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SSD & Storage news - 2011, January 8 - 31

Hard disk drives
the fastest SSDs
the SSD Buyers Guide
the Top 10 SSD Companies
SSDs - reaching for the Petabyte
Branding Strategies in the SSD Market
Megabyte's selection of storage news
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Xiotech says only 9% of server users already use or are currently evaluating SSDs
Editor:- January 31, 2011 - Xiotech is the latest company to join the crowding SSD ASAP market with the launch of its Hybrid ISE - a 3U FC rack with 14TB of capacity and 60,000 IOPS performance which internally uses a mixture of 2.5" SSDs and HDDs.

Similarly to many other ASAP vendors - Xiotech claims its systems has "fully automated set-and-forget simplicity". The company says that using ROI calculations from weighted I/O counts, automated tiering begins within 1 minute of I/O and continues to manage the performance requirements of applications in real-time.

Editor's comments:- in its Jan 2011 blog - Xiotech disclosed that a customer survey it had done about SSD usage revealed "only 9% in-use or currently evaluating the use of SSD.

Another 8% responded that SSDs were in 2011 plans. Of those who've adopted/currently testing SSDs, over half were using SSDs as part of a storage array. Less that 25% were deploying memory cards added to servers."

Those figures indicate the huge upside which still remains for the SSD market.

See also:- Can you trust SSD market data?, Ratio of SSD capacity - server vs SAN

companies you can trust to speed your SandForce SSD to market

Editor:- January 31, 2011 - SandForce has started a directory of companies, tools, technologies and services to help SSD designers integrate its SSD processors and get them to market more quickly.

Each member company in the new SandForce Trusted™ program ensures that their products and/or services fully support SandForce SSD Processors and provides response to SandForce customer inquiries within 24 hours while committing to high-priority support for fastest problem resolution.

Editor's comments:- 6 out of the 7 initial companies in the new program provide test / design verification products.

See also:- Branding Strategies in the SSD Market

Thousands of SSD users have chosen Fusion-io

Editor:- January 26, 2011 - Fusion-io recently announced that in the past 12 months it has shipped more than 15 petabytes of its enterprise flash SSD accelerators.

To put this into context - EMC said it had shipped 10 petabytes of SSD storage in 2010.

Fusion-io says that more than 2,000 end users have chosen to architect their enterprise infrastructure upgrades with Fusion's ioMemory technology, including more than half of the Fortune 50.

"With 100x the capacity density of DRAM and less expensive on a per gigabyte basis, NAND Flash stands to solve the fundamental data supply problem that has led to 20 percent or lower average processor utilization, even in the face of virtualization," said David Flynn, CEO of Fusion-io. "By integrating flash directly into servers using memory controller methodologies and virtual memory management techniques, ioMemory and the Fusion-io Virtual Storage Layer (VSL) make it possible for even large data sets to be housed effectively in memory. As applications can then utilize the full processing potential of the server, workloads can often be increased by 5x or more."

Editor's comments:- if you're surprised by what this says about the enterprise SSD market, the role of PCIe SSDs within that market and what this says about the position of Fusion-io - then you probably haven't been a regular reader of in the past year or so. You can catch up with recent SSD history here.

Inside Texas Memory Systems' 8GB/s FC SSD

Editor:- January 26, 2011 - Texas Memory Systems today announced the availability of 8Gbps fibre-channel interfaces for its RamSan-630 - fast 10TB 3U rackmount SLC SSDs.

Each unit can be configured with upto 10 independent 8Gb FC ports for a total data transfer rate of 8 GBytes / sec. Ports can be mixed - with the previously available (and 25% faster) InfiniBand.

Editor's comments:- prior to the launch I interviewed Jamon Bowen, Director of Sales Engineering for TMS - and learned a lot about the internals of this SSD which the company has never revealed before. You can learn what I discovered and why the company is disclosing this type of architectural information now - after 30+ years of SSD design secrecy in my article - key performance enablers inside the RamSan-630.

George Crump briefs on Dataram's ASAP

Editor:- January 26, 2011 - George Crump founder of Storage Switzerland published a briefing note about - Dataram's XcelaSAN .

Among other things - he says "The XcelaSAN simply makes your current storage system go faster (by as much as 24X) and you don't have to learn new tools or data protection strategies." the article

Seagate paper suggests HDD market is unassailable by SSDs

Editor:- January 24, 2011 - Seagate has published a point of view document (pdf) which is designed to show that the position of the hard disk market is unassailable in the notebook market - no matter what happens in the next few years with SSDs. I discuss the implications of this in an article which shows the flaws in Seagate's analysis of SSD market size constraints.

the future of data storage

Editor:- January 23, 2011 - the future of data storage is the lofty sounding but aptly chosen title of a new article published online today in Broadcast Engineering - written by Zsolt Kerekes editor of (that's me).

It's a completely new article which synthesizes and integrates concepts from several futuristic articles which have already appeared here on the mouse site and wraps them into a cohesive whole. Anyone who reads it will get a clear idea of where the incremental changes they read about in storage news pages (like this one) are likely to end up. the article

SSD ASAPs will still be needed after hard drives have gone

Editor:- January 21, 2011 - today a reader asked a good question about the SSD ASAP market - effectively asking if I thought some vendors might have missed an opportunity here - because of how long it was taking to get customers to accept them.

When the first ASAPs came to market in 2009 - I commented that the clock was ticking - because I didn't see the need for this type of product once enterprises transitioned to a pure SSD environment in the dataceneter.

I was glad to get the email because I have revised my thoughts about this. Here's the text below from the reply I sent this morning.

