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SSD market news - September 2014

PCIe SSDs
SSD history
Top SSD Companies in Q3 - 2014
NV DIMMs - low latency flash SSDs
NV DIMMs - flash backed DRAM hybrids
decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise
10 key SSD ideas which became clearer in 2014
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GUC announces new low power SSD IP portfolio

Editor:- September 25, 2014 - Global Unichip today rolled out an expanded interconnect low power IP portfolio for ASICs targeting SSD applications.

The expansion covers ultra low power PCIe 3/4 PHY, DDR3/4, LPDDR3/4 CTRL/PHY and ONFi4.0 IO/PHY. IP based on the 28HPM/HPC processes in the expanded portfolio are available now, while 16nm macros will be available in Q4 of this year.

Among all NAND applications Global Unichip says SSD is the fastest growing with the Data Center and Enterprise segments showing the greatest potential. GUC is meeting that demand with a complete low power IP portfolio for SSD controllers, including NAND I/O (ONFI, Toggle), DDR I/F (DDR3/4, LPDDR3/4) and Serdes I/F (PCIe-3/4, SATA3/SAS3).


Samsung mass produces 3TB 3D 10 DWPD PCIe SSDs

Editor:- September 25, 2014 - Samsung today announced it has started mass producing 3.2 TB NVMe PCIe SSDs (HHHL) based on its 3D flash memory technology, for use in enterprise systems.
pic of Samsung PCIe SSD
The new NVMe PCIe SSD, SM1715 provides a sequential R/W speeds upto 3GB/s and 2.2GB/s respectively with endurance rated at 10 DWPD for 5 years.

Editor's comments:- In March 2014 - reporting on a conversation I had with FMJ - I alerted readers to their characterization of 3D for industrial SSDs - and the indication that endurance (due to better intrinsic materials) was2-3x better than 2D at the same cell geometry.


Micron's enterprise SSD revenue grew 79% QOQ

Editor:- September 25, 2014 - In its Q4 earning conference call today Micron said that about 66% to 75% of its nand flash had gone into client SSDs - with the remainder being enterprise. However Micron also said its enterprise SSD revenue was up 79% quarter-on-quarter. ...full transcript on SeekingAlpha.com


Diablo countersues Netlist

Editor:- September 25, 2014 - Diablo announced today that is has filed a lawsuit against Netlist for unfair business practices that violate Diablo's IP rights.

This appears to be a countermeasure to 2 earlier lawsuits initiated by Netlist against Diablo - which were widely reported by the SSD related press in January 2014.

Today - Diablo reiterates that its Memory Channel Storage (DDR3/4 form factor and interface compatible flash SSD) is a new and innovative architecture that neither infringes upon, nor misappropriates any Netlist IP rights. And Diablo argues that its MCS-based products and the Netlist HyperCloud DIMM (high density DRAM) - which were the cited products in Netlist's earlier legal moves - are designed to serve different purposes and are not interchangeable.

Diablo says the contract between the 2 companies (which has been mentioned in the press) clearly assigns legal ownership of the implementation IP in the HyperCloud chipset to Diablo. As a result, Diablo is seeking damages for breach of contract for Netlist's attempt to usurp the company's IP rights.

"We have been very patient throughout this entire process and it is now time for us to share our side of the story" said Riccardo Badalone, CEO and Co-founder of Diablo Technologies. "We will demonstrate definitively that products based on the Memory Channel Storage architecture do not use any Netlist IP."


rackmount SSDs - new reports from Evaluator Group

Editor:- September 24, 2014 - Evaluator Group today announced it's expanding its comparison report coverage (priced from around $2,750 for IT end-users) related to rackmount SSD and hybrid array vendors.

The latest addition to EV's research area are product analyses for 15 vendors, including: Cisco, EMC, HDS, HP, IBM, Kaminario, NetApp, Nimble, Nimbus, Pure Storage, SanDisk, SolidFire, Tegile, Tintri and Violin.

"Over the next 3 years Evaluator Group expects Solid State Storage Systems to be the architecture adopted for primary storage," said Camberley Bates, Managing Partner & Analyst at Evaluator Group. "Performance to reduce latency and improve consistency, along with reliability and efficiency functionality will drive this change. It is important IT end users understand the trade-offs of design and technical implementation to best suit their needs."

