 1998 to defragment the enterprise storage market - which at one time included more than 50 vertical segments such as RAID systems, tape libraries, optical storage, fibre-channel etc.

In 2003 changed its focus to igniting and accelerating the solid state storage market for SSDs - which until that time had been a niche segment with about twenty vendors. At that time created a market penetration model which showed that SSDs had the potential to become a ten billion dollar a year market. Company founders and start-ups in the SSD market liked what they saw in the model and scaled up their plans accordingly - resulting in the developments we're seeing in the market today.

Analysts will look back on 2010 as - "Year 1 of the SSD Market Bubble." - according to an article published last year

Looking ahead Zsolt Kerekes has also published a roadmap to the Petabyte SSD - and predicts that SSDs will grow to be a $100 billion market by the end of 2019 - as SSDs replace CPUs and hard disk drives as the central foundations in the data driven factories of the future.
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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.
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