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Exiting the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing
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revisiting an old new hard drive idea
Editor:- August 20, 2014 - From time to time I get an email from a new (to me) company which really grabs my attention. Here's one such which arrived this morning.

"We now have the WORM hard disk you refer to in your article in (Introducing WORM Hard Disk Drives - February 28, 2005).

"It was developed for the Department of Justice, and is now in use, by GreenTec-USA, Inc. in conjunction with Seagate. Can we send you some information? Would love to hear from you!" - Bob Waligunda, VP of Sales at GreenTec-USA.

Editor's comments:- I haven't spoken to Bob yet - because of the time difference. But here's some info I got from GreenTec's web site:-
  • GreenTec WORM whitepaper (pdf) - "Organizations today have demanding needs to ensure that their sensitive data is protected. Considerable damage could be done if critical or sensitive files are deleted or altered either accidentally or intentionally"
The interesting thing for me is it shows that innovation in the hard drive market hasn't stopped completely. And GreenTec's 3TB (for now) WORM drives are also available as arrays in micro cloud blocks.

I had almost forgotten about my 9 year old WORM HDD (market needs this) article. I'll update it later with this note.

Linking this back to SSDs - there have been several companies in recent quarters who have announced physical write-disable switches into embedded SSDs - including:- See also:- SSD security, military SSDs
This is now essential knowledge - says IT Brand Pulse
Editor:- August 9, 2014 - If it wasn't for people being seriously interested in mission critical SSD related technologies, product architectures and being willing to invest their time in (sometimes) bewildering content about difficult concepts as their best defensive plan to avoid making big mistakes - I wouldn't have any readers.

But although I have often commented on these pages how surprised I have been by the high level of knowledge and dedication evinced by those readers who contact me from outside the SSD industry - I hadn't given much thought to what that meant in terms of an industry trend.

My view (as a publisher) has been - my site is for really serious readers - and I don't aim to please everyone by dumbing down the content.

Quite the opposite in fact - as a few years ago I decided to pro-actively disengage from user facing content about the consumer SSD market. Other publications do that better.

Despite prioritizing reader quality over raw SSD reader numbers - my numbers have been doing OK - with some all time record numbers as recently as in the past 7 days.

I was content knowing that enough of you were interested in deep enterprise SSD related issues to stick with plan A - and I hadn't given much thought to how that compared with the wider market - beyond knowing that my readers are the most influential in the enterprise SSD markets.

Enter IT Brand Pulse - who measure many aspects of enterprise user thinking about SSDs (including perceptions and misperceptions about brand leadership).

I say "misperceptions" advisedly because sometimes in the past - SSD vendors have been perceived to be leaders in product categories in which they have no discernibly worthwhile product offerings. But a good score in brand projection (carried over from other markets) provides an opportunity for product marketers to convert such illusions to realities - because it shows that users would be willing to buy such products from such companies - if they actually existed.

I digress. The main point I wanted to make is this.

I was surprised to see that on page 55 of - Enterprise SSDs Who's Adopting Them and Why? - (a pdf based on their presentation earlier this week at FMS) - on which page IT Brand Pulse had taken a measure of user willingness to invest time into looking at the details of flash memory characteristics - and their conclusion is...

"This is now essential knowledge. - Only a little more than 25% of enterprise users will not deep dive into the technology."

I don't know about you - but I find that reassuring.

I've focused on just one page in what is - with pictures - an 80+ page document.

IT Brand Pulse's paper provides an entertaining and informative tour of the recent 2-3 years in the enterprise SSD market. And if you want the numeric data to scale the graphs shown in their paper - it only costs $495 - contact to order. the article (pdf)

See also:- storage market research, SSD endurance, Enterprise SSDs - the Survive and Thrive Guide, SSD history
the Top SSD Companies in Q2 2014
Editor:- August 1, 2014 - recently published the new 29th quarterly edition of the Top SSD Companies - based on metrics in Q2 2014. There are 2 first time appearances in this new edition. And some new updates. the article
whatever gave you that silly idea?
Can you trust SSD market data?
popular SSD articles and recommended SSD blogs
SSD articles & blogs

Many factors at play in enterprise SSD market behavior still don't appear as explicit assumptions in SSD product marketing plans.

