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SSD news - June 1-14, 2013

FIO's ION software enables Breakthrough Shared Storage Performance

Editor:- June 13, 2013 - The performance of Fusion-io's ION Data Accelerator software - which you can add to its PCIe SSD cards, any standard server and some FC adapters to roll your own SAN rackmount SSD - is the point of a new blog by the company today which celebrates recent benchmarks for 2, 4 and 8 processor HP server configuartions (pdf).

See also:- Can you trust SSD specs and benchmarks?

Tegile's SSD ASAPs taught this school a lesson

Editor:- June 12, 2013 - Tegile Systems today published a story about how the kids in a Colorado school still managed to learn stuff when their big bad old HP SAN array failed to take the VDI strain which had been anticipated from a pilot. Whoops - who did the modelling? Anyway Tegile saved the day with some SSDs and one of their hybrid the story

Editor's comments:- when you see the word "school" in an SSD story - it signals the message "these customers didn't have much money but they could still afford to buy our stuff." - It's a segmentation / value loaded marketing keyword messaging filtering thing. Other examples like this are:-
  • when Google buys some SSDs - you know these Google people are so clever - and buy so much. They must have got it cheap....
  • when a medium sized enterprise which you have never heard of before - which makes steel parts for tractors features in a story about buying an SSD solution...
  • when a financial markets data services provider (they have nice offices) features in an SSD story...
I'll leave you to supply those missing dot-dot-dots yourself. Everyone has different ways of relating to these kinds of stories (tuning in or filtering out).

OCZ's SAS SSDs in InfiniBand benchmark configuration

Editor:- June 12, 2013 - Mellanox today announced details of a benchmark demonstration it did this week showing its FDR 56Gb/s InfiniBand running on Windows Server 2012 in a system which uses OCZ's Talos 2R SSDs (2.5" SAS SSDs) working with LSI's Fast Path I/O acceleration software and RAID controllers - getting over 10GB/s throughput to a remote file system while consuming under 5% of CPU overhead.

Super Talent launches PCIe hybrid SSD

Editor:- June 12, 2013 - Super Talent Technology today launched a new entry level (800MB/s) PCIe hybrid SSD which combines 192GB of flash with an integrated hard drive. The company says that their new Super Hybrid product line is "the solution for high performance storage at a low cost."

Editor's comments:- As "price" is the sole reason why consumers would want to look at this product I was surprised it wasn't mentioned in the press release. I asked the question - and if I find out - I'll add a note here later.

The word "enterprise" also appeared hopefully in Super Talent's blurb about this product. But saying so - doesn't make it so.

BTW - OCZ launched a very similar hybrid called the RevoDrive Hybrid back in August 2011. See also:- hybrid SSDs, not all PCIe SSDs are the same

SGI's past and present SSD partners

Editor:- June 12, 2013 - When SMART told me they would today be announcing that their CloudSpeed 500 (a SATA SSD which uses the company's own brew of adaptive R/W IP and is rated at 1.2 DWPD) has been certified by SGI for use in its storage appliance platforms - they asked if I had any questions?

"Just one" - I said. "How many of these CloudSpeeds do they think SGI will buy in the next year?"

Which - as you may guess - SMART declined to disclose to all the competitors among you - who will also be reading this. But it was worth a shot. As it is - I'm left without much of a story.

So the only interesting thing I can say is that 2 years ago SGI was offering Virident's PCIe SSDs in its servers.

And - judging from the list in SGI's SSD page I think SGI have also used Stec's 3.5" RAM SSDs in the past too. Which all goes to demonstrate what I've said before in my enterprise SSD article - that no single enterprise SSD (or supplier) can economically satisfy all the needs of server customers.

Violin's new blog on PCIe vs FC SAN SSDs

Editor:- June 11, 2013 - How much confidence do you have in the fault tolerance of the SSD system which you're deploying? - And how different are the reliability costs when you scale PCIe SSDs compared to rackmount SSDs?

These are some of the issues discussed in a new blog by Violin - Flash Memory: too Array or to Card - written by the company's CTO of Software - Jonathan Goldick - who warns that when you're estimating the latency advantages between different ways of connecting SSDs - "Always be cognizant that you may just be moving the bottleneck to the software." the article

Hyperstone reports controller revenue

Editor:- June 11, 2013 - Hyperstone's parent company today announced that its flash controller revenue for the recent year was approximately $18 million, an increase of 6.5% compared to the year ago period and 46% of total group revenue.

