| leading the way to the
new storage frontier||...|
the Top SSD Companies
RAM in an SSD context
trust SSD market data?
sudden power loss
flash story... could it have been simplified?
hidden preference segments in enterprise flash
processes over 100K 12" flash wafers / month|
July 15, 2015 - the image here shows part of the SSD burn-in test facility at
Longsys - which
is part of a new corporate
capabilities video. |
After showing pictures of buildings and
employees - the 6 minute video reveals some impressive production capacity
statistics, about Longsys including the ability to process:-
- 100K 12" flash wafers / month
- over 1 million micro SD cards / day
- over 100K embedded SSDs / day
|who's who in SSD? (nearly)
- Radian Memory Systems|
|Editor:- July 16, 2015 - One of several SSD
ecosystem companies which will emerge soon from stealth (on August 4 - to be
precise) will be Radian
Memory Systems - a company with a modern approach to designing
efficient, high performance, enterprise flash architecture.|
already read some stuff from the company but I can't say anything about it
The only reason I mention it here at all is that there was an
note re Radian published in another publication a few weeks ago based on
the linkedin profiles of the key people. That article is interesting in itself
- as a trip down memory
But Radian's own technology based on 4 years of development
will make more interesting reading and could change some of your plans.
|an update on comparative
reader interest in Micron and Diablo |
|Editor:- July 29, 2015 - 2 weeks ago in
SSD news I told you that
among the readers of StorageSearch.com (who have been greatly influential in
shaping the course of the SSD market in the past 17 years) the research
interest in Diablo
and its related technologies had been eclipsed by Micron. |
reason I thought that was so significant was that Diablo itself had replaced
Fusion-io's epic 5
year mission to be the SSD company which attracted your most attention.
That mission ended back in
Q3 2014 and since
then Diablo has retained the #1 quarterly rank of
top SSD companies in
all the succeeding quarters (so far).
Whereas Micron... well Micron
hadn't exactly been setting the world of enterprise SSDs on fire - even if it
did supply a lot of the kindling to others who knew better what to do with
The reasons for that spike of interest in Micron earlier this month
were due to speculation that Micron might be an acquisition target.
3 weeks into July and Micron was still ahead - so I thought I'd check in
again to see what's happening now that 4 weeks of July have elapsed.
The answer? - That spike of interest in Micron has ended (although Micron is
still currently at #2 based on the first 4 weeks of July. And Diablo is back
to where it was before at #1.
FMS coming up next month -
many SSD companie have been hoarding their most significant technology and
product announcements. So no doubt there will be a flare up of new stories
and new spikes of attention for us all to weigh up and digest.
back at the past month - for me the curious thing about the intertwining of
these two companies - Micron and Diablo - for unrelated reasons in the same
news story - was how differently things might have worked out - if earlier
this year Diablo hadn't won its patent case with
Netlist. (I anticipated
that if Netlist had won then Micron would be shopping for licenses or the whole
Instead Diablo's victory confirmed in law a recognition
of the differences in placing significant amounts of low latency flash as the
primarily addressible memory type in a DRAM interface socket compared to
having flash as a
backup to DRAM in the
same socket (as is the case in
hybrid DIMMs -
which have - in effect - quietly become the new hard core of the
RAM SSD market).
| hold up
capacitors in 2.5" MIL SSDs|
do you really need them?
Editor:- I've been looking at different aspects
of power hold up schemes in mission critical non volatile memory systems for
over 30 years. |
But every time I revisit this vast topic and compare
fresh examples from the market - I learn something a little bit new.
new blog -
to three seconds - demonstrates the extreme range of hold up times
now in the market inside leading edge 2.5" military flash SSDs.
| SuperCloud rebuilds RAID
20x faster with CoreRise PCIe SSD|
|Editor:- July 3, 2015 - CoreRise today
noted some record
breaking performance results from one of its customers -
SuperCloud (a well known Chinese
cloud server manufacture) based on a configuration with
SSDs in a 4U server with 2x 56Gbs
Among other things SuperCloud said its lab results showed that
RAID rebuilding was 20x
faster than without the SSD - using a RAID5 configuration of 6D+1P. While RAID
throughput was 10 to 14GB/s and 1 to 1.5 million 4KB
said that its enterprise grade PCIe SSDs have been widely deployed in the area
of cloud computing, internet infrastructure, education, government and
|90% of the enterprise SSD
companies which you know have no good reasons to survive
|In one of the most highly read
on StorageSearch.com in
recent years - I looked at drivers, mechanisms and routes towards
consolidation in the enterprise SSD systems market along with some other
outrageous and dangerous ideas. The conclusion?|
the enterprise SSD companies which you know have no good reasons to survive."
