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after AFAs - what's next?
a winter's tale of SSD market influences
endurance? - changes in the forever war
Capacitor hold up times in 2.5" military SSDs
where are we heading with memory intensive systems?
optimizing CPUs for use in SSDs in the Post Modernist Era
when flash is faster than DRAM - the Memory1 benchmarks

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After 23 years of writing SSD guides and articles and many waves of change and disruption it's not unreasonable to ask...
Are we there yet? - state of SSD in Q2 2017
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NVMe over Fabrics - market experiences
Editor:- March 31, 2017 - The state of the NVMe SSD and fabric market and its growth expectations are conveniently summarized in a new presentation - Experiences with NVMe over Fabrics (pdf) - by Mellanox. Among other things:-
  • 40% of AFAs will be NVMe based by 2020
  • shipments of NVMe SSDs will grow to 25+ million by 2020
The idea of having a PCIe based SSD fabric which can be accessed by many servers and which combines the latency advantages of local PCIe SSDs with the essential hooks from past low latency server interconnects - specifically - RDMA - has been many years in the telling.

There have been 3 main ingredients to this market brew:-
  • something worthwhile sharing as a resource (low latency SSD pools)
  • a convenient way of connecting to them (a large installed base of server PCIe interface chips were the essential starting point - but it took many years for industry standards to get agreed)
  • software support - which ranges from the storage stack to multi-vendor fabric support.
This paper captures current expectations for how the market is expected to grow. ...read the article (pdf)


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Web-Feet Reports on NVM Market Shares in 2016
by Alan Niebel , CEO - Web-Feet Research - March 29, 2017
Not since 2000, have the memory suppliers been in an undersupply situation. It is the force which in 2H 2016 resulted in increasing memory prices for a number of reasons.

NAND vendors are producing 2D (planar) NAND at full capacity, while concurrently making the costly shift in production to 3D NAND.

DRAM has been so hot that the Big Three (Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron) are shrinking their lithography below 1x and 1y, while maintaining their production at capacity.

Other foundries, like the memory manufacturers, are also running at capacity, trying to maintain balance with IoT, M-2-M, mobile and computing demands.

Even the NOR Flash market saw a reversal of 15+ years of market declines has been caught in the allocation/shortage scenario.

Yet, with all this current production building additional capacity takes time and has been fraught with technology hurdles that slowdown bit increases.

Although the NOR market is around 5% of NAND, NORs challenges represent a microcosm of the larger Flash and memory markets.

With the stronger demand for SoC (System on Chip) to satisfy the IoT and edge terminal requirements, foundries and ODMs are shifting their wafer mix away from standalone memories.

These SoCs are also being built at lithography nodes below 40nm, where most embedded NOR Flash cannot be built. Consequently, these SoCs will need KGD and standalone serial NOR components at 512Kbit-256Mbit densities and larger to fulfill the IoT system memory requirements.

In China, GigaDevice who supplies serial NOR is caught in a wafer allocation squeeze in not getting enough serial Flash wafers from their foundry who is making more SoCs (that need serial NOR).

Winbond who makes both DRAM and NOR/NAND has been riding the higher price DRAM wave and has limited any additional wafer allocations to NOR.

Micron has been rumored to have shut down NOR production at their Singapore fab in favor of NAND, which removes some NOR wafer capacity.

Cypress the NOR market leader is gradually moving their emphasis from commodity standalone NOR to a IoT systems memory module especially for the automotive market.

Finally, Macronix has regained more NOR market presence in allocating more NOR wafer production is still facing long lead times since demand is ever increasing on the constrained industry supply.

The net effect is NOR and other memory prices are increasing with supply constraints and vendors are on allocation for the foreseeable future.

In consolidating its annual results of each Flash memory vendors shipments, WebFeet Research found the 2016 Flash memory market to be $36.8 billion, an increase of 10% from 2015.

A substantial increase in 2016 revenues came from the NAND Flash market with a 10.7% growth rate, while the NOR market contracted flatly from 2015 by only -1.8 %.

Samsung was the perennial 2016 revenue market leader for all NV Memories and NAND, Cypress (Spansion) established itself as the NOR Flash and the NVRAM market leader, while Macronix regained the serial NOR leadership position.

