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popular SSD articles
the Top SSD Companies
What happened in the
SSD market in 2015?
upside and downside of hold-up caps in MIL SSDs
an SSD guide
to semiconductor memory boom bust cycles
there's more to
future change in SSD and SCM than DIMM wars
up DWPD |
|Editor:- October 28, 2015 - DWPD ratings have
become a useful shortcut to filter enterprise SSDs because there's an
industry-wide consensus that the number should somehow map into
application zones and price bands. |
This shows how optimistic the
SSD market mood still is today - when you factor in the jitter level
uncertainty of exactly how elastic that DWPD drive number really is (in the
minds of its creators) and how much it will get twisted around, modified and
stretched when it meets up with the
(is it really) DRAM,
software and SSD
array cousins with which it will cohabit life in the
well and good - and my reference article on
DWPD examples in the market
was already becoming quite popular earlier this year (which was no surprise -
as it's simply another way of talking about
when I got a wake up email (in April 2015) about a new military grade
industrial SSD which had a DWPD rating.
I didn't write about it at
the time because even though the product had been stealthily working its way
into designs it hadn't been publicly launched. Nevertheless I kept my eyes
open for signs that others might also be doing similar things.
similar things being:- the growing use of enterprise architecture in mobile
datacenters and portable and remote rugged systems.
SSDs have been
used in such systems for over 25 years - but often this was essentially a
repackaging exercise to place a rack of industry standard stuff into a
dustproof, ant-fungus treated, drop resistant box with an invertor so it could
run off batteries while keeping the weight and size down so it could be
lifted onto a truck or plane and survive long enough to do useful
data-capture and analysis in the field.
The modern aspirations of
these engineering systems are to do more of the same old things in less
space but also to do entirely new things in widgets which you'll probably see
in season 20 of NCIS.
That's why you're going to see more military
grade, secure, rugged, industrial SSDs coming onto the market with full fledged
It's no longer just an enterprise market parameter.
DWPD rated SSDs are
|Who's got all the answers
to help understand how all the changes in the SSD market are coming together?
The answer is - no one and everyone and you too.|
|Dell buys EMC - the SSD
good for Dell-EMC - long term
good for AFA and hybrid
competitors - short term
disruption and changes for SSD suppliers -
|Editor:- October 13, 2015 - Dell yesterday
it has agreed to acquire EMC
for approximately $67 billion. The acquisition also included EMC's stake in
the storage software
company VMware - which
will remain in public ownership.|
Editor's comments:- In the
short term this fixes a problem for Dell (its weakness in enterprise storage)
and offers a credible way for EMC to adapt to a long term future in which its
storage products become
commoditized and accessible to smaller businesses (something which Dell has
historically been good at with its server business.)
landscape in enterprise storage is
but a long term SSD centric summary goes something like this.
have become a commodity. And there is little or no scope for genuine
differentation options to be offered within the server market. (Being able
to offer the same memories or SSDs in servers as everyone else - does not
decommodify server product lines BTW.)
In contrast - enterprise storage
- which in the HDD and post tape library and post optical storage era (2001 to
2008) had been coasting towards oblivious commoditization - has been
temporarily reprieved from that fate (2009 to 2018) by the disruptive
impact of SSD memory technologies which enabled the construction of
5 to 6 role
differentiated types of new storage boxes which could deliver value to
users in ways which were technically unimaginable and unfeasible with
classically tiered memory and storage.
Having misfired its original
entry into the enterprise flash market in
2008 - EMC has
in recent years managed to accumulate credible industry leading proprietary IP
and product lines in 2 of the 5 above storage box segments (which will satisfy
projected enterprise storage needs in the post HDD era) meanwhile treading
water in the other 3 main box segments (indicating its aspiration to occupy
part of those other crowded beachheads if possible).
Assuming all goes
well with the acquisition process - the Dell-EMC product line will enable EMC
storage to be more competitive in the short term with existing products and to
maybe credibly add another notch to the list of product types for which it has
aspirations for clear leadership.
on the server and storage markets which are emerging from
SSD centric software
and data architectures will mean that traditional product lines from both
vendors will shrink away.
And those lost revenues will stay gone
forever. The old ways and the
orders won't be coming back. That's why it's important for both companies
to draw in new smaller customers and to nurture them (if possible) into the
new sustainable sold state storage and server product lines.
about impacts for the SSD market?
Anyone who competes with Dell or EMC
will - for the next year - have an easier ride - due to the inward focus
which sucks away the attention of the talent following such acquisitions.
SSD market as a whole will continue to supply memory and SSDs to the new company
- and probably can look forward to getting more business in 18 months time.
it won't simply be more of the same. Some SSD vendors may see big changes
when Dell EOLs systems and modules which are cannibalistic and compete within
the combined product lines.
transaction comes out of weakness, not strength" said Scott Dietzen, CEO -
- in his blog
Observations on Dell / EMC Deal.