A contributory cause for gaps in segmental understanding has been the continuing pace of disruptive innovation in enterprise SSD-land - which has meant there hasn't been a stable market template for vendors to follow.
Decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise for rackmount SSDs

cloud storage news, vendors, articles  and directory - click here
cloud storage

I think that 2014 will be seen as the start of a new phase of creativity in the enterprise SSD market on the subject of pricing and affordability. As evidence for that - I'm going to mention 3 companies at the end of this article - whose recent activities - while different in detail - were swirling around in my head this week.
Exiting the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing


click to read the article - Big versus Small SSD  architectures
Size matters in SSD architecture

"SSD efficiency is a very powerful differentiator in technology and I think it will also be very important in influencing business success too."
Efficiency - making the same SSD - with less flash

SSD silos article
datacenter SSD silos

"That step in improved utilization means that when users make the switch to the newer software - not only do they need less servers - but they don't need as many SSDs either."
meet Ken - and the enterprise SSD software event horizon


click to see directory of SAS SSD companies

what's the state of DWPD?
Diskful Writes Per Day in leading enterprise SSDs

click here to see our directory of SSD market analysts
SSD market analysts

"The winners in SSD software could be as important for infrastructure as Microsoft was for PCs, or Oracle was for databases, or Google was for search."
get ready for a new world in which
all enterprise data touches SSDs

"Don't place too much credence in what SSD companies tell you about the present or the future of the SSD market."
Survivor's Guide to Enterprise SSDs
pcie  SSDs - click to read article
PCIe SSDs ..
memory channel storage
memory channel SSDs ...
market research
market research

SSD news - August 2014

storage history
what changed in SSD year 2014?
a not so simple list of military SSD companies

Samsung in volume production of 3D DDR4 RDIMMs

Editor:- August 27, 2014 - Although the main interest in DDR4 RDIMMs - from an SSD market perspective - will be in how that interface opportunity gets leveraged in future memory channel flash SSDs - let's not forget that the motherboard slots - which will enable that market - have been designed for DRAM. So the DRAMs will come first and are an important part of the countdown to the new DDR4 flash DIMM ecosystem.

In that context I'd like to mention that Samsung is today celebrating "a new milestone in the history of memory technology" with the announcement that the company is in volume production of the industry's first 64GB DDR4 RDIMMs (DRAM) that use 3D "through silicon via" (TSV) stacked die package technology and 20nm class die geometries.

Samsung says that the new 64GB TSV module performs 2x as fast as a 64GB module that uses conventional wire bonding packaging, while consuming approximately 1/2 the power.

Editor's comments:- Samsung describes this announcement as "historic" and I was content to include that positioning statement in the news above - because much of what Samsung has done in the past has indeed had historic significance. For more examples - see "Samsung historic" which gives you search results from the news archives.

consumer SSD compression software seeks partners

Editor:- August 26, 2014 - When it comes to the question of cost per SSD terabyte users in the enterprise market have many competing options for stretching their SSD budgets and balancing cost and performance. And I have known of a small number of companies doing similar things in the consumer SSD market.

Today I was contacted by Simon King - the founder of a new (to me) company - ZIPmagic Software (based in Australia) which is offering its Windows compatible whole disk compression technologies (which was originally developed for the HDD market) for licensing to SSD oems.

Here's what Simon said.

Dear Zsolt,

My company has built a product for transparent disk compression. Unlike traditional compression tools, transparent disk compression increases the total storage capacity of a disk without requiring data to be decompressed before it can be used by apps or users.

With the advent of fast but expensive SSDs, fixed storage tablets, and (private virtual) servers which are expensive to upgrade or relocate; there is a new market niche for disk compression solutions.

I have attached some product briefs on my company's disk compression solutions. Our price point is competitive with traditional compression tools such as WinZip. Our product also meets and exceeds the capabilities of traditional compression tools across the board.

SSD manufacturers can safely advertise double the disk capacity using our software-only solution, and reduce their cost per gigabyte for their expensive products – resulting in a win-win scenario for both consumers and the manufacturers themselves. Our software is very safe, secure, and scalable; based on Microsoft technologies, but extending the capabilities of those technologies with our compression and convenience enhancements.

