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SSD market news - September 2013

what 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 today announced that its flash and hard disk customers have shipped more than 1,000 arrays running its Albireo (dedupe, compression and efficient 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.

See also:- SSD 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 2TB 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 market well.

The different degrees of SSD security 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.

See also:- military SSDs, SSD jargon, military acronyms A to Z

VMEM? - "Ouch" - says Business Insider

Editor:- September 28, 2013 - 2 days ago (Thursday) Violin Memory announced 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.

"Ouch" - was how Julie Bort summarized this in her article in Business Insider - re Violin's Awful IPO.

Editor's 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.

See also:- Decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise for rackmount SSDs

new route to market for FIO's ioScale

Editor:- September 26, 2013 - IBM - which has been offering Fusion-io's ioDrive (PCIe SSD) technology in its product line since December 2009 has now become the 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 January 2013.

Micron samples 2GB HMC RAM

Editor:- September 25, 2013 - Micron today announced 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 SR (short reach) HMC provides 2GB DRAM in a BGA - with upto 160GB/s bandwidth. See also:- DRAM, SSD interface chips, NVDIMMs and memory channel SSDs

top SSD companies - this month?

Editor:- September 24, 2013 - here are quick links for the top 8 SSD companies which 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.
But a quarter is a more reliable sampling period.

MOSAID resumes the conversation about licensing HLNAND

Editor:- 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.

That's the theme of a recent blog - about HyperLink NAND technology and scalability by Peter Gillingham, VP and CTO Conversant (the new name for MOSAID Technologies) who writes - "In the enterprise server 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 ONFi and toggle mode are not up to the job." the article

Editor's comments:- MOSAID - which will legally change 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 the 1990s.

Among the many reasons - why the company says its HLNAND 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.

See also:- 3 Easy Ways to Enter the SSD Market, sizing SSD controller architecture, how fast can your SSD run backwards?

Demartek blog re NVMe

Editor:- September 19, 2013 - The unruly PCIe SSD market was threatened with standards which might tame it several years ago. The state of play is assessed in a new blog - re IDF2013 and NVMe written by Dennis Martin, President Demartek . the article

surviving abnormal power events - new paper by InnoDisk

Editor:- September 18, 2013 - Adding to the growing body of articles about SSD data integrity in the event of sudden power loss - InnoDisk today launched 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.
SSD power failure data protection system -Innodisk white paper
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. the article (pdf)

Virident's new "new channel partner" thingy

Editor:- 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.

In January this year Virident's "channel strategy" - for PCIe SSDs - could be simply stated as being:- Seagate.

Now - as Virident contemplates the imminent prospect of becoming owned by WD - its channel strategy has perforce changed to something different.

Greenliant promises 10 years market availability of SLC

Editor:- September 17, 2013 - One of the pressures which has been driving embedded SSD designers towards the kind of elaborate controller technologies which enable MLC to operate over the full industrial 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.

That's in 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 product launch announcement 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 Greenliant's Long-Term Availability program."

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 consumer and 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

Editor:- September 17, 2013 - Diablo Technologies today announced it has joined VMware's technology alliance program. See also:- memory channel SSDs

HP accounted for 65% of Violin's revenue in FY 2012

Editor:- September 16, 2013 - Here are some interesting pieces of information about Violin which have come to light as a result of its recent IPO related S1 filing documents.
  • Violin's revenue was approx $51 million for the 6 months ended July 31, 2013.

    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, 2012.
  • 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 6000 Series.
  • Violin has incurred a net loss in each quarter since its inception.
  • Violin is hoping to raise $146 million (approx) from its IPO
  • 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 anorexic approach to web ads. Could that be why Violin hasn't got more customers?
Editor's 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 which also includes links to key articles about the competive environment.

SanDisk ships 350MB/s write CFast for cameras

Editor:- September 13, 2013 -SanDisk today announced it is shipping one of the first SSDs based on the CompactFlash Association's CFast 2.0 standard.

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, USB SSDs, consumer SSDs, SSDs in tv and video servers

HGST starts integrating Stec's IP

Editor:- September 12, 2013 - WD today confirmed 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 rackmount storage. The company yesterday announced 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 SSD's recent 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 March 2009.

And 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 ultrafast high 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 ION product - 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 Violin performance category.

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 racks).

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 April 2013).

Nevertheless - 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.

Delays 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.

"We 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.

Editor's comments:- 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 fastest SSD installations while also offering resilient fault tolerance and upgradability.

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 Q2 2012.

See also:- exploring the new thinking in rackmount SSDs

WD acquires Virident

Editor:- September 9, 2013 - it was announced today that Virident Systems will be acquired by WD's enterprise SSD subsidiary - HGST for approximately $685 million in cash.

Editor's comments:- Virident is a Top 10 SSD company with its own big architecture SSD controller technology, and a market proven symmetrically 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 Seagate.

Following 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 than before.

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

Editor:- 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 DRAM chips.

In a clarification 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 announced that 16nm flash from SK Hynix is the main memory building block in Skyera's 1U half petabyte skyEagle SSD rack.

LSI gets closer to Proximal Data

Editor:- September 4, 2013 - Proximal Data today announced that its AutoCache (SSD ASAP) software is being being recommended by LSI for use with its own range of Nytro WarpDrives (PCIe SSD accelerators).

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SSD market 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.

can you 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?