Editor's comments:- it's not just the millions of dolllars in VC funding, or the hundreds of millions when SSD companies get acquired which will take the SSD market on to its $100 billion dollar prize in 2020. It's all those little savings in milliwatts too - in embedded industrial SSDs from companies you've never heard of - doing prosaically useful stuff which isn't sexy enough to make the SSD headlines. (There's more to SSDs than simply accelerating banks, shops, search and music downloads.)

We're not going to sit back and wait for oems to bring us our share of the business opportunities in the enterprise SSD market any more - says Stec

Editor:- June 10, 2013 - The above is my paraphrase of an open letter to shareholders published today by Stec - which states the company's new business goal is to achieve a sales mix with approximately 50% of its future enterprise SSD revenue derived from new, non-OEM customers.

Where did the 50% come from? This is a number which Stec says it read about - as being indicative of routes to market - in an SSD market report by IDC.

To convince you that Stec can walk the new sales culture talk and is shedding its old culture (of waiting for the next purchase order to arrive after an oem design slot shoot-out) the company disclosed today that a single telco (dark matter SSD end-user) had bought over $11 million worth of SSDs from Stec last year as part of an initial upgrade of its infrastructure - instead of buying new systems from traditional storage suppliers. Stec says there's more to come from this particular customer and this new (to them) approach.

Editor's comments:- I was saying to another enterprise SSD company last week that even though we like to think of the SSD market as being a "fast changing market" - it can take 2-3 years for new ideas to take hold in a way which changes markets.

In that context what I had in mind was new technologies. But it can take just as long for business managers in SSD companies to realize that they have to change the way they do things.

Here are some quotes from me taken from previous editions of the Top SSD Companies series.

In 2009 - "Stec relies too much on market pull-through by partners who are me-too or weak in the SSD space. Unless it invests more in its SSD branding - its business is vulnerable to substitution and replacement by any new SSD kid on the block with a faster SSD controller."

In 2010 - "STEC doesn't sell enterprise SSDs directly to users, instead its route to market has been to rely on oems to design its SSDs into their systems - and wait for the sales ramp to happen... STEC is poorly positioned to acquire expertise about rackmount SSDs (an important market in which its server SSDs are deployed and compete) - because the company doesn't supply integrated solutions."

So it seems like Stec's management is now dedicated to the courses of action which I told them they should follow a few years ago. Is that still the right direction in today's SSD market? Yes - but as all SSD vendors are finding - to succeed you still have to be the best at what you do in ways that enough customers know about, care about and can afford. See also:- exploring the exciting new directions in rackmount SSDs

Whiptail offers clues to Users playing the SSD box riddle game

Editor:- June 6, 2013 - If you've seen or read - The Hobbit - then you'll be familiar with the concept of the riddle game.

Something similar is playing out now in the enterprise flash array market.

The setting? I forgot to mention this.

The hero - a mythical hobbit-like creature called "User" is trapped in a high gravity well / force-field - just outside the entrance to a cave in which are stored great treasures. The force-field - which prevents User entering - is the legacy from an earlier age of steam-punk computing - whose origins no-one is able to remember. The legends say that if User can answer 3 questions correctly from a wizard who appears at the mouth of the cave - User can get in, grab the treasure and move on up to a higher plane of existence. Each time User answers correctly - he can take a step forward.

The rules? There are almost no rules in the "SSD rackmount riddle game" - but if there were - they might be something like this.

Before asking each question the wizard grabs a very plain looking smooth black metal box - and disappears from sight into the back of the cave where he carefully picks some mushrooms and then stoops to collect some special little crystalline rocks from a corner - all of which he tosses into the box before sealing the lid and shaking it all up. (User can sometimes hear the rattling while he's doing it. This adds to the nervous tension). After some more rattling and sometimes a mysterious clang - the wizard adds a magic spell to bind it all together and reappears back at the mouth of the cave to ask User the next question.

The SSD riddle game has been running for a long time. Each time User gives the wrong answers - he has to wait another year for the wizard to appear - and then restart the 3 questions again from the beginning. But on the plus side (and this is what makes the game playable) User is alloweed to remember earlier answers.

The 1st question is... What is the box?

