top 50 SSD articles
3 fastest PCIe SSDs list(s)
SSD market research &
sudden power loss
|STEC loses ground in
enterprise SSD war|
Editor:- July 29, 2011 - STEC yesterday
year on year revenue growth of 35% for the 2nd quarter of 2011 -
but its revenue was 13% lower than in
company said it had lost business in its traditional oem customer slots to
lower cost competing SATA
SSDs and SAS SSDs
- but it hoped that its next generation SSDs in mid 2012 would enable STEC to
reposition itself as a price leader due to a combination of new ASIC and
Editor's comments:- as I said in the
top 20 SSD companies
- STEC has been marketing its products for the past several years as
though it were still 1 of 10 SSD companies instead of just one among hundreds.
Its customers have many choices and as they
learn more about SSDs
themselves - they can be more confident about selecting
what features they are
willing to pay for.
Another weakness in STEC's enterprise SSD
strategy is that the company is 3 to 4 years behind the market leaders in its
involvement and shipments of
PCIe SSDs. Fighting a
market share war in today's
market without a mature PCIe product is as unrealistic as if
Washington set out to fight the
redcoats but was armed with only bows and arrows.
RunCore opens US sales office
Editor:- July 29, 2011
- RunCore has
opened its first international sales office outside its original roots in
China. The new office - which will handle sales and distribution is in San
"We are very excited about this opportunity,"
said Limuel Yap,
General Manager of RunCore USA.
new DRAM market report
Editor:- July 27, 2011 -
published a new edition of its
Market Tracker ($2,800 quarterly / $6,450 annually) which provides the
latest market trends in both DRAM and Flash as well as other memory markets.
Among other things - Databeans says - "Certain
DRAM suppliers, such as
Nanya, Taiwan's biggest computer DRAM chipmaker, expects prices to grow by a
double-digit percentage during 3rd quarter of 2011..."
See also:- storage
market research, storage
Looking for an SSD Ghost Writer?
Editor:- July 27,
2011 - I often get asked by SSD vendors to recommend PR agencies who understand
the SSD market and can ghost write articles or news stories for them. 10 years
ago - I created a directory of
editor recommended PRs
- which I update from time to time - which is why I'm mentioning it here.
SSD blogs are another potential source of ghostwriters - but nearly all the
SSD bloggers I like are already vendors or
presents obvious conflicts of interest... However, you might find suitable
matches if you probe
site search for "SSD blog" deep enough.
to look is PRs on my
But I'm not pro-active on social networks so it's not a big list.
in case you were thinking about yours truly... thanks - but please don't ask
me to do any SSD ghost writing for you. I have been asked - but always decline
- because I like to mention all your competitors too...
And I don't
have the time to do it. Often as I abandon yet another half completed SSD
article - I wistfully think to myself wouldn't it be nice to have some ghost
writers of my own? But that daydream doesn't last long because I don't have any
money to pay for it. And unfortunately most of the SSD articles which vendors
offer me to place before you on these pages - don't say anything new - or
if they do - their assertions are misplaced, unfounded or unsupported by data.
There are plenty of other sites which are happy to publish them. I have lower
standards when it comes to linking to articles. But then it's obvious who has
written the content and what the agenda is.
Now here's a surprise!...
If I extrapolate from SSD search stats this month - we could be seeing the
first appearance of a software
company in the next edition of the top 20 SSD companies - when that list is
published in September. Who is it? You'll have to click on the link and make an
educated guess. But a lot can change in the SSD market in 3 months - so I could
Storage news is now SSD news... This month I finally
got around to doing some important house-keeping. I terminated my main storage
news page - despite the fact that it had featured well in Google and had been
running at the same web address for nearly 12 years. The reason? I've been
phasing out non-SSD related content for years - and the time had come to stop
pretending that I'm interested in any of that other stuff - and there's too
much to write about in the solid state storage world.
storage will be solid state soon enough anyway - so the absence of mentions
about magnets and mirrors won't seem very strange. And those fading storage
stars might still return for some final appearances... The last
tape library. The last 15K
RPM hard drive. That
sort of thing. I feel nostalgic about some of the old stuff - because knowing
about those arcane things helped me to earn a living in the 1980s and 1990s.
But, like you. I can always dip back into
to recapture the old days - if those moods come on.
recycling SSD capacity in transient virtual servers
July 26, 2011 - IO
a useful comment about why you need dynamic rather than static allocation
of SSD caches in VMware environments (bot rather than
tuning). - "With virtual machines frequently spun up or taken down, flash
capacity that's allocated to a specific VM is wasted when that VM is taken off
SSD uncertainty principle
Editor:- July 25, 2011 - STEC is starting to
lift the veil off how it manages MLC flash inside its enterprise and industrial
SSDs. You're thinking - isn't it all the same? Just a variation on what
Fusion-io already do?
