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SSD news - April 8-14, 2012

new nv market size report from Web-Feet

Editor:- April 13, 2012 - Web-Feet Research has consolidated the reported shipments from 17 main flash makers to conclude that the flash memory market in 2011 was worth nearly $29 billion - an increase of 8% from 2010.

Web-Feet's market report - the 2011 Non Volatile Memory Market Shares by Vendor report ($2,500) includes market shares by vendor for total nv memory (all types) and includes breakdowns by vendor and forecasts. For more info contact:- Alan Niebel - alan.niebel@web-feetresearch.com


what's the life-time of Intel's new PCIe SSD?

Editor:- April 12, 2012 - Intel today launched a new fast-enough PCIe MLC SSD - the 910 Series has upto 800GB capacity ($3,859) and 180K / 75K R/W IOPS (4K blocks). UBER is 1 sector per 1016 bits read.

Editor's comments:- endurance is quoted as 14PB - which assuming a 1 in 3 write to read ration and maximum throughput rates (1GB/s writes and 2GB/s reads respectively) means the device could wear out in less than 3 months. That would require an artificially created scenario of R/W activity to achieve - but indicates that enterprise users still have to worry about the safety margins of various flash flavors in intense server apps.

Another way Intel quotes the same endurance is it "allows up to 10 full drive writes a day for 5 years." That's a perfectly valid way to describe enterprise SSDs - and other SSD vendors (STEC etc) use the same kind of formula - but a good enough figure for a SAS SSD may not be what you need in a PCIe SSD and it demonstrates the difference between general purpose and intensive caching roles.

I've heard many stories about enterprise SSD customers whose SSDs did wear out after 3 to 6 months. The answer is to buy the right kind of SSD for the particular apps environment - preceeded by measurement, analysis and modelling of what the SSD workload is likely to be.


Fusion-io unveils accelerator for video editors

Editor:- April 12, 2012 - Fusion-io today inveiled the Fusion ioFX - a PCIe SSD which has been value engineered and performance optimized for use in workstations in the visual effects market - and which will be demonstrated next week at the NAB conference.

"Not too long ago, performance like this would have been cost prohibitive for boutique studios or independent artists" said Vincent Brisebois at Fusion-io. "With the ioFX, artists now have a powerful tool to unlock creative possibilities in their workstation, and industry leading software developers can finally deliver impressive new features that were not previously possible."


why would WD want to buy STEC?

Editor:- April 12, 2012 - a reader asked me today what I thought about rumors that WD might be thinking about acquiring STEC. Now I'm not privy to such information - and if I did know I wouldn't be writing about it until after it happened. Here's a shortened almost verbatim version of what I said.

It's hard to see where the value would come from this for WD. STEC's biggest asset is its SAS SSD product line - but WD just recently acquired one from HGST.

STEC's CellCare has a long lasting value in embedded SSDs - so in theory that's a good technology for anyone to acquire who wants to be a major player in SSD storage and doesn't have its own controller technology - or doesn't want to be beholden to merchant suppliers like SandForce/LSI

WD already has legacy embedded SSD IP - acquired from SiliconSystems - but that was all SLC related (and power protection stuff). WD still has a hole in MLC IP.

Last year I wrote that "STEC would be cheap to buy but expensive to own" - because I expected that nearly all its enterprise SSD business would go way or become dependent on new products - not yet designed into many slots. At the right price - it might make sense - but whoever acquired STEC would also be paying for a military SSD business which works pretty well - and which the acquirer might need to divest as a separate company if they didn't want to be in the defense market.

As an SSD controller company STEC is worth more than Apple paid for Anobit. If you add a few hundred million to that and then add in some more value for the military business - then an acquirer would have to think about finding over $1 billion. Then another big fraction on top of that to fund the burn rate. If I was in the market for a CellCare-like technology I'd find it cheaper and less entangled to look at SMART instead.


the top 20 SSD companies in Q1 2012

Editor:- April 10, 2012 - StorageSearch.com today published the 20th quarterly edition of the Top SSD Companies.


Microsemi eliminates weakest link in rugged high capacity SATA SSDs

Editor:- April 9, 2012 - Microsemi today announced it is offering a new type of ruggedized SATA connector option for its its TRRUST-Stor SSDs which provides a complete vibration-resistant solution which eliminates pin fretting and intermittent disconnects to assure long-term dependability.

"The weakest link in many embedded applications is the connector, which can sabotage the operation of critical hardware," said B J Heggli, VP of Strategic Development for Microsemi. "Our new connector family protects against the effects of severe shock and vibration, which safeguards the flow of data. As a result, we can now offer customers what is perhaps the most secure and rugged SSD available on the market."
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how fast can your SSD run backwards?
SSDs are complex devices and there's a lot of mysterious behavior which isn't fully revealed by benchmarks and vendor's product datasheets and whitepapers. Underlying all the important aspects of SSD behavior are asymmetries which arise from the intrinsic technologies and architecture inside the SSD.

Which symmetries are most important in an SSD?

That depends on your application. But knowing that these symmetries exist, what they are, and judging how your selected SSD compares will give you new insights into SSD performance, cost and reliability.

There's no such thing as - the perfect SSD - existing in the market today - but the SSD symmetry list helps you to understand where any SSD in any memory technology stands relative to the ideal.
SSD symmetries article And it explains why deviations from the ideal can matter. ...click to read the article
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"A good way to think about SSDs is like vitamin supplements or medicine for computers... You have to be careful about swallowing any new pills just because you found they got a good write-up on the internet. And it's the same with SSDs too.."
...from:- SSDs and tonic medicine
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how fast can your SSD run backwards?
SSDs are complex devices and there's a lot of mysterious behavior which isn't fully revealed by benchmarks and vendor's product datasheets and whitepapers. Underlying all the important aspects of SSD behavior are asymmetries which arise from the intrinsic technologies and architecture inside the SSD.

Which symmetries are most important in an SSD?

That depends on your application. But knowing that these symmetries exist, what they are, and judging how your selected SSD compares will give you new insights into SSD performance, cost and reliability.

There's no such thing as - the perfect SSD - existing in the market today - but the SSD symmetry list helps you to understand where any SSD in any memory technology stands relative to the ideal.
SSD symmetries article And it explains why deviations from the ideal can matter. ...click to read the article
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