|Software is key to SSD innovation - says
June 29, 2012 -
fibre-channel are some of
the innovations discussed in a
blog by Jeff Sosa,
Director of Product Management,
who poses the question - is flash storage an incremental or a radical
Sosa's article goes on to say - "The 'radical'
innovation in the host-attached flash storage marketplace today comes from
products that not only access flash through a PCIe connection, but also bypass
storage protocols to drive new levels of performance and enable new
functionality not previously imagined." ...read
SSD - Legacy vs New
Important update to DSP IP in SSD ECC article
June 28, 2012 - after publishing my article about
techniques inside MLC SSDs - I realized that some of you would want to know
a lot more about the subject than I know or have time to write about about.
So yesterday I asked Gregory Wong founder of
Insights if he could add anything for our readers - and also which of
his many reports would be appropriate for someone who needs to dive more deeply
into this subject?
You can see what he said in this important update
in a footnote to the article
Tegile publishes ESG test report
Editor:- June 27,
2012 - Tegile Systems,
has gone to a lot of trouble to pay ESG to test their Zebi
storage arrays and tell you how well they work.
results here today.
they make you sign up to read a copy. I guess we'll never know what they
Don't worry. Many other
SSD ASAPs and
test results are
If companies think their products are so good and will save
you time and money - they shouldn't make it hard for you to read their sponsored
trust SSD market reports
Seagate chooses DensBits for flash care
Editor:- June 25, 2012 - Seagate announced
today it will use DensBits's
flash care technology in the design of forthcoming consumer and enterprise SSDs.
has also made an equity investment in DensBits.
comments:- I've already written more than enough about about this technology
trend recently on the home page.
As DensBits told us a few months ago - their business plan is work
with companies which sell complete SSDs - instead of licensing their technology
to other controller
makers. DensBits's technology spans the widest spectrum of adaptive DSP flash
SSD applications from consumer and industrial to fast-enough enterprise SSDs.
If Seagate leverages DensBits's flash technology successfully - the
result will be tougher competition for companies like
SanDisk in the
consumer SSD market
and tougher competition for
SMART in the
enterprise SSD market.
Seagate's technology deal with DensBits is
probably the most significant positive step Seagate has ever taken to establish
a leadership position in the SSD market.
However, due to the
complexity of integrating the multi-dimensional IP from DensBits into real
working SSD products - it could take another few quarters before we see a
market impact. (It's not as simple as integrating a new SSD controller - but on
the other hand - once the design work is done - the degrees of freedom to
optimize products which this technology gives to SSD designers is awesome.)
just another speedup Oracle with SSDs story
June 25, 2012 - If you're into accelerating Oracle in analytics apps with SSDs -
story published today by Nimbus has some
market growth and speedup percentages you might be interested in.
liked this quote from Nimbus's CEO, Thomas Isakovich
- "DBA's have long struggled with disk arrays, going through all sorts of
configuration complexity in hopes of reducing latency by a millisecond or two.
As this win demonstrates, organizations that deploy Nimbus flash memory systems
can eliminate decades of disk array tuning challenges and supercharge database
performance, increasing revenue opportunities and improving quality of service."
comments:- that's a nice cheer leading story about enterprise SSDs on which
to start the week - but I would caution you to reread it with this emphasis - "flash
memory systems can eliminate decades of disk array tuning
aren't going to disappear when all storage is solid state. And you will still
find many Oracle apps which don't speedup just because you stick an SSD next to
the server / HDD storage.
You'll still need to use your brains to
control where you spend your performance budget.
Tech Report article on consumer SSD prices
June 22, 2012 - a recent article in Tech Report reported
the price per GB of consumer SSDs as being mostly between $1 and $2 across a
range of popular models.
Editor:- I usually regard this type
of article as banal and too single-dimensional - so why should you look at it?
if you're interested in getting an idea of what's happening in the minds of
potential SSD consumers - the article has attracted
Some of Tech Report's readers are pretty
impressive and punchy at writing headlines which describe what their own
decision tipping points would be.
What's the best
/ cheapest PC SSD?,
the consumer SSDs
Web-Feet and SSDs in notebooks
Editor:- June 21,
2012 - "Adoption of SSDs in client, commercial and enterprise applications
gained momentum in
shipments and revenue totaling 16 million units and $4 billion respectively"
Niebel in the exectutive summary of the latest
market report from Web-Feet Research.
He goes on to say that "SSDs in notebooks
are not expected to significantly impact and
displace HDDs in
platforms until 2015 with adoption of over 24% penetration."
Greenliant enters industrial e.MMC SSD market
June 20, 2012 - Greenliant
it is sampling industrial
temperature range (-40°C to +85°C )
SSDs on a chip (14mm x
18mm 100 pin BGA) with upto 128GB capacity.
"The new e.MMC
NANDrive fills a gap in current e.MMC offerings for applications requiring high
reliability SSDs, such as automotive, industrial and networking.." said
Arthur Kroyan, VP of business development and marketing, Greenliant.