Using the Solid State Evaluation Guide to understand the critical technology characteristics EV says IT end users can clearly identify their requirements and priorities. The Solid State Comparison Matrix allows for side-by-side comparison of product specifications and capabilities. Evaluator Group guides IT end users through the process with product reviews and expertise on managing and conducting a Proof of Concept. Evaluator Group Solid State Storage Systems coverage includes products specifically designed to exploit the characteristics of all solid state deployment.

What will you be getting?

EV is offering a free evaluation copy of their report for the IBM FlashSystem to people who sign up for it.

Editor's comments:- with so many different architectural roles for enterprise SSDs and different user preferences - it's unrealistic to suppose that any simple side by side product comparisons will suit all permutations of user needs. But having said that - any reliable information which assists user education and comprehension into SSD arrays is a good thing.

Some flash array vendors - realizing the futility of expecting that users will understand what their products do and how they will interact with the bottlenecks and demands of user installations and workloads - have instead opted to side-step these delay laden hard user selection quandries - which are exaggerated by the concerns of getting it wrong - by instead offering new risk delineated pricing models - as described in my article - Exiting the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing.

See also:- playing the enterprise SSD box riddle game, storage market research, what do enterprise SSD users want?


Microsoft's SSD-aware VMs - discussed on InfoQ

Editor:- September 24, 2014 - There are now so many enterprise SSD software companies that keeping track of them all is a little like tallying 2.5" SSD makers - a tedious chore -which in most cases isn't worth the bother.

Nevertheless - SSD-centric software is strategically important - and some vendors are more important than others - despite having been latecomers in the enterprise flash wars .

One such company is Microsoft.

A news story today - Microsoft Azure Joins SSD Storage Bandwagon on InfoQ - discusses Microsoft's D-Series SSD-aware VMs - and places this in the context of other products from well known sources.

The blog's author - Janakiram MSV says "One important aspect of SSD based VMs on Azure is that they are not persistent. Data stored on these volumes cannot survive the crash or termination of virtual machines. This is different from both Amazon EC2 and Google Compute Engine, which offer persistent SSDs. On Azure, customers have to ensure that the data stored on the SSD disks is constantly backed up to Azure blob storage or other VMs." ...read the article


CoreRise discloses who it's talking to - about SSD IP

Editor:- September 24, 2014 - I've noticed some news updates recently from CoreRise.

Viewed singly the content appears lightweight and more like tweets than the usual kind of news I would write about on this page - but when viewed as a total set they give a useful picture of technology directions at CoreRise.

In the space of single week CoreRise reported visits from Seagate (re SF3700 controllers), Micron (re flash memory), SMI (re controllers) and also JMicron (re controllers).

CoreRise also made a refreshingly candid comment about its own attitude to the kind of reference designs which SSD controller makers typically offer SSD oems as a quick to market route to market (in which the SSD maker simply takes the design from the controller maker as a ready made IP solution and simply just adds their own memory.

CoreRise said that due to quality considerations - and its own expertise - "as a rule, CoreRise never uses the reference design due to potential defects. In the past CoreRise has found critical bugs in almost every such solution."


Diablo is the #1 SSD company being followed up in recent weeks

Editor:- September 23, 2014 - StorageSearch.com doesn't publish a regular list of the Top SSD Companies searched for by readers in the 1st 3 weeks of September.

That's because 7+ years of Top SSD company tracker company history has demonstrated that 3 month (quarterly) sampling periods are more reliable (than 3 weeks).

But if we did - a 3 week tracker - the #1 company this month would be - Diablo.

In particular readers are looking at Diablo's FMS presentation (pdf) from which I extracted these key features in earlier memory channel SSDs news coverage in August.
  • Diablo's converged memory architecture (flash tiered with DRAM) is planned to support 700 million random cachelines / sec.
  • Latency of each cacheline is about 48 nanoseconds.
  • Diablo's NanoCommit supports byte addressable small writes to flash with high transaction rates and the ability to mirror the DRAM contents to persistent storage.
  • The combination of technologies would enable something like a 1U server with 25TB of converged memory.
Editor's comments:- I only mention it - because of the scale of interest involved.

One reason may be that - as you'll see in the next news story below - having SSDs located in a DIMM socket in one server - no longer precludes that very same data being accessed by another server as if it were just a locally installed PCIe SSD.

BTW - A3CUBE is #2 in September reader followups so far - and this is due to the story below.


