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SSD news - November 2011

SSD history
what do enterprise SSD users want?

STEC samples Extreme Endurance SAS MLC SSDs for caching

Editor:- November 29, 2011 - STEC has started sampling a new high endurance MLC SSD - based on its proprietary CellCare technology - the new ZeusIOPS XE (Extreme Endurance) is a 6Gbps SAS SSD family, available in 1.8", 2.5" and 3.5" sizes (300GB or 600GB) and supports at least 30 full capacity writes per day, every day, for 5 years.

Latency is upto 50 microseconds. Sustained R/W throughput is upto 500MB/s and 275MB/s respectively and random IOPS is upto 38,000 8K (70R/30W). STEC says the new SSDs (based on 32nm MLC) are suited for write-intensive applications with the high endurance necessary to support server-side caching, auto-tiering, metadata management and logging, and analytics.

OCZ samples terabyte dual port 6Gbps 2.5" SAS SSDs

Editor:- November 29, 2011 - OCZ has started sampling dual port 6Gbps SAS SSDs in a smaller form factor - the Talos 2 SAS SSD provides upto 70,000 4K IOPS (75R/25W) and upto 1TB capacity in 2.5" (previously only available from the company in the larger 3.5" size).

To cater for different applications and markets OCZ is offering MLC, eMLC, and SLC NAND flash versions. The new SSDs include protection against sudden power loss and have the option to enable T10-DIF (Data Integrity Field) in addition to the native SandForce SSD data integrity to ensure end to end data integrity.

Editor's comments:- which of these 2 new SAS SSDs announced today will be better for you? - The ZeusIOPS XE (from STEC) or the Talos 2 (from OCZ).

One thing's for sure - you can't just decide from looking at the press releases.

Price is a very important factor too - particularly if your app involves heavy duty caching - you may decide that to get the same reliability you end up comparing an MLC SSD managed by CellCare (the STEC offer) to an eMLC (or even SLC) SSD managed by DuraClass (the OCZ offer).

Or based on your past experience with these suppliers you may apply your own adjustment factor to their price projections and reliability projections.

Or based on who you are - you may not score highly enough to get your hands on early evaluation samples at all.

And that's before you even start looking at what SanDisk might do with their Lightning or what WD might do with the Ultrastar when they get it from Hitachi GST.

One consolation may be that there are less controllers to choose from in the SAS market than when you look at PCIe SSDs.

analyzer suite could speed up auto-tiering SSD evaluations

Editor:- November 29, 2011 - hyperI/O today announced availability of its Disk I/O Ranger software analysis tool for Windows environments.

The company says this will help users diagnose and understand disk storage access performance problems and to to verify that QoS levels are being met at the application/file/device level. It could also simplify the evaluation of auto-tiering SSD appliances by collecting real-time metrics.

Editor's comments:- I asked Tom West, President of hyperI/O what he was seeing of the SSD market from his perspective of selling storage analysis tools. He said -"One of the major users of the hIOmon software is listed within the top 10 of your latest - Top 20 SSD Companies."

If you can guess what our SSDs do - then we might let you buy them

Editor:- November 28, 2011 - Some SSD companies have developed marketing coping skills to make sure that they don't get swamped by too much reader demand.

Company X - communicates via a PR agency who in recent months hasn't answered a single one of my follow up questions in their output only marketing communications. They probably think I am a bad person because I've stopped writing about them recently. Tell your agency (whose name begins with the letter "W") to adjust the settings on their spam filter.

Company Y - thinks that you - Dear Reader - will give them your email address and sign-up to read a white paper which makes it easier for them to tell you what their mysterious SSD product does. I've been telling vendors for years not to be so customer hostile. And here's an article which explains it much better - Why Companies Need to F-R-E-E Their Case Studies

I can attach more than one real enterprise SSD company name to each of X and Y. I'll be naming them on this page by Friday if they don't change things for the better.

StorageSearch - new A to Z

Editor:- November 25, 2011 - today I've launched a new A to Z index of the main themes here on

You can think of it if you like - as a site index. I obviously don't have enough to do when there's a holiday.

