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SSD market news - May 2014

SSD history
memory channel SSDs
what's the state of DWPD?
meet Ken and the SSD event horizon
10 key SSD ideas which clarified in 2014
SSD endurance myths and legends - now in 3D
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Seagate to acquire LSI's flash business for $450 million

Editor:- May 29, 2014 - Seagate today announced it will acquire the assets of LSI's Accelerated Solutions Division and Flash Components Division from Avago Technologies for $450 million in cash.

The transaction is expected to close in the 3rd quarter of calendar year 2014, subject to regulatory approval.

Editor's comments:- Seagate has for a long time appeared to be a bystander rather than a cheerleader in the SSD market.

By acquiring the SSD controller technology which is at the heart of a significant proportion of SSD designs in the industry - and also the 2nd largest enterprise PCIe SSD maker (by volume) - Seagate will come to be regarded in a different way by SSD customers, partners and competitors.

The cost of the acquisition - seems low compared to many past examples in recent market history.

LSI itself paid $370 million for SandForce in October 2011 - and you might think that in all the years of market and product development since then - and particularly with the controller product line having been upgraded to being an SSD drives and module business too - the combined business should have been worth more.

But it wasn't - and Avago - which has owned LSI's business for a few short breaths of market time - obviously must feel it is getting a good deal.

Possible reasons for the low valuation of LSI's SSD business (in comparison to maybe what it might have fetched a year or so ago are:-
  • LSI was latecomer to the adaptive R/W controller market. So that meant many SSD companies which needed this new type of flash management technology had already made other strategic plans for their next generation flash management roadmaps before LSI began sampling the SF3700 in November 2013.
  • There are strong competitive offerings available now in every segment of the SSD market - and in comparison to the past when a single controller product could effectively be competitive in a wide variety of markets - that's no longer true.
  • Software has become an essential part of enterprise SSD offerings. Not only does it provide essential compatibilities - but it can also add efficiencies, reliability and performance.

    LSI's enterprise software offerings were always weak add-ons in my view - in comparison to competing products - and were tactical sales demonstration tools rather than genuine hard core enterprise platforms.
  • Rackmounts. To succeed in the traditional enterprise SSD market today - enterprise SSD makers need to think like systems companies or become actual systems companies. That's where new efficiencies come together with new architectures.

    But I can't think of a single leading SSD systems vendor today (unlike a few years ago) who would now offer LSI's controllers as the flagship controllers in a new high end array.

    The reasons being that LSI was late to market with adaptive R/W, late to market with big architecture controller design, and doesn't have a scalable software platform.)
In a way none of those valuation theories matters - but in another way they do - because understanding LSI's weaknesses as an SSD company stretched in too many markets takes us neatly onto - what I think could be the real synergy between Seagate and LSI's controller business.

What's Seagate been historically good at?

Making huge numbers of storage drives cheap and affordable.

What has the SandForce controller design been historically good at?

Getting into more design slots for value based enterprise and embedded applications than any other SSD controller design.

I think that even if Seagate disregarded any new markets - and focused only on the high volume potential of existing cloud infrastructure customers and big web entities (like Google and Baidu) - who need value based enterprise SSDs - but who are perfectly capable of designing their own software and APIs and firmware tweaks - then Seagate could leverage the LSI SandForce SSD roadmaps for the next several years as a business tool to establish it as one of (several) leaders in the utility SSD segment of the cloud.

LSI on its own wouldn't be able to make such vast quantities of drives at commodity prices.

Seagate on its own didn't have the SSD IP.

But the new Seagate (with SSD IP now in its core) can leverage that IP with its production control skills to cement new price thresholds for value enterprise SSDs.

See also:- hostage to the fortunes of SSD - why big companies can't afford NOT to be in the SSD market...

Afterthoughts (Friday May 30)

PS - Some of the factors dampening the valuation of LSI's flash business seemed so obvious that I didn't mention them in any of the bullet points above. But it appears that they weren't as obvious to everyone - so here they are if you're interested.
  • Competing with your own customers.