The 2016 Non Volatile Memory Market Shares by Vendor report (by Web-Feet Research) discusses the impact of the mergers and acquisitions on the memory market, qualifies the migration of planar to 3D NAND, quantifies how fast the emerging NVM are growing including STT-MRAM and XPoint as well as the reemergence of RRAM and NRAM, and presents two forecasts for serial EEPROM showing the impact (slow initial adoption) of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its aggressive scenario.

This report, CS700MS-2017, is available for $2.5K and providers of the market share data can obtain the report at a discount.

For more info about these reports contact WebFeet Research at +1 831-869-8274 or alan.niebel@web-feetresearch.com.


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M.2 PCIe SSDs for secure rugged applications?
Editor:- March 20, 2017 - Do you know who makes M.2 PCIe SSDs which can operate at industrial temperatures and have security strong enough for a military application?

That's a question I was asked recently by a reader in the defense sector.

So I looked into it. He was right. They are hard to find. Nearly all the industrial M.2 SSDs are SATA and not PCIe.

The only companies which I have been able to confirm in this category (by direct contact rather than a promissory future product statement on a web page) are:- I became interested in the technical difficulties which might explain why there are so few suppliers right now.

Here's what I think is part of the explanation.

As you add operational requirements to the datasheet moving up from consumer to enterprise and then to industrial SSDs you also add circuits and components which compete for physical space, electrical power and cost in the total SSD design budget.
  • use of larger flash memory cell geometry (nanometer generation and coding type - for example SLC rather than MLC, or MLC rather than TLC) to ensure data integrity over a wider range of temperature and power supply quality environments
  • use of different flash SSD controllers

    Consumer and enterprise SSDs can use controllers which use more electrical power than industrial or embedded SSDs due to the ease of fitting the design into the heat rise budget.

    Industrial designs can't afford the same wattage in their controllers - because the heat generated would reduce the reliability of the SSD at the high end of its operating temperature range (70 to 85 degress C and sometimes 95 degrees) - or force the use of more expensive components elsewhere (to cope with the incremental heat rise.

    The tradeoffs made (typically lower wattage controller) is why industrial SSDs tend not to use CPU intensive data integrity management schemes like adaptive DSP. And that in turn means they need to use intrinsically higher quality memory.
When you add all the requirements together to make an industrial / military SSD capable of working reliably and shrink the size budget from a bigger to smaller form factor (2.5" to M.2) while at the same time asking for high performance too - it's a tough design problem to solve for the first time.

But once such products do became available from multiple sources then demand will grow (due to confidence in the equipment design community that they won't get stuck in an EOL rut from a single source dependency).

If you know of other secure erase, industrial operation M.2 PCIe SSD companies which are shipping products let me know and I'll mention them here.

I placed a query via linkedin but that didn't generated any other confirmed vendors.


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"Samsung Electronics will invest about 10 trillion won (US$8.7 billion) in Hwaseong Campus in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea to build a new line to produce DRAM."
news report in Business Korea (March 15, 2017)


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"In the most recent quarter (ending January 31, 2017) we had more than one customer running large scale simulations and analytics replace over 20 racks (think 20 refrigerators of equipment) with a single FlashBlade (at 4U about the size of a microwave oven).

Such dramatic consolidation depends on storage software that has been designed for silicon rather than mechanical disk."
Scott Dietzen, CEO - Pure Storage - in his blog Delivering the data platform for the cloud era and the secular shift to flash memory (March 1, 2017)

Editor's comments:- this is another confirmation of the replacement ratio predictions in my (2013) blog - meet Ken - and the enterprise SSD software event horizon.

PS - Another thing which Scott Dietzen said in his new blog was...

"This year, the 8th since our founding and our 6th of selling, we expect to reach $1 billion in revenues."


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When Diablo was designing their Memory1 (flash as RAM in a DDR-4 DIMM solution) they used machine learning to model the real world behavior of DRAM memory controllers which would be resident on the same server motherboards.