A3CUBE - first US customer shipments soon

Editor:- September 18, 2014 - earlier this week A3CUBE effectively announced imminent US customer shipments of its PCIe connected shared reflective memory fabric - with the unveiling of the system software which works with its previously announced RONNIEE Express platform.

The Fortissimo Foundation software (overview pdf) is the new management and OS software which enables application agnostic hardware based memory synchronization of DRAM memory blocks across multiple servers (scalable to thousands) which are connected via a PCIe fabric with worst case access times under 1 micro-second (which includes operating system and software overhead). This enables access to all the resources in the cluster as if they were local.
concept diagram - click for more info

Editor's comments:- Before talking to Emilio Billi, Founder - A3CUBE last week about the new Fortissimo - 3 ideas popped into my head.
  • modeling the application performance

    I realized that in the absence of any other data (at this stage of the product's life cycle)- a good predictive analog for the usability of this remote shared memory system would be Diablo's memory channel SSD architecture.

    The key difference being that the 1st generation MCS has typical latencies around 3 to 5 microseconds (compared to 800nS RONNIEE Express), and MCS is operating with flash - whereas RE operates with DRAM. But as a first order approximation -my thinking was that any app which works well with MCS in a local server - will work just as well - or better - in a remote server connected by RE.
  • the importance of strategic software standard support

    My guess is that for many smaller developers of large memory architecture systems - SanDisk's ZetaScale (and related) APIs will come to be regarded as a "safe" hardware independent SSD software platform for flash. So - if it was easy to integrate A3CUBE's Fortissimo / RE within such APIs - that would provide a gateway to a much bigger market.
  • beyond legacy storage and SSD fabrics

    Obviously to get business now - A3CUBE has to demonstrate that their products can be useful and competitive when used with existing storage and SSD installations and architectures.

    But as more of the installed base moves towards new dynasty (always intended to include SSDs at the outset), and in the next 5 to 10 years as we see the current new generations of "software as something useful in an SSD server" - give way to new SSD software ecosystems - developed by stealth mode companies like Primary Data - whose products don't even exist yet (except as tantalizing investment objects and patent applications) - I could see that the A3CUBE style of connection - would still fit in well - because the ability to replicate and synchronize remote memory in multiple servers at latencies which are closer to hardware than software - isn't going to go oyt of fashion.
So I mentioned all those things to Emilio when we spoke. And this is what I learned.
  • Emilio said Diablo was one of the first external companies to recognize the work that A3CUBE was doing. And he said that Diablo's APIs should work easily with A3CUBE's platform (just as many other memory intensive apps).

    And - as I speculated before our conversation - the ability to seamlessly converge remote low latency RAM with remote flash across an almost unlimited set of servers - is a mind boggling ecosystem enabler. Because we should now view SSD memory products which do useful things locally in a single server - as simply a subset of a continuum which can span racks and cabinets - and change not only cost dynamics - but the very determination of what type of apps are possible.
  • Emilio said a significant bottleneck in all previous fabric systems was the mechanism of metadata synchronization.

    That's traditionally done in software - and no matter how many hundreds or thousands of servers you have in your installation - the scalability of those systems ultimately comes back to the software mechanism of how fast 2 servers can replicate or share a set of data.

    In A3CUBE's RE platform - the ability to broadcast an identical content of shared memory across hundreds or thousands of connected nodes is done in silicon.
  • re reliability? - I put it to Emilio that everything was being staked on the reliability of the RE platform - and I asked more about that.

    Emilio said that the Fortissimo / RE system can be configured to drop back to an ethernet fabric if the core RE fails - but if budget allows - then it can fall back to another RE. In neither event do you lose data or access to data. A3CUBE has been collecting reliability data from their early access systems - and will publish more about that later.
  • re when can customers order these systems?

    Emilio said that the first production system is already scheduled for delivery to a US customer next month.

    So to my way of looking at it - the general availability issue just seems to be related to how many of the software features are nice to have versus essential. That will depend on what the applications are.
  • re my other points - Emilio said that legacy big memory software platforms are already supported by Fortissimo (see their site for more details) and we found a lot to agree about re the other things I mentioned above.



Seagate announces strategic technology agreements with Baidu

Editor:- September 17, 2014 - Seagate today announced it has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Baidu, China's largest web services firm.

Under the agreement, Baidu will give priority to Seagate products when considering components for all Baidu servers and storage facilities. In return Seagate will give priority to Baidu when providing enterprise storage products and relevant support, as well as maintain a dedicated engineering team for Baidu.