The aptness of
that summary made me jealous.
I guessed that Scott Dietzen has
probably got some old product planning powerpoints somewhere which could
provide many entertaining viewing hours about the competitive landscape
analysis which focuses around this old style pair of soon to be married
So my comment to Dietzen's article post on
linkedin was this.
re - "This transaction comes out of weakness,
not strength" - is a profound understatement. Wish I'd written that.
|spreading the word about
| Like ghostwriters - their identities remain
largely unknown - even when their works are widely read. |
here about PR agencies which have done good work in the storage industry.
recently updated my own list of
editor proven PR
agencies - to clear out the dead links.
For vendors who are new to
the SSD and storage market this list (which has been online since 2001) can be
a useful way to find a communications partner who will help to spread the word
about what you do throughout the fragmented media jungle. ...see the list
|So we're looking at a list
of 10 well known suppliers of flash arrays. |
Probably you've spent
days (or weeks) going through the features, which types of SSDs are inside the
arrays etc, etc.
Now line them all up again in your mind.
imagine that every single one of these products is actually the same hardware.
And when I say the same - I mean the same.
consolidation in the enterprise SSD market |
| Cache latency is key to side-channel attack technique which can breach
cloud server security walls|
Editor:- October 29, 2015 - Cache
jitter and latencies are more than simply
quality issues - they can be the root of
The juxtaposition of these concepts in colocated
cloud servers presents
risks which were reported
recently by researchers at Worcester
The research team used a combination of
techniques to first create a virtual machine on the same Amazon cloud server as
a target machine (a technique known as co-location). They then used the
co-located machine to spy on the target. By observing how it accessed
information in memory, they could determine when it was retrieving its RSA key.
Then by charting the timing of the memory access they were able to deduce the
key's actual numeric sequence. ...read the summary
3D X-Point could shrink DRAM market by 1/3 in 5 years- says
Editor:- October 23 , 2015 - Coughlin Associates
has recently published a new
report on Emerging Non-Volatile Memory and Spin Logic (163 pages,
The memories addressed in this report
(pdf) include PRAM, RRAM, MRAM, STT MRAM as well as the recently announced
3D X-Point Technology.
X-Point Technology will have a big impact on
DRAM growth (with DRAM
sales down $6.7 billion to $15.6 billion due to XPoint by 2020) with XPoint
revenues of $663 million to $1.5 billion by 2020.
MRAM and STT MRAM
revenue is estimated at $1.4 billion to $3.2 billion by 2020. Manufacturing
equipment revenue for MRAM and STT MRAM production is estimated to be between
$159 million and $294 million by 2020.
market research directory,
an SSD view
of semiconductor memory boom-bust cycles,
loving reasons for fading out DRAM in the virtual memory slider mix
SanDisk hops into WDC's flash shopping basket
October 22, 2015 - Following weeks of speculation and leaks came the
yesterday that Western
Digital has indeed agreed to acquire SanDisk in a deal
valued at $19 billion.
If all goes as planned the transaction is
expected to close in the 3rd calendar quarter of 2016.
comments:- From an SSD server storage competitive landscape perspective I
think this is more significant than the
Dell deal. Because it
will impact the design, availability, competitive market health and future
direction of many classic SSD product types in a far reaching way which could
only be matched if Dell were to acquire
play a big factor too.
Looking back at past acquisitions by WDC
you shouldn't expect anything to come out the other end of the digester
before the end of 2017.
And in that time - 2 years hence - many things
in the SSD market will be different.
Some of SanDisk's best known
enterprise SSD product lines (PCIe, SAS and SATA cloud) are already looking as
if they were designed for a different movie generation.
got a perfect Bogart lookalike for a remake of Casablanca, but
webscale casting is hooked on an idea more like Tyrion Lannister
in Game of Thrones.)
In PCIe server sockets SanDisk has
the curve in NVMe, while in 2.5" storage arrays - new adaptive
intelligence flow symmetry
- which is emerging in many different forms - means that in the extreme case
of cloud deployments -
a single SSD with customized firmware - can replace 2 old style SATA SSDs.
the other hand - SanDisk has more than amply demonstrated its willingness and
capability to integrate flash memory in the enterprise outside traditional SSD
comfort zones:- in server based DIMMs and analytics scale big data memory.
Those market experiments haven't generated much revenue yet but
are the early steps on a learning curve which all memory makers will have to
explore. The combination of that software capability and access to consumer
scale, low cost flash will probably be more use to WDC than any single
What happens in the meantime?
As we've seen
before in such long drawn out acquisitions - it's inevitable that some
SanDisk product developments will slow down and wither on the vine.
the other hand - there will also be pressure to accelerate new product
introductions too. You could say - it will be business as usual - but without
so many distractions coming from the investor angle.
