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SSD news - June 8 - 21, 2012

Web-Feet and SSDs in notebooks

Editor:- June 21, 2012 - "Adoption of SSDs in client, commercial and enterprise applications gained momentum in 2011 with shipments and revenue totaling 16 million units and $4 billion respectively" says Alan Niebel in the exectutive summary of the latest SSD 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 notebook platforms until 2015 with adoption of over 24% penetration."

Greenliant enters industrial e.MMC SSD market

Editor:- June 20, 2012 - Greenliant Systems today announced it is sampling industrial temperature range (-40°C to +85°C ) e.MMC compatible 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

Editor:- June 20, 2012 - SK Hynix today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire California-based storage solution company Link_A_Media Devices.

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 controllers.

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?

Editor:- June 20, 2012 - EE 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

Editor:- June 19, 2012 - In a new positioning video launched today - Skyera's founder Rado 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 endurance 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)

Editor:- 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 "adaptive DSP technologies in SSD IP" in their new designs. .

It's one 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. the article

Virident speeds up telco billing queries

Editor:- 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 press release today.

"We needed to eliminate the disk-drive bottleneck 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 think.

CWCDS offers 5TB version of SANbric SSD JBOD

Editor:- June 19, 2012 - today Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions announced a new version of its FC compatible SSDs the SANbric 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 platforms.

STEC is doing better at enterprise marketing

Editor:- 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.

But 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.

So I'm 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 marketing.

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.

I've 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 better.

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 more approachable.

These little factors are necessary hygiene factors for business success in today's enterprise SSD market. Although they aren't sufficient.

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 now.

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 #1.

The 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 too.

Kaminario recommends you read SSD Symmetries article

Editor:- 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 SSD Symmetries.

Gareth 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." Gareth's blog

Editor's 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.

...Later:- 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 announced 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?

Editor:- 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 The research is looking at implications for enterprise SSD designs.

See also:- SSD controllers, RAM flash cache ratios, hybrid SSDs

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 Synopsys

Nutanix has a new NFS for PCIe SSD accelerated CPUs

Editor:- June 12, 2012 - Nutanix today announced 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.

By 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. Redundancy and 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 rack.

Editor's comments:- Nutanix is in the SSD ASAP market - with CPU-SSD 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 blog and video.

LAMD launches 90K IOPS SATA SSD controller

Editor:- June 11, 2012 -Link_A_Media Devices today launched a fast new SSD controller aimed at the SATA SSD market.

The 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 recent interview in DigiTimes.
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