| leading the way to the
new storage frontier
changed in SSD year 2013?|
12 key SSD
ideas which changed in 2014
what's the historical
significance of the SSD market?
|Permabit has shrunk data
storage market by $300 million already|
Editor:- September 30,
2013 - Permabit
and hard disk customers have shipped more than 1,000 arrays running its
RAID) software in the past 6 months.
"We estimate that our
partners have delivered an astonishing $300 million in data efficiency savings
to their customers" said Tom Cook, CEO of Permabit
who anticipates license shipments to double in the next 6 months.
efficiency, new RAID in
SSDs, SSD software
SBU NAS SSD from Curtiss-Wright
Editor:- September 30, 2013 - I learned a new (to me) acronym
today in an incoming email: - SBU (Sensitive But Unclassified) - used
to describe a
rugged NAS file server made by Curtiss-Wright
for transporting removable military data between a base station and aircraft
or mobile vehicle.
The product concept itself isn't new, and it
looks like "SBU" itself has been around for a while too - but it
shows there's still a lot you can learn - even when you think you already know a
The different degrees of
classification are one of the many signs of multiple use-case inspired product
segments within SSD
markets which outsiders mistakenly regard as being simpler and
homogeneous. It's not just the
enterprise SSD market
which is growing in SSD product diversity.
military acronyms A to Z
VMEM? - "Ouch" - says Business Insider
September 28, 2013 - 2 days ago (Thursday) Violin Memory
the pricing of its IPO which began trading on the NYSE Friday as "VMEM".
The company got the money it wanted - $162 million - but those who bought at
the original price didn't consider themselves quite so lucky.
- was how Julie
Bort summarized this in her
in Business Insider - re Violin's Awful IPO.
comments:- the weaknesses in Violin's past track record at delivering
promised revenue following earlier investments and the intrinsic low
scalability and restricted reach of its eccentric advertising preferences
were reported on these pages early enough to warn you.
I think the
company will have to change its marketing - and not simply spend more on what it
does already - to satisfy its investors and ensure continuity of the technical
roadmap for its customers.
hidden segments in the enterprise for rackmount SSDs
new route to market for FIO's ioScale
September 26, 2013 - IBM
- which has been offering Fusion-io's ioDrive
(PCIe SSD) technology
in its product line since
December 2009 has
first server oem to remarket the
ioScale - a product
described as having been optimized (price and feature set-wise) for huge
end users in the SSD
dark matter segment at the time of its launch in
Micron samples 2GB HMC RAM
Editor:- September 25,
2013 - Micron
it's sampling the company's first implementation of the
Hybrid Memory Cube (a high
density chip stacking architectural
standard) which was
launched in October
2011). Micron's new
(short reach) HMC provides 2GB DRAM in a BGA - with upto 160GB/s bandwidth.
See also:- DRAM,
SSD interface chips,
memory channel SSDs
top SSD companies - this month?
24, 2013 - here are quick links for the top 8 SSD companies which
StorageSearch.com readers have
been searching for in recent weeks. The order of the links is:- home page, news,
blog, profile, other.
It's an experiment in simple raw communication.
I hope you like it. Are
they listed in order? - Yes.
quarter is a more
reliable sampling period.
MOSAID resumes the conversation about licensing HLNAND
September 23, 2013 - Growing market demands for capacity and performance in
the enterprise SSD market - particularly in fast
PCIe SSDs - highlights
the intrinsic weaknesses in standard flash memory interfaces.
the theme of a recent blog -
HyperLink NAND technology and scalability by Peter Gillingham, VP
and CTO Conversant
(the new name for MOSAID Technologies) who writes - "In the
space, where PCIe is
often used to connect storage hardware, SSDs require as many as 25 to 50
channels to provide the throughput demanded by the system interface... but even
2nd generation flash interfaces such as
mode are not up to the job." ...read
Editor's comments:- MOSAID - which will
its name to Conversant in January 2014 - first started talking about its
HLNAND architecture in
May 2007. But the
company - which recently changed its name - has been licensing its patents in
fast memory systems design since
Among the many reasons - why the company says its
simplifies the design of ultra high bandwidth scalable SSDs (pdf) are the
low loading on each device which means that latency isn't degraded to the same
extent by capacitive bus load as in traditional memory topologies.
also:- 3 Easy
Ways to Enter the SSD Market,
how fast can your
SSD run backwards?