BiTMICRO unveils Big SSD Architecture - ASIC platform

Editor:- November 21, 2011 - BiTMICRO today announced that it has designed a new generation of enterprise SSD controllers which will deliver upto 400,000 IOPS performance, support upto 5TB capacity and will be available in SSDs with SAS, SATA, Fibre Channel, and PCIe interfaces in the first half of 2012.

BiTMICRO's new ASIC based platform architecture consists of a multi-core SSD controller integrated with multiple high-speed serial on-chip buses and embedded processors

"It is with high anticipation that we see these technologies come to fruition and work for our customers", said BiTMICRO's CEO, Rey Bruce.

Editor's comments:- 4 years ago (2007) BiTMICRO was at the top of its game (and #1 in the top SSD companies list) with an industry leading terabyte class 3.5" FC SSD sampling (called the E-Disk Altima ) but the company got hit from about 50 different directions by newer flash SSD companies which grabbed many of the sub-markets which previously had been divided up among a handful of enterprise vendors.

Having a 2 stage SSD controller architecture - with a core intelligent unit - which fans out to distributed flash slave teams is a proven architectural feature in high performance enterprise SSDs.

For example it's used in products by Virident Systems (whose controller can keep 256 flash die active concurrently on R/W garbage collection etc) and also by Texas Memory Systems (whose controller can bundle up multiple FC channels into a single virtual route into the flash array). These are examples of what I call big SSD architecture - which is more efficient (higher percentage of usable capacity), faster and more reliable in large capacity SSD products than arrays of small architecture SSDs.

how can all these SSD companies keep growing?

Editor:- November 21, 2011 - I'm often asked this question...

Will the enterprise SSD market be big enough for all these companies [list] to grow?

So today I've published a new article - which summarizes what I've been saying to the readers I talk to. But I've redacted the actual company names from [list] - because everyone's got their own little list of SSD companies for which my answer may hold true. to read article

Seagate seeks $0.5 billion from WD

Editor:- November 21, 2011 - Seagate has been awarded $525 million in a recent arbitration decision against WD.

"We do not believe there is any basis in law or fact for the damage award of the arbitrator," said John Coyne, WD's president and CEO. "...We will vigorously challenge the award."

Editor's comments:- although there have been many lawsuits already in the SSD market - there isn't enough money in it yet (compared to HDDs) for anything of this scale. But I guess there will be.

SSDs in TV

Editor:- November 21, 2011 - An article in discusses the state of play for SSDs in the tv industry.

Unfortunately one of the statements in the article - about the readiness of SSDs for the enterprise market is historically incorrect in suggesting that consumer SSDs came first. I'd like to know which consumers were spending $40K for an entry level SSD back in the 1990s? Nevertheless the article shows what some people in the tv equipment market are thinking. See also:- SSDs in IPTV, movie creation and tv

now sticky SSD cards can chew rack-size data

Editor:- November 15, 2011 - Fusion-io announced that it will ship 10TB versions of its ioDrive Octal (so-called because it includes 8 memory modules on double-wide PCIe cards) in the next quarter - which deliver 1.3 million IOPS with 6.7 GB/s bandwidth.

This means up to 20TB of bus accessible flash-based acceleration in a 1U server and 40TB (using 4 Octal drives) in a 4U server, such as the HP ProLiant DL585 G7.

Editor's comments:- While keeping in mind that recently unveiled "future" products always look glossy compared to what's already been shipping - how does the new Octal capacity compare to current products from other SSD makers?

Compared to other fast PCIe SSDs - it's nearly double the density of the Z-Drive R4 R from OCZ.

Compared to fast FC SAN compatible rackmount SSDs - the capacity density leaders are the RamSan-810 (10TB in 1U) - from Texas Memory Systems and the 6232 (22TB in 3U) - from Violin Memory. However, in the case of these rackmounts the capacities quoted are "usable" rather than "raw" (about 30% more flash inside is below the level you see).

So Fusion-io's new Octal will enable systems integrators to meet or exceed the storage density of leading rackmount SSDs while still having the application flexibility offered by being resident in industry standard servers.

Fusion-io's CMO, Rick White spoke to me about the new market opportunities it will open up for FIO's partners - particularly when they leverage FIO's APIs (aka "Virtual Storage Layer"). He said that having 20TB to 40TB of low latency SSD in a single server fitted well with many data warehouse applications for example.