Predicting what DRAM controllers do in microscopic detail is important for latency optimization when your tiered memory software has ultimate control over what data stays in DRAM and what can be moved to flash.
controllernomics and benchmarks in flash as RAM


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SSD SoCs controllers
SSD controllers ..
image shows mouse building storage - click to see industrial SSDs article
industrial SSDs ..
M2 SSDs
M.2 SSDs ..
military storage directory and news
military SSDs ..
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SSD news - March 2017

SSD design symmetries / SSD history / top SSD companies

Transcend's new M.2 SSD

Editor:- March 27, 2017 - Transcend today launched the MTE850 - a family of PCIe Gen 3 x 4 M.2 SSDs with 512GB of 3D MLC NAND capacity and R/W speeds upto 2.5GB/s and 1.1GB/s, respectively aimed at the consumer market.


Fastest Growing Storage Companies in 2017?

Editor:- March 25, 2017 - 3 SSD companies were among those listed in a new article - 10 Fastest Growing Storage Companies 2017 - by Silicon Review . Editor's comments:- all 3 companies operate in the rackmount SSD market - which is an interesting indicator of where the action is. There's still everything to play for for as the market is still still "under construction".

See also:- storage market research - news and who's who


CPUs for use with SSDs in the Post Modernist Era of SSD

Editor:- March 22, 2017 - A new blog on StorageSearch.com - optimizing CPUs for use with SSDs in the Post Modernist Era of SSD and Memory Systems - was prompted by a question from a startup which is designing new processors for the SSD market. ...read the article


Google joins investors in Avere Systems

Editor:- March 21, 2017 - Avere Systems today announced the closing of a $14 million Series E funding with participation from existing investors Menlo Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Tenaya Capital and Western Digital Capital and new investor Google Inc.

The new investment brings Avere's total funds raised to $97 million, and will be used to expand the company's hybrid cloud product offerings so that more organizations can easily take advantage of the public cloud.

Editor's comments:- A year ago Avere announced it had been named "Google Cloud Platform Technology Partner of the Year" for 2015.

See also:- VCs in SSDs


NVMdurance has US patent for Adaptive Flash Tuning

Editor:- March 21, 2017 - NVMdurance today announced that it has been granted US patent 9,569,120 for Adaptive Flash Tuning.

This patent covers NVMdurance's Pathfinder and Navigator software, which discover optimal flash trim sets for the target application and implement a set of optimization techniques that constantly monitor the NAND flash health and autonomically adjusts the operating parameters in real time.

Before the flash memory product goes into production, NVMdurance Pathfinder determines multiple sets of viable flash register values, using a custom-built suite of machine-learning techniques. Then, running on the flash memory controller utilized in SSDs or other storage product, NVMdurance Navigator chooses which of these predetermined sets to use for each stage of life to increase the flash memory endurance.

Editor's comments:- The things which make NVMdurance's technology processes a viable business model for SSD partners are that the heavyweight processing is done back at HQ as part of the memory characterization and controller modeling which means that the delivery overhead in each shipped product is lightweight and protects the stakeholder's IP.

And another thing is that no one has come up with any better ideas for a way to roll out a new SSD with new flash memory encapsulated in such a predictable set of algorithmically bounded phases which reduces the worst risks (of delay and misfire) which come from picking such magic numbers via the organic talent (human) alternatives.

See also:- Adaptive flash care management & DSP IP in SSDs, the limericks of SSD endurance, the 5 stage life cycle budget of extended flash endurance (pdf)


Intel is sampling 3DXpoint PCIe SSDs

Editor:- March 19, 2017 - Intel today announced that it is sampling its long awaited first enterprise SSD which uses 3DXpoint (Optane) memory and which is aimed at the HHHL PCIe SSD market.

The P4800X Series (pdf) has a PCIe 3.0 x 4 NVMe interface and provides upto 375GB capacity, 500K mixed IOPS (4KB), block level R/W latency 150/200S (queue depth 16), and endurance of 30 DWPD for 3 years (equivalent to 18 on a 5 year adjusted basis).

The new drives are supported by caching / tiering software (Intel Memory Drive Technology) which collaborates with motherboard DRAM resources to transparently provide an emulated 3DX as RAM memory pool.

