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SSD market news - June 2014

For more pages like this see storage history month by month
..
new SSD racks announced (and unannounced) by Violin

Editor:- June 24, 2014 - Violin Memory today launched a new rackmount SSD - Concerto 7000 - which can provide upto 280TB of raw fast high availability enterprise flash (using Violin's standard VIMM modules) in 18U.

The key thing about the 7000 is that it's a software services rich storage box -which enables many types of replication functions to be easily scheduled and run concurrently (if so desired) between various 7000 nodes in dispersed geographic locations to ensure data survivability.

Violin also offers an upgrade kit which enables existing users of its legacy 6000 storage arrays to interoperate with these services.

enterprise SSD segmentation
enterprise SSD segments
Editor's comments:- June 25, 2014 - yesterday in this space I promised I would give you a bigger story about Violin.

I said - it wouldn't be about this new product - the Concerto 7000 - which I regard as an incremental and predictable gap filler - but instead about an interview I conducted with the company last week driven by the need to understand their business strategy better and to assess how they aimed to fix this paradox...

Each time Violin (or any enterprise SSD vendor) adds new market optimized software and features into a new product line - it makes the new product more attractive to some users - but much less competitive for most users.

Reconciling that marketing paradox with Violin's aspiration to significantly grow revenue led me to pose some very direct and detailed segmentation questions to the company. And I got some very interesting answers.

here it is

In early to mid June more than the usual number of investors had been asking me questions about Violin which I mostly answered by referring them to scattered fragments of content which talked about their themes - on the pages of StorageSearch.com

With another quarterly update of the Top SSD Companies coming soon - I was already thinking it might be a good idea to freshen my profile page for Violin - when I got contacted by a cheerleader from the company asking if I wanted to talk again to Eric Herzog who was planning another round of editor / analyst briefings about a new software related product announcement (see above).

I said - "thanks I'll be happy to talk (again) to Eric. But my main interest is not Violin's new software (I talk to over 100 pure play enterprise software companies). However - if Eric is happy to divide his time between talking about the new product launch – and my random questions about Violin (prompted by many hours of discussions with readers about Violin in recent days) – then let's make a date."

And that's how this meeting got set up.

As things turned out - we used nearly all the allocated time talking about my segmentation issues - and with less than 3 minutes remaining at the end of that I said to Eric - I get the idea (about the software in the Concerto 7000). I'll read up about it.

BTW - I didn't send Eric any advance notice of my detailed questions.

That's partly because I prefer thinking on the spot and we've spoken about enterprise SSD segmentation before so I know he thinks fast.

I thought it might be a nice break for him to get away from the standard presentation treadmill.

To be honest I wasn't really sure how much of our conversation I would eventually be able to write about either - because I was touching on some serious business issues.

And what's good for me to know - when I'm talking in my self appointed pastoral role as the virtual best friend of every SSD company - isn't the same as what's good for the world at large to know - especially competitors.

Anyway - the people I talk to regularly know that although I'm a bit strange (who else would be crazy enough to spend so much time thinking about this market) I can be relied on to keep their secrets.

On my part I was hoping to get clarification on 2 issues.
  • Business limiting factors in the server based SSD acceleration market.

    As Violin had made it clear it wasn't go to play in the PCIe SSD market - and the company's VIMMs don't suit a memory channel SSD form factor either- the company's only publicly known stakeout in this market is the recently launched WFA.

    While that's an interesting experiment - which will appeal to some kinds of users who like Windows and who like the idea of having a single source integrated SSD enhanced apps server - and while it gives Violin a definitely different personality to other vendors competing in this space - I could see 2 problems which would limit the scale of this business.

    1 - the fact that Violin provides the servers.

    Most big users will prefer to standardize on servers from their preferred server suppliers.

    2 - the market limiting effect of the Windows SQL environment.

    Because there are other OS's and other apps.
  • Business limiting factors in the SSD storage array market.

    In particular I was wondering how Violin was going to deal with customers of the type who liked its earlier array products - specifically because they didn't come with a lot of software strings attached.

    My concern was - that that Violin's new product roadmap looked like it was going down the road of increasing product specialization and increasing the software bundle.

    Now despite what some naive market reports about the SSD array market may tell you - more functionality equates to a worse matching product for those customers who prefer to use a different preferred set of software.