The 2nd questions is... What does it do?

And the 3rd question is... What will my next box look like?

Now a lot of Users have been successful answering the 1st question. The answer - in case you haven't already guessed is... It's an SSD rack.

But only a small number of Users have got as far as guessing the answer to the 2nd question .. What does it do? That's because the wizard gets bored and changes what he puts in the box. And sometimes he time-shares this part of the game with another wizard. And User can't easily tell these wizards apart.

A few Users have accidentally guessed what sounded like the right answer to question #2 - by either asking the wizard if he could speed things up a bit? - Or saying - Time. Give me more time.

But the enigmatic wizard doesn't want to make this game too easy. And so for reasons known best to himself each time he goes back to the cave is - he picks up a different assortment of chips and mushrooms to put in the box. And just to be on the safe side - before he shakes it all - he casts a different binding spell.

You won't be surprised to learn that almost no-one has ever been able to guess the correct answer to question #3 - what will my next box look like?

I've touched before on the growing complexities of technical segmentation in the enterprise SSD market - and User concerns about roadmap scalability.

For many real Users - the question - can you guess what will my next box will look like? bears a striking similarity to the unfairness of Gollum - when he says - what has it got in its pocketses - precious?

When Users play the riddle game with enterprise SSD vendors - it's difficult enough to win the game when the SSD wizard plays fair and emerges from the cave with just one box and offers some helpful clues. But in real life - there are many identical looking wizards emerging from the same cave - and often they're carrying more than one box.

So it was refreshing earlier this week talking to Max Riggsbee, VP of Product Management and CMO Whiptail about the thinking behind their vision and roadmap for their rackmount SSD product business.

The company recently announced details related to 2 different products.
  • A new entry level ($20K floor price) fast-enough 1U iSCSI SSD - which is aimed at the branch office environment. The WT-1100 is a 1U 100K IOPS system with upto 4TB capacity which will ship in the next quarter. Internally it uses enterprise SSDs from SanDisk.
  • Clarification of the roadmap and a July shuipping date for Whiptail's previously announced highest- end controller architecture which the company calls INFINITY - which uses InfiniBand as the fabric to interconnect clumps of storage racks. This will provide low latency - even when the installed storage is scaled up to the current maximum group size of 6 INVICTA arrays in a 360TB, 4 million IOPS, 40GB/s configuration.
Max Riggsbee told me that Whiptail realized it needed a different business model to efficiently meet all the different types of needs for networked SSD storage which it was seeing from customers. And this couldn't be done with a single product or a single route to market. However, all of Whiptail's racks share the same back-end software and true enterprise reliability features.

The entry level model - the WT-1100 - will be sold by channel partners. The idea is that a branch office or small enterprise doesn't have to sacrifice enterprise grade SSD reliability just because it only needs a smaller capacity system. To simplify the setup for integrators and resellers - these systems are supported by an installation wizard. (The good kind.)

For application silos which need higher performance and more SSD capacity (the traditional FC SAN market) the entry level route to access Whiptail's systems will still be the INVICTA range. If customers need to expand their fast SSD capacity - they can scale up to a 30 node configuration which protects their storage investment and which is managed by the same unified software.

Going back to my introduction... And the mythical User who is growing increasingly frustrated - because he genuinely wants to escape from his predicament and move on up to the next plane of existence.

What do we think User wants?

It's important for SSD rackmount vendors to make their products easy to recognize (question #1), to be easily comprehensible (question #2) and for future directions from suppliers to be easy to anticipate (question #3).

Whiptail's marketing strategy can be interpreted in this way.

If User only cares about iSCSI - the answer to questions 1 and 2 are easy. - It's an iSCSI SSD box. And you buy it from the same kind of people you buy your other iSCSI stuff from. If you ever need more complicated stuff - Whiptail does that too. But you don't have to get into those other mysteries unless you really want to. As to question 3 - what will the next entry level box look like? (A clue here is that SanDisk is an investor in Whiptail - and these new systems use SanDisk enterprise SSDs.) So an easy answer to question #3 is - future boxes will get more competitively priced.

If User's preoccupations are high end SAN compatible SSD storage - however - User easily knows enough to guess #1 and #2. As to question #3 - it will probably still have Infiniband as its internal fabric. Whiptail's systems currently 40Gbps IB. An there's a whole industry with a vested interest in keeping IB scalable and fast - so that should be a safe choice for several more years.