This is similar in concept to earlier software products in the market from various vendors which have supported flash as RAM.

As widely expected the new SSDs have worse performance and higher pricing than Intel had indicated at the first public unveiling in the summer of 2015.

A rounded perspective can be seen in a new blog Intel Announces Optane SSDs for the Enterprise - by Jim Handy - founder Objective Analysis.

Among other things Jim says "Intel has announced an SSD whose performance is close to that of NAND flash at a price that is close to that of DRAM. How did that happen?" ...read the article

Editor's comments:- As the new P4800X is not hot pluggable and as its main difference to previous flash SSDs from Intel is its support as a tiered memory - the most obvious role for a competitive comparison is memory channel based NVDIMM solutions - in particular the Memory1 product from Diablo which provides 128GB of flash as RAM per DIMM socket - and upto 2TB in a 2 socket server.

Density comparison - Optane PCIe and Flash DDR-4

On a density level the current technology at a superficial level appears to be 1x HHHL Optane PCIe SSD gives the equivalent emulated memory as 3x DDR-4 Memory1 DIMMs.

Although this doesn't take into account how much DRAM is needed to support each type of configuration it's a good enough comparison point to start with.

But there are some areas of doubt in making such a comparison.

1 - Due to the scarcity of the new Optane products we haven't seen published benchmarks yet which could show how effectively the Optane system works (as an integrated memory and software solution). The raw latency figures (at the SSD datasheet level) don't conclusively point towards it being either a better or worse performer (than the flash based Memory1).

2 - From a customer point of view a key factor between the 2 products isn't just the level of density today. (Let's assume they're both similar right now). If we compare the potential capacity roadmaps - 3DXpoint (as a new technology) has been difficult for Intel / Micron to get started and we can't have any confidence yet that density will improve (from the technology difficulty angle) or indeed that new generations will even get the investment to improve at all.

In contrast - all flash based solutions get a helping hand from the entire flash industry's striving to keep improving density. So it's less risky to assume that a flash based system will probably increase in storage density during the next 3 years than any new alternative NVRAM.

It's the density in a single motherboard which makes or breaks the big memory market (as we have already seen with DRAM).

Electrical power consumption (wattage) is more important than small differences in latency.

Because if you can get more memory into one box then you save the interbox fabric latency which already makes nand flash (as RAM) faster and cheaper than DRAM at scales of tens to hundreds of terabytes.

It's refreshing to see that there are so many genuinely different competing solutions being offered for the future memory fabric market.

Compatibility with SSDeverywhere software (and useful agility with the new big memory killer apps) along with rationally affordable granular value propositions for integration with the cloud will be just as important as any of the raw memory technologies we see assembled into cards and modules.

As I said at the close of 2016 - everything in the SSD market now affects everything else.


CNEX Labs has amassed $60 million for new SSD controller

image shows mouse at the one armed bandit - click to see VC funds in storage
VCs in SSDs
Editor:- March 15, 2017 - CNEX Labs today announced its Series C round of financing which brings total funding to date over $60 million. The company will use the funding for mass production and system integration for lead customers of its NVMe-compliant SSD controllers for hyperscale markets. The new controllers will enable full host control over data placement, I/O scheduling, and other application-specific optimizations, in both kernel and user space.

See also:- adaptive intelligence flow symmetry (1 of 11 Key Symmetries in SSD design).


BeSang says 3D Super-DRAM could fix multi-billion dollar money pit of memory industry's fab capacity roadmap

Editor:- March 15, 2017 - Just as we're starting to get used to a world view that memory fabrication capacity may not be enough to make all the memory parts needed - and that a pragmatic global optimization from the user point of view may be to plan ahead for advanced memory systems which use tiering, flash as RAM, freshly minted shiny nvms and new SSD aware software to get more storage and processing done with less chips - a journey which - depending who you are - begins or ends with the idea of reducing the ratio of DRAM to storage - and just as we're getting our heads adjusted to the huge investments which would be needed to make DRAM technology better and to believe that no sane investor (not even a VC who loves SSDs) would want to toss their money in that direction - a seemingly different alternate get out of jail free option is offered in a new blog by Sang-Yun Lee, CEO - BeSang - in EE Times - Why 3D Super-DRAM?.

