SSD news - November
|Micron sources power holdup technology for
Editor:- November 14, 2012 - Micron has signed an
agreement with AgigA Tech to
collaborate to develop and offer nonvolatile DIMM (NVDIMM) products using
AgigA's PowerGEM (sudden power loss
controller and holdup modules).
Skyera feels misunderstood
Editor:- November 14,
2012 - Regular readers of StorageSearch.com have got used to the idea
that sometimes even 1 or 2 letters surrounding a word in an
can make a big
difference to the meaning,
example when I prefix the 2 letters
HA to SSD -
it makes it more reliable.
In the interests of editorial efficiency I
use many abbreviations - but I trust the intelligence of readers to know -
for example that it's enough to say "SAS SSD" - the "enterprise" prefix
being already understood.
And my sentences get long enough already
anyway without being cluttered up by brain busting redundant concept loaded
words which don't add value to the meaning.
I've even gone so far
as to collect and reduce everything in the SSD auto tiering / caching / pooling
appliance market under the heading of
of hours of diligent editorial care have been applied to explaining and
maintaining the nuances of individual letters such as "S", "M"
and "T" when they
- because each letter comes attached with its different
baggage of IP (which
all of you understand in this context means "intellectual property"
and doesn't need to be disambiguated).
Likewise - as nearly 100% of
flash SSDs in the market today are NAND flash - when I talk about flash - I
rarely add "NAND" to differentiate it from "NOR".
that several months have elapsed since
Skyera did its
historic launch of an efficient,
SSD rack - the
company's ingenious marketing people are scrabbling around to find good
reasons for editors to write about them. And what they've come up with is a
of a moan about SSD terms not being adequately understood.
they must have been thinking about other editors, publications and readers -
because the mouse site reader stats show that you do understand what they're
(If you work at Skyera and are wondering how to get more
attention in the serious world of SSD - instead of pitching more
boo hoo wah, try instead HA - but avoid haha.)
flooded drives article resurfaces
12, 2012 - Sadly for all those affected - one of the top 10 articles on the
mouse site this month is a 5 years old article -
Data from Drowned / Flooded Hard Drives which includes useful
counter-intuitive advice about what you should do to prevent making things
even worse before you contact any
data recovery companies.
If you know people affected - you may want to pass this on.
in 2-3 minds about data recovery and striking the right balance in giving this
On the one hand it seems ghoulish to give the
subject visibility which is timed to coincide with anticipated and actual
On the other hand the right knowledge and resources can be
helpful at a difficult time - so it would be perverse not to mention it.
on the 3rd other hand (apologies to those of you who saw my alpha centauri
feature a few weeeks ago - which is still lurking around somewhere low down
on the left hand side of the home page
- and who have come across this "last" other-hand before) - but
finally on the last of these other hands - most of you - who luckily aren't
in a dire data recovery needy situation right now - aren't interested in DR or
hard drives. That's why
getting the balance right is so tricky.
Quad-life industrial MLC - from Memoright
November 9, 2012 - I love it when SSD vendors are direct in communicating what
they do and you can't get a less ambiguous example than - "Quad-life"
- which is the name Memoright
has chosen for its new family of MLC SSDs which are aimed at the
The quad-life meaning literally that they get more than
4x the traditional
(you already knew that quad thing didn't you?) - anyway inside their SSDs it's
more like 6x - and so they achieve 20,000 write cycles using their patented
version of adaptive R/W technology. It's not news that they have this
technology. When I spoke to them in June that's why I added them to the
/ DSP vendors list. What is new to me is the name - which I only saw today
for the first time in the context of some event
that's going in Munich next week.
The only problem with naming
SSDs in this way - which I touched on in an earlier
SSD branding article
- is that it creates a target for competitors to outbid - so you could get
octal-life, hex-life, etc until you stretch beyond the educational ability of
your customers to recognize these classical ancient Roman / Greek / Goa'uld
references - and they stop understanding what you're talking about.
Memoright's quad-life is a good illustration of the kind of SSD marketing
climate this adaptive DSP technology leads us into - which I was referring to
in my May home page blog -
MLC flash lives longer in
my SSD care program. If you can't remember it - it contains the memorable
line - "Is Lenin dead yet?"
New to me - Diablo Technologies
Editor:- November 8,
2012 - every week I learn about new SSD companies and today one of them was
- which is working a new high speed direct attach like memory nand flash (and
maybe other nvm) SSD controller / product concept which it calls
it has closed a $28 million funding round which will help the company bring
their concept to market.
