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Storage news September 2010 - week 3

the fastest SSDs
the SSD Buyers Guide
the Top 10 SSD Companies
What's the best / cheapest PC SSD?
Branding Strategies in the SSD Market
SSD Pricing - where does all the money go?
Write IOPS - inflation problems in flash SSDs
Megabyte loves reading storage news - picture
Megabyte loved reading news stories
about the storage market

click to learn more about Fusion-io's SSD products PCIe, Infiniband etc -  and company
Texas Memory Systems's founder writes about 20 years of DoD SSDs

Editor:- September 20, 2010 - Holly Frost founder of Texas Memory Systems has written a paper (pdf) which describes how variants of the company's newer SSDs like the RamSan-630 have been used recently by the US DoD and Intelligence Community.

In another article he describes some features of their 1st DoD SSD in 1988. The company launched its 1st commercial enterprise SSDs in 2001 - but has continued evolving its defense based array processing capabilities.

Violin ships 40TB 3U "value" SSDs

Editor:- September 20, 2010 - Violin Memory today announced availability of the Violin 3140 - a 3U MLC SSD with 40TB capacity priced at under $16 per GB and $3 per IOPS.

Editor's comments:- Violin says its non blocking write architecture "guarantees spike-free latency under load by making sure there aren't any reads blocked by erases which can be 10ms or more in MLC Flash."

This architecture 1st appeared in the SLC SSD it launched in November 2008. From my understanding of how this works (and it was explained to me at the time) it can deliver data for a read operation immediately following a write to the same addressable block of flash. But you may still hit a bottleneck depending how many successive write / reads are done. The latency will be much less than for most flash SSDs - but still considerably more than for RAM SSDs.

Violin calls its new product a "capacity flash array" - although this is not the same market as the "bulk storage SSDs" described earlier by The best way to think about Violin's latest offering is "value SSDs". That is - products which don't have the fastest performance - or ultimate data integrity - but which nevertheless provide better performance than HDD arrays at a cost well below faster SSDs.

The company's proprietary architecture ensures that less flash chips are needed to build any given capacity than if you built an SSD using a RAID array of 2.5" SSDs (for example). But whether this is reflected in the price you'll have to decide for yourself. See also:- Market Trends in the Rackmount SSD Market.

STEC samples 3.5" RAM SSD

Editor:- September 20, 2010 - STEC today announced it is sampling a new 3.5" dual port SAS compatible RAM SSD - the ZeusRAM SSD - with 8GB capacity and under 23 microseconds average latency and internal flash backup.

Editor's comments:- RAM SSDs don't have the "play it again Sam... as time goes by" syndrome inherent in flash SSDs - because they have genuinely low repeat write latency and can be 10x to 20x faster. In some applications that's a difference worth paying for.

The 1st 3.5" RAM SSD featured on these pages - was the MegaRam-35 (in June 2002) which was a parallel SCSI SSD from Imperial Technology. A year later in 2003 - Curtis marketed a 3.5" fibre-channel RAM SSD - the HyperXCLR - which for many years held the speed records in that form factor. The Curtis unit is still available as too is a similar product from Density Dynamics.

the SSD Bookmarks - WhipTail Tech

Editor:- September 16, 2010 - today published an update to the SSD Bookmarks series (which includes recommended reading from SSD industry thought leaders) - with new links for you to see suggested by James Candelaria, CTO - WhipTail Technologies the articles

SSD Data Recovery - update

Editor:- September 15, 2010 - regular readers of know that I'm skeptical about the claims which most data recovery companies put on their web sites about their abilities to recover data from failed SSDs.

David Foster, General Manager of Memofix emailed me to say - "I was reading what you were saying about SSD drives and data recovery. I agree 100% with your view that most recovery companies cannot deal with most SSD hardware issues. But please remember a large portion of the cases any recovery company sees are the result of file system damaged or corruption .. and these cases are easily handled by any half descent DR company.

"Memofix has only ever seen 3 SSD drives for data recovery and 2 cases were file system damage including a simple deletion case. In the other case we were able to replace a non-memory component and make the device accessible again.

"Additionally we do dozens of USB flash drives with anywhere from 1-4 actual memory chips onboard, so we do intimately understand the intricies of translation tables and putting all the pieces back together."

Editor:- it's good to hear from people who know what they're doing in this new area of SSD data recovery. David Foster also writes a blog in which he discusses storage reliability and recovery in a more informative way than many others I've seen - based on his long experience in the industry.

For example - did you know that 2.5" drives are more recoverable than 3.5" drives? - I didn't - and would have expected it to be the other way round.

earlier storage news

other storage news on this page

TMS's founder writes about 20 years of DoD SSDs

Violin ships 40TB 3U "value" SSDs

STEC samples 3.5" RAM SSD

another $25 million funding - for SandForce

the SSD Bookmarks - WhipTail Tech

SSD Data Recovery - update
SSD Myths and Legends - write endurance
SSD Myths and Legends
Megabyte's ancestor, Sir Squeaks-a-Bit
stood ready to defend the fair flash maids.
Top 20 rotating storage articles & subjects - Sep 2010
  1. HDD - news and articles
  2. Disk backup (D2d) + VTLs
  3. NAS, DAS, iSCSI or SAN? - the choice
  4. A Storage Architecture Guide
  5. NAS - news and articles
  6. RAID systems
  7. SAN - news and articles
  8. data recovery
  9. the Benefits of SAS for External Subsystems
  10. hybrid storage
  11. LVD, SE, HVD, SCSI compatibility
  12. Disk to Disk Backup versus Tape
  13. storage market analysts
  14. iSCSI
  15. Removable Storage
  16. USB storage
  17. disk sanitizers
  18. SAS storage
  19. storage history / news archive
  20. storage interface chips
What's the best way to design a flash SSD?

and other questions which divide SSD opinion
More than 10 key areas of fundamental disagreement within the SSD industry are discussed in an article here on called the the SSD Heresies.
click to read the article - the SSD Heresies ... Why can't SSD's true believers agree upon a single coherent vision for the future of solid state storage? the article
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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