I've been revising and updating my long range SSD market model recently - some parts of which appeared in this article last year Something which comes out of filling in the details is that I was wrong to say that SSD ASAPs will have a limited market life. When the datacenter transitions to a 100% solid state storage in the 2015 to 2019 period - there will be an even bigger need for automatic tiering technology between the 3 levels of SSDs in the new storage architecture described in the petabyte SSD article.

That's because the difference in latency between the fastest SSDs and the slowest (bulk storage SSDs) will be bigger than the ratio between hard drives and cartridges in a tape library. That means the best performing ASAPs will still find a place in the market - long after I originally expected.

I initially thought the need would disappear in an environment which was 100% solid state storage. In some apps that will be true. But in bigger enterprises economic realities mean that tiering - between different classes of SSD storage - will still be necessary.

To see how all these pieces will fit together take a look at my later article - an introduction to enterprise SSD silos

SandForce dedupes inside the SSD

Editor:- January 19, 2011 - Did you know that SandForce's SSD controllers do compression and dedupe as some of the tactics to manage flash endurance?

I suspected it - because some other designs do it too - but I wasn't sure.

In the case of SandForce this design approach was confirmed in an article published recently in Electronic Design.

Fusion-io names channel partner in Japan

Editor:- January 18, 2011 - Fusion-io's complete SSD product line will be available to oems, integrators and end users in Japan as part of a new agreement announced with Tokyo Electron Device.

See also:- Storage Resellers in Japan

WD has 50% of enterprise HDD market

Editor:- January 18, 2011 - Western Digital announced the availability of its 2nd generation WD S25 SAS drives (2.5" 450GB 10,000 RPM).

"Over the past 3 years, SAS has established itself as the preferred interface for HDDs in servers and enterprise storage systems, representing more than 50% of all HDDs shipped for enterprise applications in 2010," said John Rydning, research director, hard disk drives at IDC.

Editor's comments:- 11 years ago (see news story below) WD announced its exit from the enterprise hard drive market. It re-entered the enterprise HD market in February 2003 with its SATA compatible Raptor.

But hard drives haven't got any faster in random IOPS in the intervening period. What's happened instead is that consumer HDDs have got more reliable - and the differences between a consumer and enterprise HDD are much easier to manage as an incremental value engineering process in the design. If you want to know where the performance is in SAS drives? It's in SAS SSDs.

why would anyone be interested in past data storage news?

Editor:- January 17, 2011 - I published a new blog today called - why would anyone be interested in past data storage news?

11 years ago I started to archive the weekly data storage news on I was slow in starting a news page and had many doubts about managing an archive. Looking back - it's surprising what the benefits have been. the article

new edition - Top 20 SSD Companies

Editor:- January 12, 2011 - today published the new edition of the Top 20 SSD companies.

The 15th quarterly edition in this popular series is based on market data for the 4th quarter of 2010. Whether you're buying SSDs, selling them, trying to understand what's happening in the SSD market, choosing a strategic SSD partner or want to invest in an SSD company - this is the much anticipated short list which you can't afford to ignore. the article

Alacritech enters SSD ASAP market

Editor:- January 11, 2011 - Alacritech launched the ANX 1500 ($70,000 base price) - a 2U fat flash SSD ASAP optimized for the NAS market - which the company claims can deliver 120,000 NFS OPS when configured with 48GB of DRAM and up to 4TB flash SSD.

new report looks at NAND flash succession

Editor:- January 11, 2011 - Forward Insights and its research collaborators have compiled an in-depth, independent analysis which analyzes the options for various non volatile memory technologies which could become viable in storage after floating gate NAND flash hits fundamental scaling limitations

What's after NAND? (pdf outline) is the product of experts in floating gate and charge trap flash, and resistive and emerging memory technologies. This new report (price $10k) evaluates 3D NAND and cross point memory concepts from Hynix, Intel, Macronix, Micron, Samsung, SanDisk, Toshiba and Unity and concludes with a roadmap till the end of the decade.

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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the standard for enterprise PCIe SSDs
by which all others are judged
ioDrives from Fusion-io
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HA enterprise SSDs - news and articles
"Thanks for the offer, but...
we don't want to deploy any new hard drive arrays.
Not even if you're giving them to us free!"
This classic article described the pivotal future storage market climate in which enterprise users will cease to regard hard drive arrays attractive or usable - even if the cost of buying a new hard drive array drops away to ZERO! - this way to the petabyte SSD
Top 20 SSD articles - Jan 2011
  1. SSD Myths - "write endurance"
  2. the Top 20 SSD OEMs
  3. Magneto-flash wars - HDDs v SSDs
  4. the SSD Buyers Guide
  5. PCIe SSDs
  6. the Fastest SSDs
  7. SSD news
  8. Flash v Hard Disks - Which Will Win?
  9. RAM v Flash SSDs - which is Best?
  10. 2.5" SSDs
  11. RAM SSDs
  12. are MLC SSDs safe in Enterprise Apps?
  13. 3.5" SSDs
  14. SSD market history
  15. 1.8" SSDs
  16. SSD Pricing
  17. SSD jargon
  18. SSD controllers & IP
  19. SATA SSDs
  20. SAS SSDs
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3 things that could have killed flash SSDs
The emerging size of the flash SSD market as you see it today was by no means inevitable. It owes a lot to 3 competing storage media competitors which failed to evolve fast enough in the Darwinian jungle of the storage market in the past decade.
SSD past phantom demons image - click to read the article
The article - SSD's past phantom demons explores the latent market threats which hovered around the flash SSD market in the past decade. They seemed real and solid enough at the the article

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