Among other things Sang says...

"If you consider planar DRAM shrinking from 18nm to 16nm, then, 20% more dice-per-wafer could be achieved. To do so, multi-billion dollar should be invested for R&D and EUV is required. In case of 3D Super-DRAM, it needs less than $50 million for R&D and no EUV; and even so, it could produce 400% more die-per-wafer."

And at the risk of repeating some of that:- 4x as much DRAM from the same fabs without huge investments... How is that possible? ...read the article

Editor's comments:- You can get an idea of the complex decision matrices facing memory makers. In past decades the product types which determined the demand mix for memories (PCs, phones, servers) were few in number and had predictable roadmaps. Now big demands for memory are coming from cloud, IoT and new intelligence based markets which are creating entirely new ratios and rules of what is possible with memory systems.


new edition - the Top SSD Companies

Editor:- March 10, 2017 - StorageSearch.com today published the new 39th quarterly edition of the Top SSD Companies.

Hyperstone, NVMdurance and SymbolicIO all made their first appearances in this list.

Although a lot has changed in the past 10 years of tracking future SSD winners in this series the next wave of dusruptive change in memory systems architecture has barely begun. ...read the article


a new name in SSD fabric software

Editor:- March 8, 2017 - A new SSD software company - Excelero - has emerged from stealth today.

Excelero which describes itself as - "a disruptor in software-defined block storage" announced version 1.1 of its NVMesh® Server SAN software "for exceptional Flash performance for web and enterprise applications at any scale."

The company was funded in part by Fusion-io's founder David Flynn.

Editor's comments:- An easy way to understand what this kind of software can do for you is to see how Excelero created a petabyte-scale shared NVMe pool for exploratory computing for an early customer - NASA/Ames. The mitigation of latency and bandwidth penalties enabled by the new environment enabled "compute nodes to access data anywhere within a data set without worrying about locality" and helped to change the way that researchers could interact with the data sets which previously had been constrained in many small islands of low latency. ...read the white paper (pdf).

SSD fabrics - companies and past mentions
NVMe over Fabric and other SSD ideas which defined 2016
Inanimate Power, Speed and Strength Metaphors in SSD brands


Everspin enters NVMe PCIe SSD market

Editor:- March 8, 2017 - Everspin today announced it is sampling its first SSD product an HHHL NVMe PCIe SSD with upto 4GB ST-MRAM based on the company's own 256Mb DDR-3 memory.

The new nvNITRO ES2GB has end to end latency of 6µS and supports 2 access modes:- NVMe SSD and memory mapped IO (MMIO).

Everspin says that products for the M.2 and U.2 markets will become available later this year. And so too will be higher capacity models using the company's next generation Gb DDR-4 ST-MRAM.

Editor's comments:- Yes - you read the capacity right. That's 4GB not 4TB and certainly not 24TB.

So why would you want a PCIe SSD which offers similar capacity to a backed RAM SSD from DDRdrive in 2009? And the new ST-MRAM SSD card also offers worse latency, performance and capacity than an typical hybrid NVDIMM using flash backed DRAM today.

What's the application gap?

The answer I came up with is fast boot time.

If you want a small amount of low latency, randomly accessible persistent memory then ST-MRAM has the advantage (over flash backed DRAM such as you can get from Netlist etc) that the data which was saved on power down doesn't have to be restored from flash into the DRAM - because it's always there.

The boot time advantage of ST-MRAM grows with capacity. And depending on the memory architecture can be on the order of tens of seconds.

So - if you have a system whose reliability and accessibility and performance depends on healing and recovery processes which take into account the boot times of its persistent memory subsystems - then you either have the choice of battery backup (which occupies a large space and maintenance footprint) or a native NVRAM.

The new cards will make it easier for software developers to test persistent RAM tradeoffs in new equipment designs. And also will provide an easy way to evaluate the data integrity of the new memories.


HP values Nimble at $109K / customer

Editor:- March 7, 2017 - HP today announced it has agreed to acquire Nimble Storage for just over $1 billion.