Editor's comments:- This is a very significant business announcement for Seagate. But it shouldn't come as any surprise - as the destinies of the companies were already set on a natural convergence of interests course which only needed the missing part of the IP jigsaw (SSDs) to complete the required harmony.

Here below is a verbatim quote from my coverage of Seagate's acquisition of LSI's SSD business in May 2014.

"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."

See also:- The big market impact of SSD dark matter, Decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise for rackmount SSDs


Silicon Motion has fastest UHS-II SD card controller

Editor:- September 17, 2014 - Silicon Motion today introduced the SM2704 which the company says is the world's fastest single-channel UHS-II SD card controller solution (aimed at the professional photography and video recording market) with a maximum R/W read speed of up to 280MB/s and 260MB/s respectively.

"Silicon Motion is the #1 merchant supplier of UHS-I/II card controllers, which are the majority of our overall SD card controller sales" said Wallace Kou, President and CEO of Silicon Motion.

See also:- SSD controllers, consumer SSDs


Maxta appoints new VP of business development

Editor:- September 17, 2014 - Maxta today announced the appointment of Jim Fitzgerald as its VP of business development and OEM sales. Fitzgerald joins Maxta from Nexenta where he was VP of business development.


another auspicious design win for ULLtraDIMM

Editor:- September 16, 2014 - SanDisk today announced that its ULLtraDIMM (memory channel SSD) has been selected by Huawei for use in its RH8100 V3 servers.

Huawei is ranked the top server supplier for cloud and mobility in China - by Sino-Bridge Consulting.

Editor's comments:- Since the January 2014 announcement that IBM was using ULLtraDIMM SSDs in some high end servers - there haven't been many conspicuously auspicious design win announcements like today's Huawei story.

One reason is that IBM had a head start on the market - having worked with Diablo for years to refine the MCS architecture and software APIs.

Another reason is that the 1st generation ULLtraDIMMs apparently guzzled more electrical power than modern RAM DIMMs even though they were still within the permitted power envelope according to industry standards.

This means that in order to support arrays of them in a server design (and indeed you do need arrays to get meaningful performance beyond the PCIe SSD level) requires a redesign of the copper power tracking on the motherboard. You can't just plug large numbers of ULLtraDIMMs into any old server without analyzing the thermal consequences.


Silverton Consulting interview with Pure Storage

Editor:- September 16, 2014 - Until now Pure Storage hasn't said enough about its software or SSD architecture - which has been a big negative as far I've been concerned.

Plugging that product data deficit - the company's Chief Technical Evangelist - Vaughn Stewart recently shared his thoughts in a podcast interview - GreyBeards talks all-flash storage with Pure Storage (podcast) published on Silverton Consulting - from which this quote is taken.

"Vaughn provides a good rational as to why we haven't seen any Pure Storage SPC-1/SPC-2 benchmarks, mainly because SPC will not audit storage that uses data reduction."

Editor's comments:- I haven't listened to it yet - because I don't have itunes on my work PC and have other things competing for 45 minutes of my time. (Written documents are more productive.) But I mention it here - because Pure Storage has been 1 of the top 5 companies which readers have been searching for this month - so I think that maybe a big news story may break soon.


how to configure Micron SATA SSDs for VSAN as a lower cost and faster alternative to SAS HDDs in a Dell PowerEdge

Editor:- September 12, 2014 - Micron today published a new blog - VSAN Demo 2014: A How-To Guide - which gives a top level configuration summary of a recent benchmark demo it ran at VMWorld.

Micron's introduction says "Our primary goal was to demonstrate best-in-class VSAN performance and show how that compared to a standard VSAN configured with SAS HDDs. One of the most interesting aspects of our configuration was that our M500 client (cheap SATA) SSDs were actually less expensive than the SAS 10K HDDs (in the comparison system)." ...read the article

Editor's comments:- An interesting thing (for me) is that - for reasons explained in the article - Micron configured VSAN to see the M500 SSDs as HDDs.

See also:- SSD software, How will the hard drive market fare... in a solid state storage world?

Later:- - BTW 4 days after the above post - Micron launched the M600 SATA SSD family - a low power (150mW typ), range using 16nm flash - and available in M.2, mSATA and 2.5" form factors.


