|GridIron's fat flash stirs
ASAP caffeine sooner to beat weekly peaky loads|
September 29, 2011 - GridIron Systems
general availability of its
- an FC SAN
SSD ASAP / auto-tiering
cache - which has low latency (tens of microseconds) and is intended to be
used in what the company calls "Big data" installations.
comments:- Although conceptually similar to
Dataram's 2 year old
XcelaSAN - GridIron's
product is scaled to work with much bigger storage capacities - and includes
more dedicated silicon.
Also - unlike most other caches - GridIron
says its hot data stores and recognizes peaking data patterns over many days -
and not just short term real-time data spikes. That makes it better able to
react more quickly to cyclical business demands - such as time of day, day
of the week, start/end of month etc - without having to relearn them. So the
acceleration will kick in faster.
Microsemi packs secure SATA 75GB SLC SSD into PBGA
September 29, 2011 - Microsemi
shipping secure rugged SATA SSD chips for embedded defense applications with
upto 75GB SLC capacity in a single 32mm x 28mm PBGA (plastic ball grid array).
Advanced security features include AES-128 encryption, self-destruct
capability and whole-module
erase with "push-button"
trigger option, which are essential for mission-critical defense and aerospace
applications, ruggedized mobile systems, surveillance, avionics, navigation and
ruggedized portable storage solutions.
"Our ability to miniaturize microelectronics systems has proven
to be a key advantage in defense applications where SWaP solutions are critical,"
Bogdanski, director of marketing for Microsemi. "Offering a
complete solid state storage system in a compact module allows designers to add
more features to their systems, while supporting key security features that are
increasingly important to our defense and aerospace customers."
Editor's comments:- as with
their 2.5" SSDs -
Microsemi's new SSD chips
integrity from sudden power loss using a unique architecture which doesn't
involve batteries or supercaps.
InnoDisk magic makes MLC SSDs last 7x longer than SLC
September 27, 2011 - InnoDisk
has turned the conventional wisdom about
MLC vs SLC life
on its head in a
about its newest "EverGreen" (industrial SSDs).
The company says that its, MLC based, .EverGreen Plus Series has a
lifespan which is 7x longer than traditional SLC SSDs, and 140x
better than conventional MLC SSDs - due to a combination of features in its SSD
architecture. The company recently published a
which compared the raw incoming quality of various generations of MLC and SLC
- so it knows that data
vulnerabilities are hard bridges for mission critical SSDs to cross.
MLC seniors live longer
in my SSD care home
the fastest PCIe SLC SSD
Editor:- September 27, 2011
Texas Memory Systems
is promoting an independent
SSDs benchmark test (pdf) - which illustrates the performance of its -
Swiss National Supercomputing Centre - which
earlier published similar reports about competing PCIe SLC SSDs - said - "The
RamSan-70 provided by far the best IOPS result we have ever measured..."
wouldn't surprise anyone if they heard me say that when speed and performance
are critical to the success of a company's business, there is no better solution
on the market today than the RamSan-70," said Holly Frost, CEO of
Texas Memory Systems. "But to have those claims backed up by independent
testing by a respected organization like the Swiss National Supercomputing
Centre, we are able to validate the hard work we've undertaken to achieve our
results. We went head-to-head against
Virident and we
came out on top."
Editor's comments:- I discussed the
issues related to this type of report in an earlier article -
the 3 fastest flash
PCIe SSDs list.
Violin unveils naked cost advantages in reliable SSD arrays
September 27, 2011 -
new models and options in its range of fast
FC SAN rackmount SSDs.
series - designed for high availability applications with no single point
of failure and hot swappable "everything" - provides 12TB SLC, or
22TB MLC usable capacity with 200/600 microseconds mixed latency, 1 million /
500K sustained RAIDed spike free write IOPS, in 3U rackspace at a list price
around $37K / $20K per terabyte.
For less demanding applications (but
still featuring hot swap memory modules) the company has also extended its
to 16TB SLC usable capacity.
Editor's comments:- when I spoke
to Violin's CEO -
Basile about the new 6000 series he was curious about how I would tell
you what's unique about this product and signal whether it's relevant to you or
I said - when it comes to reliability -
you've either got it - or you haven't - and there aren't too many enterprise
SSD systems which have hot-swap everything. That's one of the reasons the
latency looks slow - compared to many other fast SSDs - because the figures
quoted here include the latency of the internal factory built protection
Another angle - I said is your product is an example of
architecture". When I explained what I meant - Don agreed and said
what it means for the customer is
Because when you look at the raw capacity that's lost to over-provisioning
and RAID like protection
and get down to the usable capacity that the customer sees in an MLC rack - say
- then Violin's 6000 delivers about 70% of the raw capacity - versus nearer to
30% in an array of 2.5"
SSDs for example. That confers a 2 to 1 native cost and density
(SSD TB/U) advantage.