In a recent article I discussed the market interplay of PCIe SSDs and rackmount SAN SSDs and picked up on the theme of "data decentralization" which Fusion-io had started to talk about recently. When I asked Rick about decentralization he said it was more accurate to think about it as "shared decentralization" because whereas the data wasn't sitting on a SAN - being inside a server meant it was also accessible to any other servers that could talk to this one.

I asked about price - and while (understandably) not wanting to be too definitive (because the price depends on who you are, when you buy, and where you are in the channel, etc) - Rick said in effect that the PCIe SSD market is very competitive - and that all new products have to look attractive compared to what they are supposed to replace and he referred me to price guidance the company had given in a recent investors conference call.

"Stickiness" is another thing we talked about. I've been saying for a long time that once a customer starts using FIO's APIs to optimize performance (by xN - where N can be any number from 2 to 10) it means that competing PCIe SSDs look less attractive - even if they have spot performance specs which are faster. Rick agreed that this assessment is correct - and reminded me that several years ago he had described Fusion-io to me as a "software company". From the business point of view it's good for Fusion-io's business - but also good for FIO's business partners - because as the catalog of VSL compatible APIs and applets grows - they can get more powerful functionality for lower incremental development cost.

So what can you do with an Octal powered server that you couldn't do before?

One trivial example is that if you add some dedupe, compression and an iSCSI stack you can easily create a 1U storage appliance with maybe 100TB to 200TB of fast virtual storage which (because of the low latency) will run rings around similar bulk storage SSDs which use 2.5" SSDs in RAID.

The general availability of denser PCIe SSDs - which we'll see across the whole market next year - means that servers will grow up to be faster a lot sooner than they have been doing in the past decade. And having 10x faster servers always creates new markets which weren't viable before.

with economic certainty lost in the mist - university data heads for the clouds

Editor:- November 15, 2011 - the University of Southern California (USC) will deploy over 8PB of unstructured data on a private cloud managed by boxes and software from Nirvanix.

Customer spokesperson (CTO and Associate Dean of the USC Libraries) Sam Gustman said "We shifted to the cloud because it provides USC with a geographically diverse and cost-effective way of storing, preserving and distributing our content on a truly global scale."

how to make an SSD in 6 sigma steps

Editor:- November 14, 2011 - It Takes a World Class Manufacturing Facility to Build a World Class SSD! - is a new blog by STEC which talks about their facility in Malaysia. See also:- SSD reliability.

SSDs - PCIe vs rackmount FC SAN

Editor:- November 11, 2011 - a reader asked me recently - if Fusion-io sells more SSDs does that mean Violin will sell less?

My "quick" email reply was more like an article in length, touching - as it does - on the ever hot topics of SAN vs PCIe SSDs, where the enterprise market is going and storage architecture. Click here to read what I said.

Virident joins the MLC bus with 1.4 Million IOPS PCIe SSD

Editor:- November 10, 2011 - Virident Systems today announced it has completed a $21 million Series C funding led by current investor Globespan Capital Partners with strategic investments from Intel Capital, Cisco and a storage solutions provider, along with existing investors Sequoia Capital and Artiman Ventures - bringing its total equity funding to $50 million.

Virident also announced immediate availability of its first MLC PCIe SSD - the FlashMAX MLC is a low-profile form factor module with upto 1.4TB RAID protected (7+1) capacity (1TB MSRP $13,000) and delivers over 1.4 Million IOPS with 20 microseconds latency.

Editor's comments:- Virident today updated its website to include a host of new customer endorsements and performance data. The company's positioning is that it aims to provide consistent enterprise performance (relative to the variables of block size, how full the SSD is etc) rather than a product which has speed spikes which vary across dimensions and time. (Attacking older models from Fusion-io.)

Virident isn't unique in having spike free flash SSD performance - Violin's SSDs have always had it, Texas Memory Systems's RamSan-70 delivers it too. Achieving balanced spike-free acceleration in flash SSDs is done at the design stage from an optimal mix of big vs small architecture, skinny vs fat cache, ratio of over-provisioning, optimizing the RAID for flash (for performance and reliability), using fast controllers and integration with SSD virtualization software.

