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SSD news - February 2012 - 3rd week

GreenBytes launches its first pure SSD rack

Editor:- February 21, 2012 - GreenBytes announced imminent availability of its first pure SSD based storage array.

The Solidarity is a high availability iSCSI 3U rackmount SSD with real-time dedupe and compression with upto 13.5TB raw / 60TB effective capacity ($75K) and 120,000 4K IOPS performance.

WhipTail recruits CMO

Editor:- February 21, 2012 - WhipTail today announced that Maxwell K. Riggsbee Jr. has joined WhipTail as VP and chief marketing officer.

Editor's comments:- in the multi-faceted technology and user value proposition blender which is flavoring today's enterprise SSD market - marketing is the secret ingredient which can lift vendors above the heap with labels and signposts that potential customers can recognize.

Users have been working work hard to understand what enterprise SSDs can do for them - but vendors have to invest more effort too - to explain why their type of product is better in particular roles.

STT secures $36 million A round for OST-MRAM

Editor:- February 15, 2012 - Spin Transfer Technologies today announced it has secured $36 million in Series A funding - led by its parent company, Allied Minds and Invesco Asset Management - to accelerate development of STT's patented orthogonal spin transfer magneto resistive random access memory technology (OST-MRAM).

STT says "the company is poised to create the next generation of memory applications combining the non-volatility of flash with the read and write performance of DRAM and SRAM into one, seamless product."

See also:- VCs & SSDs, flash and other NVM, storage glue chips.

SanDisk acquires FlashSoft

Editor:- February 15, 2012 - SanDisk today announced it has acquired FlashSoft - one of the leading independent software vendors in the SSD ASAPs market.

SanDisk intends to sell FlashSoft's products as standalone software, as well as offer these software products in combination with SanDisk's growing portfolio of SAS, PCIe and SATA enterprise solutions.

Editor's comments:- I'm not surprised that someone has acquired FlashSoft - because they were an obvious target sitting so high in the Top SSD companies list.

This means that SanDisk now joins an impressive roster of enterprise SSD makers who have acquired auto acceleration / virtualization software companies in the past year. The only stumbling block is that acquiring enterprise SSD assets isn't the same as being able to do anything useful with them afterwards from the business point of view. Especially when they're software companies.

I still remain unconvinced that SanDisk has achieved as much as it should have done from its earlier acquisition of enterprise SSD controller maker Pliant.

(Although Pliant made SSDs - they had virtually no market share - so their main value to SDK was as a sounrce of enterprise controller IP.)

I don't think SanDisk understands the enterprise SSD market in the same way as the other companies with which it competes. It's not the same as marketing consumer products.

VIA chooses Tensilica core for new SSD controller

Editor:- February 15, 2012 - Tensilica today announced that VIA has selected Tensilica's Xtensa dataplane processors (DPUs) for a new design of SSD controllers.

After conducting a technical evaluation, VIA determined that Tensilica's DPUs provide over 4x the performance of competing processors on key algorithms used to benchmark competitive alternatives.

With conventional processors, increasing the clock speed is the common way to increase SSD IOPS. However this increases energy consumption and die size, especially as speeds increase so much that designers are forced to move to more complex multi-core solutions.

Tensilica says its DPUs allow designers to customize the IP core, mix both control and signal processing, and add high-bandwidth connectivity to increase performance without increasing the clock speed.

For example, designers can use single-cycle bit field manipulation and arithmetic instructions along with multiple simultaneous single-cycle table lookups to achieve over 10x the efficiency of other processors. This not only increases IOPS, but also significantly reduces the energy consumed and the complexity of the SOC design itself.

Editor's comments:- There's a good precedent for this. When SandForce came to market in April 2009 - their CEO (at that time) Alex Naqvi told me their controller used the dataplane processors from Tensilica.

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