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SSD news - November 2014SSD news /
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|InnoDisk spins off
rackmount SSD business into AccelStor|
Editor:- November 27,
2014 - InnoDisk
today spun off the business unit associated with developing and marketing its
FlexiArray systems (1U InfiniBand / iSCSI 10GbE enterprise flash arrays) into a
new company called AccelStor.
Primary Data emerges from stealth
19, 2014 - Primary
Data - the most ambitious storage software startup I have ever
encountered - today emerged from stealth mode - with 2 announcements.
- 1st announcement
that Steve Wozniak
has joined the company as Chief Scientist.
Wozniak who cofounded
1976 - elevated the general
visibility of fledgling Fusion-io
when he joined that company in the Chief Scientist role
The impact of this was assessed and captured in a
2011 blog by Woody Hutsell
- who at that time was working at erstwhile enterprise SSD competitor -
TMS. Woody wrote at
that time (2011)...
"I used Google trends data to see if there was
an inflection point for Fusion-IO and I found it. The inflection point was their
hiring of Steve Wozniak. What a brilliant publicity move... I spent a lot of
time trying to figure out how to create a similar event at TMS. I thought if we
could hire "Elvis" we would have a chance."
November 2014) Primary Data's cofounder - Rick White said...
"With Woz on the team along with Lance and
we now have the band back together, and I'm amped to be reunited at Primary
comments:- Primary Data - which was founded in
May 2013 by the
same people who created Fusion-io - and which has already received $63 million
in funding - is in my
view set on a course which could lead to it becoming one of the top 10
enterprise software companies in the next 5 years - and one of the top 5
storage software companies much sooner than that.
- 2nd announcement
of Primary Data's first product - a
platform that will be able to virtualize, migrate, manage, coalesce and
reprioritize vari-natured and variously siloed enterprise data - which has
been trapped in legacy containers - into a single usable global dataspace.
company's press release says - "Just as server virtualization decoupled
compute from the underlying server infrastructure, the Primary Data
virtualization platform decouples application data from the underlying storage
infrastructure to bring dynamic data mobility to the enterprise for the first
time. Data virtualization gives applications, servers, and clients the ability
to transparently access data while it is intelligently migrated between
direct-attached, network-attached, private and public cloud storage across a
single global dataspace to deliver unprecedented manageability, performance, and
I had gained a good
idea of what Primary Data might be doing from various conversations I had
with the cofounders (Rick White and David David Flynn) during the past year -
when I approached them to ask for feedback and a sanity check about some
forward looking SSD articles I had written.
This is the kind of
thing I do - with SSD market visionaries - when I know I'm thinking about a
topic which is placed so far ahead in time that maybe only a handful of other
people on the planet are thinking about it - and when I want to be sure
that I haven't fallen off the edge (of possible realities). This is so as not
to lead you - my readers - too far astray when you read these articles. Although
always guarantee that.
So when I spoke recently to David Flynn,
cofounder and CTO - Primary Data) and Lance Smith
CEO - Primary Data - about the company's exit from stealth and its product -
I had already got there by fast forwarding from what I knew before.
what you need to know now.
- Primary Data isn't in the
having said that - its core technology is predicated on the general market
availability of low cost flash acceleration in servers.
So why write
about them here?
Well - in the same way that
data intersects SSDs - so too do some software products intersect more
frequently with SSDs than others. Common examples being Oracle and VMware and
various operating systems.
If my guess is right - Primary Data - will
join that elite set of software infrastructure products which are commonly
encountered in the enterprise.
- What's the availability of the product?
Primary Data is testing an
early version of the product in selected customer sites.
organizations which have a huge amount of data which they would like to be able
to leverage more conveniently. Example industries mentioned to me being :-
semiconductor design, and oil exploration.
When I asked - when will
people be able to generally buy the product - I was told - the back end of of
the 2nd half of 2015.
- What problems does the product solve?
Typically enterprise data is
"trapped" in silos - which relate to the applications or the brands
of storage system the data was born in. Although it's theoretically possible to
extricate this data for other purposes or to migrate it to storage which has
different characteristics - the processes for doing this are risky and time
consuming - due to interpendencies between applications and the metadata. As a
result - data is less flexible and business opportunities for data reuse are
restricted by the migration costs.
Primary Data's platform will
enable user organizations to manage their data more flexibly - by decoupling
the data from its original physical origins (DAS, NAS, SAN, cloud etc) and
placing it in a globally managed virtualized storage space - which eliminates
the barriers of interdependence between data, and particular storage products
- Impressions of the architecture.