Seagate launches new improved Nytro PCIe SSDs

Editor:- September 10, 2014 - Seagate today launched 2 new PCIe SSDs - which are based on the SSD product lines and brand assets of the recently acquired SSD business of LSI.
  • the Nytro XP6302 is a HHHL, gen 3 PCIe SSD - which provides up to 1.75 TB of usable eMLC capacity with 200 microseconds average latency, and 295K/79K R/W IOPS (8KB) and rated for 0.9 DWPD (approx) write endurance for 5 years. .
  • the Nytro XP6210 is a FHHL gen 2 PCIe SSD with 1.86TB usable 19nm cMLC capacity, with 50 microseconds average latency 185K/120K R/W IOPS (8KB), and rated at 1.6 DWPD (approx) write endurance for 5 years.



Dell uses Avago's 12Gb/s SAS chips in new RAID systems

Editor:- September 10, 2014 - Avago Technologies today announced that Dell has selected Avago's 12Gb/s SAS technology (recently acquired from LSI) for use in RAID controllers in Dell's new PowerEdge Servers. See also:- SAS SSDs, RAID systems, storage glue chips


Seagate reports low take up of hybrid drives

Editor:- September 10 , 2014 - Seagate today announced that it has shipped its 10 millionth solid-state hybrid hard drive (SSHD).

Seagate says it has experienced rising demand over the last 2 years for these solutions that offer the speed of SSDs combined with the industry's highest storage capacities.

Editor's comments:- The low take up of Seagate's hybrid drives for notebooks - which are 10x smaller than equivalent SSD shipments - rather than (as Seagate must have hoped when they launched these products 10x bigger) shows that StorageSearch.com's original assessment about the flaws in the concept (reported on these news pages in April 2005) were correct.

At that time I pointed to the segmental shrinking acceptability of the integrated hybrid drive concept concept which my analysis suggested was due to the inflexibility of having to fix the ratio of flash to magnetic media when the drive is made rather than being able to adapt and optimize these ratios of capacity and performance at the system level. The all in one hybrid also precludes optimum integration of the caching regimes with the various OSes.

Having said that - a niche market is better than no market. And the recent acquisition of LSI's SSD business - which gives Seagate control of the SandForce SSD controller family - will give Seagate the leverage to grab a sizable chunk of the notebook SSD market - if it chooses to use that leverage.


OCZ samples hot swap, fast 2.5" NVMe SSDs

Editor:- September 9, 2014 - OCZ announced that this month it will begin sampling a new 2.5" hot swappable enterprise PCIe SSD - the Z-Drive 6000 - a native PCIe 3.0 NVMe 1.1 solution - which the company says "provides industry-leading IOPS per dollar".

It has a SFF-8639 connector, internal RAID, power loss data protection, "consistent low latency", and encryption.

OCZ also unveiled a new SATA SSD aimed at customers in hyperscale and cloud markets - the Saber 1000 - which uses OCZ's Barefoot 3 controller and Toshiba's 19nm nand flash memory.

Editor's comments:- Although OCZ demonstrated the SSD industry's first working 3.5" PCIe SSD prototype 4 years ago - in August 2010 - the company didn't follow through to establish an early lead in its natural successor - the 2.5" enterprise PCIe market.

The main reason for that loss of momentum was financial problems at OCZ which for a few years weighed against introducing new products which didn't have immediate profitable markets.

Now, however, with OCZ having been almost a year as a Toshiba group company - the small form factor enterprise NVMe market looks like a natural fit for OCZ - as an extension of its long running conventional form factor PCIe SSD accelerator business and SAS SSD product lines.


HGST announces 2nd generation clustering software for FlashMAX PCIe SSDs

Editor:- September 9, 2014 - HGST today announced a new improved version of the high availability clustering capability previously available in the PCIe SSD product line acquired last year from Virident.

HGST's Virident Space allows clustering of up to 128 servers and 16 PCIe storage devices to deliver one or more shared volumes of high performance flash storage with a total usable capacity of more than 38TB.

HGST says its Virident HA provides a "high-throughput, low-latency synchronous replication across servers for data residing on FlashMAX PCIe devices. If the primary server fails, the secondary server can automatically start a standby copy of your application using the secondary replica of the data."

For more details see - HGST Virident Software 2.0 (pdf)

Editor's comments:- This capability had already been demonstrated last year - and ESG reported on the technology in January 2014.