Kingston ships HHHL NVMe PCIe SSD using Liqid controller

Editor:- March 7, 2017 - Kingston today announced shipments of a another new NVMe PCIe SSD based on its partnership with Liqid. The DCP1000 has a Gen. 3.0 x8 interface and delivers upto 6.8GB/s and 6GB/s sequential R/W throughput respectively. The HHHL form factor SSD has upto raw 3.2TB capacity and is rated at under 0.5 DWPD for 5 years.


Micron chooses Hyperstone's USB controller for reliable IoT SSDs

Editor:- March 6, 2017 - Hyperstone's U9 - USB 3.1 flash Memory controller has been integrated into Micron's new eU500- a USB SSD aimed at the industrial IoT and telco market.

The eU500 has sequential read/write speed of up to 170/120 MB/s and a steady state 4K random read/write performance of 3,000/1,000 IOPS.


Parallel Machines gets patent for recovering distributed memory

Editor:- March 2, 2017 - Parallel Machines has been assigned a patent related to healing broken data in shared memory pools according to a news report in StorageNewsletter.com.

See also:- data recovery, SSD data integrity, security risks in persistent memory, fault tolerant SSDs


OpenMP is 20

Editor:- March 2, 2017 - The OpenMP ARB (Architecture Review Board) today announced the 20th anniversary of its incorporation. Since its advent in 1997, the OpenMP programming model has proved to be a key driver behind parallel programming for shared-memory architectures.

Editor's comments:- The way I remember it - the commoditization of enterprise grade multiprocessor architecture came a little time before that and was inspired by a company called Solbourne Computer which operated in the SPARC systems market.

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popular SSD articles

a historic perspective of the SSD market
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Megabyte was still going through his
Michelangelo phase
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who will make enough flash?
Editor:- March 14, 2017 - A fab capacity view of the flash industry's ability to meet demand for memory this year is presented in - Shootout At Yokkaichi - the NAND Industry at the Crossroads by William Tidwell, Semiconductor Analyst who regularly writes about such things on Seeking Alpha.

Among other things Bill discusses the state of production maturity within the major memory companies in their transitions to 3D and says:-

"Industry productivity is still low due to a condition that could be called planar overhang - that being the amount of planar capacity that must be converted as fast as possible to 3D, so the company can take advantage of the denser 3D process. Unfortunately, this conversion process from planar to 3D is basically like buying a house that has to be completely renovated and then finding out that load-bearing walls are involved - and the foundation has to be reinforced."

The article's central theme is the imminent auction of Toshiba's flash assets, the main competitors and possible bidders, winners and losers.

Along the way you get a good feel for the investment and production dynamics which will shape the next few years of this industry. ...read the article

historical timeline of 3D NAND flash memory

will there be enough flash to replace enterprise HDD?

boom bust cycles in memory markets - lessons for SSD

nand flash memory and other SSDward leaning nvms too

Selling Toshiba's memory business (more stories)

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after AFAs? - the next box
Throughout the history of the data storage market we've always expected the capacity of enterprise user memory systems to be much smaller than the capacity of all the other attached storage in the same data processing environment.

after AFAs - click to read rhe articleA new blog on StorageSearch.com - cloud adapted memory systems - asks (among other things) if this will always be true.

Like many of you - I've been thinking a lot about the evolution of memory technologies and data architectures in the past year. I wasn't sure when would be the best time to share my thoughts about this one. But the timing seems right now. ...read the article


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The industry will learn a lot about the "goodness" of new memory tiering products by stressing them in ways which the original designers never intended.
RAM disk emulations in "flash as RAM" solutions


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Some glimpses into the roots of DRAM's indeterminate latencies which underlie market opportunities for tiering flash as RAM and memory fabrics. And some critical technology thinking milestones in the evolving solutions matrix.
latency loving reasons for fading out DRAM in the virtual memory slider mix


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"The MLB Network uses Tegile flash storage in their post-production environment.

During the regular season, they need to record all of the games and produce content for shows like MLB Tonight, The Rundown, Intentional Talk, MLB Now, and Quick Pitch, which focus on the day's activities and give a snapshot of what's going on around the league.