    Because for customers in that group - who don't want it - all it does by being in the bundle is slow things down, add to their costs and support and integration headaches.
So I opened my conversation with Eric by saying I had been speaking to a lot of people about his company recently and one of the main things I wanted to talk about was what Violin was going to do about the apparent segmentation problem - which is - the more you specialize a product for one group of customers - the less attractive you make it for everyone else.

Because I couldn't see the solution to this question coming from a continuing sequence of product variations like the last 2 products.

And to make sure we were on the same page I said - the outward sign of real marketing strength - is being able to say with confidence which segments you definitely want to walk away from.

He said straight away - we already did that when we sold the PCIe SSD business.

Which showed we were on the same wavelength.

So I quickly gave Eric a summary of the concerns which I have already outlined to you above. And this is a summary of what he said.

On the server side - he said he has seen those exact same issues.

He named some customers (which I won't divulge here) who liked the look of the WFA and went as far as evaluating it. And when they did that they liked the performance they got.

(He reminded me BTW that the initial published performance numbers for the WFA came from Microsoft - and not from Violin.)

But sometimes he conceded - that Windows is just a small part of a customer's OS mix. If they're a big organization it's too cumbersome to start supporting additional types of systems components in their infrastructure.

And - on the SSD storage array side - he readily agreed with my point that there are many customers who prefer using their own software which they already have - rather than introducing a new bundle of software like that in the 7000. (And he went on to give me a lot of examples of such use cases which Violin has seen in its customer base.)

By then he'd already told me about how Violin was already satisfying those needs with an unannounced new product.

Eric said - I am not going to walk away from that kind of business or those kinds of customers.

In a way - when Eric first told me the details - I was surprised. But I wasn't shocked.

Because I had been thinking that the solution might lie in the direction of a stripped down - no frills - software light SSD array.

But I had anticipated that might be a future product.

Like a Strad 2000...

Can I talk about this? - I asked.

Yes - but don't name the customers or the other details about the software environments we talked about - said Eric.

So this is where I can reveal the details of Violin's new product - which satisfies many of the problems I mentioned above - which arise from having too much specialist software in an SSD array.

It's the 6000 series.

Although - not exactly.

Eric said - we can keep the 6000 competitive and up to date - because most of the modules (power supplies, fans, memory) are interchangeable with the 7000.

In a way the solution is obvious. But in another way it's not.

I said to Eric - the usual thing in this industry is that when a company brings out a new product which looks a bit like the product they had before - but which does more - then everyone assumes that the old product is obsolete.

He agreed.

So maybe there's a case to made for relaunching the 6000.

The reviewers - who simply look at the bullet points and count how many different software features it's got - will hate it.

But the customers - who just want a fast reliable and predictable SSD box - and who don't want to be told what software they have to run with it - will be delighted.

BTW - I deliberately didn't ask Eric to break out numbers for WFA sales.

And I won't try to estimate them by comparing them with similar things to guess a size of market.

I said to Eric in this conversation - you don't need analysts or market reports to tell you if the WFA experiment is working. You're going to know that soon enough from your sales people.

So if it's still in the product line next year - that will be a clue to us all.

See also:- playing the enterprise SSD box riddle game, Decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise for rackmount SSDs, What makes this enterprise SSD different?, after AFAs - what's the next box?


Avago agrees to acquire PLX

Editor:- June 23, 2014 - PLX Technology today announced that it has agreed to be acquired by Avago Technologies for approximately $309 million.

"The core PLX PCIe silicon business fits very well with the Avago business model and broadens Avago's portfolio serving the enterprise storage and networking end markets," stated Hock Tan, President and CEO of Avago. "Following the closing of the transaction, we are excited to welcome the PLX team to Avago, and we are committed to continue to invest in the PLX PCI Express platform."

Editor's comments:- to get a taste of the big ideas to come in PLX's PCIe fabric vision see - an SSD conversation with PLX


what's different about Tegile?

Editor:- June 23, 2014 - Tegile is a relative newcomer to the pages of StorageSearch.com (first SSD news citation in February 2012) and - frankly - I didn't think too much about the company to begin with - but I do now.

You can see the gory details of how and why I recently changed my mind in the new article - an SSD conversation with Tegile.


will there be a bidding war for Fusion-io?

Editor:- June 23, 2014 - I've been asked by several readers if I think there might be companies thinking about launching a bidding war for Fusion-io.

