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latency reasons for fading out DRAM in the virtual memory mix
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You could say - using an analogy from thermodynamics - that storage has lower data entropy than memory - because you can do more with raw memory than with raw storage.

The heat pumps - which change the roles of one memory package to another are coming from the software market.
where are we heading with memory intensive systems?

"We just made the first tri-state DRAM chip in the world. For the same capacity DRAM chip, with using our patented technologies, we could reduce the memory array area up to 36%, we could reduce the power consumption up to 40%, we could also increase the chip access speed."
Wayne Zhang, President and CEO at Encrip - in his recent linkedin note - This chip gonna rock the DRAM industry (May 3, 2016)

Explaining how the IP can be used Wayne said "it could be a plus to any existing DRAM process, even Samsung's 10nm."

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what goes on inside AES encrypted SSDs?
storage security articles and news
SSD security
Editor:- May 24, 2016 - Securing SSDs with AES Disk Encryption - by C.C. Wu, VP - Innodisk - is a recent article published on Electronic Design.

Among other things in this article Wu cautions readers about the limitations of encrypted SSDs...

"As strong as the 256-bit AES encryption is on encrypted SSDs, it only protects data at rest, i.e., when the system is turned off. To protect data in flight, data-loss-prevention (DLP) techniques, use of secure communication protocols, and other measures must be taken." the article

"When calculating cost v performance, its clear that flash is not the luxury technology that some people believe it to be. Rather it is actually the most cost effective option for performance-critical applications. Quite simply flash will save you money."
Satoko Omata, Senior Journalist - Data&StorageAsean - in her recent blog (May 5, 2016) - Dead or alive: is there a future for legacy storage?

Related articles here on the mouse site:-

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DIMM wars at battery scale
Editor:- May 12, 2016 - A recent blog - How Marvell FLC Redefines Main Memory - by Hunglin Hsu, VP - Marvell provides authoritative examples of the replacement ratios possible in a phone design.

A strategic lesson to guide future designers is that even while getting a 50% power consumption reduction (due to flash as RAM) it is also feasible to increase application performance at the same time because the software can work with a larger memory capacity (due to the lower cost of flash bytes).
Marvell FLC - embedded flash as RAM
Among other things Hunglin says - "With FLC, better performance can be achieved by reporting to the operating system a larger than physically implemented main memory. The operating system is thus less likely to kill background apps, which is why the fast app switching is possible. The FLC hardware does all the heavy lifting in the background and frees up the tasks of the operating system." the article

"If you've recently been on the acquired side of an acquisition send me your best advice. I'd love some words of wisdom for myself and to be able to share with my team."
Marilyn Becker, Director, HR Systems at SanDisk in her new blog (May 10, 2016) about waiting to be acquired by Western Digital - the article.

what do today's prototype kits tell us about IoT's future?
Editor:- May 9, 2016 - Companies in the industrial SSD market have been saying in recent years that IoT is a market which could provide a business boost for size and power constrained storage technologies. But when new systems go to market their design origins can be almost unrecognizable.

An interesting preview of raw technology ingredients in the future mix is - 10 DIY Development Boards for IoT Prototyping written by Janakiram MSV, Founder Janakiram & Associates - published in the New Stack.

Janakiram's blog includes prices and capabilities for a range of prototyping boards.

It was also interesting for me to see the breadth of Janakiram's other blogs about changes in computing based around the convergence of cloud, big data architecture and IoT. the article

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Get your limericks in for the Flash Memory Summit
Editor:- May 5, 2016 - It's not often I mention competitions in these pages but here's a rare exception.

NVMdurance today announced a Flash Memory Limerick competition. The winner will be announced at the Flash Memory Summit. Rules can be seen here.

Editor's comments:- when I saw the linkedin post about this by Aisling Foley at Aisling Foley Marketing - I couldn't stop myself thinking...

life steps imageAha! - now I know more about NVMdurance's technology and the 5 stage life cycle budget (pdf) it uses to dress the flash in a fashion which is age appropriate - how can I get that in?

