| leading the way to the
new storage frontier
SSD market news in
|Our new 2.5" NVMe PCIe
SSD is 3x faster than 12Gbps SAS SSDs - says Samsung|
March 25, 2014 - Although Samsung's own
SSD selection page doesn't list this product yet (at the time of writing
this) Samsung is very much engaged in the
2.5" PCIe SSD
market - and Samsung
it is shipping a 1.6TB NVMe PCIe SSD rated at
7 DWPD for 5
years to Dell for use
in its PowerEdge
|Editor's comments:- if
someone at Samsung can tell me a better way to navigate their SSD web site I'll
insert a product data link - otherwise (in the best traditions of
consumer SSD vendors)
you'll just have to make do with a picture - and guess what happens inside.|
See also:- DWPD
in industry leading enterprise SSDs
Silicon Motion's FerriSSDs
Editor:- March 23, 2014 -
FerriSSD (pdf) from
- is a PATA
SSD on a chip (BGA)
which I learned about from Jonathan Bruce
- who suggested it for my article -
Speed and Strength Metaphors in SSD brands - because - he said - the "Ferri"
prefix means "strong or durable".
31, 2014 - in the same product family - Silicon Motion is now sampling a
high performance 6Gb/s SATA FerriSSD - the SM659 (8GB to 64GB capacity, with
80,000 random IOPs, and 30K Program/Erase (P/E) cycles) - which fits into a
90-ball BGA package measuring just 16x20x2mm.
SAS SSDs - the stellar performers in the 2013 enterprise market
March 20, 2014 - I asked Gregory
Wong, President, Forward Insights
if he could enumerate for StorageSearch.com
readers what he meant by his tantalizing comment that - "within the
enterprise segment, SAS SSDs stood out as the stellar performer" - which is
something he said in a recent email promoting another new SSD market report.
empathetic to the business pressures of those in the
storage market research
business - and keenly aware of the thin line which divides - on the one
hand - saying too little - so that potential buyers find it hard to assess if a
new report will be money well spent - and, on the other hand - saying too
much - and worst of all - revealing the exact things which report buyers
would happily pay to know.
That's because in 1992 when I started
outputs of my own enterprise market research - I did it the hard way - as
carefully formatted market reports which cost money. Luckily there was a much
easier business for me - as I learned in 1996 when I went over to the dark side
of a web advertising
driven business model - in which content and ideas were tossed into the
eco-sphere of http and it was much easier as I could save time by linking to
raw content - instead of having to make it look pretty.
So what I
actually said to Greg - re his SAS SSD "stellar performer"
comparison was this...
"Without giving too much away... would
you be prepared to illustrate that statement with a comparison or number?"
Greg gets a lot of email - and so do I - and sometimes they just disappear deep
down the screen. But between the two of us this one has resurfaced.
I can convey to you Gregory Wong's assessment that in 2013 - the SSD market
grew 38% on unit basis and 28% on revenue basis. The corresponding growth rates
for SAS SSDs were 134% and 69% respectively."
is just one tiny snippet of data from one of his
many detailed reports
about the SSD market. So - if you need to more details about the plot - and
have the money to buy the book - that's a useful data cavern to rummage around
changed in SSD year 2013?,
SSD market analysts
SSD company attitutudes can increase data recovery costs
March 20, 2014 - Tom Coughlin,
Associates has written a new blog -
Tools Will Reduce The Costs of SSD Data Recovery.
Commenting on the
5x higher relative cost of
SSD recovery in
situations where the DR company has to do in its own research to understand the
distribution of the data - Tom says...
devices are a valuable method to protect consumer data and privacy but they can
also prevent recovering that data if parts of the SSD become corrupted. There
needs to be a greater degree of cooperation between the SSD manufacturers and
legitimate data recovery companies to make recovering data for an SSD customer
easier, while maintaining protection of SSD company intellectual property."
the evolution of enterprise flash
19, 2014 - If you follow SanDisk
on twitter -
@SanDiskDataCtr - you may have
noticed they recently
a link to one of my classic articles -
the evolution of
enterprise flash - a 10 year history
One thing which hasn't
changed since the early days of enterprise flash - is the concept of a "naughty"
type of flash memory - which sensible, cautious types point at saying -
that is never going to be reliable enough.