Demartek blog re NVMe
Editor:- September 19, 2013 -
PCIe SSD market was
threatened with standards
which might tame it several years ago. The state of play is assessed in a new
IDF2013 and NVMe written by Dennis Martin, President
surviving abnormal power events - new paper by InnoDisk
September 18, 2013 - Adding to the growing body of
SSD data integrity in the event of sudden power loss - InnoDisk today
a new SSD white paper (pdf)
which outlines how its Power Secure Technology copes with abnormal power
failure - including inadvertent disengagement of a live drive.
|A key assumption in
InnoDisk's design is that some data corruption is inevitable at the point
when power is interrupted - despite the best efforts of the hold up capacitors
etc - because other parts of the system - outside this power protected zone
are also disturbed. So their algorithms - on power up - begin by looking for
such errors and data inconsistencies and proceed to clean up and rebuild the
mapping tables. ...read the
Virident's new "new channel partner" thingy
September 17, 2013 - When I see the words "channel program" in an SSD
market related communication (by which I mean - who resells what route to
market rather than the electronic interface route via which data commutes to
and from flash memory - my eyes glaze over. I'm sure yours do too - unlesss
you are a stakeholder in the company.
But here's an example of
adroit marketing footwork.
January this year
strategy" - for PCIe
SSDs - could be simply stated as being:-
as Virident contemplates the imminent prospect of becoming owned by
WD - its channel
strategy has perforce changed to
Greenliant promises 10 years market availability of SLC
September 17, 2013 - One of the pressures which has been driving embedded SSD
designers towards the kind of elaborate
which enable MLC to operate over the full
temperature operating range has been the
cost per terabyte
- but another has been the open question of whether it will be realistically
possible to guarantee sourcing SLC in the future at all - which is why some
companies like Virtium
have instead got product roadmaps which ensure that future design slots can be
filled with identical footprint SSDs which will use whatever future variations
of nand flash memory the future market is likely to offer.
contrast to the decades old market practise of stockpiling old technology
chips for use in legacy equipment designs which are assembled much later.
These longevity assurance programs can get complicated and expensive - and I've
even heard of recent cases where SSDs are emulating 1970s vintage
floppy drives to keep
some expensive machinery running.
There are risks involved in both
these approaches (to SSD design socket continuity).
Anyway in a
today Chen Tsai,
senior VP, manufacturing operations - Greenliant Systems
said that ""To address applications with long lifecycles -
Greenliant's new SLC
SATA NANDrive (industrial
BGA form factor SSDs)
will be available up to 10 years through
For those in the
rugged and military SSD
markets - this type of consideration about long term product availability is
the usual way of doing business.
That's in stark contrast to the
enterprise SSD markets
- in which designers are more interested in the probability that they will be
able to get superior (faster and higher capacity) products in future
motherboard designs (so long as they are
software and interface
compatible) - rather than getting exact clones of the original devices to work
in the unchanged original motherboards.
Diablo readies new SSD interface for VMware ecosystem
September 17, 2013 - Diablo
announced it has
technology alliance program. See also:-
HP accounted for 65% of Violin's revenue in FY 2012
September 16, 2013 - Here are some interesting pieces of information about
have come to light as a result of its recent
related S1 filing documents.
- Violin's revenue was approx $51 million for the 6 months ended July 31,
2 years earlier - in
June 2011 -
following an earlier funding round the company's CEO had said he hoped "to
surpass $100 million in revenue this year (2011) the first step in building a
billion dollar company."