What will the company do with the new funding? - In the current SSD market bubble all PCIe SSD vendors are trying to establish design wins by technical superiority and market share by revenue growth - but making a profit isn't a realistic prospect for most of them. So the money will be used to pay salaries and suppliers and keep the show on the road until the next review point - which in Virident's case could be another round of funding, IPO, or - more likely in my view - getting acquired.

Fusion-io seeks another $100 million

Editor:- November 9, 2011 -Fusion-io is looking for more funding - another $100 million according to a recent press release from the company.

FIO says 3 customers accounted for 77% of their revenue in the most recent quarter according to a recent filing on

If you skip past the financial bits - which might send you to sleep - it's got some interesting views in it about the market.

OCZ's new fast PCIe SSDs

Editor:- November 9, 2011 - this week OCZ launched 2 new models in their full height PCIe SSD range - the RevoDrive 3 Max IOPS (120GB to 480GB costs $549-$1,399) and RevoDrive 3 X2 Max (240GB to 960GB costs $849-$2,499) with 4KB random write performance of up to 245,000 IOPS, and R/W rates upto 1,900MB/s and 1,725MBs/ respectively. Power consumption is 13.5W idle, 14.3W active.

Editor's comments:- these aren't OCZ's fastest SSDs, and I couldn't find a clear explanation on their site how the new products were positioned relative to the pre-existing Z-Drive R4.

I got this helpful explanation from OCZ's U.S. Marketing Manager, Lisa Gregersen who said - "The RevoDrive 3 is workstation/consumer which supports Windows 7 32/64 - while Z-Drive R4 remains our top enterprise drive. There is no power fail protection on Revo3 like on our enterprise options."

Editor again - these new SSDs from OCZ offer fast storage at 10x lower raw capacity cost than tier 1 network storage SSDs. All the little frills like FC SAN connectivity and reliability add up - as explained in my article clarifying SSD prices - and you need to understand every little nuance in an SSD spec before you can decide if you really need it and are willing to pay for it.

NexGen enters iSCSI auto-tiering SSD ASAP market

Editor:- November 8, 2011 - NexGen emerged from stealth mode and announced general availability of its first product - the n5 - a 3U iSCSI auto-tiering and real-time compression appliance - which internally leverages 48GB RAM cache, 1.3TB PCIe SSD and 32TB raw SAS HDD capacity to deliver 120TB RAID protected usable fast virtual storage with adjustable performance QoS for every volume.

SandForce nominated in GSA awards

Editor:- November 8, 2011 - SandForce has been nominated for the 2011 Global Semiconductor Alliance Awards - in the category "most respected private semiconductor company."

STEC still fails to benefit from growing SSD market

Editor:- November 8, 2011 - As expected - STEC's revenue slope is still pointing in the wrong direction.

The company reported revenue for the 3rd quarter of 2011 was $72.5 million, a decrease of 15% from the year ago quarter.

Editor's comments:- it will be several more quarters before it becomes clear whether STEC's currently qualifying products will be market hits or not. That's why I wrote in August - "STEC is now cheap to buy - but would be very expensive to own..."

As previously discussed the company's marketing response to changes in the enterprise SSD market in recent years has been inadequate in 3 main areas.
  • STEC needed to develop more diverse routes to market. The growing size of the market and customer opportunities couldn't be matched with its outdated oem business model. More enterprise sales channels would do more than grow STEC's revenue. They would grow its market intelligence too.

    For example because there were no STEC branded rackmount SSDs the company was several steps removed from learning what enterprise SSD end users really wanted.
  • STEC was naive in thinking that FUD factors related to quality problems with some wannabe SSD competitors a few years ago (such as Intel) would provide more than a temporary respite from competitive pressure coming from SandForce and Pliant. STEC's market weeded out which suppliers it could trust and has accepted competing SSD technologies in the high IOPS space.
  • STEC completely failed to react adequately (for years) to the seismic market shift in the enterprise market opened up by PCIe SSDs which were being led by Fusion-io.
There's a funny scene in the movie - The Dish - when the Australian relay station has lost contact with Apollo 11 and the scientists debate the science behind exactly where to point the microwave dish based on its last known position, spin of the Earth etc. Someone looks out the window, sees the moon and says - point it there!

