SSD news - October
|OCZ slims product catalog and headcount|
October 31, 2012 - OCZ
it has started EOL procedures to discontinue approximately 150 product
variations to improve its business efficiencies.
production personnel, the company has reduced its global workforce by
approximately 28%. Total personnel at the Taiwan production facility,
including outside contractors, has been reduced by approximately 32%.. OCZ says
it will continue to take further actions aimed at reducing overall costs and
improving operating results.
Editor's comments:- OCZ had so
many SSD product variations it was hard even for people like me (with the time
and incliniation to look deeper) to understand where they all fitted into the
competitive landscape and relative to each other. A smaller focused product line
will make it easier for customers to recognize what they need too.
Samsung enters dual port SAS SSD market
October 31, 2012 - Samsung
today announced its belated entry into the serious end of the
SAS SSD market with
the launch of its 1st dual port SAS SSD - the
(2Xnm flash) has upto 800GB capacity and upto 101,000 / 23,000 R/W IOPS
(when using both ports). It also includes
loss data protection.
Samsung also launched today new models
SATA SSDs - the
SM843 - with endurance
rated at 1064TBW (terabytes written) - which doesn't sound that great to me -
but is (according to their own press release) 17x better than what
they had before.
"Samsung will aggressively produce its new
line-up of SSDs beginning this month to accelerate SSDs' move into not only the
server but also the storage marketplace, as we continue to affirm our leadership
in the SSD market." said Myungho Kim VP of SSD marketing at
Editor's comments:- if you compare this with the
recent announcement from SMART below - you can see what the advantages are of
having better controller
technology. SMART is able to use smaller geometry
flash memory while still
delivering superior endurance. Nevertheless the anticipated growth in
adoption of SAS SSDs will easily sustain the growth aspirations of most of
the 20 or so companies who actually make them.
SMART uses 19nm in SAS SSDs
Editor:- October 30, 2012
that its flavors of
DSP technology - and
loss SSD protection - which the company brands as the
Technology Platform - has enabled the use of 19nm MLC flash in its
"...We have focused on making the most cost-effective
flash media enterprise ready" said John Scaramuzzo,
President of SMART Storage Systems. "With the Guardian Technology... we
can take advantage of the most cost-effective flash, and pass the benefits
directly to our users, without compromising on performance or reliability."
STEC does that Linux source driver thing for PCIe SSDs
October 29, 2012 - STEC
it's open sourcing the Linux driver for its
PCIe SSD - the
comments:- the idea isn't exactly new.
Texas Memory Systems
did the same for its fast PCIe SSDs in
January 2010 and
I'm sure I could find some other examples if I looked.
New to me -Proton Digital Systems
25, 2012 - every week I learn about new SSD companies and this week one of
them was Proton
Digital Systems which recently emerged from stealth mode and today
announced that Sanjay Srivastava, former CEO and cofounder of
Denali Software, has
joined Proton's board of directors as
What does Proton do?
It's a kind of
with shades of information theory - a bit like some of
modem) but leaning more towards the elemental "DSP" and "read"
DSP IP than the whole SSD
Well - if I had said instead - Proton have
developed LDPC compiler IP for NAND flash - would that have made it
Virtium creates a new framework for industrial SSDs
October 25, 2012 - Virtium
new models in its
range of industrial temperature rated embedded SATA MLC SSDs and the company
also outlined a new 4 part categorization scheme for matching embedded SSDs
to user cases and needs. These are - in order of R/W performance - as follows.
- "write seldom, read many" apps - such as digital signage and
automotive infotainment - is the role for StorFly CE.
- optimized for higher reliability applications such as networking
appliances or industrial computing - is the role for StorFly RE.
- optimized to replace SLC SSDs economically in industrial automation or
central office switches - is the role for StorFly XE (25GB per day for 10
A key factor for systems designers is that
Virtium offers all these different grades of guaranteed R/W lifetime
performance in each of the popular form factors within the StorFly range (2.5",
1.8", Slim SATA (MO-297) and CFast).
- high R/W performance industrial SSD (500GB writes / day for 10 years) -
is the role for StorFly PE
That means designers who
need industrial temperature range operation in embedded systems can choose an
applications optimized SSD which is efficiently and economically matched to
their knowable needs instead of having to overspecify a general purpose SSD.
think it's very useful to have conceptual labels and apps related contexts
around which to discuss different types of SSDs - what they do, and their
positioning within the market.
We already have loose definitions
within the SSD industry such as client / enterprise to differentiate
SATA SSDs for example.
And I've proposed a complete
set of top level
applications architectures related silos which apply to the enterprise
It's not a totally new idea for SSD vendors to propose apps
related SSD categories within a market. In the enterprise space -
STEC has proposed write
targets and SMART
has identified a spectrum of distinctly different use cases for
SAS SSDs but I think
that what Virtium is doing now goes a step beyond anything I've seen before in
the industrial SSD
The business advantage for Virtium in creating a useful
model which segments different types of industrial SSDs by apps usage is
that when you create a model which customers find useful - then people start
seeing things your way. And competing solutions don't make as much sense - when
viewed through this lens if they don't seem to have a recognizable fit
within the conceptual framework.