(Only STEC is more expensive than SF, and not as fast as FIO...)
what I thought too - but I learned I was wrong. This could be the start of new
enterprise MLC branding wars when SSD designers and memory makers battle it out
to prove to you that their own different way is better. ...read the article
OCZ elevates performance of Indilinx SSD controllers
July 21, 2011 - OCZ
is now sampling a new dual core ARM based
SSD controller for
6Gbps SATA SSDs which
can deliver upto 500MB/s sequential throughput and 200 mega transfers per
platform supports up to 1x nm NAND Flash with 1, 2, or 3 bits per cell,
has 70 bits of BCH ECC
per sector, end to end data protection, fast boot options (50% faster than
competing SSDs) and enhanced
protection. The new platform - supports 1TB flash capacity and has a
400MHz DDR3 DRAM
cache interface with support for up to 512MB.
comments:- ever since I wrote my
Petabyte SSD roadmap
article in March 2010 I've been waiting for controller manufacturers to
start mentioning faster boot times in their press releases. There's a long way
to go from what we have now - and the 20 milli-second range boot times needed
to support what I call SSD
library devices - but any step in electronic system design away from the
mechanical inertial corsets of
hard drives towards the
freer flowing boundaries set by
semiconductors is progress.
Why will the SSD industry need
ultra-fast faster boot times? They don't need to boot that fast for netbooks.
But the power consumption of a 1U multi-petabyte archive storage rack will be
too high (and too hot) unless 90% of the SSDs are normally unpowered.
STEC ready for the ramp to a pure solid state enterprise
Editor:- July 20, 2011 - STEC held a conference
call earlier this week hosted by financial analyst
Stifel Nicolaus. Here are the
of enterprise market opportunity
- STEC mentioned several factors in the enterprise SSD market - which when
added together - could result in 10x increase in monthly shipments in
the next year or so.
- 40 million servers / year are being shipped - and every one will be a
candidate for internal SSD acceleration
- replacement of 15K RPM
HDDs with MLC SSDs -
sooner than hitherto expected
- pure SSD based storage systems (without any internal HDD) are attractive in
some user applications already and STEC's oem customers are seeing early
demand for those systems
- shrinks from 34nm to 1X nm - STEC will get early physical models
and samples of 1X nm nand flash at the the end of this year.
- ECC and SSD
data integrity - STEC says traditional
BCH error codes aren't
viable for future MLC flash generations because they would need 100 / 300 bit
codes for consumer / server apps. In the server case - the error codes could
waste 30-40% of the original capacity
- eMLC vs STEC style MLC. STEC said it has 2 dozen pending patents on
its MLC protection technology (called Cellcare) - which works with consumer MLC.
STEC says its MLC technology provides better operating life and more even
performance in SSDs than higher priced enterprise MLC. STEC says that the
tweaks and selections done by flash memory makers to produce eMLC won't scale to
STEC also said that eMLC doesn't guarantee an
operating life which is as long as its Cellcare - and some SSD makers may find
they don't have a long term future in the market - due to a combination of
degradation that will affect customers - and due to the fact that eMLC isn't
scalable. You can be sure this is going to develop into a new SSD marketing
claims pissing war - which will make anything you previoulsy heard about
MLC vs SLC
seem much simpler and tamer in comparision. There are precious
few people who really
understand the technical issues enough to judge these matters on their
rational merits - so the market may go with whoever shouts loudest or most
- -STEC says its Cellcare using consumer flash doesn't need overprovisioning
to deliver 10x writes / day for 5 years - which suits most SSD applications -
but its oem customers will have the tools to wraparound overprovisioning for
caching type applications (see the
syndrome for more on what other vendors do).
- -STEC says it will sample its first enterprise accleration PCIe SSD in
this quarter - and expects to be in production in 2012. It will consume less
than 15W. STEC says it expects to have price advantages over the
current MLC market leader
Fusion-io due to
STEC's ability to use cheaper flash, and also using ASICs instead of FPGAs.
(Fusion-io could also switch to using lower recurring cost ASICs too - so I
think that part of the argument is a red herring.)
