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SSD & Storage news - 2011, March 1 - 7

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WD acquires Hitachi GST

Editor:- March 7, 2011 - Western Digital today announced it will acquire Hitachi GST in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $4.3 billion.

The resulting company will retain the Western Digital name and remain headquartered in Irvine, California. John Coyne will remain CEO of WD, Tim Leyden COO and Wolfgang Nickl CFO. Steve Milligan, president and CEO of Hitachi GST, will join WD at closing as president, reporting to John Coyne.

Editor's comments:- This will confirm WD as the world's largest manufacturer of hard drives (a position it has been inching towards organically) and could also have a significant impact on the company's SSD market presence too. The acquisition (expected to close in the September quarter) shows a lot of confidence in the medium term future of the hard disk market. Although hard drives are the primary motivation for this acquisition - the result will also be a bigger player in the emerging SSD market too.

WD has had good visibility into the SSD market through its earlier acquired SiliconDrives business whch has been shipping SSDs since 2004. Hitachi GST has been a laggard in the SSD market - with its most significant products still in the "coming soon" / being qualified category.

In today's conference call today we heard that both companies expect that hard drives will continue to be the main devices which store high capacity digital content for the forseeable future.

This view is completely compatible with my own previous published predictions about SSD growth and SSD market penetration. The devil is in the details - and the picture is complicated.

In my SSD market adoption model (published 2005) all 4 of the main application segments for SSDs are unrelated to high capacity HDD replacement. We only get to that point in 2016 when I expect that a new class of bulk storage SSDs will have lower running costs than high capacity HDDs in datacenter apps. And as I've said many times the consumer entertainment market has different economics in which HDDs will stay dominant.

In my 2007 article How Solid is Hard Disk's Future? I explained why the HDD market would continue to grow and probably not peak until 2011. In that article I also gave a simple rule of thumb - which was - "HDDs will survive in applications where the average size of disk installed is an order of magnitude above the most commonly available shipped SSD." What that means in today's market is that 250GB SSDs can coexist in the same market as 3TB hard drives - because they don't compete for the same application slots.

What about hybrid SSD-HDD drives in notebooks? I've always said since the very first time the idea was mentioned on these pages (April 2005) - I think they won't provide a good sustainable solution and are a waste of space. It doesn't stop manufacturers trying - but each new hybrid notebook SSD so far has been the triumph of hope over experience.

Do I think SSDs will eventually replace HDDs? Yes - no doubt about it. But there's a long way for the hard drive market to run between now and the picture I describe in 2020 when - "the only spinning devices in the storage cabinets will be the cooling fans".

the Top 30 SSD articles

Editor:- March 4, 2011 - today published - the Top 30 SSD articles - a new weekly updated list which includes summaries of the most popular articles viewed by our readers.

No-one (apart from me) has got time to read the thousands of SSD articles on this site.

A simple list of popular SSD articlesused to appear from time to time in the market research pages. But the title of an article and its rank don't tell you enough about whether an article will be worthwhile for you. An article which may suit a newcomer to the market may have thousands of external links to it - wherease a newer one further down the list - may be more beneficial to more experienced readers. So I've written new summaries for each article to make it clearer what they contain. ...see the articles list

SSD Bookmarks - from Foremay's CTO and co-founder

Editor:- March 1, 2011 - today published SSD Bookmarks - suggested by Jack H Winters, CTO, Foremay .

Jack H Winters' suggestions are focused on the topic of managing data security in flash SSDs (both in working and not working devices). These links take you on a tour of the published state of the art in fast / secure SSD data erase and the related issue of SSD encryption.

Performance vs data survivability in SSD accelerators

Editor:- March 1, 2011 - a new blog - Consistency Groups: The Trouble with Stand-alone SSDs - by Woody Hutsell - discusses different approaches to maintaining data in SSDs in the event of an SSD failure.

Some configurations - while simple to implement - can have a large negative impact on performance. the article

IBM expands Fusion-io options

Editor:- March 1, 2011 - IBM has extended its qualified server support for SSD technology from Fusion-io according to an announcement today.

Intel publishes new standard to increase efficiency of PCIe SSDs

Editor:- March 1, 2011 - Intel published version 1.0 of a new proprietary standard for designers of PCIe SSDs in systems which use Intel processors - the NVM Express Optimized PCI Express SSD Interface.

The interface efficiently supports multi-core by ensuring thread(s) may run on each core with its own queue & interrupt without any locks required. For enterprise class solutions, there is support for end-to-end data protection, security & encryption capabilities, as well as robust error reporting and management capabilities.

Intel says that more than 70 companies have contributed to the standard - which will make it easier to write software drivers which support multiple vendors. The new standard will also make it easier for oems to adopt new SSD products from alternative vendors which implement a consistent feature set.

See also:- SSD design efficiencies

today's SSD news

Seagate Nytro PCIe SSD
PCIe SSDs for a wide range of deployments
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from Seagate
90% of the enterprise SSD companies which you know have no good reasons to survive.
market consolidation - why? how? when?
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enterprise segmentation
"Do you think we should add a heater?"

Decloaking hidden and missing segments in
the analysis of market opportunities for
enterprise rackmount flash
this way to the Petabyte SSD
In 2016 there will be just 7 types of SSD in the datacenter.

One of them doesn't exist yet - the bulk storage SSD.

It will replace the last remaining strongholds of hard drives in the datacenter due to its unique combination of characteristics, low running costs and operational advantages.
click to read the article -  reaching for the petabyte SSD - not as scary as you may think ... The new model of the datacenter - how we get from here to there - and the technical problems which will need to be solved - are just some of the ideas explored in this visionary article.
SSD power down management
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 - has a strong impact on 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.
image shows Megabyte's hot air balloon - click to read the article SSD power down architectures and acharacteristics If you thought endurance was the end of the SSD reliability story - think again. the article
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Heck no! - whatever gave you that silly idea?
Can you trust SSD market data?

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