When I discussed this earlier this
week with Virtium's VP of product strategy - Gary Drossel
- he said he's already started writing
a blog about these concepts and will expand these ideas in future posts.
I also asked whether UBER and sudden power loss data integriry
protection was also differentiated across these categories. His answer was too
long and detailed to include here - but I will write up the interesting bits in
special interest articles later.
If you read my September write up of
an earlier conversation we had (which is in
Virtium's profile page)
you'll get a picture of Gary's views on:- steering an industrial SSD
roadmap in a memory market where other markets are setting the agenda, and also
some mission statements about
SSD design efficiency.
FIO reports revenue growth in line with predictions
October 25, 2012 - a
year ago Fusion-io was saying
that despite how fast it had been growing up to that point (300% year on year)
the company expected its revenue growth in the foreseeable year to drop down to
being more like 55%.
And that's almost exactly what
reported yesterday - $118 million in the quarter ended September 30, 2012 -
which was 59% year on year revenue growth.
To me that shows a
company which has a good understanding of the market and the dampening effects
on business of more competitors. (If you can call 59% growth - a dampened down
figure - which I do.)
The enterprise SSD market in
2012 is probably
growing faster than last year - but due to the goldrush effect - the percentage
growth in the number of competing vendors is higher than the percentage
growth in the available market size.
That means SSD vendors have got
to work harder and be better at what they do (in both business and technology
terms) to achieve even the same revenue percentage growth as they did in
Samsung CIO forum on SSDs in enterprise and cloud
October 24, 2012 - Samsung
is doing an event next week at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, CA.
CIO Forum panelists and speakers will include high ups from Samsung,
academics, some Microsofties, the Director of Capacity Engineering at Facebook
and the CEO of Pure
The headline theme is "Greater Efficiency in the
Data Center" - and topics will include the Disruptive Use of SSDs in the
Enterprise and the Technology Ecosystem of the Public Cloud.
ever talked to SSD high ups in Samsung in the past year or so - the topic of
the cloud always seems
to come up.
When you've got tens of billions of dollars invested in
memory fabs you need to look at future markets for SSDs which are at least as
big as phones, tablets and music players (preferably bigger, and maybe - I'm
speculating here - even more preferably - markets which aren't already
dominated by Apple).
Microsemi' speeds up fast SSD erase
October 23, 2012 - Microsemi
today announced a new
faster erasing 2.5" industrial SSD.
The SECURRE-Stor (upto
128GB) can perform a first level software fast-erase in 0.1S followed by a
fully destructive hardware erase in less than 10 seconds.
says applications include secure laptops, automated teller machines and other
systems currently using hard disk drives that may need to be physically
destroyed to prevent data from getting into the wrong hands. See also:-
fast purge SSDs
OCZ's new VXL software release includes fault tolerant support
for arrays of PCIe SSDs
Editor:- October 23, 2012 - OCZ today
a new version (1.2 ) of its
cache and virtualization software - which provides high availability,
synchonous replication and enhanced VM performance across arrays of the
company's Z-Drive R4 PCIe
The company says this assures that host-based flash is
treated as a continuously available storage resource across virtualized clusters
and yields no data loss and no VM downtime even during complete server
"By combining the power of storage virtualization and
PCIe flash caching, and by working centrally with the hypervisor rather than
with each local VM, we have developed a solution that takes full advantage of
flash without losing any of the benefits associated with virtualization,"
said Dr. Allon Cohen,
VP of Software and Solutions, OCZ. "VXL's ability to transparently
distribute flash resources across virtualized environments provides IT
professionals with a simple to implement solution..."
SSDs or hard drives? - the data forensics differences
October 23, 2012 - When you need to retrieve critical unbacked up data from a
damaged notebook (which you left in the car when you clambered out the
window after realizing that the puddle across the road was much deeper than you
first thought) you call the process "data recovery" - but
when a court seizes a suspect's notebook to try and retrieve data which may have
been deliberately "deleted" - they call it "data forensics"
- either way - in the most demanding cases the experts who work on these tasks
are the same.
SSD Data Recovery
(as opposed to dumb flash memory recovery) is a relatively new market which
didn't exist 5 years ago.
A recent article
SSD Drives Destroy Court Evidence - on a site called
ForensicFocus.com - discusses how
techniques which are essential to the operation of flash SSDs (such as
and wear leveling)
mean that from the forensic viewpoint SSDs yield up potentially much less
deliberately deleted recoverable data than hard drives.
