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SSD news - 2011, February 15 - 28

the fastest SSDs
the SSD Buyers Guide
the Top 10 SSD Companies
SSDs - reaching for the Petabyte
Branding Strategies in the SSD Market
SSD power down management architectures
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Intel launches Marvell inside SSD

Editor:- February 28, 2011 -Intel launched the SSD 510 - a 2.5" SATA 3 MLC SSD with 250GB capacity and upto 315MB/s sequential write performance which used an SSD controller from Marvell inside.

Atypically the product launch was not followed (a week later) by the traditional recall / firmware upgrades which had accompanied previous Intel driven SSDs.

See also:- consumer SSDs

Dataram delivers missing piece of the ASAP jigsaw puzzle

Editor:- February 28, 2011 - Dataram announced availability of its XcelaSAN Model 100 - a new version of its rackmount SSD ASAP (SAN caching appliance) - with better HA support for mission critical apps.

"The subtle beauty of the Dataram XcelaSAN Model 100 is mid-level enterprise users have the most cost-effective and true plug-and-play fast storage appliance (450,000 IOPS), resulting in ease of integration for existing enterprise architectures. It can be up and running in less than 2 hours in a Fibre Channel server system," said Walker Blount, storage systems analyst at Web-Feet Research. "Users are looking for solutions that are easy to implement and that provide real cost savings – XcelaSAN delivers on both."

new SandForce SSD controllers have adaptive consumer features

Editor:- February 25, 2011 - SandForce today announced availability of its 2nd generation SF-2200 processors optimized for SSDs deployed in client computing applications.

This enables SSD makers to deliver 500MB/s R/W throughput (6Gbps SATA) and 20K sustained and 60K burst IOPS - and are compatible with newly available ONFi2 and toggle flash memory from all major suppliers.

Editor's comments:- enterprise SSD designers were able to get this type of performance from SandForce driven SSDs last year. But the new SSD controllers are lower cost and include many oem adaptable features which are particularly suited for consumer applications - as I learned from talking to SandForce's Product Marketing Director Kent Smith yesterday.

The first interesting thing is the IOPS. You can get the random IOPS performance even when connected to a 3Gbps SATA host. So that makes it a worthwhile upgrade to many existing designs. The way the burst IOPS works is interesting too. In the enterprise chip the 60K IOPS is sustainable - but in the consumer product SandForce has tuned the design so that users can get upto 60K IOPS for about 30 to 40 seconds - then performance drops down to 20K. But after another 40 seconds the burst rate comes back again. This cycling can continue indefinitely. For many applications - which are peaky in nature - this will be good enough - and cheaper than alternatives.

The next new feature in this controller is that the SSD designer can control the power consumption of the chip - by presetting a single code. The SF processor is clever enough to optimize its performance upto the set wattage. That make it easier to design battery operated products which stay within a specified battery operating time - yet still give fast performance.

Another new feature is the ability for SSD designers who want to get good performance in cost sensitive consumer apps - is the ability to remove the RAISE (RAID for chips) feature. In entry level SSDs this provides significantly more usable capacity. Error checking etc remains unchanged - in fact it has been improved in the 2nd generation chips - but the SSD won't survive the failure of a whole memory chip as it can do with the feature enabled.

Surveys show SSDs still have low adoption in SANs

Editor:- February 25, 2011 -Dataram recently announced the results of a survey which they funded into FC SAN performance.

200 people responded to the survey which was carried out by a 3rd party.

48% said they add more storage and/or spindles to solve performance problems. (This is the tradional solution.)

45% said they are considering solid state storage for improved performance and efficiency, but less than 15% have already implemented a solid state solution.

Jason Caulkins, Dataram's Chief Technologist said "The fact that only 15% of respondents have deployed solid state indicates that there is plenty of room for growth in this market..."

Editor's comments:- these results are in tune with a different recent survey by Xiotech which said "only 9% already use or are evaluating SSDs. Another 8% responded that SSDs were in 2011 plans."

These results support the view that there is plenty of upside potential for the enterprise accelerator SSD market - because maybe as many as 80% of organizations which use SANs haven't yet deployed SSD accelerators. See also:- SSD market research.

See also:- estimating future SSD capacity ratios in the server, SAN and archive

what happens in SSDs when power goes down? - and why you should care

Editor:- February 24, 2011 - today published a new article - SSD power is going down! - which surveys power down management design factors in SSDs.

Why should you care what happens in an SSD when the power goes down?