STEC says its new
SSD will totally offload flash management and result in 1/10 the number of host
interrupts compared to Fusion-io (in that respect it will be similar to SLC
products from Texas
Memory Systems and Virident
Systems). However, as Jamon Bowen from TMS explained in an
interview last December
- in high performance caching roles the need to overprovision MLC (even the
STEC kind) and the extra complexity of the controller (for MLC instead of SLC)
may reduce the competitive difference of STEC's MLC compared with SLC.
If you want to hear more details you can dial into
+1 973-528-0005 using this ID - 518391
- STEC said that while other SSD makers talk about
IOPS numbers - feedback from its oem customers indicates that STEC has the
lowest MLC latency in the industry - which results in more consistent
performance in some types of apps. They aren't the only vendor to make that
the latest SSD market report from Web-Feet Research
July 19, 2011 - Web-Feet
Research has published a new quarterly edition of its SSD market
report series (annual subscription $7,500). You can see the
and summary here (pdf) - where among other things you'll learn...
of SSDs in client and enterprise applications gained momentum in
shipments and revenue doubling to 10.3 million units and $2.6 billion. The
outlook for 2011 is 16.6 million units and $4.1 billion in revenue
demonstrating continued strong growth."
this report is aimed at storage vendors who need to understand the opportunities
for solid state storage and how SSD technologies interact with and compete with
traditional hard drives and related systems.
Regular readers of
StorageSearch.com know that I keep emphasizing how complex an overall view of
solid state storage is becoming - and I've been analyzing the SSD market for a
long time. If you're a vendor with a broad product line or an investment
company with a billion dollars or so to spend on an SSD companies - reports
like this from SSD
analysts like Web-Feet can provide a useful safety net - because even if you
think you understand the segments you're reading about - there's always the risk
that there may be some dark matter out there- in the shape of an important
adjacent SSD segment which you aren't aware of. Avoiding that kind of mistake
helps put the cost of reports like this into context.
On the other
hand - if you've got hundreds of hours to spend on this topic you can just try
to learn what you can on sites like this one - and put all the pieces together
yourself. That's what most of the company founders and analysts I talk to do.
It's feasible if you're looking at a single vertical strand in the market.
Everyone who's serious about the SSD market comes to these pages sometime -
because it was the first place to discuss the SSD market and it's where you'll
still read about future SSD trends first.
founder of Web-Feet was kind enough to tell me yesterday "Your website
(StorageSearch) gives a lot of good info on the future of the industry...."
8 out of top 10 SSD companies support PCIe
July 18, 2011 - 8 out of the top 10 SSD companies in
the 2nd quarter of 2011 sell (or have announced)
PCIe connected SSDs.
compares to 6 companies 1 year ago, and 2 companies 2 years ago. This shows the
growing scale of interest in high performance bus connected SSD acceleration.
SAN Shared File Systems with SSDs
Editor:- July 11,
Shared File Systems with SSDs is the subject of a new blog from Texas Memory Systems.
says in the article - "There is a new option that I have seen
getting deployed more and more often: using high capacity SSDs and a
SAN shared file system. A
SAN shared filesystem provides the locking to allow multiple servers to directly
access the block storage concurrently."
The "new option" above is narrative license - because I know that
TMS has been doing this for years - but this type of configuration is more
common now - because of
declining SSD costs.
I like this article for its conceptual purity (sticks to the theme and
doesn't waffle on about SANs or SSDs) - and it has a nice picture too. ...read
How big was the thinking in the SSD design?
July 5, 2011 -
Why size really
does matter in SSD design architecture is a new article recently
published on StorageSearch.com
designers, integrators, end users and investors - understanding what follows
from simple Big versus Small architectural choices predicts a lot of
important consequences. ...read the article
|SSD Market -
35 Years Market History|
Top 50 SSD articles - in July 2011
- SSD Myths
- "write endurance" - StorageSearch started lobbying flash SSD
makers to standardize on a way of specifying SSD endurance in 2006 - but vendors
were reluctant to talk about this issue because they were worried that user
fears about sudden SSD death would backfire on the industry - and they each had
their own secret ways of managing flash endurance. Nowadays you can't stop SSD
vendors talking about how clever they are at dealing with endurance. In theory
the problems are now well understood - but solving them presents a challenge
for each new chip generation - especially as MLC flash heads into 1X
- the SSD
Buyers Guide - summarizes key SSD market developments in the past 2-3
months and has a top level directory of SSD content listed by market, form
factor, interface etc.
- the Top 20 SSD OEMs
- updated quarterly - who are going to be the most successful SSD companies in
the market? For over 4 years - this quarterly tracker has proved its power and
accuracy as a sensitive way to pick up new companies and also as a way of
predicting bumpy rides for those already in the market.
wars - HDDs v SSDs - this classic article published in 2005 was one of a
set which looked at the SSD-HDD market battle. It's still a popular read for
newcomers to the SSD market - although I can't understand why.
