SSD news - September
|future SSD capacity ratios in the server, SAN
Editor:- September 14, 2012 - Have you ever
wondered... how much SSD storage should sit inside servers compared to being
located on the SAN?
Obviously the exact ratio depends on the diverse
spread of your data processing activities and the type of business you're
At the extreme boundary cases the answer will be
different if you're Google (say) compared to if you're an international bank.
For most enterprises the ratio will be something in between.
if you're looking for an ideal magic number - I think an interesting debating
point is to look at what people already do in HPC (high performance computing)
In these situations users have already tried to optimize
performance and the inevitable constraint of cost - but the starting premise is
to place weight on performance.
The storage ratios which emerged
from a recently published
by Intersect360 Research were
- 36% of storage in compute servers
Now I have
to remind you that those numbers were for storage and not for SSDs. But in not
too many years from now when all enterprise storage will be solid state - the
SSDs will still follow application and performance heirarchies too - and I think
the split shown in that report is a reasonable analog to describe
enterprise SSDs in the
silos from the ultrafast through to the fast-enough.
- 63% of storage at the site level (NAS or SAN)
But what about
bulk archive storage?
That will be SSD too -
it almost goes without
saying - but if you try to estimate how much SSD storage will be bulk
archive (performing similar roles to old style
tape libraries and
VTLs) compared to active
SSD storage - during the next decade - some curious factors creep in.
- in legacy storage systems - archive backups and storage are high multiples (in
capacity terms) of active working / online storage. You need copies of stuff for
legal and compliance
reasons, for backup,
disaster recovery etc.
And in the next 5 years or so that may continue to be the case - because it
takes a long time for enterprise architectures to change.
But as we
move towards the pure SSD driven economy - most enterprises will be creating
new data faster than they ever did before (1 month of new date could be more
than the whole year before) and at the same time the inefficiency of
architectures like RAID
will be replaced by the new efficiencies of
architectures - like XtremIO
and Skyera. I'm
tempted to say cloud
-like - but that would be inaccurate - because in raw implementation - there are
both very efficient and some inefficient clouds too.
I'm tempted to
think that the combined result of these 2 factors coming together will be to
shrink down the ratio of raw online to bulk archive storage to one - in best
of breed enterprises - (or maybe even less than one - because of
Are there any useful consequences of any of these
It can be usefule for sizing markets. One example came up on
the same day I was writing this article - related to the possible
cannibalization of 2.5"
PCIe SSDs (including 2.5" SCSIe SSDs) relative to
SAS. But there are many
See also:- the New Business Case
for SSD ASAPs (Auto-tuning SSD Accelerated Pools of storage)
BiTMICRO's new TALINO based SSDs in Beta
September 12, 2012 - I noticed today that some new pages have appeared on BiTMICRO's website
which unveil and outline
a range -
called maxIO - of enterprise SSDs (SATA,
PCIe) which use the
company's new TALINO SSD controller and hint at "100K to 400K IOPS (4KB)
performance" - depending on which model you look at. The company is
offering beta test samples
to suitable people who sign an NDA.
Virtium asks - can you really afford to waste money on "general
purpose" rather than "environmentally optimized" industrial
Editor:- September 12, 2012 - Virtium today
new line of SSDs for the
range includes 1.8", 2.5", Slim SATA, mSATA and CFast form
factors that are specifically designed for embedded systems that have unique
capacity and workload requirements.
Editor's comments:- In a
recent conversation with Gary Drossel,
VP of product strategy at Virtium - I learned that the company is taking some
new approaches to the age old problems faced by equipment and systems designers
who need high reliability at industrial temperatures, but who also need to be
able to maintain exact functional replacements - without redesign over a
multi-year single system life which will represent many memory chip
There are several prongs in Virtium's new SSD
design fork. And it's when you add them all up that they can make a big cost
difference to the customer - who otherwise may have to over-specify product
parameters in so called "general purpose industrial SSDs" to be sure
of being safe in the parameters which actually matter in their particular
- temperature characterization:- Virtium has a pro-active program of
characterizing flash memory at different operating temperatures in the
industrial range. Therefore if you've got an application which you know is going
to spend most of its life running at -10°C, or at +80°C - for
example - then instead of having to guess and extrapolate how much raw
endurance you might need - based on a headline datasheet number - you can have
an SSD which reliably meets your precise needs without having to overspecify a
high safety margin (on overprisioning or memory type) - with the additional
cost that entails.