But at that time - the clustering product called vShare - was restricted to a small number of servers - and the data access fabric was restricted to Infiniband only.

With the rev 2.0 software - the number of connected devices has increased - and users also have the lower cost option of using Ethernet as an alternative supported fabric.


StorageSearch.com updates 10 key SSD ideas in 2014

Editor:- September 2, 2014 - StorageSearch.com today published a new home page blog - 10 key SSD ideas which emerged and clarified in 2014.

Yeah - I know it's not January 2015 yet - but it already feels like enough big SSD changes have happened this year already to make an end of year type of round up article not only desirable but imperative. ...read the article


Seagate completes acquisition of LSI's SSD business

Editor:- September 2, 2014 - Seagate today announced it has completed its previously announced acquisition of the assets of LSI's Accelerated Solutions Division and Flash Components Division from Avago Technologies.

"There is a growing opportunity for mobile and enterprise flash-based storage solutions, which is why we're excited about this strategic technology acquisition," said Steve Luczo, Seagate Chairman and CEO.

"Integrating LSI's Enterprise PCIe flash and SSD controller products, and its engineering capabilities into Seagate's leading storage technology portfolio and product development will expand our ability to meet a broader base of customers' needs and drive new revenue opportunities."
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SSD news today
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9 years before

In September 2005 - SimpleTech (STEC) launched the world's first dual interface SSD. At launch time the Zeus Dual Interface SSD, with both a USB and SATA interface, offered capacities up to 192GB in a 3.5-inch form factor, and sustained read/write rates of 60 MBytes per second.
SSD market history
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DRAM SSD interfaces and PCIe fabrics are hotting up the top storage searches
Editor:- October 1, 2014 - Total SSD article views on StorageSearch.com grew 5% year on year in September 2014- despite all the changes in Google algorithms and increased competition in the SSD market reporting space.

But what have readers actually been looking at?

I'll be reporting on the 30th quarterly Top SSD Companies later this month. That involves a lot of work, cross checking and writing associated articles. All of which takes time. But what I can reveal today are these observations - based on reader metrics.
  • In Q3 2014 - Memory Channel SSDs became the 2nd most popular SSD form factor which readers followed up in articles and news stories. (#1 - in case you can't remember - has been - since 2009 - PCIe SSDs)
  • In September 2014 - the 3 SSD related companies which our readers were reading about most were:-

    #1 - Diablo (DDR3/4 flash technology)
    #2 - A3CUBE (PCIe memory fabric) and
    #3 - Fusion-io (no introduction required)
What does that signify?

It won't come any surprise to long term readers that there are still significant changes coming in SSD enabled data server architecture.

Having become accustomed to the idea that low latency flash inside servers has become an essential part of the job description of any multi-user enterprise server - and being offered a rich variety of competing alternative ways to bind CPUs and storage with SSDs by the SSD software market - the next natural questions for users and applications developers to ask are these:-
  • why do we have such low limits being set in directly addressible low latency memory capacity?
  • why should the performance in a single server box still dictate the ultimate bottleneck perfomance limits for critical data integrity and synchonization house keeping tasks in strategic applications - when we have access to thousands of servers?
  • why are our most expensive and fastest SSD enabled servers and storage systems being forced to use different software to the cheaper ones we use in other locations?
The roadmap vision I'm seeing emerge from enterprise SSD developments in 2014 - is that while oems and users are being offered more choices in form factors and flash memory types - each of which adds to the raw confusion of which one is best to use - the mission statement for the software developers and fabric enablers - or those who want to please their investors - will be to create SSDcentric platforms which enable these disparate pieces to be seen as interoperable subsets of a bigger continuum architecture - in which users can move freely across wide cost/performance boundaries without hitting walls which restrict their freedom to expand in any direction they want to go.

But it will get more complicated than that.

Just as early modern SSDs had to interoperate with legacy software and data storage in order to justify their costs - future SSD software developers will have to look at the messy patchwork of SSD accelerated servers and SSD SAN storage which are being installed today as part of their future "legacy problem".

Seen from that angle - some solutions in the enterprise SSD jigsaw puzzle box today - already seem to have better longevity prospects and opportunities for future upcycling than others.


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advertising SSD technology on StorageSearch.com
Editor:- September 22, 2014 - This is a time of year when many marketers are reviewing their business plans and wondering about ways to increase their visibility to the people that matter in the SSD market.