publication - I discussed these ideas with various readers for about 3
months and since publication you won't be surprised when I tell you it has
been at the core of many conversations since. ...read
July's of yore in
|1 year ago - July 2014 -
launched a new
enterprise software product -
ZetaScale - designed
to support large inmemory intensive applications. StorageSearch.com said
that ZetaScale was probably one of the most significant
SSD software products
2 years ago - July 2013 -
launched its new technology -
Channel Storage - which repurposes the interface and form factor of
server DRAM into a new architecture for ultrafast flash SSDs which the company
positions as a competitive alternative to very fast
years ago - July
2011 - StorageSearch.com published an article
the new SSD uncertainty
principle? - based on disclosures by STEC about its CellCare
- which promised to "reset all the assumptions about flash endurance".
This was an advance ripple of a strategic SSD market wide paradigm
R/W and DSP" technology.
7 years ago - July 2008 -
Texas Memory Systems
launched the RamSan-440 - the first rackmount
RAM SSD which used a
flash array as the internal
backup storage medium instead of hard drives. It meant that the world's
fastest SSD could be almost instantly usable when power was restored instead of
having to wait for tens of minutes (a problem being encountered when users had
large capacity RAM SSD systems).
14 years ago - July 2001 -
the SSD market with the launch of its Rocket Drive - a PCI bus RAM SSD which
was designed as a performance accelerator "delivering performance of up to
one million transactions per second."
15 years ago -
(Silicon Storage Technology) entered the embedded mass data storage market with
the introduction of a flash memory-based
PATA SSD packaged in
a 32-pin DIP package with capacities upto 64 MBytes.
|"more lanes of SAS than anyone else"
- new 4U SavageStor|
Editor:- July 28, 2015 - As the
rackmount SSD market
consolidation - new business opportunities are being created for those
brave hardware companies which accept the challenge of providing simple
hardware platforms (which provide high density or efficiency or performance or
other combinations of valued technical features optimized for known use cases)
while also being willing to sell them unbundled from expensive frivolous
In that category - Savage IO today
its SavageStor - a 4U
server storage box - which - using a COTS array of hot swappable SAS SSDs -
can provide upto 288TB flash capacity with 25GB/s peak internal bandwidth with
useful RAS features for embedded systems integrators who need high flash
density in an untied / open platform.
Savage IO says it "products
are intentionally sold software-free, to further eliminate performance drains
and costs caused by poor integration, vendor lock-in, rigidly defined
management, and unjustifiable licensing schemes."
comments:- I spoke to the company recently and most of you will
if it's the right type of box for you or not.
Virtium launches industrial M.2 PCIe SSDs
July 28, 2015 - Virtium
it has expanded its StorFly range of industrial SSDs with new
PCIe SSDs (gen 2)
available in both M.2 and
Mini Card form factors with capacities from 16GB upto 480GB.
is upto 3.3 petabytes of writes (about 3.7
DWPD for 5 years).
Virtium's new SSDs have full BOM control with up to 5 years of uninterrupted
Virtium says the new SSDs are specifically
designed to operate at low power (<4W) and offer highly reliable and
compatible drop-in storage for systems at the center of communications,
networking, data acquisition, automation, and similar applications.
rugged COTS NAS case study - helicopter data recorder
July 21, 2015 - Curtiss-Wright
recently published an
note (pdf) which describes an 8TB rugged flash SSD based data recorder
providing real-time sensor recording and playback capabilities (with multiple
200MB/s channels) for a helicopter platform which uses the company's COTS
network storage boxes. ...read
the paper (pdf)
Editor's comments:- The most useful thing about
this paper is it gives you an idea of the physical size and throughput if
you've got something similar in mind.
The main thing which has changed
with this type of application for SSDs in
decades is the size, storage capacity, power consumption and price.
(Sensors stay pretty much the same.)