13 months ago - where there was similar speculation - I came to the conclusion that the kind of companies which would be a good fit (at that time) to acquire FIO - flash memory makers and enterprise software companies - either didn't have the knowledge about the enterprise to make such a move likely (in the case of memory companies) or (in the case of enterprise software heavyweights) had other, more pressing concerns.

In the current state of the market, however, I would be amazed if several companies weren't actively considering such an option. Although considering it - is a long way from deciding it's a good enough idea to action.

And I would add to my earlier list of company types likely to have such an interest (in considering their options) would be some big server oems. (Although I think they would get mostly get their needs satisfied more cheaply by simply letting the current deal with SanDisk go ahead.)

Whether any of that analysis will translate into actions - we'll just have to wait and see.

It depends how the calculations work out - not only about the technology possibilities - but compatibility with business cultures and customers too.

...Later:- a few days after writing the above - an article in Wall Street Journal reported that Fusion-io had held acquisition talks with 11 companies in the period between October 2013 and May 2014.


IBM is #1 in rackmount SSD revenue

Editor:- June 16, 2014 - IBM announced today that a recently published market report by IDC identified IBM as the #1 company (ranked by revenue in 2013) for rackmount SSDs with 25% market share.

Editor's comments:- this would only be a surprise if you had not read my January article - Who's who in SSD? It's IBM Jim - but not as we know it - which was cut and pasted from this SSD news page you're reading now. .

The IBM-Jim article included IBM's FlashSystems shipment numbers and the revelation that for 3 quarters IBM shipped everything they could make.

See also:- rackmount SSDs, market research


SanDisk to buy Fusion-io...

What will SanDisk really get from Fusion-io?


Editor:- June 16, 2014 - SanDisk today announced a definitive agreement to acquire Fusion-io in all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.1 billion.

Editor's comments:- the result of combining the product lines from SanDisk and Fusion-io will be an enterprise SSD product offering which is unmatched in the industry in a broad range of enterprise SSD product categories including:-

from Fusion from SanDisk:- The acquisition will enable several new things which would not have been technically possible or profitably viable from either company on its own including:-
  • Fusion-io's software is scalable downwards into more market segments (such as consumer and commodity enterprise array components such as 2.5" PCIe SSDs) which were not attractive for FIO to pursue on it own.

    But for a flash memory company like SanDisk the ability to create controllerless SSDs - would enable entirely new product types to be built. - SSDs built on such technology (without internal microcontroller offload processors) would be the cheapest in class - compared to all traditional SSDs with internal CPUs.
  • Fusion-io's rackmount storage virtualization software will open up new markets for SanDisk's SATA SSDs.

    For example in the no-frills embedded rackmount segment SanDisk would be able to offer customers a rackfull of SATA SSDs as a basic integration component - thereby simplifying integration and support issues for customers who need large quantities of vanilla storage racks.

    And Fusion-io's hybrid array product line - is a ready made platform for spawning a new high end storage array - which could use low cost flash SSDs instead of hard drives.
At the high end business level - for SanDisk - the ability to monetize flash at the rackmount systems level (which is the most efficient way to convert raw flash chips into usable enterprise SSDs) is a rational next step from its acquisition last year of the world leading adaptive controller technology from SMART.

All memory makers are operating under self imposed constraints on investing new capacity for flash wafer starts - while they evaluate what comes next.

So one way to raise the revenue ceiling from the same raw flash is to own big controller architecture with high utilization effectiveness (like that from Fusion-io) which multiplies upwards how many petabytes of virtual usable flash can be delivered to satisfy users compared to other (more) wasteful designs and business channels.

That consideration - the ability to get more enterprise petabytes out from the same raw flash chips in - by shipping it through better architecture - is a more significant business factor in the flash memory market today than the ability to do another cell geometry shrink - or adding a few more layers of toppings on the 3D nand pizza.

summary

What will SanDisk really get from Fusion-io? - more usable flash petabytes out from the same raw wafer starts - due to better architecture.

and here's some more

For those interested in the emerging memory channel SSD market - I've written an article - which speculates what could happen to this class of flash DIMM SSDs in various hypothetical contexts - such as - whether or not SanDisk also acquires Diablo.

See:- MCS versus PCIe SSDs (another slight return)


scalability as a market penetration tool

Editor:- June 16, 2014 - New SSD vendors become part of the furniture in user environments by a variety of doorways.

Hammering at the door with bold superiority claims is one way - but another is for SSD companies to edge their way in by incremental advances which begin as offers to patch up the old furniture and help it last longer.