Editor's comments:- Simon sent me pdfs related to 3 diffrerent product variations. I haven't included them here but they looked interesting. For more info about oem licensing inquiries look at this features overview or email

Maxta invests in Intel

Editor:- August 19, 2014 - In May 2014 we learned that Intel had invested in Maxta. And this week we learned that Maxta has reciprocated that favor by investing in Intel.

More strategically than with mere money - Maxta's investment - announced yesterday - is in the form of a reference architecture - cored on Maxta's MxSP software (SSD ASAP software) which provides an easy to support set of solutions preconfigured for Intel servers and Intel SSDs.

Maxta says its MaxDeploy Reference Architecture offers the framework of a repeatable and standard deployment model - which provides its customers "ease of ordering and predictability" - and which mitigates the risk of hardware or software compatibility issues, while simplifying and shortening deployment time and training.

The new solution set will be demonstrated next week at VMworld, San Francisco.

Skyera's Rado Danilak to spend more time focused on technology

Editor:- August 18, 2014 - Skyera today announced that current investors from its previous $51.6 million funding round have provided additional capital to the company as it prepares to scale its sales and manufacturing cycles to meet increased demand. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Additionally Skyera has promoted Frankie Roohparvar to the position of CEO while Dr. Rado Danilak, co-founder of Skyera, becomes CTO of the company.

"The additional funding raised from our existing strategic investors reinforces the company's leadership in all-flash array technology, including our approach to key storage selection criteria of size, weight, power, performance, plug-n-play and price," said Roohparvar.

"While that approach remains unchanged, we have decided to leverage this investment to realign our executive team to better capitalize on the product vision that Rado brings to our team. His move to CTO allows him to spend time contributing his technical genius to furthering the design, development and integration of Skyera's system-wide approach to solid-state storage. We believe that these changes and the additional investment positions us for success in both the near and long terms."

Avago completes acquisition of PLX

Editor:- August 12, 2014 -Avago Technologies today announced that it has effectively completed the acquisition of PLX Technology.

Super Talent joins M.2 PCIe SSD market

Editor:- August 11, 2014 - Super Talent Technology today announced that it has added an M.2 form factor SSD to its NGFF family of SSDs.

Super Talent's PCIe DX1 has a PCIe gen 2 interface, R/W speeds upto 480/400MB/s respectively, capacity upto 256GB MLC and comes with a 128MB DDR3 DRAM cache.

Samsung ships 10nm SAS SSDs

Editor:- August 8, 2014 - Samsung today announced it is producing SAS SSDs with 10nm nand flash.

The SM1623 has R/W IOPS upto 120K/26K respectively. But DWPD isn't that great - Samsung says it's about 1 (which is restrictive).

Editor's comments:- When it comes to COTS storage arrays (just a bunch of SSDs with some RAID) SAS is the new SATA. While SATAe and NVMe (2.5" PCIe SSDs and M.2 PCIe SSDs) will be the new SAS.

This is a significant milestone in the 10 year history of enterprise flash - and portends lower pricing for entry level SSD storage arrays.

But it's not at simple as 10nm based arrays always being cheaper for all apps.

The ability to do more writes and work faster (with more expensive memory and software) creates its own competitive efficiencies.

So it's more likely that in the next few years we'll see 10nm being used as one of several memory geometries in different roles - even inside the same boxes. Just as we're seeing multiple generations of flash in enterprise and embedded markets today.

Diablo unveils DDR-4 flash DIMM SSDs

Editor:- August 7, 2014 - Diablo yesterday announced details of a new 2nd generation memory channel SSD - low latency flash SSD accelerators in DDR-4 sockets - which will sample to oems in the first half of 2015.

Along with the new hardware technology there will be an improved software platform - with features like NanoCommit - which Diable says will enable hundreds of millions of transactions per second, with nanosecond latency.