The sages of flash now agree
That if you fall out of a tree
To increase your chances
Grab hold at five branches
And swing around judiciously

Editor again - I still can't decide whether "grab hold of" is better than "grab hold at".

One sounds more natural while the other sounds forced but more accurately paints the picture. But I'm not going to agonize over it any longer. And just to be clear. I myself don't enter competitions. So your field is clear (of mice anyway).

an SSD way of looking at hard drives
Editor:- May 4, 2016 - In an ironic twist of fate - it looks as though hard drive vendors may find it useful to characterize some aspects of HDDs in a way which can be easily related to value judgement numbers created for SSDs.

hard disk drives news and articles
.. hard drives
A recent article - when did HDDs get SSD-style DWPD ratings? - in The Register brings to our attention that hard drrives are now being specified with write limits and the author Chris Evans (who also blogs as Architecting IT ) conveniently provides readers with a list of HDD models along with their DWPD equivalent ratings. the article

See also:- what's the state of DWPD in enterprise and military SSDs?

Rackmount SSDs click for news and directory
rackmount SSDs ..
image shows megabyte waving the winners trophy - there are over 200 SSD oems - which ones matter? - click to read article
top SSD companies ..
SSD processors
CPUs in SSDs ..
pcie  SSDs - click to read article
PCIe SSDs ..

SSD news - May 2016

Top SSD Companies - 36th quarterly edition

Editor:- May 31, 2016 - Change continues in the SSD market with 3 companies having entered the Top SSD Companies List for the first time based on reader search activity in Q1 2016. They were:- For 9 years the Top SSD Companies has been one of the most popular articles here on the mouse site. You may ask - is it still needed?

The answer is yes. Despite the number of big acquisitions in the SSD market in recent years - we're still on the last stretches of an upward ramp of vendors in the SSD market because of new opportunities being created by changes which are necessary and predictable before we get to the kind of standardized product roles and ecosystem which will lead to a collapse in distinct brands needed to sustain the market. the article

Pure's CEO says his legacy systems competitors are 2-3 years behind in flash/cloud centric software

Editor:- May 26, 2016 - Pure Storage reported that revenue for its recent quarter was approx $140 million, up 89% from the year ago period.

image shows software factory - click to see storage software directory
SSD software
In his blog which recaps business highlights CEO - Scott Dietzen - comments on the nature of the competition he sees from legacy storage companies.

He says - "In our view, refurbished mechanical disk-era designs from the last century cannot fulfill the needs of the modern data center: solid-state flash memory and cloud demand a holistic rethink. Yet the majority of FlashArray's and all of FlashBlade's competition comes from pre-cloud disk-centric retrofits..." the article

memory intensive data architecture emerges in a new family of latency roled boxes - unstealthed by Symbolic IO

Editor:- May 25, 2016 - 1 petabyte usable storage in 2U along with a flash backed RAM rich server family which uses patented CPU level aware cache-centric data reduction to deliver high compute performance are among the new offerings unveiled today by Symbolic IO which has emerged from stealth mode.

Founder & CEO, Symbolic IO - Brian Ignomirello, said - "This industry hasn't really innovated in more than 20 years, even the latest offerings based on flash have limitations that cannot be overcome. Our goal at Symbolic IO was to completely redefine and rethink the way computing architectures work. We've completely changed how binary is handled and reinvented the way it's processed, which goes way beyond the industry's current excitement for hyper-conversion."

the fastest SSDs - click to read article
.. the fastest SSDs
Giving a clue to performance Ignomirello said - "One of our early tests, allows us to run a full cable class content delivery network over 80+ nodes, while streaming 80+ full-featured movies simultaneously on one channel and requires less than 8% of the CPU capacity and we had plenty of headroom to run more. IRIS (Intensified RAM Intelligent Server) is 10,000 times faster than today's flash."

Editor's comments:- I hadn't spoken with Symbolic IO (when I wrote this) but my first impression was that the company is in line with at least 3 strategic trends that you've been reading about on in recent years:- Their company profile summarizes their capability like this...

"Symbolic IO is the first computational defined storage solution solely focused on advanced computational algorithmic compute engine, which materializes and dematerializes data effectively becoming the fastest, most dense, portable and secure, media and hardware agnostic storage solution."

