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Capacitor hold up times in 2.5" military SSDs
is remanence in persistent memory a new security risk?
where are we heading with memory intensive systems?
what were the big SSD memory architecture ideas in 2016?
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a different approach to 3D SCM?
Editor:- September 29, 2016 - The different semiconductor technology approaches to storage class memory of 3 large hopefuls in the market (WD, Samsung and Intel / Micron) are compared and contrasted to a different tunneling approach which is claimed to provide greater endurance - in a recent blog - Quantum Mechanical Advantage: A Revolution through Evolution for Storage Class Memory by Andrew Walker, Founder and CEO of Schiltron.

Andrew says his company's approach to 3-D memory is "designed to wring every ounce of advantage out of Quantum Mechanical (QM) tunneling." the article

the market impact of hybrid DIMM aware software
Editor:- September 27, 2016 - I've been asking people in the SSD industry to tell me what they think were the big SSD, storage and memory architecture ideas which emerged and became clearer in 2016. As you'd expect - SSD aware software comes up a lot. Here's an interesting twist as it relates to SCM.

Sang-Yun Lee, President & CEO - BeSang said this...

"Storage Class Memory... As storage class memories are emerging, the memory hierarchy will be changed. NOR-based NVDIMMs, such as 3D Super-NOR and 3D XPoint, will replace DRAM and SSD at the same time.

Also, software-based NVDIMM-P, such as HybriDIMM, will come to the storage class memory market. Storage class memories mingles fast-but-expensive volatile, and slow-but-inexpensive non-volatile memories together. As a result, it will significantly boost system performance at low cost and create huge market opportunities."

See also:- hybrid DIMMs, DRAM's virtual latency secret

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There's a genuine characterization problem for the SCM industry which is:- what are the most useful metrics to judge tiered memory systems by?
is it realistic to talk about memory IOPS?
I noticed that whenever I repeated the power off and power back on again cycling (into what we'd now call a "cold boot" condition) most of the contents of the RAM looked similar to what they had been before, instead of scrambled which is what I expected.
does persistent memory pose new new security risks?

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Retiring and retiering enterprise DRAM was one of the big SSD ideas which took hold in the market in 2015.

Over 20 companies have already announced products for this market among which are Memory1, 3DXPoint etc

But what are the underlying reasons that will make it feasible for slower cheaper memory to replace most of the future DRAM market without applications noticing?
latency loving reasons for fading out DRAM

Compared to earlier phases in the SSD market more is changing.
the SSD Bookmarks - series overview


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John McClane will rescue his wife.

Scrooge will avoid a bad end.

And Dorothy will find her way back from Oz.

Are some marketing promises just too good to be true?
trust and enterprise AFA services marketing

do custom SSDs have to cost more?
custom SSDs Few questions in the SSD market have simple answers.

Do custom SSDs cost have to cost more?

See my new blog - some thoughts about SSD customization.

90% of the enterprise SSD companies which you know have no good reasons to survive.
market consolidation - why? how? when?
memory channel storage
memory channel SSDs ...
image shows software factory - click to see storage software directory
SSD software ....
Military storage
military SSDs ..
SSD myths - write endurance
SSD endurance ..

SSD news - September 2016

Maxta offers free 24TB version of its SDS software

Editor:- September 29, 2016 - Maxta today announced the general availability of a free download of its MxSP SDS software for qualified organizations in the U.S., Canada and select European countries.

Approved registrants will receive a perpetual, transferable license to a fully-featured version of the software free of charge, enabling them to configure and deploy a three-node HCI cluster with a maximum storage capacity of 24TB.

Xitore's NVDIMM-X - comparison white paper

Editor:- September 27, 2016 - If you're interested in a single document which summarizes most of the DIMM wars products in the market today - take a look at this - Introducing NVDIMM-X (pdf) - an architectural white paper by Xitore which is creating this "-X" technology.

This paper was brought to my attention today by Xitore's CEO - Mike Amidi, CEO - who said in his email - "This can be a good article to explain the main difference between all non-traditional DRAM based solution sitting on DRAM memory bus. Either persistence, non-persistence, or SSD-on-A-DIMM." the article (pdf)

Editor's comments:- This confirms that Xitore has ambitions in the memory channel SSD market .

My initial impression of how their "-X" product looks - is that it's something similar to what you'd get if you combined the separate DIMMs in Diablo Memory1 solution (the mandatory motherboard DRAM and the Diablo flash DIMM and multilayered controller software) and repackaged all the pieces into a single DIMM with some external components to provide power hold up for the DRAM.

Xitore does say - "If a future version of NVDIMM-X were to also use a non-volatile memory technology for the cache, then no temporary backup power will be needed."