Hynix acquires DSP SSD IP company LAMD
20, 2012 - SK Hynix
it has entered into an agreement to acquire California-based storage solution
The reason for the acquisition should be clear enough
if you have already read the article on my home page yesterday about the new
generations of adaptive SSD
The roadmap for
flash memory is dependent
on these technologies to enable workable SSDs. And SSDs will account for most of
the memory used in the future.
what's the role of social media in electronics design?
June 20, 2012 -
Times is running a survey to see whether electronics engineers consider
social media useful in their work.
Skyera claims 100x gain in system level SSD endurance
June 19, 2012 - In a new
positioning video launched today -
Danilak claims that his company's vertically integrated technology -
which includes both a new SSD controller and supporting SSD software - achieves
effectively a 100x gain in
using new consumer grade flash. The result will be
SSD bulk storage
systems which cost less than
hard drive arrays. ...see the video
new article - adaptive flash care IP (including DSP)
June 19, 2012 - A few months ago I promised readers that I would publish a
tentative list of SSD companies who use what I loosely called
DSP technologies in SSD IP" in their new designs. .
of the most important design techniques being used in some leading flash SSDs
- in which the SSD designer can adapt the reliability, speed and power
consumption of the SSD - not based on some faw away population model of flash
chips - but optimized for the chips in each SSD - and adapting the
controller behavior to
what is measured and learned from interacting with the flash chips installed.
This is a market changing technique.
Virident speeds up telco billing queries
June 19, 2012 - That legacy
versus new dynasty thing as a way of viewing different SSD companies - is
illustrated in a quote from a customer of Virident Systems -
mentioned in a
"We needed to eliminate the disk-drive
without changing the architecture of the billing system or the customer-care
interface," said David Fruin, VP of engineering at
Vail Systems - a conferencing
technology services provider - which processes more than 48 million billing
records a day on Microsoft SQL Server.
Vail Systems improved
their response times by an order of magnitude and more than doubled their
ability to handle more customers by using Virident's
FlashMAX PCIe SSDs to
accelerate their systems "without requiring any other changes".
Editor's comments:- "SSDs
accelerate telco system" stories are as old as the hills. But what's
interesting about this example from Virident is it shows that
PCIe SSDs can do
useful work in high availability environments which are usually regarded as the
exclusive domain of SAN
based SSDs. Those PCIe
OR rackmount SSD use case distinctions aren't as rigid as some people
CWCDS offers 5TB version of SANbric SSD JBOD
June 19, 2012 - today Curtiss-Wright
Controls Defense Solutions announced a new version of its
FC compatible SSDs the
which supports just under 5TB and weighs about 5 lbs and is designed for
deployment in high speed rugged
data streaming apps such as on-board wide body aircraft, and helicopter
STEC is doing better at enterprise marketing
June 18, 2012 - Extrapolating too far from small data samples is dangerous -
and the warnings I give about this in the monthly real-time updates to the
quarterly Top SSD
Companies List - takes up almost as much space as the list itself.
when - what appears to be - a small movement for a company in the top 5 end of
the list is accompanied by a narrative of significant market activities - then I
think it's worth sticking my neck out and mentioning it.
going to say something positive about STEC - and specifically about the
way they interact with the SSD market via their routes to market and general
Long time readers of the mouse site (as well as investors)
have for the past few years seen this company lose its way through what I
interpreted as being an outmoded way of doing business - which was suboptimum
for the enterprise SSD market. As a result of those factors (over reliance on
too small a customer base, being difficult to do business with, and being out of
touch with enterprise user adoption trends such as
PCIe SSDs) STEC's
quarterly SSD revenue approximately halved in the 2 year period from early 2010
to 2012 - at a time when the available enterprise market quadrupled.
written more than enough about that in the
past and am
not going to repeat the analysis here.
What's been different about
STEC's marketing in the past few months is that the company has doing new
things which it didn't do before - rather than just doing the same old things
In the past few months ads for the company's enterprise SSDs
have started to appear on various websites and the company has gotten into the
SSD software business.
And if you want users to download your software - then you have to make yourself
These little factors are necessary hygiene factors
for business success in today's enterprise SSD market. Although they aren't
My brutally harsh perspective of STEC - reflected in my
editorial and market analysis in recent years - has been that the company was
at one stage 5 years behind the curve when viewed from an enterprise SSD
marketing perspective compared to its competitors. The company survived -
because in some aspects of its flash management technology - as applicable to
enterprise SSDs - it was a few years ahead of its competitors. Although that
lead has evaporated
The business steps the company has taken recently - have moved
it forward from being an electronic component biased SSD company into an
enterprise systems oriented SSD company.
SSD readers are reacting to
these differences too - and that's why STEC looks like it is nudging back up
towards the sharp end of the top SSD companies list.