A new blog (Letting it all scale out) by Andy Warfield, CTO Coho Data provides a revealing narrative about how Coho's sales people have been edging their way into new customer sites between major purchasing cycles - and explains why scalable systems can not only reduce risk - for some customers - but also lower the cost - by deferring the need to buy everything sooner than it's needed - and taking advantage of the trend that each terabyte of flash you can defer buying today will cost you much less in the future.

"One thing that has been remarkable about Coho's customers is that they have frequently been buying our product off-cycle" says Andy Warfield in an educational framework article which will help you understand one of the routes by which this type of technology is penetrating the strongholds of legacy technology. ...read the article


WARNING! - CONSUMER SSD
contents liable to change without notice


Editor:- June 13, 2014 - 6 years ago when I published the article - Can you trust flash SSD specifications & benchmarks? - which began with this sentence - "One of the things I've noticed is that the published specs of flash SSDs change a lot - from the time products are first announced, then when they're being sampled, and later again when they are in volume production" - I was alluding to the unintended negative performance consequences of firmware upgrades rather than the deliberate substitution of an entirely different SSD controller introduced in an SSD product family soon after its launch.

But it seems that the risk of deliberate component substitutions by the original branded SSD maker (rather than merely the supply chain risk of counterfeits by persons unknown) is another uncertainty which readers in the consumer SSD market may now have to contend with - according to a new article - SSD shadiness - vendors caught switching to cheaper components after good reviews written by Joel Hruska in an article for ExtremeTech.

After naming and shaming specific SSD offenders with various accused offences - Joel goes on to warn other vendors who might be thinking of doing something similar - "If reviewers can't trust that the performance they see is the performance end-users will receive, they'll never recommend your components." ...read the article

Editor's comments:- A reader in the consumer market contacted me recently because he thought I didn't give enough warnings about the potentially unreliability of consumer SSDs.

I was shocked by that view and sent him a deluge of links to cautionary articles - including those below - in which the extracts shown here are the original unedited quotes from each article.
  • Why can consumers expect to see more flaky flash SSDs? - SSDs aimed at the consumer market are designed to deliver basic functionality at the lowest price. That means the designers (originally due to ignorance – but nowadays with foreknowledge) have to decide what shortcuts they can take in the production process and what design factors they can leave out to reduce the price - compared to a reliable industrial / military / enterprise grade SSD.
  • the consumer SSDs guide - How good are consumer SSDs? You won't find anyone more enthusiastic about solid state storage than me. But - here's an important sanity check. Even the very best consumer SSDs available today are vastly inferior in performance and reliability to the best SSDs in the enterprise and industrial markets.
  • overview of the notebook SSD market - In the first 5 years of its history (2006-2010) the notebook SSD market was a disappointment to SSD evangelists like me - because integration with PCs was so bad, and most of the SSDs were too slow or had too little capacity to be useful...
And there are more - but I won't list them all here.

The danger for newcomers to many SSD market is they read 1 or 2 articles about endurance and think that's all there is to know about SSDs.

If the SSD world was as simple as that I would have abandoned this topic 10 years ago instead of writing all those other SSD articles.


say Hi! to highly available CacheIO

Editor:- June 10, 2014 - CacheIO today announced results of a benchmark which is described by their collaborator Orange Silicon Valley (a telco) as - "One of the top tpm benchmark results accelerating low cost iSCSI SATA storage."

CacheIO says that the 2 million tpm benchmark on CacheIO accelerated commodity servers and storage shows that users can deploy its flash cache to accelerate their database performance without replacing or disrupting their existing servers and storage.

Editor's comments:- The only reason I mention this otherwise me-too sounding benchmark is because although I've known about CacheIO and what they've been doing with various organizations in the broadcast and telco markets for over a year - I didn't list them on StorageSearch.com before.

That was partly because they didn't want me to name the customers they were working with at that time - but also because with SSD caching companies becoming almost as numerous as tv channels on a satellite dish - I wanted to wait and see if they would be worth a repeat viewing. (And now I think they they are.)

PS - I asked Bang Chang, CEO of CacheIO if he had a white paper which talked more about the company's cache architecture and philosophy. He sent me this - CacheIO High Availability Deployment (pdf) - from which I've extracted these quotes...
  • re network cache appliances - "At CacheIO we believe that network cache appliance is the best storage architecture to decouple performance from capacity and achieve the best of both worlds.