(IB isn't the only choice for clustering scalable SSD racks - PCIe may be an alternative competitor - but we don't have to worry about that in this context.)

Max Riggsbee told me - that even if Whiptail changes the internal flash makeup in their storage nodes (as they have already done a few times before) their software and the IB fabric means means their INFINITY systems should be able to accomodate future nodes.

This means if User is trying to guess what the next high-end box from Whiptail looks like - a reasonable guess is - it will be compatible, scale upwards in capacity, performance, and competitiveness and still work with the same kind of software - even if the rocks and mushrooms inside are different to what User has seen before.

Stec goes into the iSCSI SSD box business

Editor:- June 6, 2013 - A few years ago I wrote that one of the weaknesses Stec had in the enterprise market - was that it didn't make an SSD box of its own. That meant it relied on partners - to adopt its SSDs and do useful things with them. And when you're in the SSD systems business - you lose out in many ways.
  • by not investing enough in your brand
  • by not having relationships with the users of SSDs
  • by not being in a position to develop the new math of system-wide SSD IP
Recently - as we've seen in Stec's financial reports - new design wins haven't been enough to replace older design slots that the company has been losing.

So Stec has recently launched its own SSD box - the s3000. The easy thing to do - and that's exactly what Stec has done - is to configure an iSCSI SSD which is stuffed with the company's own design of 2.5" SAS SSDs.

Anyone can stuff a server or storage array with SSDs. Does that make a competitive system?

It's a good idea for Stec to get into systems. But whether it's this system and whether Stec can sell enough of them to make it worthwhile remains to be seen.

Here's are some questions.

If a competitor makes SAS SSDs which cost less than Stec's - then what does Stec gain by using more of its own SSDs in the box?

If by selling systems - Stec starts to look like a competitor to some of its past drive customers - how will they react to the idea of using newer SSDs.

The company doesn't really have the same choices it had a few years ago. But making an SSD systems business work requires skills which Stec has still to prove it can learn.

Are YOU looking for hot new ideas about SSDs?
and would you like to meet similarly minded people?

Editor:- June 6, 2013 - registration has now opened for the - Flash Memory Summit - which takes place August 13-15 in Santa Clara, CA - where you can hear from, meet and talk to a lot of people who are making new things happen in the world of flash and SSD technology.

Pricing is from around $595 for 1day upto $1,395 for 4 days (which includes the pre-conference- in case like me you were wondering where that extra 4th day came from) - and also includes lunch(es). I was surprised and gratified to see that the email I received about this event (which is indisputably the main gig in the "advancement of flash" annual events calendar) includes a quote from yours truly saying that - "I now have good reasons for thinking that SSDs have the potential to eventually become a $100 billion / year market by the close of this decade."

So I guess it's now up to you all - out there - to prove me right. (No pressure.) It should be easy. I stole the idea from you in the first place.

LSI's new notebook technologies and the petabyte SSD shelf

Editor:- June 4, 2013 - LSI did a really good job leveraging their acquisition of SandForce.

That's the impression I got when I was talking last week to Kent Smith, Sr. Director of Product Marketing who wanted to talk about the new features in their SF-2200 controllers aimed at the notebook SSD market. These are:- Opal compliant encryption and DevSleep technology (a very low power sleep mode for SATA SSDs which I wrote about in an earlier news story lower down this page).

The data I latched onto in LSI's presentation was that according to 3rd party analyst reports LSI's SSD controllers were used in approximately 1/3 of all the flash memory deployed in SSDs in the client and enterprise markets in 2012.

LSI says that even before the start of the current quarter - the SSD world had consumed over 21 million SF controllers.

Now the likely productivity advantages of enterprises using SSD based notebooks were already known even before the SSD notebook market began. And the benefits of having encrypted drives to reduce the cost of exposure to data loss - when a pc goes astray in an airport or is stolen - are exactly the same for SSDs as they were for hard drives - and therefore need no repetition here.

The intriguing thing for me about LSI's new consumer market controllers - as I said to Kent - was the new possibilities that they could open up in really high capacity enterprise arrays used in solid state archives which will eventually replace disk backup and VTLs.