I said Violin's density looks good too - compared
say to Kaminario's K2.
also said - that our SSD readers would recognize what was meant by "spike-free"
IOPS - because of various
about this - and because another enterprise flash vendor -
Virident Systems -
had made that one of the
talk about compared to some other flash
PCIe SSD companies. I
knew that in Violin's case that was due to their patented non-blocking write
architecture - which was explained to me when their
products came to market in 2008.
Don said - that inside their
protection array they're actually doing 5x more IOPS than the customer
is seeing outside the box and on the datasheet - and that helps too.
also asked about price - and where they were relative to $30K / TB - which is
the ballpark for this type of product - and you can see where Violin are above.
That's a competitive figure for a no SPOF SSD.
I said that for people
who are serious about enterprise SSDs it's relatively easy to decide what
products you may want to focus in on after just seeing a couple of simple
Don did also mention a comparative write up - about their
SSD versus another so called "tier 1" storage solution - from
EMC. Violin think it
makes them look pretty good - but I can't understand why anyone cares how they
stack up to EMC - who never understood the SSD plot - which is why their (at
one time) prime SSD supplier
STEC has had a bumpy
revenue stream in recent years.
I had one final question for Don -
which wasn't about Violin's new SSD - but about
which had come to my attention while I was googling the company just before
When can we expect to see a picture of a naked man
featured on a
poster ad? - I asked.
He laughed and indicated it wouldn't be
Dell will distribute Dataram's auto tiering SSD
September 22, 2011 - Dataram
OEM Solutions will manufacture, provide hardware customization,
distribute and support Dataram's
FC SAN compatible
auto-tiering / SSD ASAP
- the XcelaSAN from
Editor's comments:- Since Dataram launched the
XcelaSAN 2 years ago
it has fixed perceived gaps in its failover characteristics and established
some impressive customer reference sites. But sales have been slow.
of the problem has been that this product is aimed at users who don't have
the technical resources within their workgroups to
tune vanilla SSD
accelerators in SANs because of the
many complex data
architecture decisions which then arise. That's why they need
But without internal safety nets these ideal
potential customers have to be absolutely confident that it works and will
be supported. This deal with Dell goes a long way to doing that - and will tip
the balance for many who liked the idea but needed the reassurance that a 3rd
party heavyweight company has looked at the design and is prepared to support
OCZ opens new chapter in notebook SSD history
September 20, 2011 - OCZ
today launched its
Cache Series 2.5" SATA SSDs for Windows 7 environments.
new SSDs (64GB / 128GB, R/W speeds upto 510/550MB/s, 80,000 IOPS) integrate
cache / SSD ASAP
software to dynamically manage the SSD in conjunction with standard
hard disk drives.
used to support a pre-existing terabyte hard drive - the overall performance for
popular PC benchmark tasks can be 4x to 6x faster - as the
software learns where the hot data resides in that user's PC - according to
benchmarks and data in
related white paper (pdf)
. No data migration or OS installation is required.
Director of Caching and Hybrids, Tobias Brinkman said
the new product - "... Is a big win for a large number of (PC) customers
who value SSD performance but still require HDD capacity. We are proud to be the
first to offer this no-compromise approach to enabling high-performance..."
comments:- you're going to see a lot more solutions like this - as SSD
makers license the critical caching software from the many companies who
currently offer it.
This approach - from OCZ - of wrapping the caching
software around a vanilla high performance
SATA SSD is a much
better business prospect for the PC market than the discredited notion of
integrating both flash cache and HDD inside a single SATA
works better because the SSD itself can still be sold for SSD-only markets
- in addition to the cache market - the CPU is the one already in the PC (and
not an add-on controller) and there isn't a compromize between the profit
margins on the HDD and the SSD.