The S1 filing indicates that actually
Violin achieved revenue of about $53 million for the year ending January 31,
- In FY 2012 HP accounted
for 65% of Violin's revenue - but HP was no longer the biggest customer
in the 2 most recent quarters and apparently HP has not (yet) sought to qualify
Violin's flagship product - the
- Violin has incurred a net loss in each quarter since its inception.
- Violin is hoping to raise $146 million (approx) from its IPO
comments:- If you want to read what I've said in the past about Violin's
strengths and weaknesses in enterprise SSD technology - then a good place to
start is with their profile
page here on StorageSearch.com which also includes links to key articles
about the competive environment.
- a big chunk of Violin's past "advertising" spend seems to
have been weighted towards the restricted reach of expensive physical
advertising space - with a seemingly
to web ads. Could that be why Violin hasn't got more customers?
SanDisk ships 350MB/s write CFast for cameras
September 13, 2013 -SanDisk
it is shipping one of the first SSDs based on the
Aimed at applications such as cameras - SanDisk's
Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 card has upto 120GB capacity (MSRP $1,809), R/W speeds
upto 450MB/s and 350MB/s respectively. See also:-
Standards ORG directory,
SSDs in tv and video
HGST starts integrating Stec's IP
12, 2013 - WD
that it has completed the acquisition of Stec which will be
integrated into its enterprise SSD business subsidiary HGST.
Fusion-io - upcoming webcast on rackmount related technologies
Editor:- September 11, 2013 - The other thing which Fusion-io would like
you to recognize them for - is
The company yesterday
that it will be talking about this in
a webcast tomorrow
(Thursday 9am PT).
Editor's comments:- Using
PCIe SSDs as
components within rackmount
SSDs is already a well established concept in
past - and expected to remain one of the
key uses in enterprise
SSD's future too.
A company called
Dolphin launched the
first such systems back in
Fusion-io's own ioDrives have been integrated by various companies within
rackmount storage systems in the past starting with :-
NextIO - as fast but
software-less storage (April
2010), and notably followed in a very different way (as the raw flash in
availability FC SAN SSDs) by
Kaminario (September 2011).
But for anyone who thought this might be a good idea - but didn't see
why they should have to buy this kind of solution from another new vendor -
they only had to wait till
August 2012 -
which is when Fusion-io launched its
- a software bundle which enabled any user to build their own legacy software
compatible fast FC SAN
compatible SSD rack using a bunch of iodrives and almost any customer
preferred standard server.
That created the possibility of a new
competitive choice for those in the
But for those interested in SSD acceleration whose needs for
performance and cost were more modest - there would soon be another way they
could use FIO's PCIe SSDs in a different way (as the
flash cache in
iSCSI hybrid HDD
An early example of this in
March 2011 - was
iSCSI hybrid systems by StoneFly
and then later we heard about iSCSI systems by
NexGen Storage (which
Fusion-io acquired in
- for most people in the enterprise SSD market - the mere mortals who haven't
already got inside Fusion-io's priviledged big customer gatekeeper orbit -it
has been exceedingly difficult to get a coherent picture of whether
these systems products are relevant - and if so - how to buy them.
in getting that information were undoubtedly not helped by the need to
assimilate the NexGen products into a business culture in which
hard drives had
previously been anathema - coupled with an ultra competitive market outlook (the
quality and diversity of competing options facing users in this market is
very high) and a reorganization due to the precipitous change in leadership
4 months ago.
So despite the title (Flash First for Hybrid and All Flash Storage)
I'm sure that even more of you than usual - will be interested to learn
what FIO has to say on this particular subject.
Cisco to acquire WhipTail
Editor:- September 10, 2013
- Cisco today
announced its intent to
acquire privately owned WhipTail for
approximately $415 million in cash and retention-based incentives.
are focused on providing a converged infrastructure including compute, network
and high performance solid state that will help address our customers'
requirements for next-generation computing environments," said Paul Perez, VP
and GM, Cisco Computing Systems Product Group.
as we learned in June - WhipTail has designed an elegant and scalable software
and hardware architecture to
solve the ever
changing SSD rackmount riddle game - which can compete in cost sensitive
iSCSI environments or
hold its head up among the
installations while also offering resilient
WhipTail entered the
Top 20 SSD companies list
in Q4 2011 and has
been in the Top 10 part of these lists in every quarter since
the new thinking in rackmount SSDs
WD acquires Virident
Editor:- September 9, 2013 - it
today that Virident
Systems will be acquired by WD's enterprise SSD
subsidiary - HGST
for approximately $685 million in cash.