Micron samples Marvell based M.2
Editor:- March 18,
2014 - Micron
it's sampling a 512GB M.2
SATA SATA SSD - the
(with DEVSLP and 550/500MB/s R/W speeds) - aimed at
consumer markets -
which is based on Marvell's
Tegile has shipped 1,000 hybrid SSD arrays
March 18, 2014 - Tegile
Systems today announced
it has shipped 1,000 of its
arrays (hybrid SSD
ASAP racks) since making the solution generally available 2 years ago.
how safe are your assumptions about SLC?
March 18, 2014 -
is regarded as the "gold standard" in
nand flash memory today
when it comes to
Or maybe it would be more accurate to say - "SLC is the depleted
uranium standard" when it comes to choosing ingredients for hardening the
SSD data integrity
So you can imagine my surprise- when in a recent
conversation about the reliability aspects of SSDs - I was told about some
unique and proprietary "brutal and awkward test patterns" - which
had uncovered design flaws in a new type of SLC memory while it was being
characterized for use in SSDs.
This indicated that SSDs designed
using that memory in some applications could be killed in as little as 3 to 9
months of use.
This design vulnerability never showed up at all
in the "standard"
SSD controller test
patterns which are used throughout the industry. And their application wasn't
for an SSD accelerator - but for a regular speed SSD.
customer point of view - if you want an embedded SSD which you can rely on -
it's nice to know that some people still design SSDs the old fashioned way - and
test every assumption along the way.
That was just one of many new
things I learned talking to Dave Merry
Conklin co-founders of a new SSD company called FMJ Storage - which has -
for the past several years been operating profitably while under the general
market radar. You can see more about what we talked about in -
Who's who in SSD? - FMJ
my idea of brain refreshing bliss - the 2 hour one on ones
I've been having recently with the architects of SSD's future
March 13, 2014 - Many of what used to be "1 hour conversations" with
founders and the leading lights and influencers in ground breaking SSD
companies - have for me - in the last week or so - often expanded into 2
hour sessions - as we all lose track of time exploring the important ideas
which are really shaping this market - and none of us can think of a better
place we'd rather be. (Even if it does mean - for some of my
conversationalists - a rush for the plane or a dash down the garage / campus
corridors to the next board meeting.)
I can't write about most of
these conversations yet. And there are some I will never write about. But
they do inform my thinking and my selection of topics for future SSD
It's inevitable that the more time I spend talking - the
less time I spend writing. But I'm selective in who I talk to - as some of
your marcomms people, diary keepers and
already know. And I type fast.
Luckily some of my articles already
discuss strategic ideas which won't hit the consciousness of the populist
enterprise SSD web sites - for years. So what do a a few days or so of lost
trivial content coverage really matter?
Here are some brain busting
articles I wrote later.
PCIe Switching - new article in EnterpriseTech.com
March 13, 2014 - A new article in EnterpriseTech.com
Switching Takes on Ethernet, InfiniBand - reviews the antecedents and
current state of the PCIe fabric market. This should be of interest to anyone
thinking about the emerging architectural influences which may impact their
plans within the PCIe SSD
One of the many vendors discussed in the article - PLX - says it's "not
targeting warehouse-scale datacenters... but is rather thinking on a smaller
scale, from hundreds to thousands of nodes." ...read
conversation with PLX about PCIe fabric
Pure Storage's rackmount SSD shipment mille-stone
March 11, 2014 - Pure
it has shipped over 1,000 of its Pure FlashArrays (fast enough rackmount
Editor's comments:- in case you didn't get that "mille-stone"
thing. "Mille" is an olde English prefix (from latin) meaning "thousand".
array history context:- Pure Storage's shipments milestone is less
signficant than IBM's 1,500
FlashSystem 840s (fast
rackmount SSDs), but more significant than
Tegile's 1,000 Zebi
storage arrays (hybrids)
- which we have also heard about in this quarter.
