| leading the way to the
new storage frontier
For more pages like this see
month by month|
|10,000 sites use DataCore|
December 16, 2013 - DataCore
- which operates at the software
end of the
SSD ASAP / auto-tiering /
software-defined storage market - today
that over 10,000 customer sites have used its software.
stance re enterprise
SSD architecture is that most users can (for the time being) resist the
siren calls of SSD makers towards
all flash enterprise
storage - because "only 5% of workloads require top tier performance.
And businesses have turned to
software to make sure applications are sharing flash and spinning disk,
based on the need to optimize performance and investment."
Avago acquires LSI
Editor:- December 16, 2013 - LSI today
that it has agreed to be acquired by Avago Technologies Limited
in an all-cash transaction valued at $6.6 billion.
comments:- like most of you I hadn't heard of Avago before either. But I had
heard of Agilent Technologies - the former name of this company - which was a
spinoff from HP. Avago was a semiconductor spinoff from Agilent.
of Avago's rationale (they're a semiconductor company with over 1/2 their
business in wireless technology) is to get into the enterprise storage market
and become a leader in this market "overnight".
A big chunk of the investment - about $1 billion is coming from
Silver Lake - a
VC company - which a
few years ago reintegrated another company in the SSD market -
SMART. The rest of
the funding is coming from bank loans.
Hostage to the
fortunes of SSD, Imprinting
the brain of the SSD,
3 Easy Ways to Enter
the SSD Market
Wanted! - New CEO for Violin
But before you sign up for
that audition - check out the SSD market acoustics first
December 16, 2013 - Violin
the company has terminated the employment of its CEO Don Basile -
who had been CEO of the company for the past 4-5 years.
believes this leadership change is necessary to enhance the management team's
operational focus and ability to execute the Company's plans for profitable
growth" said David Walrod
on of the Board of Directors.
comments:- Having restructured Violin and managed it through a rapid
uncontested growth period in the enterprise SSD market when there were only a
small number of credible competitors - Don Basile's problem was that he took the
company public at a time when no-one without a broadly spread customer base
can have any high degree of confidence about revenue projections. There are
simply too many surprising and disruptive SSD competitors out there -
especially in the
rackmount SSD market.
Last year I identified weaknesses in Violin's
flash technology roadmap - and said I thought their best long term strategy
would be to consolidate within their established niche of
fast systems. Instead the company has expanded into too many
While it's not impossible to achieve
success in so many different application roles - in each one Violin was
competing with vendors for whom it was their primary business and for which
purpose they were leveraging as much investment towards a single purpose as
Violin was using spread across all its product lines.
didn't help that
Basile was reported to have told Business Insider at an awkward moment - "What
the market does on any given day is not really a concern of ours." But
that wasn't the real problem.
Aiming to be at the top of the
enterprise SSD class is harder than it used to be - even in specialist chosen
topics. Trying to master the whole enterprise SSD curriculum at this point in
time is unrealistic because this is a body of knowledge and user-lore which
is still evolving in shape and character. That won't stop other vendors from
trying as part of the risk / reward game of competitive markets. But while
some will succeed - most will fail.
Users are the only predictable
winners here - because SSD systems are getting so much creative talent and
raw brainpower and energy directed at improving their designs.
reasons to expect more PCIe SSDs in 2014 PC Market
December 16, 2013 - A new
in DRAMeXchange discusses the issue of
SATA 3 SSDs being
replaced by PCIe SSDs
in the consumer SSD
market in future designs of PCs. ...read the
1st day for NMBL
Editor:- December 13, 2013 - Nimble Storage today
joined the list of
recent IPOs on NYSE
- trading as NMBL.
comments:- in SSD times gone by - the traditional things that companies
would aim to spend their new money on would be activities like:- hiring more
people, increasing sales and marketing activities and financing scaled up
manufacturing logistics. But another new cost center for SSD systems companies
in IPOs which haven't happened yet may be - legal fees.
examples of litigation centered around the SSD market have become so numerous
that perhaps an enterprising blogger out there might find it worthwhile
creating an educational site to cater for all the new people - with legal
backgrounds - who now have to scramble their way through the enterprise SSD
If you know of such a site - such as
www.enterpriseflashmadeeasyforlawyers.com - just send me the link and I may
mention it on these pages.