In the SSD market context - "there" is "here".

If STEC can come up with a good story that satisfies the editor and readers of they have a credible place in the SSD business map of the future then STEC's revenue slope might spin around to align in a more positive direction.

when did this become such a hot SSD company or topic?

Editor:- November 7, 2011 - at the weekend I updated the very popular Top 20 SSD Companies article to include key bullet points from all 17 previous editions.

So if you're trying to track a particular company or market shift - you can see when it happened without wading through too many articles. The new narrative is in the right hand column. the article

Volume shipments of 16Kb self powered EEPROM

Editor:- November 4, 2011 - STMicroelectronics today announced volume production of a new type of dual function RFID 16Kbit EEPROM which harvests energy from ambient carrier wave energy to power attached electronic components.

The energy harvesting capability of the EEPROM will enable new types of miniaturized electronics. ST has demonstrated the M24LR16E energy-harvesting wireless memory by illuminating indicator LEDs. Other potential applications include e-paper devices such as electronic shelf labels and personal healthcare products.

Editor's comments:- the Russians pioneered the concept of harvesting radio energy to power circuits. In 1952 a bug was found in the US embassy in Moscow which was powered when bombarded with microwaves from a nearby building. It was built into a wooden model of the Great Seal of the US which had been given to the ambassador as a present. ...from the book - GCHQ, by Richard Aldrich.

SSDs - what changed in 2011?

Editor:- November 4, 2011 - 3 big changes happened in the SSD market in 2011. What were they? Find out in my new blog on the home page of

(which) SSD Makers Benefit From Thailand Flood ?

Editor:- November 4, 2011 - a blog on written by Dana Blankenhorn - discusses which SSD makers could benefit in the short term from HDD shortages.

Editor's comments:- In my view Dana Blankenhorn is correct to suggest it will be small form factor / notebook SSD makers.

3 weeks ago - when WD and Seagate alerted the market to this potential supply problems in hard disks - I said - something along the lines of - "let them eat cake" - referring to oems who may have to use SSDs instead.

I doubt whether the volume of SSDs that switch sooner into HDD slots will make a big difference to any SSD maker's profit in the next few months - but it could increase the urgency of some SSD qualification programs.

The big market for SSDs in 2012 will be in the enterprise - where the shortage of HDDs will make absolutely no difference - because HDDs were already on the hit list.

Coraid gets another $50 million funding

Editor:- November 3, 2011 - Coraid today announced that it has closed a $50 million investment round - bringing its total funding to over $85 million.

The company says its EtherFlash (a rackmount NAS SSD built from an array of COTS 2.5" SSDs) costs under $10K / TB.

Fusion-io's revenue 3x higher than a year ago

Editor:- November 3, 2011 - Fusion-io yesterday reported revenue of $74 million for the quarter ended September 30 - nearly 3x higher than the year ago quarter.

But the company is offering guidance that its revenue growth for the whole of FY2012 may be closer to 55%.

Editor's comments:- It's difficult for any analyst to make a reliable prediction about FIO's revenue growth - because that involves guessing the relative competitiveness of future products which aren't in the public domain - and prejudging relative marketing outcomes against competing companies who may not be currently on the radar.

In the past - FIO has executed extraordinarily well. And looking ahead - their technology is competitively scalable - and a good fit into any business upside that could arise from closely integrating SSD software with PCIe SSDs - because their APIs have almost zero-latency access into the flash management layer. This is what I call being inside the SSD controller loop (rather than poking from the outside). There are advantages and disadvantages in both approaches.

How will the overall PCIe SSD market grow? - My guess is will more than double in revenue next year - but the market spoils will be divvied up among even more competitors. Despite that I think that so long as FIO doesn't shoot itself in the foot (with a product or production glitch) its customers, partners and investors should remain happy. I expect there will be plenty of happiness to go around for other enterprise SSD makers too.

RunCore is one of China's fastest growing tech companies

Editor:- November 2, 2011 - RunCore today announced it has been named #14 in the new Deloitte Technology Fast 50 China Program of 2011 - which ranks companies based on revenue growth over the past 3 years.

The program is considered as a significant benchmark for fast-growing technology companies across the globe. The top 5 companies achieved an average revenue growth of 77x this year while other winning companies posted an average revenue growth of 11x (1,186%).