"With this equity funding we are
accelerating the completion of a memory channel-based solid-state storage
platform that will deliver breakthroughs in system performance and flash storage
density for analytic data processing, web-page serving, cloud computing and
other server-based enterprise computing applications" said Diablo's CEO
and founder - Riccardo
background is in chips (ASIC+FPGA), telecomms and DRAM.
spoken to anyone in the company yet. But if I had to make a wild guess it
would be that Diablo's product may be something like
other PCIe SSD in
architecture - but packaged more like
compatible flash SSDs in form factor and connectivity.
note:- "What Diablo is doing is effectively creating a new layer in
the memory/storage hierarchy" said one of Diablo's investors Alex Benik in his
today explaining why he likes the company. "Diablo's MCS-based products
will be dramatically higher capacity than DRAM, persistent, and deliver more
IOPS at lower latencies than any other SSD technology."
how will Memory
Channel SSDs impact PCIe SSDs?
despite all those design wins... still no rebound at STEC
November 7, 2012 - STEC
that its revenue for the quarter ended September 30 was $42 million - 42%
lower than the year ago period (and 57% lower than the same quarter in
The company's guidance for the next quarter is in the "range
from $36 million to $40 million".
In the related conference call
STEC said that it had 3 customers each of which accounted for over 10% of
revenue. One of these was an end user which builds its own systems for cloud /
web apps - (SSD dark
STEC also said it will invest more resources
into sales and hopes that next year over 50% of its revenue would come from
large enterprise end
users. The key product areas in which it pins these hopes are
PCIe SSDs and
SAS SSDs. STEC said
that customers are telling them about their horrific
experiences with using consumer SSDs in enterprise apps and saying they want to
buy in future from a "real SSD company."
comments:- in August commenting on STEC's previous quarter I said that
while I was pleased to see many signs that the company had made visible changes
and improvements in its marketing - "years of neglect won't be cancelled
out in 1 month or 1 quarter."
STEC's latest results would have
been even worse if they they hadn't already reached out to more people in the
SSD market with their marketing efforts earlier this year.
So much of
the management's time - for as long as I can remember - is spent wooing and
placating shareholders and analysts and cleaning up legacy legal challenges -
you have to ask - is there enough energy and talent going into understanding
what's happening in the SSD market?
Even before their star faded - they
were an inward looking company with little idea of who their competitors were
and the significance of what other SSD companies were doing.
have to look far for evidence.
This text below is the meta description
STEC's own home page - which tells
Google's readers that - "STEC is the leading global provider of
Solid State Drive (SSD) solutions tailored to meet the high performance and
reliability needs of original equipment manufacturers."
it's time to change "the leading" to "a leading" - if the
company is to retain credibility.
Cypress article re nvSRAMs in fast SSDs
November 5, 2012 - A
article in EETimes discusses the theoretical advantages of using
nvSRAMs as the RAM cache in
enterprise SSDs in
the context of simplifying design for
sudden power loss.
The author Pramodh Prakash
Semiconductor describes how the company's
nvSRAMs transfer data in
a parallel cell by cell operation - which takes about 8mS - from run-time RAM
to down-time SONOS. No! - not the SONOS that
plays your music - the Silicon-Oxide-Nitride-Oxide-Silicon
Back in September 2008 (in a comment which can still be
seen in the hybrid
SSDs page) I too speculated that this technology from Cypress might find
uses in fast flash SSDs. Now I have doubts, however. And here are my reasons.
- Cypress's nvSRAMs still require hold up capacitors - to support the store
to nvm operation - although they don't need as much capacitance as DRAM
My guess is that this technology could still be
useful if it was integrated as a small part of an
SSD controller chip
(supporting the very low capacities needed by skinny designs) - but a lot of
fast enterprise SSD controllers are implemented by FPGAs or eASICs. FPGA makers
would have to preguess how much capacity to offer in their chips - because the
SONOS cells require a mask level design - not simply a firmware routing.
- Cypress's nvSRAMs offer memory capacity (16Mb sampling) which is too small
to be useful in any of the
RAM flash cache
SSD architectures I know about. Too big for skinny designs and too small for
Crocus will sample secure fast MRAM controllers in January
November 5, 2012 - Crocus
that in January 2013 it will sample high speed 1.2MB MRAM SIMs and small
secure MRAM controllers - or what the company prefers to call - "Magnetic
Logic Units" - which are aimed at the
"The CT32MLU product family breaks the barrier
non-volatile memory that
will provide smartcard makers with best-in-class secure element microcontrollers
with a 20 to 30% smaller footprint," said Alain Faburel,
VP security business unit at Crocus Technology.
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