You may not have known this but StorageSearch.com was the first publication in the world to focus on the SSD market and we've been selling ads which have helped to shape and change the SSD market for 15 years.

Here's an interesting aspect of our customers which only occurred to me this afternoon when I was thinking about how many great SSD ad slots we've now got to offer.

If I look back at SSD related companies which have been acquired since January 2013 - who were also significant multi-year SSD advertisers on StorageSearch.com it yields a list like this:- Now you may wonder - after seeing the above list - whether the primary reason for SSD companies to advertise their wares at all was because they wanted to get acquired?

But many of these customers of ours were advertising SSDs on StorageSearch.com for many years before there was any appetite for such activities.

Why did they do it?

They advertised to get noticed and to get more visibility for their messages where the serious SSD customers are.

And maybe also in some cases because they liked the market expanding SSD awareness content which StorageSearch.com delivered.

What about advertising SSDs today?

There's no guarantee that advertising your SSDs will lead to your SSD company getting acquired. (That would be a ridiculous notion.)

But it will get you noticed sooner and deliver more visibly to people who make this market happen.

So if you're not scared of mice, and if you're involved in sales, marketing or business development in an SSD company - then you may be interested in learning more about this.

To learn more - contact me by email Zsolt@StorageSearch.com or take a look at these information pages.


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AnandTech article re age symmetry performance bug in Samsung's 840 EVO SSD
Editor:- September 20, 2014 - Recalls, bugs and firmware upgrades in consumer SSDs are nothing new - but there's a particularly interesting dimension of anxiety for SSD design verifiers which is revealed in a recent story - about the nature of a read performance bug in Samsung's 840 EVO - which appears in AnandTech.

The article's author Kristian Vättö, SSD Editor at AnandTech says - "there is a bug in the 840 EVO that causes the read performance of old blocks of data to drop dramatically... The odd part is that the bug only seems to affect LBAs that have old data (>1 month) associated with them because freshly written data will read at full speed, which also explains why the issue was not discovered until now."

Editor's comments:- This shows that there is still a high degree of immaturity and unwillingness to learn good practises from other industries in some parts of the consumer design verification market.

In many industries in which I worked in my pre online life - 1,000 hour tests designed to seek out errors were part of the standard norm.

I first learned about these 1,000 hour tests 35 years ago when I visited an early production version of a fuel consumption meter and data logger which I had designed for auto engine test beds. I was going to change the power supply for a replacement which we had screened through extended high temperature burn in - because we had discovered a design fault in these units which came from a leading PSU vendor - which could be detected by such testing. Our rack wasn't in use - so I turned the power off.

Klaxons and sonalerts started going off all over the place! - and people started rushing up to this bed to ask what was I was doing?! - because I had inadvertently shut down the power to other instruments in the same cabinet which were connected to other engines which were still undergoing 1.000 hour tests.

About 11 years later (about 1990) - and in a different company - my engineers had designed a database driven real-time broadcast program sharing and audio routing control system for the BBC.

But the BBC insisted we run a 1,000 hour software test with simulated users before they would let us install the first system.

During the 1,000 hour test we actively ran analysis code to look for anomalous behavior.

We found a bug! It was in part of the real-time OS firmware which didn't recycle memory properly after it was released from some real-time tasks.

The amounts of "stolen memory blocks" had been too small to notice in our initial testing - but built up over time and by adding more users. It was easy to fix - and we were lucky that our customer had insisted on the tests.

I heard via linkedin recently from one of the engineers who stayed with that industry - our customer continued using and upgrading those systems for about 20 years. But the story would have had a different ending (and much sooner) if the bugs hadn't been picked up before being deployed to control broadcast feeds.

In the enterprise SSD market - there's a lot more testing done on systems before they are sold to customers.

But in the consumer market - a thousand hours of extra design verification (42 days) can be the equivalent of as much as 20% of the product's market life. And there's a different relationship with end users - which verges on the low value churnable customer view rather than towards seeking a high value long term partnership. So you can see why engineers in consumer SSD design groups face a lot of pressure to release designs too soon.

This type of long developing performance bug can be a nightmare for product designers.

Due to its importance I listed it as 1 of the 11 design symmetries in SSD design - "age symmetry - How does the SSD performance change relative to the time it has been running..."


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SSD ad - click for more info


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


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SSD ad - click for more info


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M2 SSD graphic on StorageSearch.com
M.2 SSDs
on StorageSearch.com


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