Recent examples of leading SSD companies
being the objects of lawsuits include:-
OCZ talks about a new small form factor RAM SSD
December 13, 2013 - It's been
since I last heard any SSD makers talking about launching new
RAM SSDs - but the idea
has resurfaced in a blog -
Clouds the Times They are a Changing - by Ravi Prakash,
Director of Product Management - OCZ - who says such
devices might be useful in write intensive applications such as a ZFS intent
Ravi said he's interested in hearing from anyone who might
be interested in a future RAM SSD concept - he calls Aeon - which "will
deliver 140,000 sustained
4KB blocks and media latency of less than 5 µsec in a familiar 3.5"
drive form factor." ...read the
See also:- on the subject of the name Aeon -
and more like this - take a look at
Speed and Strength Metaphors in SSD brands
enterprise flash storage - the 1st decade
December 11, 2013 - as we approach the end of another year - it's interesting
to note that this also marks the end of the 1st decade of flash storage arrays
in the enterprise.
This decade was an unruly period in
- accompanied from the very beginning by early doubts that flash could ever
be as reliable and
- every few years - the reliability debate was re-opened by the desire to use
newer, cheaper and intrinsically less reliable types of
flash memory to increase
competitiveness - which relied on ever more complicated internal architectures
to manage the growing raw technology deficits.
Most other IT related
markets would have reached some kind of predictable calm by now. But there's
no sign of that here in the
SSD market. Instead -
all the debates and architectural upheavels which accompanied enterprise flash
before now seem quaintly simple by modern standards. To get an idea of what
happened see my classic article -
Flash for the Enterprise".
what changed in SSD year 2013?
Editor:- December 9,
2013 - unlike the hard
drive market where the basic ideas haven't changed much in recent decades -
the important ideas in the SSD market seem to change every year.
avoid making bad decisions you not only have to learn new SSD ideas each year -
but you also need to identify which old SSD ideas to forget because they're
no longer helpful.
Reviewing what those ideas are - (which to
assimilate and which to forget) is the theme of my
home page blog.
how to avoid hot pluggable PCIe SSD failures
December 3, 2013 - What happens if you test
PCIe SSDs for their
sensitivity to data
corruption or even failure
- in the event of
You'd think that with more hot pluggable products coming
into the market -especially in the
2.5" form factor
- that the experimental outcomes would be known by the designers and problems
debugged so that users wouldn't have to worry.
In August 2013 Quarch Technology
launched some special
test equipemnt to inject power related faults into PCIe SSDs - and the
company today announced
it has extended this range to automate power line error testing of PCIe SFF
Technical Director at Quarch Technology told me today that "Almost every
combination of test kit we have tried in Quarch (a number of friendly customers
lent us kit and eval drives to get the new module up and running) has failed in
some way. Sometimes failing to come back up again nicely, sometimes with a full
BSOD which will almost
certainly have risked data loss."
more details emerge about OCZ and Toshiba
December 2, 2013 - As previously flagged - OCZ today
will acquire substantially all OCZ's assets in a chapter 11 bankruptcy
proceeding for $35 million.
Under this agreement Toshiba will acquire
OCZ's client and enterprise solid state drive business. OCZ will continue to
operate and serve existing and future customers during this process.
has agreed to provide OCZ with Debtor-in-Possession financing to ensure that
there is adequate capital and flash supply to support the business during the
contemplated sale period. The consummation of the asset purchase agreement is
subject to an auction and approval by the bankruptcy court in the Company's
This acquisition will provide Toshiba with access to OCZ's proprietary
controllers, firmware and software, as well as the teams responsible for
bringing these solutions to market, in addition to OCZ's established brand and
Editor's comments:- here are my thoughts
which come to mind from this.
- OCZ's VXL software and sales experience in the tier 2, tier 3 enterprise
segment - provide a framework which will enable Toshiba to significantly
escalate its enterprise aspirations - because the skills set and IP from OCZ
will provide Toshiba new channels and tools to market which are independent
of oem design wins.