Coho Data now shipping 2U MicroArray hybrids
March 6, 2014 - Coho
general availability of its first product - a 2U
SSD ASAP called the
(an SSDserver 4/E) - which
integrates PCIe SSDs,
hard drives and a
server into a web scale expandable unit (using an internal 52 port 10GbE fabric
switch) to implement what the company refers to as a "MicroArray"
designed with the philosophy of
Tiering Upside Down (pdf)" to deliver a base building block unit of
Editor's comments:- you may judge for
yourself the lofty scale of Coho's
ambitions by this market
soothsayer quote which they integrated in the launch press release - "By
2017, Web-scale IT will be an architectural approach found operating in 50%
of Global 2,000 enterprises."
SSD empowered cloud
VMware enters the SSD market
Editor:- March 6, 2014
- With the launch of its
Virtual SAN - VMware has at last
joined the crowding SSD
software ecosystem as a lead SSD player rather than (as before) in a
subordinate role (as the
dancing partner - a bit like dancing with your uncle or aunt at the wedding
disco) which was the case before in
of acceleration compatibility stories narrated by other SSD companies.
version 1.0 is an SSD
ASAP (hybrid virtualizing appliance) - which supports 3-8 server nodes. The
company says that "support for more than 8 will come later." ...read the
Editor's comments:- first impressions? It's
late and doesn't look great (in features). But it will probably be deemed
adequate for many users starting down this road.
Before dismissing it
entirely (as some commentators and competitors have already done) let's
remember that when LSI
entered the SSD market in
January 2010 -
it was the "163rd company to enter the SSD market". And look
where they are now.
late to market doesn't count as a mortal sin in the SSD marketing lexicon
right now because
mover advantage (pdf) assumptions aren't valid in this phase of the
more comments re VSAN
customers who had the opportunity to participate in the VSAN beta told us that
in most cases, (our) Maxta MxSP performs better" - said competitor Yoram Novick,
founder Maxta in his blog
Storage the Devil is in the Details
proud of how the team has outperformed expectations. Today we're announcing GA
support for 32 nodes. That means that Virtual SAN can now scale from a
modest 3 node remote office, to a multi-petabyte, mega-IOPS monster just
by adding more server resources... and ...VSAN isn't bolted on, it's built in."
- says Ben Fathi,
VMware - in his blog -
SAN: Powerfully Simple and Simply Powerful
Fusion-io accelerates Yelp
Editor:- March 5, 2014 -
an applications story about the use of its SSDs to accelerate the MySQL
database infrastructure of Yelp while also
extending the viable longevity of its existing datacenter boxes.
new CMO at Violin
Editor:- March 4, 2014 - Violin today
it had recruited a new CMO - Eric Herzog.
Editor's comments:- it's often the case that when business
doesn't go the way that investors would like - they blame/change the marketing.
had identifed weaknesses in Violin's marketing on this site even when they were
on the upward ride. Doesn't mean to say I would know how to fix them in today's
much more complicated enterprise market.
There are no easy SSD
business options. But getting a new marketing brain - when you have SSD
business headaches is a no-brainer.
many conversations with Eric while he was at Violin about enterprise SSD
Most useful was his response to my comment about the
of market reach with successive software-rich boxes from the company. He
agreed. But had a good answer. See this article
new SSD racks
announced (and unannounced) by Violin - from June 2014.
OCZ launches Z-Drive 4500 - 19nm enterprise PCIe SSD
March 4, 2014 - OCZ
is still using LSI's
SandForce SSD controllers
SF-2582 enterprise SATA (pdf)) in its newest PCIe SSD - the
Z-Drive 4500 Series
today - which has upto 3.2TB of usable
19nm flash, R/W bandwidth
of 2.9GB/s and 2.2 GB/s respectively, and 252K / 76 K R/W
in a FHHL form factor and is integrated with Windows WXL and OCZ's VXL
Being physically smaller than OCZ's legacy Z-Drive R4 - the new 4500
will be compatible with more server platforms.
The embedded controllers
operate thermal-throttling - which means that if the drive gets hot - the
performance is reduced to avoid runaway overheating.
The Z-Drive 4500
comes with integrated Windows Accelerator (WXL) Software - and is also fully
compatible with OCZ's legacy VXL virtualization and caching software.
previous generations of PCIe SSDs from OCZ - the Z-Drive 4500 is bootable.
positions the Z-Drive 4500 as its best yet enterprise PCIe SSD family
which "advances the Z-Drive Series feature-set by supporting higher
performance and a more robust architecture."