- SSD news - is our
classic SSD news page (updated daily since 1998) which gives you a news view
of the whole SSD market from chips to cabinets. It also includes a long list of
key SSD oems extracted from the 300+ SSD makers profiled on this site.
- the Fastest SSDs
- updated daily - this article lists the fastest SSD in each popular form
- HDD news -
chronicles the last gasp years and historic anecodotes from the hard disk
market - as it reluctantly retires in favor of SSDs.
- PCIe SSDs
- lists oems who market PCIe SSDs, and news and market commentary. We've
reported on PCIe SSDs since the first products shipped in 2007.
- RAM v Flash
SSDs - which is Best? - I asked experts from 10 leading SSD companies to
write their views about the strengths and weaknesses of these 2 types of SSD
technologies. The article is updated from time to time - and you may be
surprised to learn that in some heavy duty server apps RAM SSDs are cheaper
to buy than flash - (as well as being faster).
- Flash v Hard
Disks - Which Will Win? - this classic article published in June 2005 -
introduced the concept of "flash SSD floor price" - which correctly
predicted why some SSDs started to replace HDDs in many embedded applications
- long before flash reached capacity price parity with magnetic media.
- 2.5" SSDs
- this is the most crowded part of the SSD market - as you'll see by the vendor
listings. This directory page also includes extracts from 2.5" SSD news and
a list of related articles.
- are MLC SSDs
safe in Enterprise Apps? - this classic article discusses the important
differences between MLC and SLC - and how these related to SSD data integrity.
It's been updated many times - and includes new commentaries from
enterprise SSD companies. A new thread in 2011 has been factional wars
between different types of so called enterprise MLC SSDs.
- RAM SSDs - 20 or
so companies still market RAM based SSDs. This directory page tells you who
they are and explains why - as the market uses more flash SSDs - the need for
RAM SSDs is growing (instead of shrinking).
market history (1976 to 2011) - I published the first edition of this
history article in 2004 - and have been adding to it every month since. For
people who are new to the market it provides a clue to how much things have
changed - and how fast (or how slowly).
- Top 50 SSD
articles on StorageSearch.com - this is the article you're seeing now.
- 3.5" SSDs
- this vendor directory gives you examples of popular 3.5" SSDs going
back 10 years to the first such products in the market. Some of these had
performance specs which sound impressive now! (As long as you don't mention the
- SSD controllers &
IP - this is a directory of merchant market SSD controller chip technology
providers. There was a time when most SSD companies designed their own flash
SSD controllers. But as the market races its way along to an SSD oem headcount
which I expect will
top 1.000 companies - the newer SSD makers don't have the inhouse talent to
design world leading products for all the slots which their marketers would like
to fill. And many older SSD companies have found they can't react fast enough to
integrate new memory technologies into new SSDs. Enter the new market of SSD SoC
- 1.8" SSDs
- who's who in the 1.8" market? - vendor directory, news and articles.
- the 10 biggest
storage companies in 2012? - in 2008 I explained why it would be impossible
to continue my series (started in 2001) which accurately predicted 3-4 years
ahead who would be the leading storage companies - because SSDs were becoming a
significant and disruptive factor - and many of the world's biggest storage
companies still hadn't entered the SSD market at that time.
- SSD market
analysts - StorageSearch.com is a trusted primary resource in the SSD
market - but the more you learn about this market - the more questions you
realize remain unanswered (or unanswerable). I compiled this filtered list
as a recommended resource for all those people who need custom reports and
detailed market help - which go way beyond my limited "content
prioritized" time budget or would involve too many conflicts of
interest for me to take on.
- SSD jargon -
because we've have been at the leading edge of reporting the SSD market -
we've had to invent some of the jargon which is used to describe some SSD
concepts. You can't have a meaningful discussion about the intricacies of SSD
design without using these words. This article gives you simple explanations of
these terms and tells you where they came from - and links you to more detailed
info if needed.
SSD sudden power loss - this article surveys SSD power down management
across all the SSD architecture types in the market today. It explains why
subtle design choices made to boost speed can have drastic conseqences in
flexibility of system deployment. Power cycling induced faults kill more
SSDs in real life than endurance ever did. But SSD PSU management topology is
rarely mentioned in most SSD datasheets.