"Memory Channel Storage DDR4 solutions represent the next evolution of Server Acceleration technology," said Riccardo Badalone, CEO and Co-founder of Diablo Technologies. "In addition to supporting a faster memory interface, the Carbon2 platform delivers unprecedented levels of hardware acceleration for new software innovations like NanoCommit. Converged Memory, where the best of Flash and DRAM are combined, will rely on this type of technology to give applications the ability to transparently persist updates to main memory."

Editor's comments:- After FMS - Diablo sent me more info (pdf) about their FMS presentation (pdf) from which I have extracted these key features.
  • Diablo's converged memory architecture (flash tiered with DRAM) is planned to support 700 million random cachelines / sec.
  • Latency of each cacheline is about 48 nanoseconds.
  • Diablo's NanoCommit supports byte addressable small writes to flash with high transaction rates and the ability to mirror the DRAM contents to persistent storage.
  • The combination of technologies would enable something like a 1U server with 25TB of converged memory.
Diablo MCS - nanocommit - click for pdf

Plextor's M.2 PCIe SSD wins award at FMS

Editor:- August 7, 2014 - Plextor today announced that its M6e - an M.2 PCIe SSD - has won Best of Show for most Innovative flash memory technology at the Flash Memory Summit.

The M6e SSD combines a multi-core Marvell PCIe 9183 controller and Toshiba toggle NAND flash with firmware developed by Plextor's in-house team.

As part of the design verification - Plextor says that 400 units were subjected to 500 hours of extreme tests without error or failure.

eASIC supports Mobiveil's NVMe platform

Editor:- August 6, 2014 - eASIC today announced announced support for Mobiveil's NVMe platform (pdf) implemented in eASIC devices.

The platform includes PCI Express, NVM Express, DDR3 and NAND flash controllers, IP that is optimized to take advantage of the unique eASIC Single Mask Adaptable ASIC technology.

"eASIC is enabling the rapid deployment of SSD technology at substantially lower cost and up to 70% lower power than alternative solutions", said Jasbinder Bhoot, VP of Worldwide Marketing at eASIC. "By working with Mobiveil, customers will have access to a complete NVMe solution running in cost, power and performance optimized eASIC devices."

See also:- Shorten Time to Market for NVM Express based storage solutions (pdf by Mobiveil)

AgigA Tech samples 1st DDR4 NVDIMM

Editor:- August 6, 2014 - AgigA Tech today announced that it is now sampling the industry's first DDR4 Nonvolatile DIMM (NVDIMM) to key OEMs and development partners.

See also:- hybrid DIMMs

say hello to Shannon Systems

Editor:- August 6, 2014 - I hadn't heard of Shannon Systems before. But I got a nice email this morning from Xueshi Yang, CEO and co-founder who said he has been reading "for quite a number of years now" and also said that his company is showing their products at Flash Memory Summit.

Among other things - Xueshi Yang said - "Shannon System is a startup I co-founded in 2011 in China after I left Marvell.

"The company is dedicated to the enterprise flash storage market. Currently, we focus on the high performance PCIe market with our proprietary controllers and software systems. In April this year, we announced the industry first 6.4TB PCIe SSD with a single controller, which boasts 67us read access latency and 9 us write access latency (all in 4KB, random). While in June, we introduced a PCIe SSD with SFF-8639 interface, which is hot-pluggable. We currently serve over 100 customers in China, including Tier 1 internet companies, as well as other named customers such as China Mobile, China Telecomm etc."

Silicon Motion samples controller for TLC SATA SSDs

Editor:- August 5, 2014 - Silicon Motion today announced that it is sampling the SM2256, the world's first complete merchant ASIC/firmware SATA 6Gb/s SSD controller solution supporting 1x/1y/1z nm triple-level cell (TLC) NAND from all major NAND suppliers.

"We expect TLC SSDs to account for more than 40% of all client SSD shipments in 2015," said Michael Yang, Senior Principal analyst at IHS iSuppli. "The combination of cost effective TLC NAND and new controllers like Silicon Motion's SM2256 will help drive this level of adoption."

Tanisys enters SSD ATE market

Editor:- August 5, 2014 - Tanisys Technology today announced details of a new SSD ATE test system which will be shown at the Flash Memory Summit.

