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SSD news - June 1 - 7, 2012

more SSDs at Computex

Editor:- June 7, 2012 - there are a lot of SSD companies and products appearing this week at Computex 2012 that I won't be writing about right now.

Don't worry - you can see who they are and read about them on the organizer's web site by clicking on this link.

STEC releases SSD cache software for anyone's SSD

Editor:- June 6, 2012 - STEC today announced the general availability of the company's EnhanceIO SSD Cache Software for Linux and Windows environments with pricing starting from $295 and $495 (per server) for a 1 year subscription.

STEC says its SSD cache software can used with any vendor's SAS, Fibre Channel, PCIe or SATA SSD. And a Linux version of this software, based on Facebook's Flashcache caching module, will be made available under a general public license (GPLv2).

"As one of the original architects of Flashcache, I'm extremely pleased to see this technology being enhanced and supported by STEC in their EnhanceIO software," said Mohan Srinivasan, software engineer at Facebook. "Flashcache has proven to be an invaluable tool for accelerating application performance at Facebook."

Users can choose from a selection of caching schemes and block sizes to suit their preference and SSD's capabilities. STEC stores the metadata for the cache in system DRAM rather than in the SSD. The DRAM required for the cache is 0.1% of the cache size so a terabyte of SSD cache requires about 1GB of DRAM support. Product support tools include a profiler which can collect user data and suggest the best policy option parameters for the cache setup.

Editor's comments:- irrespective of the technical strengths and weaknesses (and pricing model) of this new product compared to other competing SSD ASAP / caching offerings - some questions immediately spring to mind.

How serious is STEC about making this software work as a standalone product? And if it becomes successful will the company be tempted to bundle it free with its own SSDs?

BiTMICRO acquires mixed signal IP assets from QualCore

Editor:- June 5, 2012 - BiTMICRO today announced it has obtained over 600 IP assets from QualCore whose portfolio includes analog, digital, and mixed-signal IC design.

Engineers retained from QualCore's IP and ASIC services team have joined the recently established BiTMICRO India. The acquisition also brings BiTMICRO closer to its goal of bringing the entire development cycle in-house, from ASIC design to characterization testing.

Skyera sets up HQ

Editor:- June 5, 2012 - Skyera (still in partial stealth mode) today announced it has moved into its new (81,000 square feet) headquarters in San Jose, CA.

"We are installing world-class manufacturing facilities that enable us to offer exceptional product quality while maintaining the lowest possible solid-state storage systems cost in the industry" said the company's CEO - Rado Danilak

SanDisk launches long awaited PCIe SSD accelerators

Editor:- June 5, 2012 - SanDisk today launched a new family of bootable enterprise PCIe SSDs with upto 400GB (MLC) capacity ($2,350 MSRP) - the Lightning - which leverages SSD IP from 2 previously acquired companies (Pliant for the controller hardware and FlashSoft for the auto caching software).

Upto 5 cards can be installed in a single system.

Editor's comments:- no useful performance data about the new products was available on the Lightning PCIe SSD home page when I looked - so you'll just have to imagine how fast an SSD with that type of name might be.

IOPS needs survey

Editor:- June 4, 2012 - throughout June - Objective Analysis and Coughlin Associates are conducting a survey of how many IOPS people think they need. here to take part

multi-generational SandForce SSD controllers demonstrated with 19nm flash

Editor:- June 4, 2012 - LSI recently announced demonstrations of its SandForce SF-2000 flash controllers working with Toshiba 19nm and Intel 20nm NAND flash memory at Computex 2012 taking place this week in Taipei, Taiwan.

"Working with all 6 leading manufacturers of NAND flash technology enables LSI to optimize our flash processors for ever-shrinking silicon geometries," said Michael Raam, VP and GM, Flash Components Division, LSI.

Editor's comments:- over 7 million SandForce controllers had been shipped upto the start of Q2 2012 - and 20% of all the flash capacity in computing today is controlled by a SandForce controller according to company sources. IDC says shipments of SSDs in client and enterprise markets are expected to exceed 100 million units in 2015.

LSI says that its multi-generation roadmaps are a key reason that oems (currently 50 companies) like its way of doing things. The 1st generation SandForce controller supported 4 flash generations from 5Xnm down to 2Xnm and its current generation started at 3Xnm geometries and already supports 3 generations of flash down to 20nm. One of the reasons it can support so many generations of flash from the same generation controller design is that it uses firmware as part of the flash management IP.

Biwin enters PCIe SSD market

Editor:- June 4, 2012 - Biwin is showing a (slow) prototype PCIe SSD at Computex 2012.

The company says this isn't a marketable product but signals its intention to enter the PCIe SSD market soon with products which are closer to the 8GB/s potential thoughput of 3rd generation PCIe servers.

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