- SSD pricing
explained - this article clarifies SSD pricing. Understanding what goes
inside the SSD recipe helps you understand why some SSD menus cost a lot more
- the problem
with Write IOPS in flash SSDs - this classic article helps you understand
why a once well regarded performance modelling metric (IOPS) got abused - and
why all SSD benchmarks incorrectly suggest you're going to get much higher
performance from some types of flash SSDs than you will actually see in your
- SAS SSDs - our
market research uncovered a strong demand for SAS SSDs years before any such
products actually existed. Vendors were slow coming into this market for a
number of reasons. This article includes a timeline of the SAS SSD market - and
lists significant vendors.
- this way to the
Petabyte SSD - in 2016 there will be just 3 types of
SSD in the datacenter. One
of them doesn't exist yet - the bulk storage archive SSD. This article
describes the future storage architecture of the datacenter, explains the
economics of SSDs replacing HDDs for bulk storage, predicts the characteristics
of these future products and suggests a roadmap for getting there.
- SSD Data Recovery
- this is the industry's first SSD recovery directory (a topic we started
writing about in 2007). It includes articles and news related to recovering
data from faulty or damaged SSDs.
SSD market overview - this is one of a set of related articles which
introduce vendors, technologies and problems in the notebook SSD market. This is
a segment in which most of the solutions which have been delivered to the market
still fall far short of user and analyst expectations.
- the 3 fastest
PCIe SSDs? - here's why it's not worth agonizing over the details of
- What's a
Solid State Disk (SSD)? - first published in 2000 - with some updates -
this article also includes another directory of more SSD related articles.
- a new way of
looking at Enterprise SSDs - published in September 2010. This is a
unique new segmentation method which cuts across interface and form factor to
provide a simpler way for customers to categorize products into the "learn
more" or "ignore" mental buckets. Industry leaders I've spoken to
since the article was published have told me they like the simplicity of the
new terminology - whichever side of the line their own companies happen to be
- What's the
best / cheapest - PC SSD? - I often get emails from readers who ask
the above question.
- the SSD
Reliability Papers - links and abstracts of articles related to the subject
of SSD reliability and data integrity.
- Data Integrity
in flash SSD Design - this is a classic article written by a leading SSD
controller company - which describes the design concepts used to manage data
integrity in flash SSDs. It also includes updates, links and comments on this
theme from around the industry.
- 1" SSDs
- vendor directory and news related to 1 inch (and smaller) SSDs and SSDs on a
Flash SSD Reliability - classic article about wear leveling published in
- Storage Market
Outlook to 2015 - although published 15 months ago - the key points in
here are still valid. And there are links to updated projections.
- Fast Purge SSDs
- is an article which includes a directory of vendors who design SSDs which can
self destruct or quickly and securely erase flash SSD contents (typically in a
fraction of a second) to prevent data getting into unwanted hands.
- rackmount SSDs
- news and articles with special relevance to the rackmount SSD market.
- SATA SSDs -
directory of companies who make SATA SSDs.
for an End to Unrealistic SSD vs HDD IOPS Comparisons - in 2008 I suggested
that SSD vendors stopped comparing their hard disk performance with SSDs. Who
cared about hard disk performance? It had n't changed for nearly a decade.
- the Flash SSD
Performance Roadmap (Z's laws) - published in 2008 included performance and
architectural roadmaps and projections till 2012. Most were very accurate when
viewed with the benefit of hindsight - although one (re IOPS symmetry) was not.
For several years I added updates to show what has happening compared to the
predictions. Except for those interested in historical research this article has
been mostly superceded by newer content.
- storage market
research & analysts - is a directory of all the market research
companies ever cited in
Storage Drives - market reports and news.
reliability - news & white papers.
vs DRAM Price Projections - for SSD Buyers - published in 2008 this showed
historic and projected comparisons for the 2 main memory types used in SSDs.
- InfiniBand SSDs
- this is a timeline of the InfiniBand storage market from its start - to
the present day - with market commentaries, news, vendors etc. In recent years
it has become more exclusively focused on InfiniBand SSDs.
- RAM Cache
Ratios in flash SSDs - knowing whether your flash SSD is skinny, regular or
fat tells you a lot about the performance and reliability characteristics too.
- the SSD Heresies
- Why can't SSD's true believers agree upon a single coherent vision
for the future of solid state storage?
- SSDs - the
big market picture - explains - what's all the fuss about SSDs?
- Fibre-Channel Solid
State Drives - article and directory.
- SSD ASAPs -
market guide to Auto-tuning SSD Accelerated Pools of storage.
- Does size
really does matter in SSD design? - it does when it comes to the thinking
behind the SSD's architecture.