As a business proposition - placing everything into a single component has advantages - because it provides a lower cost threshold of application viability.

On the other hand - like every other product in the memory market it still has to pass the sanity test of - is there a distinct application for which this would be the lowest cost solution? And how well does it scale up?

In retrospect the first generation memory channel SSDs from Diablo weren't compelling solutions and (aside from legal problems) had a weak internal bridge between the flash and the memory bus.

Nobody owns that market space today and if it looked like an interesting idea 2-3 years ago - the market is more receptive to looking at such products now.

The risks are lower because we can all see a competitive ecosystem developing in which this type of architecture will prevail in the market regardless of the fortunes of any single vendor

IDT discloses design win in Diablo's Memory1

Editor:- September 27, 2016 - IDT today announced that Diablo Technologies has selected IDT's DDR4 LRDIMM chipset as the preferred interface solution for its Memory1 128GB system memory module.

"(Our) chipset is an essential enabler of cutting-edge NVDIMM applications, such as Memory1," said Sean Fan, VP and GM of IDT's Computing and Communications Division. "Such solutions have the potential to change the entire landscape of in-memory computing, and it's an exciting place for us to demonstrate our industry leadership."

See also:- memory glue chips

Foremay ships aerospace capable 8TB 2.5" U.2 NVMe SSD

Editor:- September 26, 2016 - Foremay today announced volume production of 8TB models in its rugged secure 2.5" U.2 NVMe SSD product range - which with PCIe x4 lanes has R/W speeds up to 1.2GB/s with latency as little as 25 microseconds. Optional features of the SC199 hi rel model include:-
  • Military secure erase and fast erase features.
  • Rugged designs with anti-shock and anti-vibration, meeting MIL-STD-810G/F standards.
  • Anti-radiation and anti-emission, both electrical and magnetic, for aerospace applications subject to the customer's specifications.
See also:- military SSDs

eMemory Receives TSMC IP Partner Award

Editor:- September 23, 2016 - eMemory today disclosed that over 260 of its silicon IPs have been deployed on TSMC's Open Innovation Platform.

Microsemi's rad tolerant FPGAs orbit Jupiter

Editor:- September 20, 2016 - Microsemi today announced that its radiation-tolerant FPGAs are in use on NASA's Juno Spacecraft within the space vehicle's command and control systems, and in various instruments which have now been deployed and are returning scientific data. Juno recently entered Jupiter's orbit after a 5 year journey.

See also:- Juno mission (pdf), data chips in space

Violin issues going concern warning

Editor:- September 14, 2016 - Violin Memory today filed a FORM 10-Q (pdf) with the SEC which provides a snapshot of the company's poistion for the quarter ended July 31, 2016. Among other things:-
  • Violin's revenue had fallen by 72% compared to the year ago. Product revenue was $2 million and services revenue was $5.4 million (unaudited).
  • Violin has issued a going concern warning which concludes - "Failure to generate sufficient revenue, increase gross margins, control or reduce operating costs and to raise sufficient funds may result in an inability of the Company to continue as a going concern."
See also:- 90% of the enterprise SSD companies which you know have no good reasons to survive

Netlist awarded new patent for hybrid memory architecture

Editor:- September 12, 2016 - Netlist today announced the issuance of U.S. Patent No. 9,436,600 (the '600 patent) relating to a multi-channel hybrid memory architecture that uses non-volatile memory to protect critical data in the event of power loss.

See also:- hybrid DIMMs

Everspin files for IPO

Editor:- September 9, 2016 - Everspin Technologies has filed for an IPO. Among other things in the form S-1 the company says:-
  • Everspin has shipped over 60 million MRAM units in 8 years
  • revenue has been at a run rate of about $25 million / year for a 2 year period
The company also said - "Our 5 largest end customers together accounted for 34% of our total revenue for the six months ended June 30, 2016, but none of these customers individually accounted for more than 10% of our total revenue during the period."

See also:- flash and other SSD nvms

69,000 flash dies per U in Nimbus's ExaFlash

Editor:- September 9, 2016 - Efficiency of the internal design and architecture is one of the competitive marketing differences between SSD boxes and drives. Because when customers see vastly different size packages claiming to do the same thing. It's one of the aspects which accounts for cost difference.

In simpler times it was easy to estimate how many memory chips were being used inside any SSD. Now it's difficult due to many different flash memory generations co-existing in the market and delivering similar roles (from a DWPD angle) while using dissimilar controller IP and software.

So it was useful to see in a recent press release (from Nimbus) that 276,480 NAND dies are used to implement 4.5 petabytes of raw storage in a 4U system which was launched recently.