For more about the company's background see this article - Symbolic IO Rewrites Rules For Storage on Information Week.

From the marketing point of view it's interesting to see that in its launch press release Symbolic IO positions itself in the DIMM Wars context in this way "IRIS... is 10 times faster than 3D XPoint."

Symbolic IO says the new systems will be start to become generally available in late Q4 2016.

From an enterprise segmentation viewpoint the IRIS systems will be proprietary. There is space for such approaches in the future market consolidation roadmap because not everyone needs the fastest performance. But many webscale SSD companies are already using data reduction techniques for their own utilizations and acceleration purposes.

The new thing - if there is a new thing - is that Symbolic IO will make available boxes which incorporate modern data architectures from a single source.

Although like all new systems companies they'll have to wade their way through the apps accreditation and compatibility lists before their revenues create any ripples - an adoption dampening factor I wrote about in my 2013 article Scary Skyera.

See also:- towards SSD everywhere software

Toshiba launches fast M.2 SSD for notebooks

Editor:- May 19, 2016 - May 24, 2016 - Toshiba today launched its fastest yet SSD for the consumer upgrade market in the US. The OCZ RD400 is an M.2 form factor NVMe PCIe SSD with 0.3 DWPD endurance and sequential R/W of 2,200 / 620MB/s (for the entry level 128GB model).

image shows Megabyte doing the data round up - click to see SAN storage area networks directory
AccelStor adds 16G FC to 1U AFA range

Editor:- May 19, 2016 - AccelStor today announced its has added dual port 16Gbps FC connectivity to its NeoSapphire 1U rackmount SSD product line which was previously available with InfiniBand or 10GbE iSCSI.

enterprise PCIe SSD shipments grew 16% Q-Q

Editor:- May 18, 2016 - TrendFocus today announced publication of its Q1 2016 nand/SSD quarterly market report.

TrendFocus says the enterprise SSD market saw growth in all segments - SATA, SAS, and PCIe.
Trendfocus  reports SSD market Q1 2016 shipments
For enterprise SATA SSDs, unit growth compared to the previous quarter was 5%, while SAS and PCIe saw higher growth at 6.7% and 16.3%, respectively.

Editor's comments:- In Q1 2016 SSD shipments reported by TrendFocus were 30 million units. Compare this to Q1 2014 for which period TrendFocus reported 15 million units. This shows SSD shipments over all markets have doubled in 2 years.

See also:- storage market research

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IBM says 90nm PCM can work with 3 bits per cell

Editor:- May 17, 2016 - IBM today announced that its researchers have demonstrated reliable operation of 3 bits per cell PCM in a low capacity test rig using 90nm CMOS technology.

Editor's comments:- in the flash memory market each doubling capacity transition in a single cell (first from SLC to MLC, then from MLC to TLC) enabled new market adoption due to the lower cost of packing in more data in similar physical size cells.

Knowing that TPCM is possible will be encouraging to researchers but with the miniscule amounts of capacity which are currently viable such future applications will be limited to architectural niches in rare space constrained chips (such as state machine registers for fast reboot in embedded processors) rather than general purpose memory or storage.

Perspective:- 5 years ago in June 2011 - NVSL demonstrated the world's first PCIe SSD using PCM as the memory type in the array.

AMD enters M.2 SSD market

Editor:- May 16, 2016 - AMD is now offering a range of branded M.2 SSDs for the consumer market. A blog on discusses the details here.

Recadata shows military SSDs at CIDEX 2016

Editor:- May 14, 2016 - Recadata exhibited this week at the 10th China International Defense Electronics Exhibition (CIDEX 2016) in Beijing,China.

Editor's comments:- the range of options, such as conformal coating, data destruction etc is conveniently shown on a model by model basis in Recadata's military SSD overview page.

One of the interesting new things I noticed on Recadata's web site is that the company talks about its "10 years experience in the SSD market". That refers to its key people who worked at other SSD companies before the company was founded in 2009.