    Once deployed as a "bump in the wire" performance accelerator, our network cache appliance can also deliver additional value added services... Compared to server-side Flash cache, our network cache appliance is a shared resource that is more scalable, more reliable, supports clustered applications, and most importantly allows customers, especially cloud service providers, to monetize performance by dynamically allocating resources based on changing SLAs."
  • re operational transparency - "Implementing CacheIO network appliance requires no change to existing applications, servers, or storage. CacheIO can be slotted in, turned on to accelerate applications, and turned off if necessary, often without needing to stop the applications."
I found it interesting to see that in addition to conventional connections (SAN and InfiniBand) their HA paper also mentions emerging PCIe fabric.


PCIe SSDs versus memory channel SSDs are these really different markets?

Editor:- June 10, 2014 - Throughout storage history we've seen many claims that a new upstart storage technology will replace another.

It doesn't always work out to be as simple as that.

In the enterprise SSD market of today - PCIe SSDs are the safe standard legacy server acceleration SSD technology whereas memory channel SSDs - aka UlltraDIMM, TeraDIMM, MCS etc are the upstart unproven (in the mainstream market) wannabies.

Each of these 2 SSD types can do some very similar things - such as make server apps run faster - but they aren't the same.

It's reasonable to ask - are there any hard technical rules where you can say for your new projects either:-
  • I definitely don't need to know about the new thing?
OR
  • maybe I should take another look at it?
And can you make a safe (for now) yes or no decision without getting mired in contentious product by product comparison claims and counter claims - which will suck away hours or days of your life?

Yes you can. See my blog - memory channel SSDs versus PCIe SSDs (slight return) - which was on the home page of StorageSearch.com throughout May 2014 and which now has a new permalink location and some updates. ...read the article


PLDA enters the PCIe SSD controller market with 6.6 Gb/s NVMe controller

Editor:- June 9, 2014 - PLDA today anounced immediate availability of a new SSD controller aimed at the PCIe SSD market.

PLDA's XpressRICH3 IP is a high performance, low latency, highly-configurable PCI Express 3.0 soft IP supporting endpoint, root port, switch and bridge configurations. The certified design has been engineered for both ASIC/SoC and FPGA implementations.

Editor's comments:- PLDA has written a product description - Conquering the challenges of PCIe with NVMe in order to deliver highly competitive Enterprise PCIe SSDs (pdf) - which contains an overview of the design. Here are some extracts.
  • power saving features? - PLDA implements L1 PM Sub-states, reducing power consumption without affecting performance.
  • performance? - 270K write IOPS, 12µS write latency write (4KB) using the FPGA-based reference design.
Here are some questions I put to the company.
  • is there a minimum order quantity or cost associated with licensing your IP?

    No minimum quantity.
  • What is your deliverable?

    An Encrypted Source code file that can be downloaded or sent on CD
  • How does a customer evaluate your IP?

    We provide 1 month Free Evaluation IP



new PCIe SSDs from Fusion-io

Editor:- June 5, 2014 - Fusion-io today launched 2 new gen 2.0 x8 standard height, half length PCIe SSD product lines - which they call the Atomic Series - which are available in 2 different price and application categories.
  • PX600 series - upto 5.2TB usable capacity, with 92µS / 15µS R/W latency, 2.7GB/s / 2.1GB /s R/W throughput and 375K write IOPS - designed for high end servers - with 5 years warranty.
  • SX300 - upto 6.4TB usable capacity - with similar latency to PX600 - but lower throughput (2.6GB/s / 1.2GB/s R/W throughput) and 16% lower power consumption - designed and priced for scale-out architectures and hyperscale environments - with 3 years warranty.
Fusion-io says that more than 7,000 customers in over 80 countries use its products to reduce latency and speed the flow of data-driven applications.

Editor's comments:- Unlike some other companies Fusion-io doesn't change its core hardware products very often. The top level message from the company - which is supported by quotes from many of their big partner / customers who love the products - seems to be - it's like what you had before but better.

These new modules are reported to use 19nm to 21nm nand flash. Other competitors - particularly in the SAS SSD market and memory channel SSD market have been shipping products with that kind of flash geometries in enterprise SSDs for over a year. So why the delay?

I wrote about this anticipated lag in Fusion-io's memory adoption and the likely causes, effects and remedies 2 years ago.

