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|Datacenter SSD capacity may grow 8x in the
next 2 years - says IT Brand Pulse|
Editor:- August 31, 2012 - Frank Berry,
CEO at IT Brand
Pulse gave a presentation at the Flash Memory Summit -
Buyer Behavior (pdf) - which lists perceptions of who are the
leaders based on datacenter surveys.
Among the many findings
in this presentation is that datacenter SSD users expect their SSD capacity
will grow nearly 8x in the next 2 years.
Among the many brand
classifications - Whiptail
was ranked #2 in unified SAN/NAS rackmount flash SSDs, after the #1 ranked
detailed report -
SSD System Brand Leaders - is available ($3,950, 19 pages).
new directions in rackmount SSDs
STEC may have gotten more business from EMC if its SSDs had cost
Editor:- August 31, 2012 - for those of you who have been
following the EMC
related spike in STEC's
share price 3 years ago and the ensuing legal claims and settlements - another
postscipt to this story was published yesterday by STEC's CEO and legal team -
- which includes a narrative of the viewpoint seen from inside the company in
the lead up to the August 2009 IPO. It also gives us some visibility about the
negotiations between EMC and STEC - related to possible sizes of orders and
For SSD investors in particular - the message to carry away
from this is that even SSD company CEOs don't always have perfect information
and insights into the SSD market and their realistic position and impact on it.
where did all the money
go? - inside SSD pricing
Microsemi gets NIST certification for rugged 2.5" TRRUST-Stor
Editor:- August 28, 2012 - Microsemi today
announced it has
certification for the AES (encryption ) algorithm on its ultra-secure
A note on the NIST site says - "the XTS-AES-256
implementation runs in an Altera FPGA."
FlashMAX is FlashSoft compatible
Editor:- August 27,
2012 - Virident's
PCIe SSDs are
supported by SanDisk's
- it was
The companies say this collaboration includes sales, joint
testing and validation programs, and support and services assistance.
comments:- the thinking behind SanDisk's strategic decision to support
competing SSD hardware with its software was one of the things which I learned
in a recent interview with the company (see
SSD news August 15
for more details).
DensBits acclaimed with "most innovative flash memory
Editor:- August 27, 2012 - at the recent
Flash Memory Summit
last week DensBits
of Show award winner in the category of most innovative flash memory
technology for its 3 bits/cell
IP controller technology (which the company brands as its
comments:- as I said here in
April when the
company exited stealth mode - it was clear that this was a company which would
make waves in the SSD market. It shot straight into the
top 20 SSD companies
list in the same quarter. The recent award from Flash Memory Summit -
which is based on a panel of industry experts - is well deserved.
- Another joint winner in this Flash Memory Summit award category was
Proximal Data for
VMware (SSD ASAP
software). Proximal Data also recently
that it supports LSI's
Nytro WarpDrive (PCIe
who are Nimbus's hottest competitors? - are you sure about that...
August 23, 2012 - SSD companies often misidentify (in my view) who their most
serious sustainable competitors really are - as predicted by which
enterprise SSD apps silos
they satisfy best.
I was discussing this recently with Thomas Isakovich,
CEO of Nimbus Data
Systems and Scott Kline ,
Director of Corporate Communications as they were getting ready to
new fast SSD rackmount system (which they earlier this week.)
was most interested in - was the companies they had named as key competitors.
the record - Nimbus's list included:-
Texas Memory Systems,
Pure Storage and
SolidFire. And the
idea behind the document was to suggest that the new system from Nimbus (called
the Gemini ) is at
least as good or better than the competition - based on what was being compared.
was clear to me that a lot of effort had gone into preparing their briefing
document - showing things like comparative capacity per U, price per TB, IOPS,
latency and that sort of thing. And I told them I enjoy reading these things -
because they are the closest I get to reading SSD articles (or joined up writing
about the SSD market) which someone else has written.