Virident is a Top 10 SSD
company with its own
SSD controller technology, and a market proven
scalable enterprise PCIe
SSD compatible product line.
The signs that Virident was behaving
like a company which might be imminently acquired (by someone) started to
become clear 2 months ago. However, if anyone had put bets on who that likely
acquirer would be - the most probable name which would have come up in such
conversations would have been
on the heels of an enterprise
SSD marketwide acquisition binge in recent months - this latest move
suggests that HGST will be appearing in rather more enterprise SSD shortlists
It also confirms - if you had any doubts about it - that
the main reason for WD wanting to acquire
Stec recently - had
little or nothing to do with Stec's weak PCIe SSD product line.
More smoke than fire at SK Hynix memory plant
September 5, 2013 - Yesterday there was widely reported speculation about
the possible market impact of a fire at an SK Hynix memory plant
- which makes upto 15% of the world's
statement reported by Reuters the company said there was no material
damaage to the clean rooms and SK Hynix anticipated that supply volumes
would not be materially affected.
Editor's comments:- 3 weeks
ago it was
that 16nm flash from SK Hynix is the main memory building block in
Skyera's 1U half
LSI gets closer to Proximal Data
4, 2013 - Proximal
that its AutoCache (SSD
ASAP) software is being being recommended by LSI for use with its
own range of Nytro WarpDrives (PCIe SSD accelerators).
history - I've been involved with the SSD market for over 20 years. This
popular history article is based on archived news and articles extracted from
thousands of SSD stories I've reported on.
the Top SSD Companies -
this quarterly market tracker has been giving advance signals about
changes in SSD technology adoption and business changes since 2007.
trust SSD market data? - not everyone has visibility to the same market
data, and even when they see the same facts - past assumptions and vested
positions can obscure the meaning. And that's just the market analysts who do
this for a living.
hostage to the
fortunes of SSD - why are so many companies piling into the SSD market -
when even the leading enterprise companies haven't demonstrated sustainable
business models yet?
|"The SSD roadmaps took
the old style computer by surprise - and then changed too fast for them to
keep up. Intel, Microsoft etc aren't in the reference architecture
driving seats any more. "|
|the New Business Case
for SSD ASAPs |
|"Little words can have
with big meanings in the world of SSDs. They affect price, performance,
reliability and user happiness."|
|flash SSD jargon explained|
|6 Years Ago
|September 2007 -
Texas Memory Systems
launched the RamSan-500
- which delivered 2 terabytes of high speed flash SSD in a 4U rackmount
package. Performance was 100,000 IOPS sustained random read, 10,000 IOPS
sustained random write. Throughput performance from fibre-channel hosts to
internal flash storage was 2G bytes / sec sustainable (3G bytes / sec peak).
At that time the RamSan-500 was the
flash SSD system in the world and it also demonstrated that Texas Memory
Systems was going to make the transition from being a leading company in
RAM SSDs to being one
of the leaders in enterprise
flash arrays too.
In later years it also became clearer that
this system demonstrated an alternative approach to designing enterprise arrays
- as exemplified by other vendors like
The design of SSD arrays didn't simply have to be an
assemblage of COTS
SSDs with standard RAID-like
controllers derived from HDD architectures. Instead innovative designers could
controller SSD architectures which incorporated awareness of the array
within the design - thereby enabling better latency, efficiency, reliability
and performance compared to legacy design approaches using the same flash chips.
still seeing successively
iterations of progress in SSD rack design architecture - with the high R&D
costs becoming viable because of bigger accessible markets - today in 2013.