    When LSI acquired SandForce - that introduced a new dynamic for the outlook of the combined business - because LSI-SandForce was from that point onwards competing with many of the companies which had previously been customers of SandForce controllers.

    That triggered plans in some of the big customer (now competitor) SSD companies to look for alternative technology roadmaps which would level the playing field in a future when they would be competing - at a drive level - with the controller architecture which they had helped to establish as a de facto industry standard.

    And it also created a more favorable climate for competing SSD controller makers who had lost out before. Such as Marvell.
  • How much are SSD companies worth?

    Generally - SSD companies ain't worth as much as they used to be.

    Nearly all mainstream enterprise SSD companies (who have been shipping products for a few years or more - as opposed to stealthy startups) have seen their valuations dip in the past year - due to investors realizing that the idea of any one company dominating any one big market segment sustainably is an illusion (for now).

    That's because the barriers to entry from new vendors are still low (due to the existence of a very sophisticated SSD IP and parts ecosystem).

    This means that startups using new technologies at low volumes can still deliver SSDs which are significantly cheaper to make than legacy SSD technologies - even when those legacy SSDs are being produced in much higher production volumes. (Legacy in this context - means anything that's more than 12 to 24 months old.)

    I suspect that the industry wide downgrade of the value of SSD companies (which we saw last year with companies like Fusion-io, Violin. Stec, OCZ etc - for various different reasons) will change direction - when we start to see dramatic changes in reported revenues and profitability.

    How will that happen?

    I think it depends as much on creative leadership, vision and discipline in business models as it does on technology.

    Because you can still make money if you sell the right kind of SSD to the right kind of customer for the right kind of purpose. (Especially if they come back soon after to buy more.)

    But you can still lose money by selling an SSD that's better than it needs to be.

    And you can lose money if you over invest sales and marketing resources by selling the right kind of SSD for the right kind of application to a customer who won't need any more of your products for another few years afterwards.
All sounds boringly obvious business stuff doesn't it? That's why I didn't include these add on notes in my original short version of this post.

Another question which it's inevitable to ask - however - is this...

What will happen to the continuing supply of SandForce SSD controllers?

It's hard to imagine that Seagate would - from its own self interest point of view - choose to continue supplying controllers to such a diverse range of SSD companies indefinitely.

Users of these controllers have been on notice that the supply outlook for these essential chips might change ever since LSI acquired SandForce in January 2012.

But unlike LSI - whose main business was selling chips - Seagate's business is selling drives - and Seagate's volume takeup of these chips (for the reasons mentioned above) will be more than enough on its own to justify the NRE costs - without having to sell them elsewhere.

So that may trigger a greater sense of urgency for answers about this factor - from smaller customers who haven't made alternative plans yet.

My guess is that if the regulators look at this transaction - that may be one of the aspects they will focus on - because the contiunuing supply of these controllers to smaller SSD companies in niche markets would a good thing from the viewpoint of competitive choice. (And it wouldn't be too onerous for Seagate to maintain the supply for a time limited period - because Seagate's biggest SSD competitors all have their own controllers anyway.)

Later note added - June 4, 2014

I've been talking to a key contact in LSI's flash business to ask if there was any official corporate statement they could make to clarify the status of this question:- what will happen to the continuing supply of LSI SandForce SSD controllers?

But I wasn't surprised to learn that - despite best efforts - there is nothing more they can say about this for now.

The reason I'm not surprised is because there are significant external entities (regulators, customers, competitors) which could have a bearing on the final decision and if indeed it goes ahead. So it's not just a matter of whatever LSI and Seagate would like to do.

Hynix buys Violin's PCIe SSD product line

Editor:- May 29, 2014 - Today in line with previous guidance signals - Violin Memory (which in January 2013 had been observed to tentatively dip its toes as a late entrant into the raging torrents of the PCIe SSD market - but which had not been regarded by me as very likely to survive a rigorous swim) announced that it has sold its PCIe SSD product line to Hynix which paid $23 million in cash and assumed certain liabilities totaling $0.5 million.