In my roadmap to the petabyte SSD article (March 2010) I observed that one of the missing IPs in the SSD market (at that time) which would be needed to implement petabyte scale physical flash storage in 1U or less - was fast boot SSDs with very low sleep power consumption. That will enable bulk storage SSD architects to pack an SSD array into the smallest possible physical volume - and leverage a tape library type access architecture at a lower cost of ownership than tape or hard disk. But to be useful in a solid state world - the worst case access time would need to be much faster than the 1 to 2 seconds which was the power on ready time for flash SSDs at the time of writing that article.

LSI's implementation of DevSleep already gives a 400x power reduction in the not needed mode - and Kent told me their power up ready time is about 250 milli-seconds. In my view that's a good enough figure for software architects to start planning around - and it doesn't take much of a stretch to see how that may evolve to get shorter in the next couple of years - if the market puts a premium on this feature.

The target for the bulk storage SSD should be to get 5 to 10 petabytes of virtualized flash into 1U of rack height - at a power consumption level which means that every shelf can have an identical storage density. I had a gut feel it should be do-able - and an attractive market proposition in the 2016 to 2020 timeframe - based on the model I published back in 2010. In some ways it should be easier now - because I didn't anticipate just how good the reliability technologies for MLC and TLC would get - in particular due to the benefits of adaptive R/W.

So - if you have shares in a company which makes tape libraries or disk to disk backup - you've already had many years advance warning that those products will cease to be commercially attractive when the solid state library market gets going.

Pure Storage tells CNBC's viewers about enterprise flash

Editor:- June 3, 2013 - "You're not the only company that plays in this market - correct?" - said Becky Quick, co-anchor of CNBC's squawkbox in a leading question to Scott Dietzen, CEO of Pure Storage (Monday morning).

"We weren't the first to package flash for storage" said Dietzen. "What we did figure out uniquely was how to get flash into a place where it was price competitive with (enterprise) disk." the video

Editor's comments:- "uniquely" must have another meaning I haven't learned yet.

Demartek's new blog

Editor:- June 3, 2013 - Since the 1990s - millions of SSD readers have gotten used to seeing the image of a stagecoach - dragged by choppers and driven by mice - at the top of web pages talking about the SSD market.

And in past graphics and articles I've often used transport analogies and metaphors as part of the narrative of heading towards the new storage frontier.

A more conventional graphic of a coach with horses appears in a new blog today - Horses, Buggies and SSDs - by Dennis Martin, President Demartek who believes "that the computer storage industry is in a similar transition period to the one experienced in the transportation industry between 1900 and 1930, particularly as it relates to hard disk drive and solid state storage devices." Demartek's article

renewed interest in (already interesting) Violin

Editor:- June 3, 2013 (05:20 ET) - I noticed a small spike in search activity for Violin in the last few days - so I thought I'd take a look at their site and see what may be behind it.

Now this may not be it - but while I was looking - I came across their recent blog - Understanding I/O: Random vs Sequential - which has a really entertaining way of describing the implicit differences in serving up data between hard drive arrays and SSDs.

None of the concepts discussed in it are new. But since the 1980s when I first realized the different consequences for database performance between the fastest hard disk arrays and fast SSDs - I've never seen such a good way of explaining the underlying differences in a way which can be so easily "digested" by a non technical audience. You already know these differences too - but it's a well told analogy which is why I mention it here.

Having said that - I do wish vendors like Violin didn't spend quite so much timestill talking about fighting the last marketing war.

Back in 2008 - I called on SSD marketers to end these unrealistic SSD vs HDD IOPS comparisons. The true competition for enterprise SSDs in the modern era has been - other SSDs. Enterprise users who by now (in mid 2013) don't already know the SSD HDD data deliveryand management differences - aren't going to be won over by tech arguments. We're already begun the year in which leading edge fast-enough enterprise SSD arrays will beat fast hard drive arrays based purely on virtual capacity price points. The accountants and business managers will be asking their IT tech people- why aren't we buying more SSDs? Violin's data diner blog

PS - my hunch is that the mini search spike on Violin has nothing to do with their recent DBA blog - but may instead foretell some business or product announcement to which I'm not privy. We'll see.

This week's exciting SSD news
comes from many (physical) locations

Editor:- June 2, 2013 - One of the things which would certainly make it easier for me to assimilate all the info I need to understand the SSD market better - is the ability to be in 2 different places at once.