For a comparison (of memory types
and interfaces in rugged "mobile" SSD based data recorders) take a
look at this story from 1988 -
of Working With the US DoD (pdf)
I want my AFA
July 18, 2015 - A ruggedized rackmount SSD from EMC - the
(pdf) - is part of the electronics tour kit which the rock band U2 uses to refine and capture its audience
experience according to a new blog -
tours with AFA to rock the latest video effects on Computerworld written by editorial
Heichler who says the group's technical support crew captures data from
than 20 video cameras during each show. ...read
Editor's comments:- now every supergroup
will want their own EMC flash array. A BBC online video -Play it Loud - the Story of
the Marshall Amp - tells the story of an earlier generation of must-have
Alas my own experience in my brother's
in 1973 was the opposite of Loud on the 2nd and final public occasion when my
home made guitar amp blew up while we were playing the same Chuck Berry number
for about the 3rd time. I never truly appreciated the need for heat sinks
until a mandatory thermodynamics unit appeared in my electronics course 3
Microsemi announces availability of 900GB usable 2.5"
military SSDs in 9.5mm for those who loathe supercaps but love SLC
July 16, 2015 - Designers of
systems for whom SLC is the only
flash memory good enough
- but who also needed higher capacities in their 2.5" SATA slots have -
until recently - had little choice but to consider SSDs with significant
holdup for their toughest designs. And that, in turn means a complex
qualification process and really getting to know the internal ad hoc internal
details of SSD
architectures and related firmware which might well change considerably
over the lifetime of their projects.
Meeting the need for those who
prefer a simpler and more predictable controller architecture roadmap Microsemi today
the availability of a new enhanced capacity model in its TRRUST-STOR line of
provides 1TB raw (900GB usable) SLC NAND flash in a 2.5" 9.5mm high
package in a US made product with all the features you'd expect from this
established military SSD product line.
- no super caps or batteries:- thereby improving reliability and enabling
reset-to-ready time of 1.5s
- fast purge:-
TRRUST-Purge clears encryption key in less than 30mS.
- Hardware based fast erase, erasing the entire drive in less than 10 seconds
Microsemi says that because this SSD family uses its
own Armor memory processor technology this also enables long-term availability
to its customers. Facilitating the promise of "no forced EOL from
firmware/controller availability issues."
16 petabytes written (equivalent to 8.7
DWPD for 5 years - as a
comparison for the curious - although 5 years is a short stretch for this
class of SSD).
Micron was #1 researched SSD company in 1H July
July 16, 2015 - If you saw the
news a few days ago (see
below) you won't be too surprised to learn that StorageSearch.com reader
research volume for Micron
in the first half of July exceeded that of any other company.
picture for the period July 1 to 15 looked like this:-
Seagate and also at #5
of that what you will.
Although these short term fluctuations can be
useful to think about - insofar as they can alert me to something which I may
have otherwise missed - my conclusion from 20 years of looking at these kinds of
stats in my web
publications is that a sampling period of a quarter is a more reliable
indicator (than a week or a month) for strategic long term decision making.
here being a
based on comparing movements in search based rankings with what actually
happened on a historic basis from a business perspective in the quarters
which followed the sampling period.
And that's why the
Top SSD Companies List
- which has been running for over 8 years - still uses that (quarterly) sampling
Later:- July 22, 2015 - I rechecked the stats for the 1st 3 weeks of
July to see - has anything changed?
No - the ranking above has
stayed exactly the same.
What clarified though was the next 4
companies which populate the rest of the Top 10 section of this list. These
7 - OCZ
Tegile tied with
takeover story suggest that China based Tsinghua Unigroup thinks
it can do a better job with Micron's fabs
Editor:- July 15, 2015
- Re Micron - a
report in NY Times
Technology Is Said to Be Takeover Target of Chinese Company - discussed
possible valuation and geopolitical reactions.
Micron owns a lot of memory making assets but in a future world where memory is
less important than the SSD systems in which the memory is deployed - Micron
has been unable or unwilling to establish a competitively strong core SSD IP
base in the enterprise market.
Furthermore several SSDcentric
trends in computer architecture both in consumer and enterprise markets have
been pointing towards a future in which
SSD specific software
will greatly reduce the amount of raw DRAM needed to support traditional
computing device functions in a wide range of products such as notebooks, PCs
Micron's management philosophy has been honed by
decades of surviving the
bust business cycles of successive memory generations - and in particular
DRAM. But Micron has not yet demonstrated convincingly that it can be a
broad based leader in "generation SSD".
For those reasons - it's likely that other management could get better
value from its memory fabs.