The first 5 years of
history was a narrative of Scrooge-like designs and many failed market
promises. Looking ahead into 2012 - new waves of no-compromize solid state
solutions could transform this part of the
SANRAD enters the SSD ASAP market
20, 2011 - SANRAD
has entered the
auto-tiering SSD / SSD
ASAPs market with the launch of its new VXL software which supports its
family of FC and GbE
unified storage network
"Many organizations are adding flash resources to
their virtual server environments but aren't able to use them efficiently,"
says Dr Allon Cohen,
SANRAD's VP Marketing. "By combining our software with their
infrastructure, they instantly have faster access, more secure data, and
Editor's comments:- the thinking behind
SANRAD's acceleration architecture is described in this white paper -
to put your flash SSD accelerators - for best enterprise results (pdf)
MLC in enterprise SSDs -forget wear-leveling etc - it's all done
Editor:- September 19, 2011 - flash SSDs have been used
as accelerators in enterprise server apps since 2004 - and the
whether it's a good or bad thing have changed a lot in that time too.
a rough guide - it's 450x harder today to guarantee the operating life
of a typical high speed 2.5" SATA flash SSD than it used to be - just
looking at the intrinsic metrics related to endurance and R/W speeds. And
that's before you take into account the even greater R/W demands in
PCIe SSDs. As we all
know - enterprise flash SSD designers have been using all sorts of architectural
features and patented tricks to wrap around raw flash to ensure that burn-out
is something you can (mostly) forget about when you choose an MLC SSD supplier.
But there's a danger that vendors are moving away from easily comparable
technical explanations in their marketing towards a situation where they say
in effect - trust me - my magic way of doing MLC SSDs is the best-
even when they are using the same (or worse) flash than their competitors.
updated article MLC vs SLC and all that enterprise stuff.
SDS shrinks SSD IOPS in VMware
Editor:- September 15,
2011 - the use of
with VMware has popped up in these news pages in recent years more times
than I care to count. But I got a new angle on this a few days ago in a
discussion with Linda LaPorta,
President of Superior
Data Solutions .
Now you may ask - who is SDS? (the spelling is
important here) and what do they know about SSDs? (It had been several
years since I last heard from them too.) But you've all heard about
STEC's ZeusIOPS - right?
- Well SDS was
selling this particular enterprise flash SSD design in 2006 - before STEC
acquired it from Gnutek.
An SDS platform was also one of
Sun's early SSD offerings
too. But SDS have switched focus from raw hardware to applications - and they
are the US distributor for a product called
LaPorta told me - "...Our software is changing the game in VDI. Right now
IOPs is a big barrier to the acceptance of VDI because the cost to implement
storage can be very high. (Windows 7 users are figuring 24-28 IOPs per VM
pricey if you need to provision HDAs for 10,000). We need a fast IO device to
store the virtual applications. We like a fast SSD, but it only needs to be 100
to 200GB. It is a read only drive that stores the master image of each
application. All the VM's go to a well cached
raid system. This is
where we reduce the IOPs to 2-4 /VM and we keep the capacity requirement
to 3GB/per VM (which is actually making it AFFORDABLE to consider all SSD
instead of HDDs)..."
Fusion-io can do secure erase in less than 60 seconds
September 15, 2011 - Fusion-io
that its new SureErase data
sanitization tool has been confirmed as meeting Department of Defense
sanitization standards by the Defense Information Systems Agency.
enables users to securely remove/erase all data on any ioMemory-based
technology, following DoD/NIST standards, regardless of capacity, in less than 1
Editor's comments:- although that sounds like a long
time - relative to fast
purge SSDs (and it is too long for some applications) nevertheless when you
take into account that many of Fusion-io's PCIe SSDs have multi-terabyte
capacities - it's impressive. See also:-
Anobit joins the high performance 2.5" MLC set
September 14, 2011 - Anobit
it is sampling the fastest (yet) 2.5" SATA SSDs based on its own
SSDs (upto 400GB) delivers up to 70,000/40,000
block size) and 510 MB/s sequential read/write with non-compressible data
(that's a side swipe at
2xnm MLC NAND. Anobit says its patented Memory Signal Processing technology
endurance from 3,000 write cycles to over 50,000.
comments:- like STEC
- Anobit has adopted - 10x drive
writes / day for 5 years - as the market acceptance criteria for a
general purpose enterprise SSD. Anobit is now on a head-on a collision course
with STEC, SandForce,
SanDisk and others
with a product which will increase competition (and reduce
prices) in the high
end 2.5" SSD market.
...Later:- the new approach to
managing flash characteristics - which was pioneered by Anobit and STEC -
became a major industry trend - which was later analyzed in this article -
and DSP ECC IP for use in flash SSDs
Intel launches general purpose 2.5" enterprise MLC SSD
September 14, 2011 - Intel
a new 2.5" SATA MLC SSD for
hard drive replacement
series (1K unit price is $1,929 for 300GB) has low performance (by SSD
standards) - with random R/W IOPS of 38,500 IOPS and 2,700 respectively. But
this performance is more than good enough for use in general purpose bulk
storage arrays. And we're going to see bigger performance spreads between the
slowest SSDs in
datacenters in future as they get value designed to fit more specialist
Editor's comments:- Intel said it has enhanced the
data protection compared to previous models. Frankly - it couldn't have
de-enhanced it. UBER
is quoted as 1 sector per 10-16 - which is OK - but nowhere near the best.