5 years ago - STEC was
SSD market is much
more competitive now. Wherever it ends up - these search stats indicate that
STEC - competing with itself - is on a better course now than it has done for
many years. That should bode well for the company's long term future outlook
Kaminario recommends you read SSD Symmetries article
June 15, 2012 - I accidentally discovered today that earlier this week Gareth Taube,
VP of Marketing at Kaminario
published a new blog
in which he recommends my article about
says "Flexibility, such as being able to integrate multiple memory
technologies into a single box (like Kaminario's K2-H), is going to be
increasingly important to customers who want efficiency and customization
options. This is especially true because there are many memory innovations
coming on the near horizon." ...read Gareth's blog
comments:- when I was writing the symmetry article one of the things I had in
mind to do was to put more examples in it. Then I realized that having lots of
examples would simply make the article unreadable.
One of the examples
I was going to use for good roadmap symmetry (but then forgot to put
anywhere) was in fact Kaminario - because they can leverage off whatever
Fusion-io does with
flash (or other nv memory)
and furthermore Kaminario can also leverage off whatever server makers do with
CPUs and RAM. Roadmap
symmetry is a long term consideration - important for big users who don't like
supplier churn and important for
VCs and investors too.
I'm glad I wrote that bit about "roadmap symmetry" - because by a
spooky coincidence - 3 days later we got the news that Kaminario's investors
still love what they do.
June 18, 2012 - Kaminario today
it has secured a $25 million series D round of funding, bringing its total
funding to $65 million.
does ReRAM have role in hybrid enterprise SSDs?
June 15, 2012 - A research group led by Professor Ken Takeuchi
at Chuo University in Japan has published results of using
ReRAM in a hybrid design
with flash which can reduce power consumption by an order of magnitude and
increase the operating life by 7x according to -an article
in Nikkeibp.co.jp. The research is looking at implications for enterprise
RAM flash cache
SSDs and USB 3
Editor:- June 13, 2012 -Does
my NAND flash need USB 3.0? - is a good summary of the value that
USB 3 can bring to the SSD
market - written by Eric Huang, at
Nutanix has a new NFS for PCIe SSD accelerated CPUs
June 12, 2012 - Nutanix
the general availability of NDFS (Nutanix Distributed File System), a bold new
distributed filesystem that has been optimized to leverage localized low
latency PCIe SSDs such
as those from Fusion-io.
shifting the NFS datapath away from the network directly onto the VMware vSphere
host, NDFS bypasses network communications that have historically been fraught
with multiple high-latency hops between top-of-rack and end-of-row switches.
Nutanix accelerates both read and writes for any workload.
availability are achieved by data mirroring across high-speed 10GbE
switches. Nutanix says it harnesses the same distributed system techniques
that power webscale clouds such as Google, Amazon, and LinkedIn clouds into an
enterprise-friendly package that starts out as a high-density 2U datacenter
Editor's comments:- Nutanix is in the
SSD ASAP market -
equivalency architecture integrated in the OS. The company says their
architecture "collapses compute and storage into a single tier." You
can get the general idea from their
LAMD launches 90K IOPS SATA SSD controller
June 11, 2012 -Link_A_Media
a fast new
SSD controller aimed
at the SATA SSD market.
LM87800 can deliver 90K sustained random
R/W IOPS and
550 MB/s sustained sequential throughput using a 6Gb/s
SATA host interface.
The company says its eBoost SSD technology uses proprietary adaptive
DSP techniques coupled with powerful on-the-fly error correction technology.
With 8 NAND channels supporting the high-speed ONFi 2.3 and Toggle 1
flash interfaces, the LM87800 can access up to 1TB of commodity NAND flash while
also cost-effectively supporting lower capacities.
OCZ interview on DigiTimes
Editor:- June 8, 2012 -
If you've ever wondered what's the main difference between OCZ's enterprise and
consumer SSDs, and why the company has so many models - you'll see these
questions (and more) answered by OCZ's CMO, Alex Mei, in a
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
the organizer's web site by clicking on this link.
STEC releases SSD cache software for anyone's SSD
June 6, 2012 - STEC
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
SATA SSD. And a
Linux version of this software, based on Facebook's
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.
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.
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
BiTMICRO acquires mixed signal IP assets from QualCore
June 5, 2012 - BiTMICRO
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
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
SanDisk launches long awaited PCIe SSD accelerators
June 5, 2012 - SanDisk
today launched a new family of bootable enterprise
PCIe SSDs with upto
400GB (MLC) capacity ($2,350 MSRP) - the
- which leverages SSD IP from 2 previously acquired companies (Pliant for the
controller hardware and FlashSoft
for the auto caching
Upto 5 cards can be installed in a single system.
comments:- no useful performance data about the new products was available
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. ...click here to take part
multi-generational SandForce SSD controllers demonstrated with
Editor:- June 4, 2012 - LSI recently
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.
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
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
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.