4500 briefing notes (pdf)
Editor's comments:- OCZ's
VXL bundles have been very successful in small to medium scale enterprise
The evolution of this product line - supporting as it
does another new generation of (lower cost) memory - will further extend its
what's in a number?
Editor:- March 4, 2014 -
is a latency based configuration metric - proposed as a new standard by StorageSearch.com - which can
tersely classify any enterprise server - as seen from an SSD software
perspective - by a single lean number rating from 0 to 7. ...read the article
Micron taps enterprise market to head storage business
March 3, 2014 - Micron
Thomas has been named as VP of Micron's storage business unit.
Software-Defined Flash - new efficiency gains revealed by Baidu
March 2, 2014 - a new research paper by Baidu -
Software-Defined Flash for Web-Scale Internet Storage Systems (pdf) - shows
that by modifying standard SSDs to be compatible with its workload optimized
SDF (which has access into the controller and changes some of the management
assumptions) the result is 2x the usable flash capacity and 3x
the I/O bandwidth.
Some of the things changed were:-
- force explicit erase at write, and
Why would SSD makers
modify their firmware for a single customer?
- remove parity coding across flash channels in the drive and instead rely
on cloud level copies to restore any lost data
Baidu had already deployed
over 300,000 SSDs in its server infrastructure upto the end of 2013 - and is a
million scale SSD user.
and the software event horizon,
history - since the market began
wild and rocky road ahead to a new market picture of enterprise flash
top SSD companies
changed in SSD year 2014?
SSD history -
before and after 2014
the enterprise SSD
software event horizon
my flash care scheme is
100x better than yours
| "In modern petabyte
scale-out storage systems the focus must be on the architectural organizations
of the entire system and all related performance dimensions.|
storage node must be considered the building block of a complex ecosystem where
the interconnection plays a strategic role.
storage node becomes the equivalent of an HDD in the old storage architecture -
but must provide more complex functions."
Founder - A3CUBE
in his paper -
Massively Parallel Data Processor Platform for Analytics (pdf) (March 2014)|
thank you for all the good work on storagesearch.com. I have been following it
for about the past year.
|Bob Pearson, Principal
Engineer - Cray|
(email to the
editor - March 25, 2014)
|"Is PCI Express
destined to become a rival to interconnect systems such as Ethernet and
InfiniBand? That, anyway, is the intent of 2 US companies, PLX Technology and
A3Cube, both of whom are preparing extensions to point-to-point PCIe links that
would extend the interface to data exchanges between servers..."|
Executive Editor, HPC magazine
- in his blog -
PCI Express replace Ethernet and InfiniBand? (March 24, 2014)|
|the new enterprise
aristocrats of SSD|
|Editor:- March 14, 2014 - 7 years is the
standard expected service life for a good
industrial SSD -
but in the enterprise SSD market 4 years may be long enough to earn a company
its place for elevation into the elite ranks of the aristocracy - for
class-act companies which have been seen regularly in all the right places -
such as the Top SSD
I didn't realize I was already unconsciously
thinking this way - but the thought sprang into my frontal lobes in response
to a short email from Bill
Bodei - who is Senior Director of North American Channels at Kaminario.
said - Big fan of your writings.... (on StorageSearch.com)
I said -
Kaminario sure gave me some interesting things to write about for a while. Now
everyones a born again SSD server genius just because they can write the cloud
version of hello SSD world. But the more you engage with customers the more
you learn. So there are still some advantages for the enterprise SSD
aristocrats like Kaminario - of having been engaged in the market for more
than a few quarters.
Bill replied - Yes it sure has become a crowded market quickly. We're
busy here, heads down, working towards a milestone that promises to give you
more to write about, while doing our part to disrupt and leapfrog this nascent
market of ours as we evolve into adolescence. :)
|DCIG ranks top rackmount
|Editor:- March 31, 2014 - If you're interested
then DCIG has published the
2014-15 Flash Memory Storage Array Buyer's Guide (free sign-up page) -
which provides detailed comments on the strengths and weaknesses of rackmount
SSD systems from 20 different vendors - which are currently available in the
market today (includes list prices).|
DCIG have created their own
multi-dimensional scoring system in which they look at component features such
as density (TB/U), software compatibility (for example ease of integration with
VMware), and management functions (dedupe, tiering, snapshots etc). DCIG has
ranked these systems overall - and compared many of them to others in the same
price band. Another useful feature of the report is a background story about the
design heritage or market history of each product.
comments:- I've read the report and think it's a good read with respect to
the raw data and detailed observations about many of the systems listed.
to the product rankings?