Apacer will unveil new MLC-mix hybrids next week

Editor:- May 29, 2014 - Apacer says that next week at Computex Taipei 2014 it will unveil a new type of hybrid SSD which it calls MLC-mix products in which a single SSD embeds both MLC and SLC to extend the lifetime by 6x and speed upto 2x compared to MLC alone.

Editor's comments:- it's not a totally new concept. In June 2008 - Silicon Motion launched SSD controllers which supported exatcly the same idea.

Marvell samples controller for SATAe SSDs

Editor:- May 21, 2014 - If you're designing SATA Express SSDs then Marvell today announced it is sampling the 1st SSD controller specifically designed for the SATAe market - which will enable the design of 2.5" PCIe SSDs at costs which could be competitive with fast SATA SSDs.

Marvell's 88SS1083 is a 2 lane PCIe Gen2 SSD controller with transfer rates up to 1GB/s. It supports DevSleep and L1.2 PCIe low power state - to minimize power consumption in notebook and enterprise array environments. Its flash management scales down to 15nm NAND.

Kaminario guarantees amplified usable capacity

Editor:- May 20, 2014 - When I saw yesterday that Kaminario would be talking about a cost of around $2,000 per usable terabyte of SSD storage in its new 5th generation K2 enterprise rackmount launched today - my gut feel was - this price metric must be based on some kind of SSD utilization amplified capacity figure - rather than the conventionally discounted raw storage capacity - because I know that Kaminario isn't in the deep flash IP controller business - and unless I've been asleep and missed something - this kind of headline figure isn't coming from arrays of COTS flash drives.

So I asked the company about it - and was told that the "average $2/GB usable cost includes data reduction with Kaminario's guaranteed effective capacity offering (meaning they will provide customers with incremental free hardware if their original capacity needs aren't met)."

And when I probed again - does it apply to channel sales and well as direct sales? - I got confirmation that indeed it does.

I think this is very significant.

Because guarantees are the way to add weight to an SSD vendor's convictions that they are confident about what they're claiming.

9 years ago in the enterprise SSD market - we saw the world's first performance guarantees being given - about raw speed claims.

And similar to that in historic significance - I think that Kaminario's K2 v5 product launch will be remembered - not for the product specifications - but for ushering in a new era in enterprise SSD marketing - in which the increased utilization from software - stops being a wishy washy averaged (sometimes you might get it, but other times you won't) concept which sounds good in a news headline - of the type we've seen from a lot of other vendors in recent years - and instead becomes a guaranteed figure - like endurance - which users can learn to trust.

If Kaminario can stand behind its usable capacity amplification claims - then other vendors should do the same - or stop talking about promises they're not confident enough to stand behind.

And if some vendors say - we don't know the workload - so how can we provide a guarantee?

I'd say - get to know your customers better - or risk losing a lot of business because the alternatives are offering over specified, over priced systems - which work - or under-specified, under-priced systems which might fail early.

is life really better with Plextor?

Editor:- May 20, 2014 - The paucity of serious marketing ideas in the consumer SSD market nowadays can be judged by the fact that Plextor America today launched a marketing program - "Life Is Better With Plextor" - which involves consumers signing up for a weekly lottery in which one person each week can win a free SSD.

Editor's comments:- I only mentioned it here because it can be amusing to witness the silliness of technical companies when they're engaged in consumer markets.

Nimble says 200 customers have used its bundled stack

Editor:- May 19, 2014 - Nimble Storage today announced that over 200 enterprise customers have used its SmartStack (pre-validated reference architecture) which is centered around the company's hybrid storage arrays.

See also:- hybrid array news, rackmount SSDs

PMC blog discusses latency implications of DSP ECC IP in SSD controllers

Editor:- May 15, 2014 - Latency in LDPC-based Next-Generation SSD Controllers is a new blog by Stephen Bates, Technical Director, PMC who says - "The variability of the LDPC decode time is a function of how many iterations it takes to decode the data from the flash."