Editor's comments:- RunCore first entered StorageSearch's top 10 SSD companies list in 2009 Q1 and is still in the top 10 in the current edition . Competition to get into the top 10 SSD companies list is getting harder for all companies - as the number of SSD companies has risen from 112 to over 300 in the meantime. But when a company is in 2 lists like this - it shows that customers think they're doing a lot of things right.

STEC recruits veteran fixer-upper

Editor:- November 1, 2011 - STEC today announced that Ali Zadeh has joined the company as Corporate Senior VP and General Manager to help develop its systems and software technology strategy.

Mr. Zadeh is chartered with expanding STEC's SSD offerings through the definition, development and sales of new software and systems that take advantage of the company's intellectual property portfolio.

Editor's comments:- if STEC was a startup going into its first meeting with a firendly VC - they'd say - We like your technology - but your customer acquisition plan is shot full of holes - and too dependent on too few customers. Get yourself a marketing guy.

Looking at Ali Zadeh's cv - it looks like that's what STEC have got now - a veteran marketing fixer-upper.

STEC isn't an attractive acquisition prospect right now - because despite having unique SSD IP, a great reputation for reliability and a strong brand (everyone knows they can't afford STEC - or thinks they can't) - it's not been clear where the next 2 -3 quarters of enterprise SSD revenue growth will be coming from - if their biggest customer starts fooling around with other SSD partners (and maybe it wasn't really a legal marriage - because it was on a beach).

But if STEC does succeed in setting up more diverse routes to market - and behaves like a sales company that's interested in new customers - 2012 will be the best year in SSD history to test out those new business models.

Conduction cooled rugged NAS SSDs find seats in war-planes

Editor:- November 1, 2011 - Curtiss-Wright today announced that it has received a contract from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics to provide its rugged conduction cooled NAS SSDs - Vortex CNS products - to the U.S. Air Force's HC/MC-130J Super Hercules aircraft program.

The initial order is valued at $800,000, with a potential lifetime contract value estimated at $7.5 million.

Editor's comments:- using ethernet connected rugged SSDs on-board transport is a well established idea. Back in 2002 we ran ads for an early NAS flash SSD - a product called the NAS-168F.

Some of the SSDs used in military projects nowadays are very sophisticated network devices as well as being very rugged.

For example the TuffServ 480 - an iSCSI SSD system designed by Ampex .

Meanwhile if you're talking about luggable SSD storage for real-time data capture - Texas Memory Systems offers a 4U specially shielded variant of their enterprise rackmount SSDs for airborne applications - called the RamSan-640.

At the other end of the weight scale - Targa's 2.5" Removable DTU's are small enough to be panel mounted in cockpit systems.

university researchers compare SSD and tape archives

Editor:- November 1, 2011 - a recent white paper - Using Storage Class Memory for Archives with DAWN, a Durable Array of Wimpy Nodes (pdf) - written by academics at University of California, Santa Cruz and Stanford University - and published under the auspices of the Storage Systems Research Center compares the long term cost and reliability of solid state archival storage and traditional media - such as tape.

"Our investigation has shown that storage class memories have many characteristics favorable to digital archiving. Despite this, more investigation in several areas is needed in order to fully understand the tradeoffs and feasibility of a storage class memory approach." the article

See also:- roadmap to the Petabyte SSD

ViON recruits new CFO

Editor:- November 1, 2011 - ViON today announced that John Lubratich has joined the company as new VP and CFO taking on this role from 32 year ViON veteran Philip J. Rouse ll who will retire after another 6 months transitional role as VP Finance.

Mr. Lubratich was previously the VP of Finance and Shared Services for Hitachi Data Systems. He has both his MBA and CPA as well as 23 years in the IT industry.