- If you compare the valuation of OCZ's assets to
prices paid in the
past for SSD software companies and controller companies - this is an order
of magnitude lower than what has been seen in the market before.
is probably based on a catious reassessment of just how difficult it is to
plan for revenue growth and profitability - in the SSD market of today - where
there are so many vendors - and in which even heavyweight traditional storage
systems companies like NetApp
have been struggling to get one or two percent share of the enterprise
flash market - and a market in which the tone of revenue projections from
longer established enterprise SSD companies like
Violin sound much
flatter than they did a few years ago.
Will this send shock waves
through the VC community?
I doubt it. One of the lessons of the
SSD market in
recent years is that just because something shone from the business point
of view one year doesn't mean the same thing will be good enough the next. New
SSD companies have the ability to disrupt older SSD companies in the same kind
of way that SSDs have been disrupting other linked markets like servers and hard
changed in SSD year 2013?
history - since the market began
|cost per Terabyte Write?|
|Editor:- December 9, 2013 - "You should
look at the cost per Terabyte Write ($/TBW) as
of 5 factors in selecting an enterprise SSD" says Esther Spanjer
Director of Marketing at SanDisk
in her new blog on DataCenterKnowledge.com.
the article |
Editor's comments:- $/TBW sounds initially
plausible - but breaks down at the
analysis where it hits
RAM SSDs - at which
point it can give you the wrong answer.
There are many other
misleading metrics like this in the
SSD cost evaluation
literature. And you'd be surprised how many of them originate from
leading SSD companies.
It's because the most important metrics of SSD value and ROI - as
seen by users - occur at the
rack and app system level. The choice of best enterprise SSD depends on
business dynamics not just technical dimensions. And even at the raw
technical level - the system level experience is mostly beyond the scope of
any single drive maker to uniquely determine - unless the system design is
little more than a bunch of SSDs in a box.
Evaluating SSDs for any
particular systems use is complicated.
As I pointed out in my article
about SSD symmetries
- there are many popular use cases in which a headline SSD metric which
seems vital from one perspective - is the wrong reason to choose the SSD when
viewed from another context.
Having said that - ranking superficially
similar SSDs by criteria such as $/TBW - can open useful dialog into why
these parameters are different.
||the fastest SSDs|
top SSD companies
changed in SSD year 2013?
the enterprise SSD
software event horizon
my flash care scheme is
100x better than yours
enterprise SSD blog - What a long strange year it's been - is a contemplative
|Editor:- December 19, 2013 - Nowadays there are
so many people who want to talk to me about the
outlook for the
enterprise SSD market that it's impossible to find enough time to do it. So
I prioritize and schedule in a few random reader requests as a safety check.
But it wasn't always like that.
Back in the early part of
the previous decade - long before SSD companies like
SandForce etc were
even glints in the eyes of their founders - there was a quieter and more
contemplative period when a lot of important experiments were being done by
users as well as vendors in the enterprise - and there were very few people
engaged in thinking about the enterprise SSD market at all.
me really value and appreciate the regular chats I used to have with Woody Hutsell
who at the time was President Texas Memory Systems
and whose company was one of early advertisers of expensive
here on the mouse site. They really did
cost a lot of money in
those days - which meant that analyzing the best ways to deploy them in an
enterprise context was much more critical than it is today.
years I came to appreciate the customer insights which Woody and other TMSers
were bringing me. Often I couldn't write about these customer use cases -
because "using SSDs" itself was seen as a really important competitive
advantage by the customers who didn't want their competitors to get an easy ride
off their risk taking.
long strange year it's been - is a new blog by Woody Hutsell - which talks
about the personal changes he's seen in the past year from the perspective of
having been inside Fusion-io and then moving back to the TMS family which
was acquired a year ago by
IBM. Woody's blog makes
interesting reading and helps to tie up some loose ends about several key
enterprise SSD companies. ...read
|"I get a lot of
questions from investors and VCs - who are trying to understand the SSD market"|
|VCs in SSDs and storage |