In his article Stephen says that the minimum number of iterations is 1, typical is 4 and maximum is 20.

To relate that to latency - he says assume for sake of illustration that each iteration takes a microsecond.

Editor's comments:- you can see how those numbers can start to stack up and make inroads into the design of fast SSD controllers.

That's one of the reasons you've got so many different generations of flash memory circulating in the same market today.

The higher the capacity of the SSD - the greater the economic incentive to use newer smaller flash geometries. But those require more complex controller management (to guarantee data integrity) so that incurs greater design complexity and NRE.

PMC's market is the enterprise - but these DSP flash concepts are used in industrial markets too. In fact that's where they originated. Bu in industrial SSDs it can still be sometimes cheaper to deploy more expensive SLC memory in low capacity designs - due to the simpler requirements of the associated controller technology and therefore also lower demands for power hold up time too.

PS - in an earlier blog in this series - Stephen Bates (whose PhD was in signal processing) - revisits the reasons why the SSD market needs to consider the design freedoms which come from using complex DSP flash IP - and he gives examples of the tradeoffs. Such as 50% better endurance with LDPC codes using identical flash - or gaining usable capacity by using weaker codes.

BTW the industry changing possibilities of these technologies for reshaping the economies of SSDs were reviewed in my 2012 article - Adaptive flash care management & DSP IP in SSDs What is it? Who does it? and why?

Oracle acquires GreenBytes

Editor:- May 15, 2014 - Oracle today announced it will acquire GreenBytes.

See also:- SSD software, SSD ASAPs

Virtium promises 4 years "no requals"

Editor:- May 14, 2014 -Virtium today announced that its new 2nd generation industrial SSDs (SATA 3 compatible) can deliver upto 4x the read performance of its 1st generation StorFly models.

They're available in in 2.5", 1.8", M.2, mSATA, Slim SATA, and CFast form factors.

Commenting on the high amortized cost per unit of requalifying SSDs in embedded industrial markets Scott Phillips, director of marketing at Virtium (who recently joined the company from HGST) said about the issue - "With its 2nd generation StorFly SATA SSDs, Virtium is able to guarantee that its SLC-based StorFly PE class products will not cause a requal for at least 4 years."
SSD news image - Storfly form factors
Editor's comments:- Because Virtium did such a good job a few years ago explaining to me how it was adapting its technology roadmaps to deal with MLC - I mistakenly assumed for a while that all the StorFly SSDs were only available with MLC inside. But I was wrong. The new models are available with either MLC or SLC.

new report on the costs to 3D nand flash manufacturability

Editor:- May 14, 2014 - Sometimes a good question can reveal as much about the state of the SSD market as the answer.

There isn't always a pre-packaged answer to many of the questions I get from thoughtful readers. And investing the time to understand why that is so - when the question is good one - and there should be an answer often leads to me writing new articles.

But you'll be pleased to know that there is a packaged answer to this question posed by Gregory Wong, President, Forward Insights who asks...

"What is the incremental investment required to transition a 32 layer 3D NAND fab to 64 layers? What is the impact on fab cycle time and manufacturing capacity?"

But you'll have to buy his latest report - Cost and Investment Implications of 3D NAND (overview pdf) - to find out what it is.

See also:- Forward Insights - SSD and nvm reports overview

is it time for enterprise SSD designers to reconsider RapidIO?

Editor:- May 14, 2014 - You'd think that with all the interfaces already in use within the enterprise SSD market - there wouldn't be enough of a market gap to justify introducing yet another one. - Particularly when that interface strays across low latency server-storage territory which is dominated by PCIe SSDs, under attack by memory channel SSDs and has been flanked historically by InfiniBand.

I thought so too.

