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SSD news - March 1-14, 2012

2.5" PCIe SSDs
SSD market history
the Top SSD Companies
EOL related issues for industrial SSD BOMs
flash wars in the enterprise - the enduring saga of nice vs naughty flash
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new Marvell SSD controllers will accelerate Ultrabooks

Editor:- March 14, 2012 - Marvell today announced mass design wins for its new high speed 6Gbps SATA SSD controller - the 88SS9187 which supports regular RAM cache (upto 1GB) and upto 500MB/s R/W even at dirty drive conditions.

It supports on-chip RAID technology for the NAND device with flexible customer firmware based algorithms to optimize retiring of defective NAND block, plane, die or device and has the lowest power consumption of any controller in this performance class.

See also:- consumer SSDs, flash memory

what do enterprise SSD users want?

Editor:- March 14, 2012 - in a new blog today on - I ask the question - what do enterprise SSD users want?

Knowing the answers to that question should be a higher priority for SSD vendors than it currently is. But we can all work together to change that. the article

rounding up the best articles re auto acceleration

Editor:- March 13, 2012 - I've updated my classic article - the New Business Case for SSD ASAPs - to add a list of worthy external articles about auto-tiering / caching / acceleration - which have appeared in the 2½ years since my original article was published.

This is one of those topics where the SSD software plays as big a part in the success of the whole concept as the SSD controller. Understandably users have waited to see which approaches work best for other brave beta / rev 1 / rev 2 users in the market instead of rushing to buy systems based on sponsored benchmarks. The reality is that different designs suit different apps. Now where have you heard me say that before? the article

NVMe Consortium aims at PCIe SSD compatibility testing

Editor:- March 12, 2012 - UNH-IOL today announced it's accepting founding members for the laboratory's new NVMe Consortium which will provide a vendor neutral location for members to test conformance of their PCIe SSD related products aimed at the NVMe compatible market.

See also:- storage ORGs, testing SSDs, 2.5" PCIe SSDs

Fusion-io inside video-sharing site

Editor:- March 9, 2012 - among other things - making online video viable in one of the world's biggest websites was a proving ground for Fusion-io in its infancy - and a few years ago when I compiled a directory of the best videos which will help you understand various aspects of the SSD market - I chose a video wall demo in that very short list.

No real surprise then that the grown up FIO sometimes reminds us that it can still do this moving pictures along the online thing - as it did this yesterday with an announcement that Nico-Nico Douga - a video-sharing website in Japan with over 26 million registered users - is using Fusion ioMemory to reduce its data center footprint. Video delivery across the internet is creating big technical challenges.

Elgato launches Thunderbolt SSD

Editor:- March 9, 2012 - Elgato today launched an external SSD for the Mac market with a Thunderbolt interface (10Gbps) and upto 240GB capacity.

Editor's comments:- the company says - "The Elgato Thunderbolt SSD is the fastest single-drive storage solution for your Mac."

However, since I couldn't find any performance data in their datasheet - I'm unable to comment on that claim. Elgato's product description does reassure us, however that it comes in a good looking rock-solid metal enclosure. Oh well - that's a relief to know. And it's all the significant info we need to know about any new SSD before buying it. I must have been wasting my time for the past 20 years worrying about that other stuff.

This is just another example of sloppy consumer technical marketing. I'm so glad that I leave consumer SSD news to other sites. But it's amusing to take a peek now and then.

Drobo's new SSD ASAP uses SAS SSDs from OCZ

Editor:- March 8, 2012 - OCZ announced that its Talos SSDs (3.5" SAS SSDs) will be used in Drobo's new B1200i range of iSCSI auto-tiering systems (SSD ASAPs).

This is Drobo's first product to leverage the benefits of SSDs.

"Just like larger organisations, SMEs should be able to afford and enjoy the benefits of SSD technology and performance," said Tom Buiocchi, CEO of Drobo. "For the best capacity and performance, our unique automated data-aware tiering allows customers to easily and affordably add SSDs to the same Drobo environment that already has high-capacity traditional disk drives."

Dell selects Micron's hot-swap 2.5" PCIe SSD

Editor:- March 6, 2012 - Micron today announced that it has developed a 2.5" form factor, hot swappable, PCIe SSD.

The new solution has been selected as a key storage device in Dell's PowerEdge 12th generation servers.