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popular SSD articles - in November 2011
  1. SSD Myths - "write endurance" - In theory the problems are now well understood - but solving them presents a challenge for each new chip generation.
  2. the Top 20 SSD companies - updated quarterly - who are going to be the most successful SSD companies in the market?
  3. SSDs replacing HDDs? - that's not exactly the way it happened - This new article brings this old theme up to date.
  4. the SSD Buyers Guide - summarizes key SSD market developments in the past 6 months and has a top level directory of SSD content.
  5. SSD news - (updated daily since 1998) gives you a real-time view of the whole SSD market from chips to cabinets.
  6. the Fastest SSDs - in each form factor.
  7. 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.
  8. HDD news - chronicles the last gasp years and historic anecodotes from the hard disk market - as it reluctantly retires in favor of SSDs.
  9. 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).
  10. 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.
  11. Storage Architecture Guide - a classic article - not strictly speaking about SSDs - but more about the different types of storage networking.
  12. 2.5" SSDs - this is the most crowded part of the SSD market - as you'll see by the vendor listings.
  13. SSD market history (1976 to 2011) - If you're new to the market it provides a clue to how much things have changed - and how fast (or how slowly).
  14. 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).
  15. SSD controllers & IP - this is a directory of merchant market SSD controller chip technology providers.
  16. what will be the tone of the SSD market in 2012? - the mood music will change to a different rhythm.
  17. what's an SSD? - just in case you still needed to ask that.
  18. flash wars in the enterprise SSD market- which so called "enterprise MLC" tastes the sweetest? How come there are so many different and contradictory reliability claims?
  19. 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.
  20. 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 than others.
  21. 1.8" SSDs - who's who in the 1.8" market? - vendor directory, news and articles.
  22. SSD market analysts - 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.
  23. 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.
  24. notebook SSDs - market overview.
  25. 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 price.)
  26. 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.
  27. Surviving 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.
  28. 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 application..
  29. 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.
  30. auto tiering SSDs / SSD ASAPs - market guide to Auto-tuning SSD Accelerated Pools of storage.
  31. this way to the Petabyte 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.
  32. SATA SSDs - directory of companies who make SATA SSDs.
  33. the SSD Reliability Papers - links and abstracts of articles related to the subject of SSD reliability and data integrity.
  34. FC SAN storage - with an SSD theme.
  35. Top 50 SSD articles on - this is the article you're seeing now.
  36. 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.
  37. Storage Market Outlook to 2015 - although this was published in 2009 - the key points in here are still valid. And there are links to updated projections.
  38. What's the best / cheapest - PC SSD? - I often get emails from readers who ask the above question.
  39. Hybrid Storage Drives - market reports and news.
  40. the 3 fastest PCIe SSDs? - here's why it's not worth agonizing over the details of comparative benchmarks.
  41. storage reliability - news & white papers.
  42. FC SAN SSDs - intro and sample products
  43. what's the big picture message re SSDs? - why's everyone getting so excited about SSDs? Where's the market heading? (In simple non technical terms.)
  44. 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.
  45. RAID systems - this was the #1 topic with our storage readers in the 1990s - now everyone knows what it's all about. I've added a few SSD related notes to it.
  46. 3 Easy Ways to Enter the SSD Market - a guide to wannabe SSD companies.
  47. flash and nv memory overview - collects together miscellaneous flash topics.
  48. rackmount SSDs - news and articles with special relevance to the rackmount SSD market.
  49. Increasing Flash SSD Reliability - classic article about wear leveling published in 2005.
  50. 1" SSDs - vendor directory and news related to 1 inch (and smaller) SSDs and SSDs on a chip.
  51. the 5 User Value Propositions for SSDs - this classic article explains why people buy SSDs and describes the key markets and applications.
  52. the changing face of the industrial SSD market - an update on technology trends.
  53. Branding Strategies in the SSD Market - as the SSD market gets bigger SSD vendors will need to think more about how customers can easily find them and understand what they do. (Series of articles.)
  54. Flash Memory Chips, Cards & nvRAM - directory page
  55. RAM - directory page for chips, modules and technology stuff
  56. notebook SSD encryption - how does it affect performance and data recovery?
  57. 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.
  58. military storage - news and directory about defence related SSDs and storage.
  59. ExpressCard SSDs - vendor list and market news.
  60. Venture Capital investments - in SSD and storage (hundreds of investments listed).
  61. storage market research & analysts - directory and report news updates.
  62. SSD's past phantom demons - 3 things that could have killed the flash SSD market.
  63. 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 on.
  64. 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.
  65. Calling 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.
  66. PATA SSDS - market roundup and directory.
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