But in a recent article - Do You Really Know RapidIO? - by Eric Esteve , founder of IPnest says - "Maybe it's time for the server/storage industry to give a second chance for the RapidIO protocol."

Editor's comments:- That's a bold statement - coming as it does from someone who was involved in designing one of the first generation PCIe controllers 10 years ago. Eric argues that the intrinsic fabric architecture and routing support in RapidIO - would make many of the things which architects are trying to do today - such as interconnecting large numbers of servers and SSDs for example - easier and faster.

SanDisk and Toshiba collaborate on 3D nand fab

Editor:- May 13, 2014 - SanDisk and Toshiba today announced that they have begun work on demolishing and converting a 2D NAND fab at Yokkaichi Operations, in Mie prefecture, Japan over to 3D capability with a view to enabling 3D output in 2016. See also:- flash memory

a new CMO for Fusion-io

Editor:- May 12, 2014 - Fusion-io today announced that Michael Mendenhall (who from 2007 to 2011 was CMO at HP) has joined Fusion-io as executive VP and CMO.

Editor's comments:- this fills a long standing vacuum in FIO's marketing - initially created by the management changes a year ago.

Being CMO at Fusion-io is one of the most important marketing positions in the SSD industry. The whole industry looks towards Fusion-io as an indicator of future directions in the enterprise - even its competitors.

TrendFocus reports SSD shipments in Q1 2014

Editor:- May 10, 2014 - According to a research report by TrendFocus - the top 2 SSD companies (based on the number of drives shipped in Q1 2014) were Samsung and SanDisk with 32% of the market and 26% respectively.

You can see a table listing the other top companies in the report summary by here.

Samsung starts 3D nand production at new fab in China

Editor:- May 9, 2014 - Samsung announced that its new memory fabrication line in Xi'an China - which will make 3D V-NAND - has begun full-scale manufacturing operations.

Another petabytes shipment snapshot of enterprise flash

Editor:- May 9, 2014 - A recent blog - in ArchitectingIT - says that 3 leading vendors shipped a sum total of over 50PB of rackmount SSDs in Q1 2014 - with HDS - apparently having shipped more flash capacity than either EMC or Pure Storage according to estimates by the blog's author Chris Evans.

Editor's comments:- How does this compare to other vendors? and to other times?

See Petabyte SSD Milestones from Storage History.

Another context is this.

If and when Skyera ships just 40U of its fully populated upcoming skyEagle (in a single quarter later this year) that would be more flash capacity than anyone in the above list. (Although they should all be shipping more too if you believe market forecasts.)

Enterprise flash capacity - on its own - is a crude and meaningless measure. (Unless - I suppose - you're the company which sold the chips or the boxes.) The true business value of enterprise flash depends on how fast it is, where it's located in the datacenter architecture and how well it has been integrated to leverage the application architecture.

"SATA inside" SanDisk's ULLtraDIMMs

Editor:- May 8, 2014 - Today I learned some new details about the architecture in SanDisk's implementation of memory channel SSDs by watching a video - SanDisk ULLtraDIMM Architecture and Design Technology - which was recorded at the recent Storage Field Day event (April 25, 2014).

Inside each flash DIMM are 2x SATA CloudSpeed SSDs which connect to the DDR3 interface via a Diablo designed bridge chip which has something on the order of "megabytes" of buffer memory inside.

That gives a much better basis for understanding the performance limits of these devices.

And it confirms why you only start to see noteworthy performance from them after installing 3, 4 or more modules.

inside  ultradimm - architecture video

However - despite the "SATA inside" limited nature of this 1st generation memory channel storage design - the performance - aggregated at a block level - results in a usable write latency envelope which IBM has verified to be in a consistently lower latency category than most leading PCIe SSDs.

So - if you're thinking long term - and roadmaps - it's reasonable to assume that if a 2nd or 3rd generation of MCS flash DIMM SSD could abandon the "SATA inside" and use instead a large architecture flash controller with a native memory array optimized type of bridge interface - then the gaps between what MCS can offer - compared to PCIe latency - could widen.