Looking ahead to
a post WDC SanDisk...
WDC has a track record of swiftly EOLing
perfectly adequate SSD products which came bundled in the shopping basket but
didn't have high volumes and market scale.
This is a story which
you'll be reading about for a long time to come.
Permabit shrinks data in new flash boxes from BiTMICRO
October 20, 2015 - Permabit
that its inline dedupe and compression software is used in BiTMICRO's new
rackmount SSD white boxes - which include a 1U iSCSI appliance (20x 2.5"
TB SSD shown at FMS) and a 3U
fast SSD server (8x PCIe SSDs) which is due to be shipped this quarter.
OCZ does that 3rd generation SSD firmware cloud thing
(but gives it a better name)
Editor:- October 16, 2015 - It's no
longer just the newcomers to the enterprise SSD market who are doing that 3rd
generation / co-operative (whatever you want to call it) SSD controller
firmware and host stack collaboration thing.
OCZ this week announced
they're doing it too.
It's available in the
Saber 1000 (2.5"
cloud oriented, read mostly SSDs). And they've got a better name for it too - "Host
Managed SSD Technology".
"Our new Saber HMS SSD, together
with a software library and API, enable for the first time (in OCZ's product
line) software orchestration of internal housekeeping tasks across large pools
of SSDs, thus overcoming performance barriers that were simply not possible to
address without this technology" said Oded Ilan, GM of OCZ's R&D
Team in Israel.
"With HMS APIs, a host can coordinate garbage
collection, log dumps, and drive geometry data" (and graphics too). Learn
OCZ's HMS overview
Editor's comments:- HMS (and 3rd generation SSD
controller firmware and there are other
jargon and brand names
too) are all examples of what I called "adaptive intelligence flow
symmetry" in my 2012 article -
11 Key Symmetries in
Solidata ships military grade 2.5" MLC SSD with IOPS attitude
October 16, 2015 - Solidata
recently announced shipments of a new rugged 2.5" SATA military
grade industrial SSD with 1TB raw (972.5GB usable) MLC SSD - for high
capacity, performance demanding applications in harsh environments. R/W for 4KB
blocks is approximately 70K IOPS.
Solidata says the new
which has regular
RAM cache (1GB DDR) and
seconds capacitor hold up time is available with all the features you'd
expect from a military grade SSD (such as full drive auto
erase in under 18S)
but - as it uses MLC instead of SLC - it can be a more cost-effective
alternative for many applications such as airborne/ shipborne digital
recording systems, pipeline inspection and remote DVRs.
Kaminario supports FalconStor's FreeStor
October 14, 2015 - FalconStor
its FreeStor software is now supported by Kaminario on its K2
flash arrays to provide data migration and multi storage vendor replication
to consolidation in the AFA market
new series coming soon...
Processors in SSD controller design
Editor:- October 12,
2015 - Once upon a time it seemed like a crazy idea to have a web page about
SSDs. Who would be
interested? Not enough people surely to sustain such an activity?
years later we started seeing some web pages talking about
stuff inside SSDs. Were there really more than 10 people in the world who
wanted to read about endurance?
And then - it still seems so long
ago now - an even weirder web page appeared on the mouse site listing
Surely that was the kind of information which should only be
published on a
need to know
basis - and never appear without a sign up form (pre nuptial NDA filter) on any
normal person's home page.
And so it went on.
We were all
sad when we
what happened when the SSD's battery died. And we were bemused to discover
that SSDs could not only accelerate Fourier transforms outside the box but
could also have DSP noise filters inside their flash block integrity
Coming soon. A new series...
SSD design - processors used in SSDs
This is for those of you
who know in your bones that to get the SSD you want - you need to design
your own controller.
I may be wrong - but I think that the days
when all such minded folks could be snugly gathered up to assemble
in the same bus or plane or even industry conference are now behind us. So
that's why we need another series of web pages.
SanDisk and HP ally in SCM DIMM wars
October 9, 2015 - SanDisk
and HP yesterday
a long-term partnership to collaborate on a new technology within the Storage
Class Memory category.
The companies say it will center around HP's
Memristor and SanDisk's ReRAM memory technology and manufacturing and design
Editor's comments:- In the summer
Micron established the
precedent that it's now OK to talk about futuristic memory roadmap intentions
as long as they include a big dollop of memory types which are less well known
than flash - because most of the press and business analysts treat it with just
as much seriousness as if you were talking about something which you can ship
This is part of the pre-shooting, phoney war about how the
industry is going to phase in a new level of big memory which from the software
point of view has similar R/W characteristics to RAM - but which from the
capacity point of view - is closer to flash than it is to DRAM. And in
competitive terms will work better than existing memory types in some types of
applications and not at all well in others.