Lower down the needs scale - if I can't get that - would be to have 2 heads.

They can be co-located in the same room - if you insist on that pedantic restriction - or even á la Zaphod Beeblebrox (another guy whose first name begins with the letter "Z" - you'll have noticed - it's not that unusual where I come from) attached to the same body.

In this dual headed SSDmouse scenario - each with its own noise cancelling headphones and directional mikes - it would be easy to have 2 conversations about SSDs at the same time - or to conduct 1 phone conversation simultaneously with another unrelated strand of background reading. - OK I do that already without needing 2 heads - but seriously if I didn't have to stop to sleep etc.. it would make my life so much easier.

Did I say "life" I meant "job".

Let's not digress into that work life balance mystery here and now. Trying to figure out SSDs - and their place in the universe - is tough enough.

Anyway - let's pretend (this is the virtual part) - if you could really be in 2 places simultaneously this week to learn first hand about new SSD stuff - then one of them (and this is the easy one to guess) would be Computex in Taiwan - where a lot of new SSD drive stuff will get introduced in the next few days.

The other place - if I even hinted what state it was - you might guess the company - so I won't say anything yet - because I promised. And that's before I get all those emails and calls from the people I wasn't expecting who will dump on me their SSD revelations which will change my plans for the day.

The next best thing - if you can't be in 2-3 places at once - is to be right where you are now at the other end of some html physical layering device.

Isn't the internet wonderful?

And with the help of enough SSDs and SSD minded people (maybe like you) who don't waste all their brainpower nostalgically figuring out how to make 1990s speed restricted magneto-data blenders pretend to be whirling faster than they really are - the internet will get even better.

And then - you can be in as many places concurrently as you want - and your coffee will still be hot when you return. (Not always - however the SLA guarantees don't go that far yet.)

More from me - later Monday.

(Or whatever day comes after whatever day it really was supposed to be in my body's time zone today.)
Hmm... it looks like you're seriously interested in SSDs.

Take a look at these resources.

SSD market history

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Adaptive R/W and DSP ECC in flash SSD IP
Efficiency - making the same SSD - with less chips
how will Memory Channel SSDs impact PCIe SSDs?
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Who competes with this SSD company?
Editor:- June 20, 2013 - Almost the first question you'll ask yourself when you start getting seriously interested in any particular SSD company is - who are its strongest competitors?

If you're buying SSDs it helps you get the best products and the best prices.

If you're trying to understand what a company is doing or how it fits into your map of the SSD world then identifying the placeholder of "most similar to" is helpful.

And if your interest in an SSD company is because you're looking for channel partners or investment opportunities - then knowing the competition and seeing what they're doing tells you more about the upisde potential and limiting factors bounding your selected company.

Answering the questions:-

who makes this type of product?

closely followed by...

and who else does something similar?

- have been at the root and core of my work in the last 20 years or so. Luckily the products have changed - and so the answers have changed too. Otherwise it would get very boring.

Going back to the "who else does this stuff?" type questions for SSD...

As a 1st level filter - looking at the top level directories and news pages for topics like - SAS SSDs, PCIe SSDs, 2.5" SSDs, industrial SSDs etc can be a useful starting point.

But - as some of these markets themselves start to fragment into distinctly different segments - the problem for someone like me is deciding when is the right time to open up a new category.

Too soon - and not enough readers may care. But if the topic is important enough I'll do it anyway - which is what I did last year with adaptive R/W & DSP ECC flash IP.

Too late - and such a list gets populated with so many companies that the list itself becomes almost useless.

For that reason - you'll often see a note in the profile pages of each SSD company on this site which says something about where you can look to find alternative competitors.

And when the comparisons become interesting - because they reveal different technology or market approaches - then this is discussed either in a technology article, or a news story depending on when the difference became clear.

In the enterprise PCIe SSD market - for example - it can take a lot of research to answer the question of who really competes with whom? Partly because things are changing so much and partly because the definition of what is really a true alternative is relativistic and depends on where you're starting from - not just on the raw technical specs and price of the SSD.

The more significant the company - especially if they're in the Top SSD Companies List - the more likely you are to find a recent analysis about what they're doing and who they compete with.

My assessments may not always agree with yours. And even my assessments have been known to change with time - as companies change what they're doing or if I learn something new about them.

Try it yourself and see if you find it useful.