The Tanisys's SX3-OGT test system (which includes benchmarking and validation suites from OakGate Technology, supports popular SSD interfaces including PCIe, SAS and SATA.

The SX3-OGT also supports fast emerging protocols such as NVMe and AHCI. The SX3-OGT is available in bench top configuration for engineering applications and with multiple burn-in chambers for production.

See also:- SSD testers and analyers

HGST rekindles concept of a PCM based PCIe SSD

Editor:- August 4, 2014 - HGST today announced it will demonstrate a PCM PCIe SSD concept at the Flash Memory Summit. HGST says the demonstration model delivers 3 million random read IOPS (512 Bytes) and a random read access latency of 1.5 microseconds.

Editor's comments:- Micron funded the world's first enterprise PCM PCIe SSD demo 3 years ago (in June 2011). The storage density of PCM resulted in an SSD which had pitifully low capacity compared to flash memory at that time - and earlier this year (in January 2014) there were reports that Micron had temporarily abandoned this idea.

Is HGST really going to wander into memory space where even the memory makers don't want to go? Or is this just a market signal that HGST isn't just looking at short term SSD product concepts?

A3CUBE will use military connectors in datacenter fabric

Editor:- August 4, 2014 - A3CUBE today announced that its emerging PCIe compatible distributed shared memory architecture - the RONNIEE Express - is supported by a military grade rugged connector technology. A3CUBE teamed with a specialist connector manufacturer AirBorn Inc on this aspect of the implemenetation.

A3CUBE says that RONNIE RIO is the first network adapter card designed with carrier-grade and military-grade reliability and is designed to bring mission-critical features to the standard data center interconnection network and data plane.

See also:- military SSDs, HA SSDs

And the best buy SSDs shall be the worst (if you change your workloads)

Editor:- August 2, 2014 - An applications optimized SSD system can be the cheapest buy - if you always use it for the original purpose - but it can be a poor choice if you throw the wrong type of applications at it. Enter - the good ole general purpose fast SSD array.

The conflicts are examined in a new blog - Real Flash Storage Systems multi-task! written by Woody Hutsell, IBM who among other things says - "It just so happens that flash appliances with built-in deduplication are the worst choices for database acceleration." the article

The idea that an SSD which is best for one type of use may have the worst characteristics for another - was also examined from an architectural point of view in my classic article - how fast can your SSD run backwards?

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"Our past work showed that application-unaware design of memory controllers, and in particular memory scheduling algorithms, leads to uncontrolled interference of applications in the memory system.

"Such uncontrolled interference can lead to denial of service to some applications, low system performance, and an inability to satisfy performance requirements, which makes the system uncontrollable and unpredictable" - said Onur Mutlu, Assistant Professor Electrical and Computer Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University.
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Hi Zsolt

I work at a financial institution which has started to cover the storage market - and in particular enterprise SSDs. I'm trying to estimate:-
  • how big will the SSD market will be when SSDs replace hard drives?
  • when will it happen?
  • what will be the revenue of the SSD market at that time
meet Ken - and the enterprise SSD software event horizon










SSD ad - click for more info
PCIe SSDs - news etc

PCIe SSDs versus memory channel SSDs

don't all PCIe SSDs look pretty much the same?

Enterprise SSDs - the Survive and Thrive Guide

an SSD conversation with PLX about PCIe fabric etc

2.5" PCIe SSDs, NVMe, SATAe etc

SAS SSDs - directory and market timeline

DWPD - in industry leading enterprise SSDs

what's in an SSDserver rank number? - for SAS - add 1










"Having SSDs located in a DIMM socket in one server - no longer precludes that very same data being accessed by another server as if it were just a locally installed PCIe SSD."
Zsolt Kerekes, editor - in an SSD news story linking Diablo to A3CUBE (September 23, 2014)

"M.2 will become the next popular form factor for industrial applications.

SATAe is designed for desktop PCs now, and industrial designers may use it in the near future."
C.C. Wu, Embedded Flash VP of Innodisk- in his paper - PCIe in Industrial Application (pdf) (August 6, 2014) - which among other things includes an authoratative timeline of form factors and interfaces used in the industrial SSD market in past decades.