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Storage news - June 1 - 7, 2011

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Violin says it will do $100 million enterprise SSD revenue

Editor:- June 7, 2011 - Violin Memory today announced a $40 Million Series C funding round - just 4 months after the company had raised $35 Million in Series B funding.

"Our new capital will allow us to speed up product development and global expansion in Europe and Asia to surpass $100 million in revenue this year, the first step in building a billion dollar company," said Don Basile, current CEO of Violin Memory and former chairman and CEO of Fusion-io. "This pace of revenue growth will continue to make Violin the fastest growing storage company in the last decade."

Editor's comments:- the enterprise SSD accelerator market currently offers many different approaches to escalate data driven business performance to previously impossibly high levels. But it's unlikely that any single approach will dominate the market.

Instead I think that we'll some types of problems being solved by traditional network compatible vanilla rackmount SSDs, others by SSD ASAPs, still others by PCIe SSDs while at the same time an SSD fog starts to creep into hidden bastions in traditional hard disk storage slots - resulting in an upward performance creep throughout customer infrastructures.

I was talking to an SSD strategist this morning who asked me what I thought was driving this market? My answer is - it will be competitive pressure in the end user base. If your competitors can do things with SSDs which your customers value - then you'd better learn how to do them too.

Whether it's running an online catalog, bank, telco, university, game, social media site, online advertising or entertainment delivery service. Pretty soon it will be as necessary for enterprises to have SSD accelerated businesses to stay competitive - as it once was to support email and the web.

Corsair finds problems in recent 2.5" SSDs

Editor:- June 7, 2011 - Corsair is apparently recalling some of its recently launched 2.5" SSDs.

The affected models are 120GB Force Series 3 units - "a significant percentage of these drive do not perform to specifications."

Editor's comments:- it's nearly 2 years since I wrote an article called Why Consumers Can Expect More Flaky Flash SSDs! - triggered by a series of recalls by (at that time) Intel. I think my analysis of the consumer SSD market pressures and technical factors discussed there are still valid today. Things will get worse for several more years before they get better.

the market makeover for industrial SSDs

Editor:- June 6, 2011 - today published a new article about the changing face of the industrial SSD market.

This is a slow changing market and it rarely makes the SSD fashionista headlines - but many facets in the industrial SSD world have changed in the past 5 years - and it's going to be a big market too. the article

Micron samples its first real PCIe SSD

Editor:- June 2, 2011 - 30 months after pre-announcing its intentions to enter the PCIe SSD accelerator market - Micron today announced it is sampling the first products in a new family which will ship in the 3rd quarter of this year.

The company says its RealSSD P320h drive delivers upto 750K / 341K R/W IOPS, and 3GB/s / 2GB/s R/W throughput. It uses Micron's own 34nm SLC ONFI 2.1 NAND flash and has on-board RAM cache. Micron says it manufactures most of the chips used in the new cards a customized SSD controller.

Editor's comments:- if it lives up to its promise - this new SSD range from Micron could be among the fastest PCIe SSDs around. From the viewpoint of a semiconductor memory maker - PCIe SSDs are attractive because they have high added value. That's the theory. In practise - to make an enterprise SSD business work you also have to invest a lot in continuing technical design, compatibility testing, customer support and marketing. The true test of Micron's new product therefore is not so much what it's like when it ships to users at the end of this year - but whether Micron decides to stay the course 2 to 3 years down the road.

SandForce drives WEI to 7.9

Editor:- June 2, 2011 - SandForce today announced that a single SSD using its SF-2000 SSD Processor along with 25nm MLC flash memory has achieved the highest possible WEI score of 7.9 for the disk data transfer rate in a Windows 7 environment (3.5GHz AMD CPU with 8GB 1.3GHz RAM).

The company also announced that Kingston Technology has joined the SandForce Driven SSDs group - bringing the membership upto 30 companies.

Texas Memory Systems fills gap in 1U SAN SSD market

Editor:- June 1, 2011 - Texas Memory Systems announced imminent availability of the RamSan-710 - a 1U rackmount SSD with 5TB usable SLC flash storage with 2 dual ported 8Gbps FC ports upto 2 40Gbps InfiniBand ports. Throughput is quoted as 5 GB/s - although no IOPS figure was mentioned at press time. The system includes various reliability options- including N+1 batteries to support orderly shutdown and an internal active spare flash card configuration option which provides protection levels beyond RAID.

Editor's comments:- there has for several years been a gap in the market for a high performance SAN compatible 1U SSD. This is distinctly different to the segment of the 1U server market - in which some servers are populated by PCIe SSDs - which is something we've heard a lot more about recently. The difference - is also more than about accelerating infrastructure vs applications. It's what I call the legacy vs new dynasty SSD difference. The availability of fast - legacy compatible - 1U SSD products lowers the cost of ownership for users and provides better granularity for incremental speedups than 2U and larger products.

today's storage news

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the 3 fastest PCIe SSDs?
Are you tied up in knots trying to shortlist flash SSD accelerators ranked according to published comparative benchmarks?

You know the sort of thing I mean - where a magazine compares 10 SSDs or a blogger compares 2 SSDs against each other. It would be nice to have a shortlist so that you don't have to waste too much of your own valuable time testing unsuitable candidates wouldn't it?

StorageSearch's long running fastest SSDs directory typically indicates 1 main product in each form factor category but those examples may not be compatible with your own ecosystem.

If so a new article - the 3 fastest PCIe SSDs list (or is it really lists?) may help you cut that Gordian knot. Hmm... you may be thinking that StorageSearch's editor never gives easy answers to SSD questions if more complicated ones are available.
the 3 fastest  PCIe SSDs  - click to read article But in this case you'd be wrong. (I didn't say you'd like the answers, though.) the article
Significant news stories in past 12 months
SanDisk gets serious about enterprise SSDs - May 2011

Samsung exits shrinking HDD market - April 2011

Kaminario carves out new market for RAM SSDs - March 2011

Micron quarantines errors in flash - December 2010

Fusion-io demos 1 million IOPS SSD card - November 2010

OCZ can make 140K SSDs / month - October 2010

SanDisk "SSDs cheaper than HDDs in some DVRs" - September 2010

Samsung and Seagate to codevelop SSD controllers - August 2010

Anobit aims at SandForce SSD slots - June 2010
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flash SSD capacity - the iceberg syndrome
Have you ever wondered how the amount of flash inside a flash SSD compares to the capacity shown on the invoice?

What you see isn't always what you get.
nothing surprised the penguins - click to read  the article There can be huge variations in different designs as vendors leverage invisible internal capacity to tweak key performance and reliability parameters. the article
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