Later:- on seeing this post - Thomas Isakovich, CEO of Nimbus said this.

"Note as well that the D-series (all ExaFlash arrays actually) has dual active-active controllers built-in, so it is not a JBOF/JBOD. Makes the density of flash achievement all the more incredible."

Judge rolls back EMC dedupe verdict aimed at Pure

Editor:- September 1, 2016 - Pure Storage today announced that an earlier court decision in favor of EMC related to dedupe has been set aside because an earlier patent by Sun may have been prior art.

Pure says that - "Based on that view, the judge granted Pure's request for a new jury trial that would specifically look at whether the earlier Sun patent should make the EMC deduplication patent invalid. Also, because the court's ruling eliminates any finding that Pure has infringed a valid patent, it dismissed EMC's request for a permanent injunction. EMC needs to prevail on validity before any damage award could be reinstated."

floppy drive dependent legacy assets get operational life extension from a new flash drive

Editor:- September 1, 2016 - SSDL today announced it has launched a floppy drive emulator - FLOPPYFlash (pdf) - which provides electronic emulation at the host interface level for a wide range of historic legacy floppy drives (3.5", 5.25" and 8").

The replaceable media "floppy" is implemented by a 3.5" cassette which looks similar to a floppy but in which the storage media is implemented by industrial CompactFlash card technology.

Editor's comment:- Strange as it sounds there are still expensive legacy systems in which the embedded computers and software rely on the integration of floppy drives for their operation. This is something I've been told by James Hilken, Sales Director of SSDL and others in the EOL SSD support market.

In such systems the availability of field replaceable peripherals saves users a tremendous amount of cost and operational disruption for their connected assets.

See also:- a not so simple list of military SSD companies
What happened before?
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reducing logistics time and the risks from changing costs in the consumer SSD market
Editor:- September 6, 2016 - The consumer SSD market is sensitive to cost and customers will go elsewhere if you can't ship products to international markets on time. Every day in production and shipping adds to the risks

Some of the business risks for vendors of customized SSDs aimed at the consumer market are diiscussed in a new blog by Longsys - reforming the retail channel market for SSDs with SDP . Factors analyzed include:-
  • quality (using different build processes)
  • price fluctuations in flash between the time that SSDs are ordered and when they are ready
Among other things the blog shows how Longsys (which is headquartered in China) has evolved business processes and technologies to speed up and simplify the international supply chain of custom SSDs.

For its SDP branded SSDs - the factory production process has been reduced from 15 days (for a typical 2.5" SATA SSD) to a single day. the article

Editor's comments:- this is an interesting business case study which tells you a lot about the internal logistics of the SSD market.

Seagate SandForce SSD processors - click for more info
the awards winning silicon
accelerating world's leading SSDs
from Seagate

15 years ago in SSD market history
October 2001 - Adtron was named one of America's entrepreneurial growth leaders by Inc magazine in its annual ranking of the Inc 500, the nation's fastest-growing private companies. Adtron achieved over 1,100% growth in the past 5 years, with sales growing from $2 million in 1996 to over $25 million in 2000.

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

related guides

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

related guides
All the marketing noise coming from the DIMM wars market (flash as RAM and Optane etc) obscures some important underlying strategic and philosophical questions about the future of SSD.
where are we heading with memory intensive systems?

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

related guides

do you understand all the
words in SSD headlines?
SSD jargon explained
SSD jargon

How can mortal write endurance flash replace DRAM in an NVDIMM?
SSD aspects of Diablo's Memory1

I think it's not too strong to say that the enterprise PCIe SSD market (as we once knew it) has exploded and fragmented into many different directions.
what's changed in enterprise PCIe SSD?
selected headlines from

the news archive
October 2015 OCZ offers "Host Managed SSD Technology" in 2.5" SSDs
November 2015 Netlist allies with Samsung to codevelop flash-as-RAM DIMMs
December 2015 NSF funds NxGn Data project to progress in-situ SSD processing
January 2016 Quarch says many SSDs fail their first hot plug tests.
February 2016 It's not worth paying more for SLC reliability in PCIe SSDs says Google
April 2016 Samsung began mass producing the industry's first 10nm class 8Gb DDR4 DRAM chips.
May 2016 efficiently coded memory architecture unveiled in new systems by Symbolic IO

Encrip announces tri-state coded DRAM IP which can be used with any standard process
June 2016 Pure Storage said its AFA revenue in Q1 2016 was more than the leading HDD array brand
August 2016 Nimbus re-emerged from stealth with a 1PB / U high availability flash storage array (4PB raw in 4U).

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