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"Scale-out, like anything that is truly worth doing,
is really, hard to do well!"
Ritu Jyoti, VP Product Management - Kaminario - in her recent blog EMC fails to make a splash with flash (September 10, 2013)

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"You tell me the order you want these SSDs listed.
I'll supply the benchmark."
the 3 fastest PCIe SSDs list(s)

SSD ad - click for more info

"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
"When it comes to fault tolerance - you have to analyze SSDs as data systems devices and not as electronic components."
FITs (failures in time) and choosing appropriate reliability abstraction levels in SSD modeling

SSD ad - click for more info

"Little words can have with big meanings in the world of SSDs. They affect price, performance, reliability and user happiness."
flash SSD jargon explained

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"One petabyte of enterprise SSD could replace 10 to 50 petabytes of raw HDD storage in the enterprise - and still get all the apps running faster."
the enterprise SSD software event horizon

SSD topics from A to Z

1.0" SSDs
1.8" SSDs
2.5" SSDs - all
2.5" PCI Express SSDs
3 contenders once threatened flash SSDs
3.5" SSDs
7 SSD types - all you need for enterprise
11 key symmetries in SSD design architecture
513 gone-away storage companies (2000-2009)

About the publisher -21 years of guides
Acquisitions in the SSD market - 2000 to 2013
Adaptive R/W flash management in SSDs
Advertising SSDs
After SSDs... what next?
Analysts - SSD market
Animal brands in the SSD market
Articles and blogs - re SSD
Architecture guide - storage
ASAPs / auto tuning, caching, tiering SSDs

Backup - SSD enhanced
Bad block management in flash SSDs
Benchmarking SSDs
Best / cheapest SSD?
Big market picture of SSDs
Big versus Small - in SSD architecture
Bookmarks from SSD leaders
Books - citing
Bottlenecks and SSDs
Branding Strategies in the SSD market
Buyers Guide to SSDs

Cache ratios inside SSD controllers
Caching software and SSD appliances
Calling for an end to SSD vs HDD IOPS
Can you tell me the best way to SSD Street?
Chips - storage interface / processors
Chips - SSD on a chip & DOMs
Cloud storage - with SSD twists
Consumer SSDs guide
Controller chips for SSDs
Cost of SSDs
CPU-SSD equivalency

Dark matter users in enterprise SSD
Data integrity in flash SSDs
Data Recovery - all
Data recovery - for flash SSDs
Disruptive tech markets and SSD
DSP in flash SSD controller IP

Education - re SSDs
Efficiency - comparing SSD designs
Enterprise MLC SSDs - how safe?
Encryption - impacts in notebook SSDs
Endurance - in flash SSDs
Enter the SSD market - 3 easy ways

ExpressCard SSDs

Failure model flaws in SSDs
Fast purge / erase SSDs
Fastest SSDs
Fibre-Channel SSDs
FITs (failures in time) & SSDs
Flash Memory
Flash SSDs
flash SSD vs RAM SSD
Forecasts for SSD market

Garbage Collection - SSD jargon
Green storage

Hard disk drives
Heresies - SSDites don't agree fundamentals
High availability enterprise SSDs
History of data storage
History of SSD market
Hostage to the fortunes of SSD
Hybrid drives (consumer)
Hybrid caching / tiering appliances (enterprise)

Iceberg syndrome - invisible SSD capacity
Inanimate Power, Speed & Strength Metaphors
Industrial SSDs
InfiniBand SSDs
IOPS and flash SSDs - a problematic metric
IOPS Comparisons - SSDs and HDDs !@*#

Jargon - flash SSD

Legacy vs New Dynasty SSDs

Market research (all storage)
Market research (SSDs)
Memory channel storage SSDs
military rugged SSDs
MLC - in SSD jargon
MLC in enterprise SSDs
Modern era of the SSD market

News page
Notebook SSDs

Over-provisioning in flash SSDs

Petabyte SSD roadmap
Power loss - sudden in SSDs
Power, Speed & Strength in SSD brands
PR Agencies & SSDs
Price of SSDs - where does the money go?

Rackmount SSDs
RAID systems (incl RAIC RAISE etc)
RAM cache ratios in flash SSDs
RAM memory chips
RAM SSDs versus Flash SSDs
Ratio of SSD capacity - server vs SAN
Record breaking storage
Reliability factors in SSD design
Riddle games and enterprise SSD boxes

Silos in the solid state datacenter
Software (for SSDs)
SPARC market history 1987 to 2010
SSD articles and blogs (top 100)
Standards ORG directory
Surviving SSD sudden power loss
Survival guide to enterprise SSDs
Symmetry impacts in SSD behavior

Testing SSDs
Top 20 SSD companies
Transitions in the SSD market

User value propositions for buying SSDs

VC funds in storage
Videos - about SSDs

Wear leveling
What's an SSD?
What's the best way to design a flash SSD?
Where are we now with that SSD software?
Write amplification in SSDs

Zero RPM SSDs killed 20K hard drives
Z's laws - flash SSD performance roadmap (2008)
Zsolt Kerekes, editor -
"You can't see them - but the gravitational pull from these massive SSD users is changing markets."
The big market impact of SSD dark matter

6 Years Ago in SSD market history
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 fastest enterprise 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 Violin, and Skyera too.

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 design large 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.

We're still seeing successively new iterations of progress in SSD rack design architecture - with the high R&D costs becoming viable because of bigger accessible markets - today in 2013.