SSDs vs HDDs - groan... not that again
September 14, 2011 - You'd be surprised how many people still think about the
SSD market as an SSD vs HDD thing...
That idea is just so out of
date - and I never saw it that way. But I still get thousands of new readers /
month coming into 6-10 year old vendor written articles centered around
that theme. To redirect or not redirect? That is the question... Instead of
redirecting those old pages - this morning I mixed up some recycled SSD
content filler paste and slapped it on the old web cracks to bring this theme
up to date on those pages as you can see in my new article (is article the
right word here?) and you can see the messy result in -
SSDs replacing HDDs?
- that's not exactly the way it happened.
My headline - "SSDs vs HDDs - groan... not that again" -
comes from the fact that Google still brings in thousands of new readers every
month to some really ancient SSD articles published here 6 to 10 years ago.
It's not their fault - it's due to link volume. (I had been ignoring it before
and hoping it would go away.) So to satisfy the demand for those new readers -
searching for that old concept - I've patched the link gap.
of you don't need to read it -unless you think the solid state storage
market is really about SSDs replacing HDDs. In reality it's about much more
than that. Let your mouse decide betwen ...read the new stop-gap
article, or instead ...read newer artcles
about SSD adoption - or hitting the back.button
- or scroll down a bit more and see what comes next...
finally SANward bound... Fusion-io inside Kaminario's K2
September 13, 2011 - Kaminario
it has integrated Fusion-io's
PCIe SSDs as a new
option in its
FC SAN compatible SSD
product line (which was until now
RAM SSD only) to
provide flash and
Using the new options the K2 can provide from 3 to 30TB of
non-stop, protected and self healing, blade server based flash storage in 4U
to 12U of rack space with R/W latency of 260 / 150 microseconds at a list price
of $30K / TB.
Editor's comments:- Kaminario was already
thinking about how to do a flash option when I spoke to them in March - but at
that time they hadn't made a definite decision about how they were going to
proceed. I've said to several RAM SSD makers in the past year or so - that
working with Fusion-io can make business sense - because when a user has an
installed base of flash acclerated servers that opens up opportunities for
upstream SAN SSDs.
Anyway Kaminario's VP of marketing - Gareth Taube -
told me yesterday he remembered that earlier conversation and said it was
funny how when they were going around visiting potential customers for their RAM
based K2 - how many times the sales people from Fusion-io were just going out
the same doors. Anyway - they met up with Fusion-io's CEO David Flynn and did a deal.
If you're interested - you can see what I think it means for Kaminario
by reading my comments their
almost forgot... You may be wondering - what do I mean by my headline? - the "finally
SANward bound" part?
Well - when Fusion-io came to market -
4 years ago
(September 25, 2007) - a lot of the publicity following their launch talked
about their product being a SAN SSD.
Of course it wasn't - but it was
just their way of communicating with simple editors and analysts who didn't
know any better - that they were in the enterprise SSD market space. Because at
that time (in 2007) the SAN market was already
13 years old and well
understood - whereas the PCIe
SSD market wasn't.
Nowdays many other companies also sell
Fusion-io inside - for example 3 server companies whose names are composed of
2, 3 and 4 letter words / acronyms - but the K2 is the first time that
Fusion-io's ioMemory modules have appeared in a collaboratively designed and
marketed - unashamedly FC SAN storage product.
Having got into the flash market via Fusion-io's technology - Kaminario later
switched to other suppliers (initially 2.5" SSDs from
reason was that Fusion-io itself launched into the rackmount SSD market too -
and so became a competitor to Kaminario.
In the end -
Fusion and SMART - but by then Kaminario had demonstrated that it could build
flash systems from anyone's SSDs - and was not dependent on any particular
OCZ's low profile SATA 3 SSDs inside LG notebooks
September 13, 2011 - OCZ
has been supplying
which use its Indilinx
Everest SSD controller to LG
for use in its in
The 7.5mm high 128GB custom SATA SSD leverages
the Everest's "instant-on" features and low power consumption
new low cost enterprise 2.5" SSD from SMART
September 13, 2011 - next month
begin sampling a new 2.5" SATA
MLC SSD aimed at
cost sensitive / general purpose enterprise storage apps.
