Storage news - October
2010 - weeks 3 to 4storage history
remanence in NVDIMMs a new security risk?
|DensBits gets series B
funding for Memory Modem|
Editor:- October 31, 2010 - DensBits has closed
B funding, led by a new investor, Bessemer Venture Partners and existing
investor Sequoia Capital.
"NAND Flash technology is hitting a wall as it is pulled in 2
opposite directions of lower cost per bit and yet, higher performance
requirements for everything from embedded Flash storage, used in smart phones
and tablets, to solid state disks (SSDs) in the data center. Over the past 3
years, we have developed the world's first "Memory Modem," which is an
intelligent Flash controller that will significantly extend the life of NAND
Flash technology," said Ilan Hen, DensBits' Chairman and CEO.
Memory Modem is composed of proprietary
ECC, DSP, and
memory management solutions, specifically designed to overcome Flash memories'
unique problems. Similar to a communications modem, our Memory Modem
dramatically improves Flash
in turn enables memory vendors to continue their cost reduction with smaller
process node geometries as well as higher number of bits per cell. We are
currently working with several leading NAND Flash vendors on their 2Xnm products
and beyond. This latest investment is a testament to our technology and market
leadership, and will enable us to expand our development and support for
ECC for flash controllers
ATP launches slim SATA SSD module
29, 2010 - ATP
Electronics launched a
vertical Slim SATA Embedded
SSD module with 2GB to 16GB capacity and sequential R/W speeds upto
116MB/s and 102MB/s respectively.
ATP's new SSD module has internal
wear-leveling and has drivers for Windows and Linux. Its small size (54mm
x39.8mm x4.0mm) makes it a viable replacement for
2.5" SSDs in
space constrained embedded applications.
Just another new SSD standards group
October 28, 2010 - there's another new
ORG for SSD form factors
the SSD Form Factor Working Group
Among other things - it will make over
2.5" SSDs with
Perhaps it should have been called - the "we think
OCZ is a jumped up upstart"
group. Because OCZ started talking about this idea publicly first - but it's not
part of the club (yet).
OCZ's new PCIe SSD has 4x SandForce inside
October 28, 2010 - OCZ
2nd generation version of its
- a bootable legacy
PCIe SSD with R/W
speeds up to 740MB/s and and 120,000
It uses 4x SandForce
1200 controllers versus 2 (in the earlier model launched in
Capacity options range from 100GB to 960GB.
when you ask the question - why did OCZ leap up 3 places to #7 in
the top 10 SSD companies
list in the last quarter? - the answer isn't that it makes the
It's not even close. And this RevoDrive 2 doesn't use the fastest SandForce
chip either - the SF
But - from what users have said to me - it seems that
OCZ's SSDs are fast enough to make a worthwhile difference in budget
strapped server acceleration applications. And unlike most other products in
this category - they are bootable too - which gives users more flexibility in
tinkering with servers they already know and own.
Fusion-io opens sales office in UK
28, 2010 - Fusion-io
a sales office in the UK..
The phone number is +44 (0)1295 264 33.
Where is that? I looked it up. It's about the middle of England in
Oxfordshire. Although geography is my weakest subject - and a few years ago I
got lost less than 1/2 a mile from my house - and ended up walking for hours in
the wrong direction. And it's the correct number BTW - because I always dial
these numbers before listing them.
I had a chat with a human being
at the end of this number - the UK Sales Manager - Trevor
Cooper - who has a lot of experience in the storage industry and the
He said there were 7 sales people in the UK at the
moment - and although the pattern of SSD adoption in the UK might be different
to that in the US - markets like the financial market and customers using
VMware could get a lot of improvements in speedup and availability - using the
New Dynasty approach
(a phrase which he had already seen on the mouse site - and said was an apt way
of comparing PCIe
versus SAN SSDs.)