I knew from my earliest
conversations with the founders that Primary Data's product is very ambitious in
It has to be able to reach into and understand every type of
popular enterprise storage system - and be capable of extracting the data and
creating new customer value by understanding the relationships between data,
applications and user policies.
At the center of the product is a data
hypervisor - which provides abtractions for every control characteristic you
might want to attach to data.
David Flynn told me that when you ingest
data from one type of legacy storage and migrate it to another - the code which
does the left hand side of the work doesn't need to know what the ultimate right
hand side is going to be. These translation processes into and out from the
hypervisor to supported real storage products are designed to be decoupled. I
realized that will make it easier for Primary Data to add support for many
additional storage classes and applications - while eliminating the risk that
some migration sets might inherit different capabilities than others.
Early in the life of the company - when I asked about likely timescales for
getting any product to market - I learned that - as for many startups - an
important milestone was getting patent applications filed. That's why one of the
company's earliest hires was a full time patent person.
- The big idea.
Data in the enterprise today looks and behaves the
way it does because all products (systems and applications) have inherited
architecture and ways of managing data from decades of market evolution.
you were starting to design to design a data processing architecture today -
which encompasses the big ideas about SSDs, the cloud, virtualizing servers and
virtualizing storage - you would do things a different way. It would be more
flexible and enable you to have more freedom about how to repurpose and
Clearly it's unfeasible to throw away old
applications and old infrastructure.
What Primary Data's platform
offers - is an architecture for transforming 20 to 30 years of inherited data
market archeology into the scalable and flexible modern world.
bigger step than simply replacing hard drives with SSDs. But it's part of the
Foremay says MIL designers can now have 8TB in a 2.5"
secure, rugged SATA SSD
Editor:- November 19, 2014 - How much
capacity do you need in a
depends on the economics of your application and what other alternatives you
have. But 2.5" SATA is emerging as a safe roadmap form factor for
high capacity embedded projects in the
rugged / military market
- and now those mission critical designers will be able to stretch
their capacities further than most of you.
Jack Winters, CTO -
Foremay said "When
we asked our customers what we should do for the next step in SSDs, most replied
with capacity, capacity and capacity."
That's why Foremay
this week it is now offering 8TB as a variation in its encrypted, secure rugged
Editor's comments:- I spoke to Foremay yesterday to
clarify the availability versus "unveiling" status of the new 8TB
Foremay said - We are accepting orders for small quantites now.
Mass production is expected in Q1'2015
SMART Modular enters the M.2 SSD market
November 11, 2014 - SMART
it is sampling a new M.2 SATA SSD for enterprise applications with 32GB to
512GB capacity (19nm MLC) and R/W speeds upto 540Mbytes/sec and 320Mbytes/sec,
Diablo's biggest customer joins company as President
November 10, 2014 - Alex
Yost - formerly VP Strategy and Alliances in IBM's x86 server business
- has joined Diablo
Technologies as President.
he had seen the value of Diablo's products earlier this year when (at IBM)
he was able to announce a system that delivered 99x faster analytics
Channel Storage technology. And he now looks forward to delivering
Diablo-based products to a wider market.
Editor's comments:- Just as the personality of SSDs is
largely made up from the DNA of
associated software -
so too the performance
personality of modern servers is nowadays overwhelmingly dictated by their
population of SSDs.
And when your biggest customer joins your
company - you must be doing something they like.
another reason to set your clock to Primary Data
November 6, 2014 - Primary Data
Smith (who had been President and COO of Fusion-io in the 14
months leading up to its acquisition by SanDisk - where he
became Senior VP and GM of the ioMemory solutions division) has joined the
stealth mode company - Primary Data as CEO.
"I'm delighted to
Flynn and Rick
White once again at Primary Data along with the team of visionary
executives" said Lance Smith.
Primary Data will be exiting stealth mode on November 19 - and in the lead up to
that they've had a countdown clock on their home page.