I said - "There
are 2 companies in there which I wouldn't have had on the list at all - and at
least one other that I would have added instead.
Now I knew I had
their attention. I always try to divert from any preordained script about the
SSD market - because that's what makes these conversations interesting.
how did you decide which competitors to put on the list?" - I asked.
put companies on this list based on those mentioned as competitors by customers"
"Well" I said "that explains it. Most
end-users often aren't clear enough in their own undertanding of what they need
- and many SSD vendors aren't focused enough yet to know which business they
should go for and which they shouldn't waste time on. But just because you butt
up against a bunch of companies doesn't mean to say they are your most serious
long term competitors."
"Who would you take out of the list?"
Tom asked "and why?"
Pure Storage -
because they aren't in the same performance class as you (Pure is fast-enough -
whereas Nimbus is fast). And I'd have left SolidFire out of the comparison table
Another - even better reason not to have them in your comparison
list - I said - is that Nimbus has from time to time appeared in the
Top SSD companies list
- whereas Pure Storage and SolidFire haven't. It's less important to worry
about competitors with much lower ratings and concentrate on what you can do
about competitors who are already scoring better than you in the minds of the
Obviously Nimbus wasn't going to argue with me about that
"OK" Tom said - "who would you put in the list
"Fusion-io" - I
said. "Because their new ION
software is a significant product capability which intersects with the set
of paramaters you've shown in your competitive rankings. The cost and
performance of FIO ION based systems will be an important factor in the fast
rackmount SSD market."
My thinking about this is that while it's
unlikely that many end users would realistically look at an SSD rack from
Nimbus and Fusion-io based technology as viable suppliers for exactly the same
application slot - there would be a small number of high volume end users who
would be perfectly happy with the ION based solution and would wrap their own
cloud-like fault tolerant wrappers around it - if they thought it would give
them a significant cost saving compared to the built in HA/FT in the Nimbus
And because Fusion-io may already be in use in servers within
a customer site - that meant that a starting point for competitive comparisons
in rack based SSDs would often be FIO based - even if it wasn't an exact
Nimbus said they have supplied their rack SSDs into
customers who were using Fusion-io cards in servers.
I wasn't surprised
because there are some apps where that would be the best thing for the customer
to do. (I'll be returning to the subject of boundary conditions in the
enterprise SSD market in my September blog.)
Another thing I asked
Nimbus was - do they support
They said no.
I said - that's another thing which is going
to impact the cost per
TB in enterprise SSD racks - so I didn't think that the cost leadership they
were showing in their tables would last for long. (That was before the recent
launch by Skyera BTW
- which is another company to add to the compete-with list.)
OK - so
apart from chatting about the SSD market - what did I learn about Nimbus's new
As I said to Tom and Scott - what's interesting is that if you
assemble a list of leading competitively priced fast SSD racks - then you
can get very similar performance, pricing and capacity density from systems
which have very different internal architectures.
Customers with different risk
symmetry) and prefences about the granularity of how they replace SSDs (is
it the module or rack level? - it's less risky pulling out 2.5" SSDs than
conventional PCIe SSD cards for example) will lean towards one type of supplier
rather than another.
- proprietary:- TMS, Violin
- open (array of PCIe SSDs) - Fusion-io
- open (array of SAS SSDs) - Nimbus
For the same reason - most enterprise SSD users
will wait several quarters to see how reliable Skyera's new systems are in
somebody else's environment rather than risk being early adopters - even
Skyera does have the lowest price in the industry.
3 factors in the
Nimbus racks which I should mention here - and which I haven't written about
- internally the array has point to point connections to every SAS drive.
That's a factor in throughput performance and latency.
- the Nimbus product allows non-disruptive software updates.
- Nimbus use high level software in their OS as part of the endurance
management. Overall their rack supports 50x full capacity writes each day for 5
years. (That's a good figure which compares with adaptive DSP - although Nimbus
is doing this a different way using
RAM cache in
each of their flash SSDs.)
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