In the off-season, they produce ... other programming that goes behind the daily game and into more of the storytelling about baseball.

That's over 500,000 hours of digital content!"
Brandon Farris, Director of Marketing Tegile Systems in his blog - Flash Storage Goes to Hollywood (March 7, 2017 )


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RAM has changed from being tied to a physical component to being a virtualized systems software idea - and the concept of RAM even stretches to a multi-cabinet memory fabric.
what's RAM really? - RAM news in an SSD context


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Toshiba was fastest growing SSD vendor in 2016
Editor:- March 8, 2017 - The flash business unit of Toshiba - which may be called something different depending when you read this - has announced that its SSD business was the 4th largest by market share and the fastest growing (year on year) in 2016 according to data in a report - Worldwide Solid State Storage Quarterly Update, CY 4Q16 ($40,000) - published recently by IDC.


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Should we set higher expectations for the future of memory systems and storage?
beyond SSD DIMM wars


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would you buy an SSD array for $1 million a pop?
Editor:- March 3, 2017 - Dell EMC has end of lifed the DSSD product line (an NVMe array and one of the fastest SSD systems in the market) and the storyline discussed in StorageReview.com is the missmatch between Dell's high volume commodity business and this niche HPC storage box.

The warm up to such an ending came in a news story in December 2016 by the Register which revealed the $1 billion gap between the cost of acquiring and developing the product and sales ($6 million).

Editor's comments:- In the short term this is good news for IBM's FlashSystem which is the most mature storage product line in this class.

And it's good news for startups and other specialist SSD companies which engage with the high performance end of the market.

One question I guess about the DSSD product line is that the market which it might have been aimed at 3 years ago doesn't exist any more.

Most computer companies who would be looking for HPC storage of the NVMe array variety are easily able to produce such systems from a competitive market of 2.5" NVMe SSDs. So why pay a premium to EMC or anyone else?

But a more deep rooted problem is that the DSSD is an old fashioned systems designer's prototype implementation of a modern persistent memory box. And the nvm memory changes in recent years (in cell technology and controllernomics tiering) makes the design about as useful as a TTL minicomputer competing with an NMOS microprocessor.

No matter how much cooling or SRAM you pack into a card - the cheapest place to solve latency problems is in the semiconductor chip itself before the data hits the external brake pads of the physical interface to copper.

We're going to see a lot of different permutations of big memory coming into the market. Generally the smaller the box and the closer it is to the applications processor the less waste there is in intersystems latency.

The DSSD approach has been blown away by commodity arrays at the low end of its performance ramge and by genuine memory systems technology advances at the high end.

Storage systems thinking can't compete for performance with semiconductor integrated memory systems architecture.

And here's another angle...

If you were looking for a low cost companion ultra fast compute box to work as a companion to DSSD class storage - Symbolic IO have got their own way to do it and can do it faster with less hardware.


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what happened in the 12 months leading upto March 2017?

selected headlines from the storage news archive
February 2017 Tachyum emerged from stealth mode
January 2017 Pure Storage said the "new stack" is becoming the standard thing.

Crossbar announced it was sampling 8Mb ReRAM based on 40nm CMOS friendly technology.
December 2016 Violin sought bankruptcy protection.

4Gb MRAM prototypes unveiled by SK Hynix and Toshiba
November 2016 Silicon Motion announced the "world's first merchant SD 5.1 controller solution."
October 2016 Rambus announced it is exploring the use of Xilinx FPGAs in its Smart Data Acceleration research program.
September 2016 Everspin filed its IPO to expand MRAM
August 2016 Seagate previewed a 60TB 3.5" SAS SSD

Nimbus demonstrated a 4PB 4U HA AFA at FMS
July 2016 Diablo announced volume availability of its Memory1 128GB DDR4 DIMM
June 2016 Pure said its AFA revenue in Q1 2016 was more than leading HDD array brand
May 2016 an ultra efficiently coded memory architecture was unveiled by Symbolic IO

Encrip announced tri-state coded DRAM IP
April 2016 Samsung began mass producing the industry's first 10nm class 8Gb DDR4 DRAM chips


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