This important design feature - which barely rates a mention in most SSD datasheets and press releases - is really important in determining SSD data integrity and operational reliability. This article will help you understand why some SSDs which work perfectly well in one type of application might fail in others... even when the changes in the operational environment appear to be negligible. If you thought endurance was the end of the SSD reliability story - think again. the article

How and why to monitor VM Performance

Editor:- February 23, 2011 - How to Proactively Monitor VM Performance is a new article on Data Center POST written by Alex Rosemblat, Product Marketing Manager at VKernel - who says "Proactive monitoring of a virtualized data center can assist in finding potential performance problems before they occur..."

Editor's comments:- OK he says a lot more than that - and that's why I mentioned his article here.

I used to do a lot of performance analysis in my pre cut and paste career because I designed systems with guaranteed apps response times. And in my current job I always check my stats before I look at my email. So I have a lot of empathy for the storage test and analysis market. The more you understand about the internals of complex systems the less likely you are to get mugged by them. ... read the article

Super Talent's new PCIe flash SSDs

Editor:- February 21, 2011 - Super Talent Technology announced imminent shipments of its 2nd generation PCIe flash SSDs which uses an SSD controller from Marvell.

With upto 64GB capacity, sequential write speeds are 80MB/s for MLC and 220MB/s for SLC. Read performance is 350MB/s for both flash types.

Editor's comments:- compared to server PCIe cards the performance is unbelievably slow - but the critical thing about this product is that it will also be available as a mini-PCIe card - which will fit some notebooks.

Memoright has new rugged SSD

Editor:- February 21, 2011 - Memoright unveiled a 2nd generation model its 2.5" SATA SLC SSD family aimed at military and defense markets with -40 to +85 degrees C operating temperature and DoD compliant fast purge.

The GTR II - which uses the company's own design of SSD controller - has a regular RAM cache architecture with internal supercaps - which the company says avoids spiky performance. Capacity is upto 128GB, R/W speeds are 210MB/s, and R/W IOPS are 10,000/500 respectively

$800 MSRP for 450MB/s 0.5TB 2.5" SSD

Editor:- February 17, 2011 - PhotoFast announced it will start shipping 2.5" SATA 3 SSDs with 450MB/s write speeds and upto to 512GB capacity ($800 MSRP) to customers in Japan in April.

PhotoFast says their new GMonster3 uses an SSD controller from an unnamed parrtner in Japan. See also:- animal brands in the SSD market, 2.5" SSDs, SATA SSDs.

Link_A_Media sues Marvell re HDD data integrity IP

Editor:- February 16, 2011 - Link_A_Media Devices has filed a lawsuit against Marvell asserting that Marvell has infringed on Link_A_Media's U.S. Patent No. 7,590,927 ("Soft Output Viterbi Detector With Error Event Output").

In the complaint, Marvell is accused of willfully and deliberately manufacturing and selling read channel products for storage devices that infringe the '927 Patent. Link_A_Media is seeking monetary damages and an injunction to stop Marvell from continued infringement of the company's patent.

Link_A_Media 's CEO, Hemant K. Thaparcommented that, "Link_A_Media's pioneering work enables manufacturers of hard disk drives to increase the storage density of mobile storage devices and to lower manufacturing costs for these products. We intend to enforce and defend the intellectual property on our work to ensure that Link_A_Media's inventions are not unfairly exploited."

today's SSD news

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Apps Acceleration Guides
Editor:- 2011 is my company's 20th year publishing enterprise buyers guides. The problem remains the same... How to make server apps run faster. Only the solutions have changed (or become more affordable).

In the early 1990s there were only a handful of SSDs listed in my directories. So what did I spend my time researching and writing about?

In those days the big moves in apps acceleration - which I wrote about in the SPARC Product Directory - were escalating CPU clock rates (which went from 40MHz to 1,000MHz in the 1990s), widening data busses for microprocessors (from 16 bits to 64 bits in the 16 years upto 1995) , the move to multiprocessing support in standard desktop operating systems (starting with SunOS in 1991), the seemingly slow adoption of RAID systems (from about 1987 to 1998), the use of optical links (in early fibre-channel) and ever faster parallel SCSI.

Today the single biggest factor which will advance performance and reliability in all segments of the computer market is solid state disks.

After 2010 - which I christened the Start of the SSD Bubble - SSDs are now indisputably a multi-billion market - with the potential (I think) to grow by another order of magnitude in the next 10 years.

It's always fun (and also a serious undertaking - if you get it wrong) to guess what the future holds.

I've finished my List of 11 SSD market predictions for 2011 - which emerged daily in the closing days of 2010.

In past years these SSD market predictions have accurately anticipated the tone of market twists and shifts.

How about other types of storage? And other people's predictions?
click here for storage market research directory For those looking for market reports, numbers and other educated guesses and analysis - see the companies listed on the storage market research and analysts directory.
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