In line with my reported expectations at the time - this memory adoption lag hasn't prevented FIO from being able to compete in the market while using older, more expensive and reliable raw flash memory. That's because FIO has efficiency and utilization gain effects in its software - which from the business point of view have offset those low level cost disadvantages.

I'm guessing these flash memory adoption delays were due partly to the original deficit in IP (which was the same for nearly all SSD companies a few years ago) but also because Fusion-io's software rich architecture - means it has to be much more careful about integrating new complexities in its flash management - so that the new functions don't negatively impact all the other things which were working well before. Fusion-io can't just simply buy a new controller (or a controller company) - because the software is the controller.

What these new Atomic memory generation products do for Fusion-io is reduce the recurring raw cost of PCIe SSDs (in this performance class) and facilitate higher capacities in the same footprint.

From the business point of view this will have 2 effects.
  • increase the profitability of each PCIe SSD sale
  • increase the density and competitiveness of Fusion-io's high end fast rackmount SSDs
Overall - you can regard these products either as a "catching up" excercise - if you're a semiconductor memory competitor which competes with Fusion-io - or as a "getting ahead (again)" exercise - if you're a partner or an investor.

Fusion-io  - at the speed of now -  logoFusion-io has also changed their logo to add the phrase "At the speed of NOW" which I think does efficiently communicate a credible idea of what the company has always been about.

You may recall that a year ago - WhipTail was implying a similar sense of urgency with its message "data at the speed of life".

If you're interested in speed related messages and metaphors in SSD brands - I've got an article which includes many more such examples.

Fusion-io has also produced a video to accompany the new "At the speed of NOW" branding.

Now - I'm not a fan of SSD videos - and this doesn't convert me into one.

It has good production values - as you'd expect from the company which made video feasible on the world's biggest web sites - but the best thing I can say about the message content in this video is that if you mute the sound and switch off your video screen you won't miss anything of any value.


If you've been thinking about going to the Flash Memory Summit - you can now do something about it

Editor:- June 5, 2014 - Registration has now opened for the Flash Memory Summit - which takes place in August in Santa Clara.

Topics will include:- NVMe | Enterprise SSDs | Flash in Data Centers | Flash on the Memory Bus | Enterprise Storage | SSD Technology | Controllers | Memory Channel Architecture | Data Recovery | PCIe SSDs | Application Performance | Flash and the Internet of Things | New Non-Volatile Memory Technologies and a lot more besides.


SMI supports 16nm nand with new SATA SSD controller

Editor:- June 4, 2014 - Silicon Motion today announced support for Micron's 16nm 128Gb nand flash with its SM2246EN SATA 3 SSD controller which enables 67K / 65K R/W IOPS (4KB) while also enabling low power designs (2mW DevSleep mode and 21mW Slumber mode).


is there a market for I'M Intelligent Memory inside SSDs?

Editor:- June 4, 2014 - Are there applications in the SSD market for DRAM chips which integrate ECC correction inside the RAM chip - and which plug into standard JEDEC sockets?

That was the question put to me this afternoon by Thorsten Wronski - whose company MEMPHIS Electronic AG distributes I'M Intelligent Memory in Europe.

Thorsten told me he's had a good reaction from the SSD companies he's spoken to - which is why he phoned.

But in a long conversation about the economics and architectures of end to end error correction in SSDs and the different ratios of RAM cache to flash in SSDs - I told him that my initial reaction was he should look at embedded applications - which depend on the reliability of a single SSD - rather than enterprise systems in which the economics analysis for arrays point to a system wide solution rather than a point product fix.

The interesting thing is he said he's done tests on the new I'M memory as drop in replacements for unprotected memory designs- in which he accelerated the likely incidence of error events by increasing the interval between refreshes and raising the temperature.

Here's what he said.

"We assembled a standard 1GB unbuffered DIMM with 8 chips of 1Gbit ECC DRAM. Then we put this into a test board and ran RSTPro (a very strong memory test software). No error found.

Next we put the whole board into a temperature chamber at 95°C, which normally requires the refresh rate to be doubled (32mS instead of 64mS). No error found.

Finally we wrote a software to change the refresh-register of the CPU on the board, so we were able to set higher values. The highest possible was 750mS, so the DRAM did almost not get any more refreshes. Still it continued working in RSTPro without a single error for 24 hours.

We tried the same with Samsung and Hynix modules, but none of them came even close to those results. Most failed at refresh-rates of 150 to 200 mS, which is not bad indeed. Many more tests will follow."