SanDisk already has a good
view of the possibilities in this market via its ZetaScale software - which
provides big data RAM virtualization using any type of flash SSD. And
conversations with customers of its memory channel storage codeveloped with
Diablo - must have reinforced SanDisk's confidence in new uses for DIMMs.
(Although SanDisk's ULLtraDIMM is a flash based SSD - which can't do byte writes
in the same way that Memory1 can.)
So... what could HP bring to
this party for SanDisk?
You need a friendly bios
and platform and routes to market when you're trying to launch a new
Memristor? - This press release had to include
some kind of technology input from HP to make them feel better. If you had said
"toner cartridges" instead it would have been just as deliverable
today - except that everyone knows the printers are now going in a different
direction. Maybe the draft press release did have toner cartridges as the
placeholder and they just slipped that memory jibber jabber in at the last
minute before pressing send.
It's the weekend. - Maybe it will look
different on Monday.
- "Low power is at the center of HP's ReRAM technology. HP's
presentation pointed out that a lot of the time and energy of computation is
used by the OS moving data between the various levels of the memory hierarchy
of existing computer architectures." - ReRAM
Forum (July 2014)
- "We're the world's largest purchaser of DRAM and the second largest
buyer of flash and (with Memristors) we're trying to disrupt and re-arrange our
supply chain" - said HP - reported in the article -
to replace flash and SSD in 2013 (October 2011) on Electronics Weekly
PMC-Sierra agrees to be acquired for $2 billion
October 6, 2015 - PMC-Sierra
has agreed to be acquired by Skyworks
for $2 billion it was
"With our acquisition of PMC, Skyworks will be
uniquely positioned to capitalize on the explosive demand for high performance
solutions that seamlessly connect, transport and store Big Data," said David J. Aldrich,
chairman and CEO of Skyworks. "Specifically, we plan to leverage PMC's
innovative storage systems, flash controllers, optical switches and network
infrastructure solutions to expand our engagements with some of the world's
leading OEMs and ODMs as well as
data center customers."
...Later:- this triggered a
bidding war for PMC - whose progress was reported by PMC on its news pages over
the 7 weeks or so which followed the above announcement.
didn't get what it wanted.
Instead PMC was acquired by
Microsemi - whose
final accepted offer was about $500 million higher.
Micron acquires stealth mode NVMe SSD controller company - Tidal
Editor:- October 3, 2015 - Micron has acquired
Tidal Systems (a stealth mode
controller company whose home page has the statement "Enabling PCIe NVMe
Flash Storage Development" according to a news report by Tom's
Hardware which suggests that the acquired company's controller
technology is adaptive
Editor's comments:- In June 2015 I summarized the
weaknesses of Micron's flash controller technology and commented on the oddity
of its not having made any significant enterprise
in the preceding 12 to 18 months. In which I said "Micron's enterprise
storage strategy has not met the basic needs of Micron as a memory company. It
doesn't have any strong SSD architectures and systems roadmaps of its own."
- in the same article in
a February 2014 note - I wrote about "Micron's DIMM SSD accelerator
product gap / opportunity / threat"... That was recently addressed with
the recent announcement of Optane.
So that leaves just one main
outstanding action on the future Micron "to do list" - from the SSD
analysis in their profile page here on the mouse site - the acquisition of a
rackmount SSD reference architecture or product line.
UNIS agrees to invest $3.8 billion in Western Digital
October 1, 2015 - UNIS, founded in
1988 and headquartered in Beijing, has entered into an agreement to make a
$3.775 billion equity investment in Western Digital (for
approximately 15% of Western Digital's
stock right along with a seat on the
board). Proceeds from the investment will go toward strengthening Western
Digital's balance sheet.
What happened before? - See the
SSD news archive
October 2015 was an expensive month for buying SSD companies with EMC,
SanDisk and PMC-Sierra among those in the list of "agreed to be acquired"
companies. see also:-
list of SSD
companies acquired since 2000
In the summer of 2015 Intel and Micron established the precedent that it's
now OK to talk about futuristic memory roadmap intentions as long as they
include memory types which are less well known than flash - because most
commentators treat it with just as much seriousness as if you were talking about
something which you can ship today.
SanDisk and HP ally in SCM DIMM
wars (October 9, 2015)
|"Are you still in the
camp that thinks proprietary hardware is the better path? Simply take a look at
the leading global hyperscalers, i.e. AWS, Azure, Google, Apple and how their
Data Centers look... How long before everyone else hops on the bandwagon?"|
VP Business Development Coho
Data - in his new blog
Cloud or Not to Cloud...Publicly|
| 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.
to three seconds - demonstrates the extreme range of hold up times
now in the market inside leading edge 2.5" military flash SSDs.