From the little
I learned in various chats I've had with Dave and Rick since they started the
new company - I think their new technology will trigger as big a disruptive
change in the enterprise storage market as anything we've seen seen in the
past 10 years - and will no doubt create new ecosystems and inspire new startups
That's why - I said this on linkedin.
than 2 weeks left before the data access world as we think we know it changes
again - unless someone knows how to pause that countdown clock."
now ready - Enmotus's FuzeDrive software
November 4, 2014 - Micro-tiering within the server box - between the lowest
possible latency persistent memory (such as
flash backed DRAM
DIMMs from Viking),
then up a level to SATA
SSDs and finally to hard
drives - gives users materially different performance and cost
characteristics to merely caching between those devices when they are used in
a hybrid storage
That's the message behind the
about the general availability of the company's
server (SSD software)
for Windows and Linux - in which (unlike simple server based cache based
solutions) - FuzeDrive treats the SSD as primary storage and so "all
reads and writes to the hot data occur at full SSD speeds".
SSDs are becoming
in some cases" said Marshall
Lee, CTO and co-founder of Enmotus. "As a result, newer classes of
storage devices continue to appear that can take advantage of higher performance
busses inside servers, NVDIMMs
being a great example."
Why I Tired of "Tier
Zero Storage" (in 2009)
StorageIOblog looks at Seagate's 12Gbs SAS SSD
November 4, 2014 - StorageIOblog
today published a
review of Seagate's 1200 12Gbs SAS SSD which includes TPC-B (write
intensive) benchmarks for a single drive with simulated workloads without using
part of this article - enumerates the performance benefits of using the same
1200 SSD as a read cache
for an array of SAS hard drives.
SSD caching appliances,
Micron samples auto-market endurance compliant mSATA SSDs
November 4, 2014 - Ever since the first microprocessors and MOS memories were
marketed in the early 1970s - it was realized that systems designers in mission
critical embedded applications would need some kind of reassurance from the
makers of such chips that their new devices would still be operating reliably
at some time in the remote future.
These new semiconductor devices
self evidently had no proven market track record.
Due to the
undesirability (from an industrial chipmakers point of view) of waiting 7 to
10 elapsed years to collect the real-time reliability evidence which would
convince industrial users it was safe to design these new products into their
systems - by which time they would be EOL and long forgotten - the
semiconductor industry evolved theoretical methods to satisfy customers in
such markets much sooner.
These marketing techniques centered around
accelerated life tests - which involved extreme temperature cycling - supported
by physics based models which explained how the breakdown mechanisms in the new
chips were accelerated at extreme temperatures - compared to their normal
I was reminded of those extrapolated life techniques
today - because they are at the core of a document called -
memory program/erase endurance, data retention, and operating life test 2012
(pdf) - which is part of a set of standards for automotive electronics -
from an ORG called the
This had been mentioned
in a press release today from Micron - who is
sampling a new
SSD - the
(pdf) (2.5" /
industrial grade SSD)
- whose memory components and the SSD itself have been acceleration life
tested according to the methods described along with the nostalgic sounding
(to me) stress inducing checkerboard test data patterns which I remember having
used in industrial control systems back in 1980.
Having said that -
a good reality check I heard from a long term veteran of flash memory (the
co-founder of FMJ) earlier
this year - is that aesthetically plausible geometric R/W test patterns -
such as those used to verify SSD controller
compatibilities with new flash
memories for example - aren't always the stressiest patterns which will
break the memory.
Dot Hill's messages today
Editor:- November 4, 2014
- I haven't mentioned Dot
Hill on these news pages for a while - but a
release from the company today triggered a bunch of random reactions in my
brain which almost - for me - drowned out the significance of the central idea
of their new product announcement (a new SAN compatible hybrid storage box - and
2 of the distracting internal noises (in my head) were
sparked by product names:-
- "Dot Hill's entire line of storage systems (are) equipped with the
latest generation AssuredSAN 4004 storage controllers."
I'm sorry guys. I know numbers are just numbers. But for me the 4004 controller
will always be
chip family from Intel which was the first rumble in the microprocessor
show that the names
you give to SSD related products matter a lot - because the concepts which
spring to mind when people read these words and numbers - depend on what else
they have read before.
- RealTier, RealCache, RealQuick, RealPool - and others in Dot Hill 's
real-suffix list of product feature names - distracted me with the
recollection that 3 years before sampling its first ever real
PCIe SSD - the
P320h (in June
2011) - Micron had
demonstrated a less real (prototype / concept demonstrator) PCIe SSD - which
never made it to market. So - for me - the word "Real" attached to
an SSD related product - already has many associations.
On the other hand - I congratulate Dot Hill for
having planted these 2 messages in their press release text today.
- The idea of a 37-month "bumper-to-bumper" warranty.