Editor's comments:- the reason I mention this - is because adapting the refresh rate was one of the things mentioned in my recent blog - Are you ready to rethink RAM?

However - most of the leading SSDs in industrial markets don't have RAM caches for other reasons (to reduce the physical space, power consumption, hold-up time, or because don't need the performance). So I told Thorsten I don't see an industry wide demand inside SSDs. But some of you might already have thought of applications.

See also:- I'M ECC DRAM product brief (pdf)


Unigen enters M.2 SSD market

Editor:- June 3, 2014 - Unigen today announced SLC or MLC NAND flash based M.2 SATA III SSDs in densities ranging from 16GB- 256GB.

These small form factor flash modules are used for high reliability storage of critical code and data, in space-constrained embedded, industrial, gaming and networking applications. They are available in both commercial and industrial temperature ranges.
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how fast can your SSD run backwards?

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So you'd think that when it comes to the person in purchasing - who's looking for standard SSD products to go into industrial or embedded systems - which aren't pushing the state of the art when it comes to form factors (some like CF have been around forever) and whose needs include the type of SSD interfaces which haven't been seen much in SSD news in the last 10 years - it should be simple enough.
no such thing as a simple standard legacy industrial SSD



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Decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise
Editor:- StorageSearch.com recently published a new article - Decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise for rackmount SSDs

Some of the world's leading SSD marketers have confided in me they know from their own customer anecdotes that there are many segments for enterprise flash arrays which aren't listed or even hinted at in standard models of the enterprise market.

Many of these missing market segments don't even have names.

Hey - that means SSD-world is like a map of the US before Lewis and Clark.

If you're a VC should this make you anxious or happy?

If you're a user - maybe that's why no one is delighting you in the way you think you deserve.

That's what led me to write my new article.

See also:- rackmount SSDs, SSD silos, market research



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SSD market perspective



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stories from SSD news in June months gone by

June 2013 - Samsung launches M.2 form factor PCIe SSD

June 2012 - Seagate says it will use DensBits DSP technology

June 2011 - NVSL unveils PCIe SSD using phase-change memory

June 2010 - Anobit samples memory signal processing flash SSDs

June 2009 - Fusion-io unveils consumer priced PCIe SSDs

June 2008 - Fast boot RAM SSDs get patent protection

June 2007 - SanDisk launches 64GB notebook SSDs

June 2000 - M-Systems packs 2.6GB into 2.5" SCSI SSD



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"High-performance SSD-backed storage is becoming table stakes for a growing number of cloud providers."
Google Cloud tests out fast, high I/O SSD drives - by Barbara Darrow, Senior Writer at GigaOM (June 5, 2014)



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new SSD articles coming soon
Editor:- June 23, 2014 - Here are the outlines of some new articles which will appear on StorageSearch.com in July.
  • The credibility of endurance claims.

    A reader told me - I've got a bunch of different (named) suppliers offering me industrial SSDs which I know have exactly the same controllers inside and the same memory chips. But the TBW (total terabytes written) numbers they quote me vary wildly - 5 to 1!

    In my application the mission cost of device failures is huge. Is there a reason for this disparity in rated endurance? Who can I believe?
  • A useful list of military SSD companies.

    Although you can already find details for over 50 military SSD companies on StorageSearch.com - it takes a lot of work using site search.

    The new directory which will be linked from the military SSD news page - will include a list of suggested companies you should look at if you need SSDs which have been designed for the special needs of defense related embedded applications.
  • An SSD conversation with Charles Tsai, Senior Director - InnoDisk.

    I had been wanting to learn more about the internal thinking in InnoDisk for some time.

    We talked about new ways to design enterprise flash arrays and about new ways to make industrial SSDs better which borrow concepts from cloud architecture.
  • SSD market consolidation?

    That phrase has come up in 2 or 3 conversations each day in the last month.

    Apart from the wishful thinking aspect (of those wanting to be acquired and those doing the acquiring) - is there going to be any real lasting difference - after a few more months of this activity?
  • a new directory for PCIe fabric

    I've already written a lot about this subject. But it hasn't had a home. There are going to be a lot of new developments in this subject.

    So next week I'm going to datamine all my past articles about PCIe fabric and create a new dedicated news and articles directory for PCIe fabric in an SSD context to make it easier to find.



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SSD ad - click for more info



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"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