Editor's comments:- this is a natural progression - from the pioneering work last year by SANRAD (the first company to ship front removable PCIe SSDs) and OCZ (the first company to demonstrate 3.5" PCIe SSDs).

In a recent article - are you designing a new PCIe SSD? - I discussed some of the new storage architectural concepts which are being enabled by new PCIe chips from PLX - in the area of fault tolerance and PCIe enabled SANs. So there are a lot more changes in the PCIe SSD product pipeline. 2.5" will be an additional form factor for PCIe SSDs - and won't replace the traditional card / module form factor.

NVSL paper discusses kernel adaptations to unfetter fast SSDs

Editor:- March 8, 2012 - a recent white paper - Providing Safe, User Space Access to Fast SSDs (pdf) - published by academics at NVSL (Non Volatile Systems Lab) at UCSD - discusses techniques for reducing kernel associated overheads in the filesystem by an order of magnitude without removing security and file permissions.

The authors say - "Our intent is that this new architecture be the default mechanism for file access rather than a specialized interface for highperformance applications. To make it feasible for all applications running on a system to use the interface, Moneta-D supports a large number of virtual channels. This decision has forced us to minimize the cost of virtualization."

EMC arrays will have WD SAS SSDs inside

Editor:- March 5, 2012 - Hitachi GST today announced that its 2.5" SAS SLC SSD product - the Ultrastar SSD400S - is now shipping in EMC's VNX iSCSI arrays.

Editor's comments:- after more than a year of waiting - WD said this week that it has obtained all required regulatory approvals for its acquisition of HGST which will close this week. That will beef up WD Solid State Storage. The exact arrangements of how the business units will operate will be disclosed afterwards.

3 years later:- in 2015 we learned that no storage company was too big to be acquired when EMC itself joined the ranks of 50 plus acquired SSD companies.

STEC ships Slim SATA CellCare SSDs

Editor:- March 5, 2012 -STEC has started shipping CellCare MLC SSDs in the Slim SATA / MO-297 SSD form factor.

The MACH16 Slim SATA embedded SSD (pdf) has upto 50GB usable capacity, and sustained R/W performance up to 245MB/s and 150MB/s respectively.

new article on Enterprise SSD Array Reliability

Editor:- March 1, 2012 - Objective Analysis has published an article -Enterprise Reliability, Solid State Speed (pdf) - which examines the conflicts which arise from wanting to use SSD for enterprise acceleration - while also preserving data protection in the event of SSD failure.

New approaches and architectures are required - because traditional methods can negatively impact performance - or - as in the case of RAID - don't always work.

"RAID is configured for HDDs that fail infrequently and randomly. SSDs fail rarely as well, but fail predictably" says the author Jim Handy - who warns that "SSDs in the same RAID and given similar workloads can be expected to wear out at about the same time."

He examines in detail one of the many new approaches to high availability enterprise SSD design - that's used in Kaminario's K2. the article (pdf)

See also:- the SSD reliability papers, storage reliability, high availability enterprise SSD directory and SSD market analysts.
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how fast can your SSD run backwards?
SSDs are complex devices and there's a lot of mysterious behavior which isn't fully revealed by benchmarks and vendor's product datasheets and whitepapers. Underlying all the important aspects of SSD behavior are asymmetries which arise from the intrinsic technologies and architecture inside the SSD.

Which symmetries are most important in an SSD?

That depends on your application. But knowing that these symmetries exist, what they are, and judging how your selected SSD compares will give you new insights into SSD performance, cost and reliability.
SSD symmetries article There's no such thing as - the perfect SSD - existing in the market today - but the SSD symmetry list helps you to understand where any SSD in any memory technology stands relative to the ideal. And it explains why deviations from the ideal can matter. to read the article






How will 2.5" PCIe SSDs impact the business of SAS SSD makers?

In the long term I think it will reduce the market size for SAS SSDs because the new types of SSDs will provide faster throughput and lower latency - and the possibility of offering fast-enough SSDs at lower cost too.
2.5" PCIe SSDs


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after AFAs? - the next box
Throughout the history of the data storage market we've always expected the capacity of enterprise user memory systems to be much smaller than the capacity of all the other attached storage in the same data processing environment.

after AFAs - click to read rhe articleA new blog on - cloud adapted memory systems - asks (among other things) if this will always be true.

Like many of you - I've been thinking a lot about the evolution of memory technologies and data architectures in the past year. I wasn't sure when would be the best time to share my thoughts about this one. But the timing seems right now. the article
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