I think whether you agree or not -
depends on whether you would assign the same weights to each constituent in the
confidential matrix of factors which DCIG have devised.
users it will reflect your own priorities - for others - the scoring outcome
would be entirely different.
Among the SSD vendors listed in the
report - the happiest will be
Nimbus (who have been
about being #1) - and happy too should be
HP (which is #2).
vendors - whose products are best in class in a particular dimension - don't
score highly in the main list because they lose out on the "sum of all
things which DCIG think you might need" - which is an
judgement - rather than being a universal "goodness" attribute.
only company which is conspicuously absent from DCIG's list (at any rank)
Fusion-io. Does DCIG
know something we don't? That's very odd.related articles:-
|SSDs need Data need SSDs|
|Editor:- March 21, 2014 -
Recently I went to an informal pub reunion with some schoolfriends that I
haven't seen for 40 years. |
One of them who manages databases at a
telco said - I've read some of your SSD stuff Zsolt, but for people like me the
real problem is not just making things go faster - it's keeping the data alive
and usable. What can SSDs do to help enable better information architecture?
I've been thinking about that for nearly 30 years... so we had an
It's fair to say that without data you
wouldn't need SSDs.
But it's also the case that - with enough SSDs in
the right places - you can invent new data which didn't exist before.
- on that theme - and to even up the article mix a bit - take a look at -
You Making the Most of Your Dark Data? - a new article by Timo Elliott
also:- SSD software,
The big market impact
of SSD dark matter
|In line with the trend of
DRAM shrinking into nanometerland where nand flash has already gone before -
Samsung recently announced volume production of 20nm 4Gb DDR3|
|Editor:- March 11, 2014 - 40 years ago in the
days of MOS LSI - whenever semiconductor companies like
Intel wanted to
characterize a new semiconductor production process and establish the "safe"
design rules for manufacturability at ever smaller chip geometries (by doing a
"shrink") the circuit and product of choice for the fab architects
was memory - even if the eventual product for the wafer fab was going to be a
That's no longer true.
And so - more recently
- in the past few years - if you've been looking at all those "nm"
(nanometer) numbers in the news stories about IT related chips you can
hardly fail to have noticed that it's been the flash memory devices which have
been at the leading edge of the shrinking nanometer numbers.
when looking at production devices - flash has been about 2 years in advance of
DRAM and server CPUs.
You've often heard on these pages that it's only
the safe design rules used in preceding generations that interesting new
SSDs come to market.
And a big part of the to-do list for any
SSD controllers is to
cope with a predictable scale and style of expected memory defects and
virtualize them away - creating a usable base level storage device.
in line with this trend (of DRAM going into tiny spaces where nand flash has
already been) Samsung
it's using 20nm technology in the production of new 4Gb DDR3
way this pattern has been going in recent years is that the first volume uses
of new silicon geometries go into
consumer markets -
where if there's a data upset - you can see something wrong happening (blue
screen or freeze and some lost data) - but never mind - turn the power off and
try to resume where you left off before.
- Samsung was doing volume production of 10nm flash (used in consumer
eMMC SSDs for mobile
phones) in November
After several quarters of
doing this - the chip bakeries have finely tuned their recipes and are ready to
guarantee a less crumbly dough mixture for use in the enterprise.
if these concepts are new to you - it's not worthwhile memorizing them. Because
3D nand flash changes the
priority of future enhancements towards a preference for building upwards
in more layers instead of merely thinning sideways.
|LSI blog discusses
customer driven technology changes in the hyperscale datacenter |
|Editor:- March 4, 2014 - "It's no longer
enough to follow Intel's
ticktock product roadmap" - says Rob Ober,
Processor and System Architect LSI - in his new blog
the datacenter ecosystem - in which he goes on to say...|
cycles for datacenter solutions used to be 3 to 5 years. But these cycles are
And when talking about rack scale
architectures - Rob says "Traditionally new architectures were driven by
OEMs, but that's not so true anymore." ...read