2.5" PCIe SSD - Dell talks to Micron
October 22, 2012 - Removable
2.5" PCIe SSDs
are the subject of a
video today from Micron
- which features Micron's Ed Doller
and Dell's Brian
eWEEK article about Violin and HP
22, 2012 - an
in eWEEK.com discusses the future of the relationship that HP has with Violin in the context
of an email to the publication suggesting that HP's 3PAR product line is HP's
sole strategic direction for solid-state storage. ...read
Editor's comments:- as Violin has already
started the process of preparing for a possible IPO - the company is probably
best advised not to participate directly in public speculations about its
future business. However, carrying on its normal day to day activities is
allowed - and the eWEEK story was linked from
Violin's own media coverage page.
commented on the strengths and weaknesses of Violin many times before in
past editions of the Top
SSD Companies and won't repeat those points here.
neither HP nor 3PAR has ever appeared in this list and HP is not regarded in
any way (by people who know the SSD market) as a thought leader or business
leader in SSDs, but rather is seen as a distributor, oem, reseller or
possible acquirer of other people's SSD stuff - it doesn't really matter what
HP thinks or says about SSDs.
Violin is well known - among people who
buy enterprise SSDs. And if users like Violin's SSDs - and can't get them via HP
- it only takes a few clicks to get them somewhere else.
PS - when I
looked at Violin's web site today
it looked as if someone had hacked and trashed their home page. I showed it to
a colleague of mine - and said - "Isn't it dreadful that something like
that can happen!"
She said - "No
You're wrong. Violin probably paid someone to do that."
making history at the US Presidential Debate
October 22, 2012 - supporting the US
Presidential Debate taking place today at Lynn University is a high
storage array from Tegile
"Having won the university's request for proposal
process earlier this year we are diligently working to assemble the technology
that will bring the debate to millions of people and households," said Rob Commins, VP of
marketing, Tegile Systems. "We are honored to be a part of American history
in this important way."
SSD data recovery & adaptive R/W
22, 2012 - Earlier this year I wrote an article about
and DSP ECC flash techniques - an important new set of technologies working
its way into all SSD markets (except
The new technology can improve
flash SSDs - and adaptive R/W DSP techniques are an essential
prerequisitie for designing reliable TLC (x3) SSDs and all future generations of
flash memory used in
One of the characteristics of adaptive DSP is that the ECC
coding and even the size of raw data blocks within the same SSD vary. But the
IP set - which lies behind these technologies is extremely valuable, tightly
controlled and the subject of hundreds of patents.
Where am I going
I think - at this time-
data recovery of SSDs
which use adaptive R/W is only feasible by the original manufacturers of the
It will be impossible for independent data recovery
companies to reverse analyse the data - because the exact pattern of coding in
the flash translation layer is unique to each SSD and is a mixture of many
different coding schemes.
SanDisk's SSD revenue run rate passes $0.5 billion / year
October 18, 2012 - SanDisk
revenue of approx $1.3 billion for the quarter ended September 30.
comments:- most of SanDisk's business is phone related flash - but here are
some useful SSD related points which emerged from the earnings conference call.
- The company declined to reveal the exact size of their SSD revenue but
said that SSDs are already more than 10% of SanDisk's revenue and they expect
to see strong growth in SSDs.
They're still at the early stages of
qualifying their enterprise PCIe SSD products. Nevertheless - in this quarter
- SanDisk's SSD business grew in both the consumer and enterprise markets.
- 50% of the company's overall product mix uses 19nm flash - and SanDisk is a
leader in TLC
(x3). They expect to use more TLC within SSDs.
I extrapolate the clues from this quarter then SanDisk's SSD revenue run rate
has already passed $0.5 billion / year. So - unless something unexpectedly
bad happens with their enterprise SSD business - I wouldn't be surprised to see
a low end estimate of their total SSD revenue in calendar 2013 be in the range
of $600 to $700 million.
- SanDisk said the integration of
SSD software within
their enterprise SSD business - which came from the acquisitions of
Technology and FlashSoft
- is going well and is expected to add value. (This is particularly important
for the products they have in the
PCIe SSD and
SAS SSD markets.)
flash (and TLC), SSD
the next SSD IPO? - $Valuing $Violin
October 17, 2012 - today an
in Bloomberg speculates that an upcoming IPO by Violin could possibly
value the company in the region of $2 billion.
consumer SSD priceline on dealnews.com
October 16, 2012 - The cost per GB of consumer
SATA SSDs (64GB to
256GB) has approximately halved in the past year to under $0.50/GB according
That's 60x lower than
prices were at the
start of the
consumer SSD market
6 years ago.
inside each U of Skyhawk live 3,000 Micron flash chips and a lot
Editor:- October 16, 2012 - Skyera today
a few more features of the software which supports its
rackmount SSDs - along with an overview
and some pretty pictures. Among other things - which were new to me -
administrators can allocate LUNs according to 3 different classes of SLA for
capacity and performance.
"A true solid-stage storage solution
must be more than simply sticking flash media and controllers in a box"
said Skyera's founder and CEO Rado Danilak.
comments:- as I said in the
SSD survivor's guide - "Software used to be SSD's enemy. Now it can be
SSD's best friend."
Another friend of Skyera appears to be
Micron - which today
that more than 3,000 of their 20nm, 128Gb MLC chips go into making a fully
loaded (44TB) 1U Skyhawk.
SSD design efficiency,
SSD market research