Later:- Diablo's follow on product - the Memory1 didn't suffer from the above bottleneck. You can see the benchmarks for Memory1 here.

By the way in this 52 minute video I also learned 2 interesting details about SanDisk's CloudSpeed SSDs which I didn't know before:-
  • SanDisk's Guardian technology doesn't perform scheduled data integrity checks to detect silent errors for data at rest.

    The stated reason being that this would eat into endurance. - And the implied assumption being that SanDisk thinks this type of activity is best determined by the system designer. So - if you design these SATA SSDs into a storage array - then you'll have to take responsibility for that aspect of long term data health in your own software.
See also:- memory channel SSD news and articles

Intel invests in Maxta

Editor:- May 7, 2014 - Intel Capital was one of the leading investors in a $25 million series B investment in Maxta which was announced today. Other investors included Tenaya Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.

Editor's comments:- these investors aren't the only ones who believe Yoram Novick's claim that the company he founded is markedly different to the other 95% or so of SSD software startups. A lot of you were sufficiently curious too - which elevated Maxta into the Top SSD Companies list in Q1 2014.

See also:- Maxta case studies and white papers, new trends in SSD boxes, VCs in SSDs and storage

Avago completes acquisition of LSI

Editor:- May 6, 2014 - Avago Technologies Limited today announced it has completed its acquisition of LSI an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $6.6 billion.

The acquisition creates a highly diversified semiconductor market leader with approximately $5 billion in projected annual revenues.

Avago believes the acquisition of LSI repositions Avago as a leader in the enterprise storage market. The acquisition also expands Avago's product offerings and brings system-level expertise in its wired infrastructure market.

LSI will operate as a wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of Avago and will continue to conduct business under the LSI name.

Editor's comments:- A quick way to graps what Avago is all about is to view their news page.

Although LSI's SSDs and controllers already operate in more markets than you can easily count - it's interesting to speculate what integrating Avago's connectivity technologies with LSI's enterprise flash controller SSD expertise will do for the SSD market.

My guess is that it will become easier, cheaper and less risky for systems designers to place SSD functionality anywhere they like without having to dive deeply into the interface details.

EMC acquires memory channel SSD in a box company DSSD

Editor:- May 5, 2014 - EMC has acquired a stealth mode rackmount SSD company - DSSD - it was announced today.

Products based on the new DSSD architecture are expected to be available in 2015.

Editor's comments:- an informative and entertaining article about this can be seen on

It sounds like the DSSD product will implement a large directly addressable (by PCIe) memory space - based on a transparent RAM cache flash memory tiering scheme and will offer latencies similar to memory channel SSDs - but with the capacity difference being that you can pack more capacity into a box than in a bunch of DDR3 DIMMs.

It hearkens back to the original big shared memory in a box connected by PCIe of Violin's first product - the Violin 1010 Memory Appliance - which was launched back in 2007.

Although that was pure RAM - and expensive. And enterprise users in those days weren't as educated as they are today. That meant Violin had to go back and redesign the product to include a fibre-channel front end - to make it fit in with the market idea of what an enterprise SSD box should really look like. And that product also came in at the tail end of the RAM SSD market - in the year before new flash controller architectures enabled SSD makers (including Violin) to displace low to mid range SSD boxes with pure flash.

And before Violin's product - in 1994 - Texas Memory Systems was shipping a product called the SAM-2000 (Shared Access Memory) - which enabled a bunch of different computers (even with different OS and internal busses) to share the same memory at low microsend latencies and bus throughputs.

There's an argument for saying that Violin already offers something similar now to what EMC hopes to ship next year - in the shape of Violin's Windows Flash Array (WFA). Except that the 1st generation WFA uses GbE as the server clustering fabric. But my guess is that it would be easy for Violin to offer other variations with lower internal latency - to connect the CPUs to its VIMMs - if they thought enough customers would buy it.

And IBM can already do something similar (to Violin) with its X6 architecture.