- And this great
"This is absolutely the best product we've purchased
in the last 25 years."
Samsung acquires Proximal
Editor:- November 3, 2014
announced today it has acquired Proximal Data.
comments:- Why did Samsung need to
SSD ASAP / caching
Samsung's earlier purchase -
NVELO (acquired in
December 2012) -
operated in the consumer
market - whereas Proximal's caching technology was designed to work with
enterprise PCIe SSDs -
a market in which Samsung is a relative newcomer - and in which Samsung
stood out from other leading
competitors in having no caching software it could call its own.
|SSD news today|
| "Microsemi has had
the privilege of providing high-reliability semiconductor solutions for leading
edge space programs more than 55 years. We are proud that our technology plays a
role in the Rosetta
Spacecraft Mission and salute the European Space Agency, NASA, its partners
and all of the individuals who made the mission a success."
|James J. Peterson,
chairman and CEO of Microsemi,
in a congratulatory
containing the disclosure that his company had provided over 15,000 components
for the 4 billion mile, 10 year mission. (November 18, 2014)|
services which sell SSDs|
|Editor:- November 14, 2014 - I recently
learned about 2 interesting service products related to SSDs. |
aren't strictly new - as in "launched today" - but they are
interesting examples of a new marketing differentiation trend in the SSD market
- where some companies are making it easier to do business with them - by
offering services which make it easier for more customers to buy their SSDs.
The first of these is a new service offering from
Tegile - called
IntelliCare - which
for me was much more interesting than the new entry level SSD box which they
at the same time.
Tegile collects setup and configuration information
from its user base which enables the company to learn the range of settings -
such as the compression rate - or the ratio of SSD to HDD capacity - or the
raw performance level - used for popular applications.
based data (via IntelliCare) can now be leveraged by any user who is setting
up new systems to get a heuristically guided feel for the range of settings and
efficiency expectations which might be realistic for them too.
thought that for most users that was a great idea because it removes most of
the burden of coming up with the right answer. And it will provide
confidence to user admins and save time in configuring new systems.
the result will be to incrementally improve the user experience of all
Tegile's customers - in a very direct way they can relate too - instead of
indirectly - as for example when enterprise flash array vendors collect
their boxes - which (by informing the designers how their flash care
schemes are working across the spectrum of real-life apps) mainly benefits
users who buy the next generation of products based on that crowd intelligence.
a business development tool for Tegile - it will probably help customer loyalty
(from one system refresh cycle to the next) as well as demonstrably
the risk of overspend for new customers too.
Assisted Refresh program (STAR) -
(September 2014) - simplifies the task for corporates of getting new
technology sooner, more easily and at lower cost - into their population of
legacy HDD based notebooks. Among other things - the
can be done on site. "Laptops never leave the premises" - which
greatly simplifies security concerns and logistics.
benefits of using SSDs in the workplace have been known a long time.
In September 2009 - Intel
chose that as the main theme for their
(educational series) - because Intel said it would give readers an
overview of the "benefits experienced by the enterprise after deploying
notebooks with solid state drives."
SanDisk recently produced a
whitepaper about these benefits to support their STAR program -
for an SSD-enabled PC (pdf)
However you arrive at justifying a
similar conclusion (SSDs enhance enterprise notebook user productivity) the
point about the new services program is that it cuts out the messy bits of
getting to the end result. And not only does that make it easier to sell more
SSDs - but it makes user organizations more willing to buy.
which deter you buying SSDs
On the other hand - the intention of
a new service offering can also be to deter you from buying competitive
This SSD deterrent effect is discussed in a
story concerning Apple on ZDNet which says that a new
version of Apple's OS X won't boot dependably if you have an independently
sourced (non-Apple) SSD as the boot device.
You might say - what's
the surprise? - given that Apple has been making it clear for years it
doesn't like users having 3rd party unbranded hardware inside its products.
Just be thankful that Apple doesn't also insist which power utility you
should use to supply the electrons for their power supplies.
after years of stagnation?
New Data Services - a new blog by Andy Warfield , cofounder
and CTO - Coho Data
makes this observation...
"Here's the sad thing. Data
services in the storage industry haven't changed an awful lot in the (past) 20
Andy goes on to say - however - that he's excited by
new signs of data services innovation in the
|"We have shipped
almost 0.5 million units of NV(DIMM) over the past 5 years...
than the total shipments from all of our competitors combined."
|Chuck Hong, CEO
conference call (November 11, 2014)