Although as Jim Handy, Objective Analysis said in
his own posted alert about the Micron takeover target story "This kind of
deal often must pass a lot of US government scrutiny before it closes, and that
could take several months.... If the regulatory approval process takes too long
then a China bubble burst could well prevent this deal from materializing."
fast rackmount SSDs from EMC, IBM, Pure... which is cheapest?
Editor:- July 9, 2015 - In a recent blog about the
competitiveness of fast rackmount SSDs -
I Hate Cost/GB Discussions - Michael Martin,
FlashSystems Specialist - IBM
- leads you through a series of arguments to convince you that - when
measured on a 5 year ownership basis (against a very specific set of parameters)
his company's fast
rackmount SSDs are cheaper to own than competitive models from EMC and Pure.
other things Michael says - "Why is everyone so focused on the initial cost
when it comprises such a small percentage of the "real" or total cost
of the storage array?"
condition question which Michael Martin looks at is - what is if EMC gave
you a FREE VMAX? How would that compare to the IBM V9000 FlashSystem's TCO?
I like that style of analysis - because it's one I've used a lot
myself in the past 12 years or so - in various market forecasts where I
looked at the cost of one type of product being zero but another type of
product (SSD) still being cheaper or better.
comments:- recently we've seen survey data from
Tegile suggesting that
for a significant proportion of enterprise users the ROI on their enterprise
flash investment can be as little as 1 or 2 years - which suggests that looking
at the 5 year cost, or the initial purchase cost are equally unreliable
For most users - the uncertainty of capturing reliable
predictive cost benefit data to justify the acquisition of enterprise flash
arrays was discussed in my article -
the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing.
The reasons for
choosing one system over another include so
preferences and associated customer service values that the 5 year
predicted cost from a particular web site are not likely to be the decisive
factor for most users - who will prefer to trust their own analysis.
long as you don't take the rankings in Michael Martin's blog too seriously - as
gospel - and don't come away with the idea that IBM's FlashSystem is always the
best and cheapest fast rackmount SSD - it's a fun read. ...read
Conspicuously absent however in this discussion -
given the 5 year cost justification timeframe - is a new class of fast
rackmount SSDs which will be emerging in the next year - based on arrays of
2.5" NVMe SSDs
- which will have the same impact on the fate of this segment of the market
(IBM, EMC, Violin etc -
united by performance
architecture) as flash did on
RAM SSDs. (Implode the
costs and explode the scalability and market roadmaps.)
SSD costs and
justifications 2001 to 2015
SanDisk comments on where SSDs are cheaper than HDDs
July 3, 2015 -
HDDs is only a one part of the
SSD story - but a useful market milestone can be found in a recent blog -
and the Retreat of Hard Disk Drives by Brian Cox, Senior
Director of Outbound Marketing - SanDisk.
- Re consumer SSDs
- Brian says - "We are already seeing consumer 128GB SATA SSDs drop below
the prices for the lowest priced consumer HDDs this year. 256GB SSDs will soon
be there, too."
comments:- These market milestones are confirmations of the "floor
cost" based flash adoption tipping points which Jim Handy founder of Objective Analysis
predicetd 10 years ago in his classic article -
Flash Memory vs. HDDs -
Which Will Win?
- Re SAS drives
- Brian says - "Lenovo is now publishing the list price of SanDisk's
Optimus MAX SAS SSD that they use in their servers at a $/GB price that is lower
than their 300GB 15K RPM SAS SSD list pricing."
SSD costs and
justifications through the ages
who's who in SSD? - Recadata
July 2, 2015 - I'm still thrilled to learn about new (to me) SSD companies -
especially those which have been in the market for some time. Another new one
in that category this week is Recadata (Shenzhen
Recadata Storage Technology Co., Ltd), founded in 2009 and headquartered in
Overseas Sales Director - Recadata, told me this morning "Recadata
already has 6 years experience in the industrial SSD market. From 2009 to
2014, our company has been mainly focused on the domestic market in China. But
this year, our company wishes to explore business opportunities in the
Editor's comments:- I'll create a
profile page for Recadata after the holidays. In the meantime - here's an
overview of their SSD products
range (which includes industrial, military and enterprise SSDs and
rackmount systems too.)
Avalanche Technology samples 64Mb STT-MRAM made using 55nm CMOS
Editor:- July 1, 2015 -Avalanche Technology
it is sampling the industry's first STT-MRAM chips manufactured using
standard CMOS 300mm wafer processing.
Avalanche's new memory device
is a 64Mb chip with an industry standard SPI interface built on a 55nm node
What happened before? - See the
SSD news archive