The limitations in IBM's technology are that the 1st generation of eXFlash DIMMs (designed by SanDisk and Diablo) are greedy when it comes to power consumption. That means legacy server motherboards don't have enough current capacity routed to the DIMMs to enable you to fill them all with these modules. That's easy to change, however by adding more copper in the motherboards and increasing the air flow in the box.

If EMC offers the DSSD as a product which is unbundled from the brand of server - then it might find a niche market for it.

But there are so many different ways of tackling the same problem (such as enabling PCIe SSD fabric from PLX and A3CUBE, and software defined storage, not to mention what's the PCIe interface for in Skyera's new box) that it may already be a crowded market by the time EMC has anything to ship.

See also:- Are you ready to rethink enterprise RAM?
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the top 3 SSD topics in May 2014
The top 3 topics viewed and followed up by readers of in May were:-
  1. PCIe SSDs
  2. memory channel SSDs
  3. hybrid storage arrays
The surprise here wasn't the #1 topic.

PCIe SSDs have been the #1 form factor on this site since 2009.

And it wasn't the #2 topic either.

Because memory channel SSDs and their place in the market were the main topic in my home page blog in May, and there was a lot of news coverage about MCS too.

Many readers are still trying to figure out whether this new form factor should occupy a permanent place in their thinking about enterprise SSD accelerators.

My view is - yes - despite the lack of software support which you get in any new product and some quirks in the implementation of the 1st generation product. It was weird to see it's got a SATA bridge inside. And it consumes way more power than most standard DIMMs. But despite those factors (due to the speed of getting the design to market) the MCS concept performs well - when you've got enough of them. Which tells you that next generation products - with leaner internals - have plenty of headroom to perform better.

The real surprise for me was at #3.

This was the highest ever ranking for hybrid storage arrays - a subject which we've had a focused directory on since the first auto-tiering / caching appliances shipped 5 years ago.

I had a conversation about this recently with Rob Commins, VP Marketing, Tegile - which I'll write about soon.

The most interesting thing I learned about Tegile didn't have anything to do with the new products they launched this week BTW.

SSD ad - click for more info

"If these new memories really are as good as the claims, why are we not seeing them in production applications today? The answer appears to be inertia" - says Brian Bailey, Technology Editor - Semiconductor Engineering

Dave Lazovsky, CEO of Intermolecular expands on this by saying - NAND flash is a $30B industry that has tens of billions of dollars in capital infrastructure that would need to be retooled. The big 4 players represent 95% of the market and they have a lot of existing investment. The entire cost equation is CapEx, so they need to milk the tail of the revenues as long as they can."
Big Memory Shift Ahead (May 22, 2014)

Decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise
Editor:- May 28, 2014 - today 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




stories from SSD news in May months gone by

2013 - Micron samples hot swap 1.4TB 2.5" PCIe SSDs
2012 - Buffalo puts MRAM into SSD cache
2011 - SanDisk acquires Pliant (a SAS SSD company)
2010 - SandForce launches branding program
2009 - Unity Semi says CMOx will replace nand flash
2008 - Mtron supplies NASA first terabyte SSD in Space
2006 - Samsung unveils world's first hybrid for notebooks
2004 - RamSan rackmount SSD is IBM TotalStorage Proven




" There are 2 ways to make memory work in space.

One is to invent better semiconductor processes to make the memory cell less susceptible to direct radiation. ... these methods require redesign of the memory chips and calls for new process technologies that are not widely used for memory chips - which in itself presents a risk in production cost and scalability when memory technology changes.

The second way is to use off-the-self memory parts.

NASA Engineers have found that every memory chip exhibits slightly different characteristic under radiation environment.

...Therefore, the most economical way is to test-and-select. NASA decided to use Off-the-self parts even in the International Space Station. This is obviously for cost reason and to allow upgrade paths..."
from Tanisys' blog - the effects of radiation on SSDs for space applications. (May 2014)




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