- continuity of BOM:- the traditional way to ensure long term
functional fit of SSDs in equipment used to be via memory process roadmaps
coupled with stockpiling devices from obsolete memory product generations.
told me that one of the fundamental assumptions which has changed in the SSD
market is that with SLC becoming a much smaller part of the world memory mix -
no-one can be sure that anyone will still be making merchant market SLC in the
future just because they have been the same memories in the past. Instead the
flash market is predominantly MLC. Recent history has shown that entire flash
product lines can disappear without notice due to changing market conditions.
strategy is to design SSD families which can adapt to use whatever popular
type of MLC is in the market - while still presenting exact compatibility
at the driver, interface, form factor, power consumption, reliability and
That's a much more realistic option - Gary said -
than pretending that the needs of niche industrial SSD suppliers will somehow
be maintained and protected by memory companies who will be focused even more
than ever on the high volume markets for SSD (consumer and enterprise).
Virtium's (complex when you
first hear it) value proposition for designers who use SSDs in industrial
apps is that if they know enough about how and where their SSDs will be used -
they don't need to waste money by overspecifying general purpose SSDs to get the
set of characteristics which matter to them. And at the same time they can be
more confident about the long term reliability of what they're getting too.
- investing in the driver firmware:- Gary said that many industrial
SSDs in the market today include design features which have been optimized to
make them look good in benchmarks for other markets - due to the design DNA of
other products made by those SSD oems.
Yet when Virtium asked its
customers what OS they were using in their embedded designs - most of them
weren't using the OS or software which looked anything like what competing
general purpose industrial SSDs had been polished for.
strategy at the driver and firmware level is to optimize performance and
reliability with the kind of workload which more typically represents the
embedded code of its customers. That provides better multi-generation
compatibility, better efficiency (in terms of memory chips), lower power
consumption and also better reliability.
WD announces CEO succession plan
10, 2012 - Steve
Milligan (former President and CEO of HGST until its
acquisition 6 months ago by WD) will step up
from his current position as President of WD to become CEO next January -
succeeding the retiring CEO, John
Coyne - it was
Macrotron's eMars - Marvell based - 2.5" SATA SSDs
September 7, 2012 - Macrotron
Systems launched its
eMars series - which
are fast Marvell
controller based 2.5"
SATA SSDs. eMars uses
the 88SS9187 SSD controller -
launched in March
2012 - which supports a DDR3
QLogic signals intention to enter SSD ASAP market
September 7, 2012 - QLogic
its intention to enter the
SSD ASAP market.
The company says its so called
Rainier technology will support industry standard
PCIe SSDs and
SAS SSDs - and will
connect via the company's HBAs and drivers.
The 1st product in this
family will connect via traditional Fibre Channel HBA. Details released so
far are too vague to make an assessment of how useful or competitive this
product will be when it sees the light of day.
STEC will run PCIe SSD bootstorm demo at IDF
Editor:- September 6, 2012 - STEC says it will
demonstrate its new PCIe SSD -
model 1120 does 55,000
random IOPS (70:30 R/W 8KB) - booting 100 virtual desktops in under 4
minutes - at next week's IDF
in San Francisco.
Editor's comments:- the VDI bootstorm demo
path has already been well trodden by longer established
PCIe SSD vendors such
as Fusion-io and
OCZ in the past year or
so. (And by most serious
rackmount SSD oems
This press release is another sign that that the born again
(we really do want your business now) STEC wants to be recognized for what it
can do in the enterprise - rather than simply tossing its SSD technology over
the wall and hoping that its oem partners will pick some of it up.
AMD will rebrand Dataram's RAMDisk software
September 6, 2012 - Dataram
it will develop a version of its RAMDisk software which will be rebranded
by AMD in Q4 under the name of Radeon
RAMDisk and will target Windows market gaming enthusiasts seeking (upto 5x)
faster performance when used with enough memory. See also:-
OCZ revenue damped by supply shortages
September 5, 2012 - OCZ
cited "significant shortage on certain NAND flash components (2xnm MLC
NAND)" as a reason why it had revised its
guidance for the current quarter downwards by about 15%.
enterprise SSDs - exploring the limits of the market in your head
September 4, 2012 - Are you interested in the future of the SSD market?
easy is it to predict what might happen?
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doing that for over 10 years. There's a very simple technique which I find
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introduction to SSD market boundaries analysis.
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