500S (60GB to 480GB capacity, 600MB/s burst throughput) combines a
SMART's proven power fail technology. UBER is less than 1 in 10-18 bits read,
an 100x improvement over the
218 spec for enterprise grade SSDs. See also:-
sudden power loss,
Data Integrity in
flash SSD Design, 2.5"
when it pays to understand the SSD market
September 12, 2011 - as the
SSD market gets
bigger - so too does the cost of not understanding it and making the
wrong SSD business
That's probably why the SSD market analysts page
has moved up into the top 10 weekly articles viewed by StorageSearch.com
readers for the first time. My email is always burning with hot SSD market
questions - but the web stats confirm that it's a significant trend.
RunCore samples new SSD chip for smart phones
September 12, 2011 - RunCore
is sampling a low power SATA SSD chip - in a BGA micro-chip package for
embedded apps like mobile phones and tablet PCs.
The rSSD T100 will be
available in industrial temperature versions - and includes SMART commands to
monitor the life expectancy of the product.
"MCP products will be
the next high market demand in the future, and we foresee that this growth will
increase exponentially " said , the RunCore's CEO Jack Wu.
comments:- the 1st "disk on chip" products
came to market 17
years ago in 1994. In those days
flash controllers were
wasn't an issue because of the slow interfaces and high endurance (large
geometry) SLC. Today's tiny SSDs (listed in the
directory) - have all the same functions inside as regular
2.5" SSDs. Over 30
oems make them - for markets ranging from military systems to phones.
Flash accelerators could speed up legacy warfare decision
Editor:- September 12, 2011 - Researchers at the
and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic (SSC Atlantic) in Charleston,
SC have published a
(pdf) which compares the performance of a Fusion-io SSD to a
pre-existing RAID-5 system running a legacy Oracle app in a Windows 2008
An 8x performance speedup of was observed while
using identical server platforms.
"The performance improvements
and reduced latency realized in testing... demonstrate that flash-based
technologies could provide significant acceleration for military organizations
that require fast access to data" said Cary Humphries, Enterprise Systems
Engineering, SPAWAR Systems Center.
SSDs and storage events
Editor:- September 7, 2011 -
One of the sessions taking place at next week's The ExecEvent, (in Santa Clara, Calif)
will be a panel event called -
Much SSD and So Little Time" - in which leading SSD vendors will
review the various "flavors" of SSD and how each technology benefits
cloud and virtualized
All the events now listed on the
Storage Events page
include SSD themes and content - which is a big change from just a few years
will OCZ's new hybrid SSD be a market game changer?
September 1, 2011 - OCZ
hybrid PCIe SSD - the
RevoDrive Hybrid - which integrates 100GB SSD capacity along with an onboard
terabyte HDD and
SSD ASAP / auto hot spot
cache tuning controller capable of 910MB/s peak throughput and upto 120,000
random write IOPS (4K) - all for an MSRP under $500.
RevoDrive Hybrid leverages the best attributes of both solid state drives and
traditional hard drive technology to deliver dynamic data-tiering on a single
easy to deploy PCIe storage drive," said Ryan
Petersen, CEO of OCZ.
Editor's comments:- although
many oems have tried to make a success of
all in one SSD-HDD
hybrid drives - the hybrids which have come to market in the past 6 years
have mostly been failures - as I predicted back in 2005 they would be. That's
because there's an infinite number of permutations which designers can choose
to blend the mix of interface, SSD and HDD capacity and budget - whereas there
is only a small and finite market in which any such combination of features will
work and be competitive. Many past hybrids have also failed to ignite user
buying chain reactions - because they were too slow - having been designed with
interfaces which were too slow, controllers which didn't work, and not enough
SSD capacity relative to the hard drive storage.
OCZ's new product
therefore is coming into a market which has been littered with the bodies of
past failures from other larger storage oems. What's different - and what
could make a difference in this case - is that the ratio of SSD capacity to
typical desktop RAM is a usable number (it's been much too low in all previous
hybrids from hard disk makers) and the ratio of SSD to HDD looks right too. And
the interface - PCIe means that the controller latencies won't get in the way
between the host and the SSD - which has been a weakness in SATA based hybrids.
Therefore it looks like a balanced design.
Is there a big enough
market for this exact combination of features? OCZ with its track record of
high performance consumer SSD sales is better placed to judge this than most SSD
companies (and most analysts).
If any hybrid SSD is going to provide the kind of user experience which leads
users to spread the word and become part of the sales force - this one might
well just be it.