Dataram opens new site in Seattle to support SSD
Editor:- October 26, 2010 - Dataram
the opening of a development, test and QA facility in
Issaquah, WA. to support the
expanding resources for its
XcelaSAN FC SAN
optimization appliance (SSD
Dataram chose the Seattle area based upon the rich
technology talent pool and the welcoming business climate. In May 2010,
ranked Seattle in the top 5 most innovative cities in technology.
"Dataram's expansion and opening of a Seattle location dedicated
to the development of XcelaSAN is a reflection of our confidence in the product
and the positive feedback we have received from our customers," said Tom
Mayberry, Director of Product Development at Dataram. "The team at this
location will enhance our XcelaSAN appliance as well as develop additional
leading edge storage technology solutions for customers seeking high performance
and high availability for mission critical applications."
PhotoFast unveils 256GB SSD for MacBook Air
October 26, 2010 -PhotoFast
said it will ship a 256GB USB
SSD for the
MacBook Air at the end of November.
Sustained R/W speeds are
250MB/s. Random R/W speeds are 50MB/s and 30MB/s respectively.
a whole new form factor SSD in the very limited time was quite a challenge"
said PhotoFast's chief engineer Eddie Wang. "Thanks to support from
SandForce, we finally
Jim Handy says hybrid drives will replace HDDs in mainstream PCs
October 25, 2010 - Objective Analysis
has published a new market report
Hybrid Drives Finally Coming of Age? - ($5,000 54 pages).
explains hybrid drive technical principals, the technology's potential market,
competing technologies, and how the NAND, PC,
HDD markets will all be
impacted by this new twist on an old technology.
The report tells
why the technology failed in the past, and forecasts its anticipated growth.
Objective Analysis says this technology was well conceived but poorly
implemented in its first generation. Now that working versions have been
implemented the hybrid drive promises to sweep the PC hard drive market.
"We expect the
market to nearly double every year for the 5 years following its initial
adoption, reaching 600 million units by 2016," said the report's author
Jim Handy. "This
blazing growth will result from hybrid drives replacing standard HDDs in
Editor's comments:- this is the scenario which
Seagate is hoping will
come true - according to their recent statements.
StorageSearch.com's view is that instead of hybrids - users will do better using
vanilla SSDs in light weight notebooks and in higher capacity notebooks
using a combination of vanilla SSD (on the motherboard) working with vanilla
HDDs tuned by SSD ASAP
techniques (controller or software).
The market will decide which
approach they prefer. For more differences of opinion about how solid state
storage should fit in with computer architecture see
the SSD Heresies.
Woody Hutsell to head ViON's acceleration business
October 25, 2010 - ViON
announced today that it has launched a new practice focused on application
To head this new effort, Tom Frana,
President and CEO of ViON, has enlisted Woody
Hutsell, a noted expert in enterprise application acceleration and solid
"After 10 years building the solid state disk
division at a leading SSD manufacturer, I decided I wanted to be closer to the
customer," said Woody Hutsell, Director of ViON's Application Acceleration
Practice. "ViON was the logical partner for my new career as they have
sold, implemented and continue to maintain the world's largest and most
important storage network attached solid state disk installations. Furthermore,
ViON's partnership with Hitachi
Data Systems and other industry leading players allows this application
acceleration practice to deliver best-in-class solutions to the enterprises'
George Crump, Lead Analyst
Storage Switzerland said, "Woody
is known in the industry for helping to build the solid state storage business
for industry pioneer Texas
Memory Systems. Woody's understanding of application acceleration combined
with his expertise in the technology makes him a logical fit to lead ViON's
efforts in this area."
Editor's comments:- if I had to compile a list of the top 10
people in the world who really understand the SSD market's promise and the
complex interplays between technology, applications and market forces - Woody
Hutsell would be up there at the top of my list in the enterprise category.
Over a period of more than 9 years we had countless discussions -
which often concluded that the SSD market was more complicated than most other
people thought. "The SSD market is multi-dimensional" was a memorable
insight of his - and we always agreed that (difficult though it was) it was
essential to improve the quality of user and vendor
ViON's customers will now get access to one of the most experienced and
clearest thinking brains in the industry.