And those other links - which appear in most of these company profile pages - which are called "editor mentions on" - do a simple site search on the company name - can also lead you to closely related analysis from archived news stories too.

Recently in the - who competes with who category - I've updated my profile for Virident.

Although there are over 40 companies in the enterprise PCIe SSD market - there are only maybe 4 to 6 which make sense to look at if you're interested in this high-end level.

I referred to this example earlier today for a reader who I know is really more interested in Micron.

The Virident "competes with" list isn't the same list as I would have created for Micron - but at the PCIe SSD product line intersection there is a common set of competitor overlap. So that's the best I can offer today.

On this web site - you'll find a lot of valuable information below the "fold" as marketers like to put it. (The fold is the top part of the web page which you can see before you start scrolling.)

When you're interested in a subject like SSDs - as I've learned from readers who've told me they spend nearly as much time on the site as I do - the important thing is the quality of the information and the usefulness of the concepts - rather than the exact choice of typeface.

And it's unrealistic and futile to imagine that complex products like SSDs can be described in a single sentence or parameter. There's a lot more to it than that.

But knowing who the competitors are - is a useful shortcut in understanding any company.
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headlines from earlier SSD news
May Fusion-io's CEO and CMO both resign

Micron samples new hot-swappable 2.5" PCIe SSDs

LSI is #2 in PCIe SSD shipments in US
April Diablo names SMART as flash partner for memory channel SSDs

Fusion-io and Astute Networks make (different) moves to make solid state cheaper in the iSCSI storage market
March Violin entered the PCIe SSD market

InnoDisk's iSLCT technology repurposes MLC cells to SLC
February remote PCIe SSD data sharing / caching introduced separately by Virident and Intel
January Skyera entered the top 5 SSD companies list

Seagate turns to Virident for big SSD controller architecture
December Samsung acquired NVELO
November Samsung made SSDs on 10nm

Micron filled its IP gap for NVDIMMs
October Proton Digital emerged from stealth
September 3 of the Top 10 SSD Companies changed CEOs
August IBM said it would acquire Texas Memory Systems

Skyera launched the lowest cost / TB SAN SSD
July SMART launched its 3rd SAS SSD range using different apps adaptations of adaptive R/W DSP

LSI shipping 1 million SandForce controllers / month
3 years ago - in - SSD market history
Anobit samples 1st Memory Signal Processing flash SSDs

Editor:- June 15, 2010 - Anobit announced it is sampling SSDs based on its patented Memory Signal Processing technology which provide 20x improvement in operational life for MLC SSDs in high IOPS server environments.

Based on proprietary algorithms that compensate for the physical limitations of NAND flash, Anobit's technology (a variation of adaptive R/W and DSP ECC) extends standard MLC endurance from approximately 3K read/write cycles to over 50K cycles - to make MLC technology suitable for high-duty cycle applications.

This guarantees drive write endurance of 10 full disk writes per day, for 5 years, or 7,300TBs for a 400GB drive, with fully random data (worst-case conditions).

First-generation Anobit Genesis SSDs deliver 20,000 IOPS random write and 30,000 IOPS random read, with 180MB/s sustained write and 220MB/s sustained read.

See also:- SSD care cures, acquired SSD companies, SSD market strategic transitions
better thinking inside the box
Editor:- May 29, 2013 - If you're an enterprise user who is already sold on the idea of using more SSDs - what could be better than a great new SSD drive?


If you're an SSD vendor looking for the magic formula to open up vast new untapped markets for SSDs - what kind of solution do you need to offer to attract enterprises who aren't at the sharp end of the performance pain curve, are content with the speed they get from HDDs and who aren't even looking at SSDs for their network storage?

These problems have been preoccupying the SSD industry's smartest thinkers for years.

And their answer to both questions is the same. (Although details vary).

It's a new type of SSD box.

A new generation of enterprise SSD rackmounts is breaking all the rules which previously constrained price, performance and reliability. The sum impact of cleverly designed SSD arrays is systems which are many times more competitive than you would imagine from any tear-down analysis of the parts.

The new SSD folksy wisdom - "you can't second guess an enterprise flash array from knowing what drives are in it" - may soon have to join the - "you can no longer judge an SSD from simply knowing its memory".

The new thinking about rackmount SSDs is explored in the new home page blog on - better thinking inside the box.