In my recent article- a simple list of military SSD companies I discussed some of the complex factors like this which makes it difficult to create a simple list of "experienced" military SSD companies.

E8 Storage gets funding for NVMe rackmounts

Editor:- May 10, 2016 - E8 Storage today announced a $12 million Series B financing round led by Accel, with participation from existing investors Magma Venture Partners and Vertex Ventures. The investment will help the company to launch its software-defined NVMe rackmount flash storage.

See also:- investments in SSDs, rackmount SSDs

SanDisk will be a WDC company Thursday

Editor:- May 10, 2016 - SanDisk today announced that the Ministry of Commerce of China has approved the acquisition of SanDisk by Western Digital. All necessary regulatory approvals for the acquisition have now been received and the transaction is expected to close on Thursday, May 12, 2016.

See also:- timeline of acquired SSD companies since 2000

Infinidat has shipped over 400PB

Editor:- May 10, 2016 - Infinidat today announced that in Q1 2016 shipments of its InfiniBox enterprise storage array increased by 300% compared to the year ago period and now amounts to 422 petabytes worldwide. One of Infinidat's Fortune 500 customers now has over 10PBs of InfiniBox storage spread across multiple sites.

thinking about latency?

Editor:- May 9, 2016 - "Little's Law is key to understanding why lower latency is good" says Woody Hutsell, Technologist, Evangelist - IBM in series 2, episode 4 - the SSD Bookmarks - published recently on the article

Editor's comments:- you'll need to set aside some serious reading time when you follow up Woody's article suggestions.

EMC DSSD  - what's inside  the boxInside EMC's DSSD

Editor:- May 5, 2016 - An interesting glimpse inside the box of EMC's DSSD appears in a new article - Up Close And Personal on Tom's IT Pro.

In a comment about SSD controllers - the author Paul Alcorn says that the Flashtec NVMe1032 (from PMC acquired by Microsemi) which is used by EMC in this array also appears in SSDs by OCZ, Memblaze, Samsung and HGST. the article
What happened before?
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Don't believe everything SSD companies tell you about the past, present or future of the SSD market.
Enterprise SSDs - the Survive and Thrive Guide

AccelStor NeoSapphire  all-flash array
1U enterprise flash arrays
InfiniBand or 10GbE iSCSI or 16G FC
NeoSapphire series - from AccelStor

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Targa Series 4 - 2.5 inch SCSI flash disk
2.5" removable military SSDs
for airborne apps - GbE / SATA / USB
from Targa Systems

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"The need for reviving the SSD bookmarks series concept after a 5 year gap is because while we're all busily dodging tornadoes in Kansas to get to a consolidated market there's a lot of dust making it harder than ever to see what's what."
Zsolt Kerekes, editor -
military SSD from Waitan
military SSD drives with secure erase
encryption and self-destruct
from Waitan

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Reliability is more than just MTBF... and unlike Quality - it's not free.

The battle for storage reliability never stops.

It has to be fought - in every place where physics intrudes on data integrity.

It must be fought and won anew - in every technology generation and in every new product design.
storage reliability
high availability enterprise SSDs
Virtium  SSDs - click for more info
industrial SATA SSDs
efficiently matched to embedded needs
2.5" / 1.8" / Slim SATA / mSATA / CFast / M.2
StorFly – from Virtium

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M.2 SSDs
industrial SSDs
toughening up DWPD

industrial mSATA SSD
industrial grade mSATA SSDs
>2 million write cycles per logical block.
from Cactus Technologies

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Why can't SSD's most ardent believers agree on a single shared vision for the future of solid state storage?
the SSD Heresies


Mays of yore in SSD market history
13 years ago - May 2003 - Imperial Technology launched WhatsHot SSD - a hotspot analysis and tuning tool for fast rackmount SSD accelerators.

9 years ago - May 2007 - MOSAID announced its HLNAND flash technology which could sustain 800MB/s.

6 years ago - May 2010 - SandForce announced the first branding program for SSD controllers.

3 years ago - May 2013 - Micron began sampling a new hot swappable 2.5" PCIe SSD with 1.4TB MLC capacity and 750K R IOPS.
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