Seagate sold less HDDs than WD in Q3
20, 2010 - Seagate
per cent revenue growth (year on year) for the quarter ended Oct. 1 -
reaching $2.7 billion.
Seagate shipped 49.2 million disk drives in
the latest quarter (6% more than
year before) .
Editor's comments:- superficially this is a
quarter in which WD sold 1.5 million more HDDs than Seagate - but let's
look at the market dynamics re SSDs.
conference call Seagate's response to questions can be summarized as:-
- Seagate views the volume of SSDs as still very small compared to HDDs (in
the 3% to 5% range)
Seagate may be strictly correct - but this semantic
analysis obscures an important market reality.
My own view is that
when the SSD numbers get
next year we're going to find that the SSD market in 2010 was a little over 10%
of the HDD market in terms of revenue.
A bit chunk of that -
in the enterprise - has been
servers rather than HDDs. And - with a few exceptions - most of the
leading SSD companies
are not publishing their SSD sales figures - because they don't want
competitors to know how well (or badly) they're doing.
Seagate spent so many years being an SSD market denier - it will be at a severe
disadvantage if it ever gets its act together with a credible SSD product
- Seagate says its expects that
represent a better option for consumers than
view - which I've maintained since the very first hybrid hard drive idea
surfaced years ago - is that hybrid notebook products are
of space and will give users an unsatisfactory experience compared to
using vanilla HDDs or vanilla SSDs or a
mixture of both.
Why? Because the server oems who buy its hard drives (and who
didn't like SSDs much either
to begin with) will have already
made other plans.
So Seagate will be looking at SSD design slots from the outside of the
meeting rooms where the important decisions have already been made -
sitting at the head of the table.
WD reports 9% revenue growth
Editor:- October 19,
2010 - Western Digital
grew 9% (year on year) for the quarter ended Oct. 1 - reaching $2.4
WD shipped 50.7 million
hard-drives in the
latest quarter (15% more than the year before). WD did not break out
figures for its SSD
OCZ can make 140K SSDs / month
Editor:- October 19,
2010 - OCZ
announced it will
open a new SSD
manufacturing plant in Taipei, Taiwan next week increasing overall
manufacturing capacity to 140,000 units a month.
OCZ said it sold
over 54,000 SSDs in August - 3x the monthly level at the start of this
Lortu simplifies disk backup for SMBs
October 19, 2010 - Lortu
a new family of disk backup
appliances for SMBs that provides
remote replication capabilities.
Models range from 30TB to 600TB
capacity and Lortu also offers a remote backup service, which enables
customers to have a complete backup solution without requiring them to purchase
another appliance for remote
backups or to have their own remote facilities. Lortu says a 5Mbps
internet connection supports replication of about 4TB / day of deduped data.
systems run an internal procedure which prevents the system from running out of
space. They can delete the oldest files in accordance with retention policies
defined by the user, so it's always possible to store new data.
Fusion-io launches partner program
18, 2010 - Fusion-io
today launched a new iniative - the
Technology Alliance Program which help to accelerate the development and
market dissemination of products which leverage the company's ioMemory
"Enterprises around the world are seeking simplified
and consolidated solutions that reduce infrastructure and overhead," said
VP of Alliances for Fusion-io. "One-stop solutions, like those provided
through Fusion-io's new Technology Alliance Program, reduce strains on
resources, remove risks inherent with managing several partners and reduce
expenditures. Working together, we believe we can offer greater value to our
customers who are looking to solve the ever increasing data-intensive nature of
the contemporary enterprise."
Editor's comments:- when
deployed correctly acceleration SSDs can be a business transforming resource.
In the past SSD vendors have cherry picked applications and markets to
get the industry to where it is today. No single company has the expertise to
recognize the opportunities which exist below the shiny surface of the usual
suspects - or the resources to bring hidden market gems to life. So you can
expect to see a lot more collaborations in the SSD market in the future.
Web-Feet reports on Storage Class Memories
October 18, 2010 - Web-Feet
Research has just released its latest technology assessment report on
Flash Memory, DRAM and the rise of alternative Non Volatile Memories and Storage
Class Memories in -
(summary pdf) - price $7,500.
This new report evaluates the
most promising SCM memories: PCM, STT-RAM, MRAM, Z-RAM, ReRAM, CBRAM, QsRAM,
and FeRAM. The manufacturability of SCM storage is evaluated for: CMOx, PCM-S,
RRAM-S, 3D NAND and some claims that SST-MRAM can fulfill the storage function.
There is no easy path for the next technology to really make it but
there are a few front runners that have a slight chance. Each of these new
vendors has been profiled for their technology status, who the principals are,
and how much and who has invested in each company.
Interpreting SandForce's PCIe SSD plans
October 18, 2010 - in an article last year
3 Easy Ways to Enter
the SSD Market I discussed why it's getting much easier for any company
- lured by the attractiveness of the expanding
SSD market bubble
to create a credible new SSD business - in a fraction of the time it used to
take just a few years ago - even if they had little or no previous experience
of the market.
Out of all the market segments the enterprise SSD
market is the most attractive for wannabe SSD T-Rex's for these reasons:-
- the market opportunity for enterprise SSDs is larger than any other
segment - and is 2x to 4x the revenue of the
market - depending which year you are forecasting.
- profit margins for enterprise SSDs are higher than in the consumer SSD
market (although not as high as in
has been a problem for those eyeing the PCIe SSD market - and hoping to get for
themselves some of the business which is going to
Texas Memory Systems,
etc. That is - assembling a product which maintains fast
performance and doesn't
Anyone can put together a PCIe SSD prototype which looks good at a trade show
or in a sponsored benchmark.
- the sales ramp for enterprise SSDs is faster than for military SSDs (where
it can take years from initial qualification to max shipment volumes). And if
vendors are lucky they can offer their enterprise products as a substitute
product which parachutes in at the tail end of another oem's qualification cycle
- or better still - when the pioneer's sales ramp is already under way.
Help may soon be on the way from SSD controller maker -
SandForce launched their
family earlier this month - they said that support for PCIe SSDs is in
their roadmap. Their SAS-3 compatible controller already delivers 60,000 IOPS,
and 500MB/s throughput.
SandForce told me that although some oems
already use their SATA compatible controllers in PCIe SSDs (OCZ and
Seagate who use arrays)
there is plenty of headroom in controller performance for supporting a
native PCIe socket. The issue is market size. When you're selling an SSD
processor you prioritize the highest volume applications for your technology
and work down.
Given the current high level of industry acceptance
for SandForce's SATA SSDs (over 20 SSD oems use their controllers in industrial
and enterprise SSDs) - users can assume that they will soon see enterprise
PCIe SSDs which are even more affordable.
UK Event for those in Energy Markets
October 18, 2010 - there was a light frost on my car windscreen when I drove
(in East Sussex) this morning - and the car thermometer showed 1 degree C
outside. (Inside too - because I didn't run the engine to heat up the passenger
compartment before setting off.)
Fortunately I already moved the
sensitive pot plants (mostly
off the patio into the greenhouse at the weekend - and I've recently filled up
my oil heating tank. At this time of year the level drops an inch or so every
day - which means I can't help thinking about the cost of energy.
companies are different to other types of organizations. And their data storage
needs are different too.
A new event catering for those special needs
will debut next month - Energy Data Storage
2010 takes place November 3 - 4, in Kensington, London
name of this event does lend itself to confusion. When you first see it your
reaction - like mine - might be to think it's got something to do with
designing better batteries for electric cars - or using nuclear generated power
to pump water back up into reservoirs.
But the themes of this event
are:- new ways of looking at backup technologies, designing comprehensive
disaster recovery strategies, data security and the challenges in building and
managing large archives.