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SanDisk Corporation is the global leader in flash memory cards, from research, manufacturing and product design to consumer branding and retail distribution.
.... SanDisk logo - click for more info

SanDisk's product portfolio includes flash memory cards for mobile phones, digital cameras and camcorders; digital audio/video players; USB flash drives for consumers and the enterprise; embedded memory for mobile devices; and solid state drives for computers. SanDisk is a Silicon Valley-based S&P 500 company, with more than half its sales outside the United States.

See also:- ..... SanDisk - editor mentions on, SanDisk's blog

who's who in SSD? - SanDisk

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - - June 2016

SanDisk had been #1 in the Top SSD Companies for 3 consecutive quarters leading up to the close of its acquisition by Western Digital in May 2016.

SanDisk was WDC's 7th SSD company acquisition.

As often happens at such times - SanDisk's web site has become blurry - with many product lines which were once clear and easy to locate now having disappeared or moved somewhere else.

How much of this is due to deliberate planning (the end of lifing of product lines, and the decision to utilize acquired technologies in different ways in yet to be defined future product lines) and how much is simply due to the deletion and oprhaning of online content which happens when big web sites are tidied up to fit in with new web marketing views - cannot be said with certainty right now.

Except we've seen such things before - and I would expect many product lines to disappear - while at the same time SanDisk brings to WDC the opportunity to leverage a bigger set of powerful SSD brands than it had before.

So maybe we might see some readjustments:- Fusion-io becoming the predominant PCIe SSD brand in the mix maybe?

HGST becoming the new brand for the SAS SSD product lines from SanDisk?

As to what will happen with the InfiniFlash range of rackmount SSDs? That's hard to say. We saw Skyera's product line disappear without a trace - although the technology is still there somewhere.

All that can be said with some certainty at the moment is that despite the huge amount of SSD IP currently within the management of WDC - there are still big gaps compared to the needs of the enterprise and cloud markets. So I would expect to see more acquisitions in the next 2 years.

Editor:- May 31, 2016 - SanDisk's search volume was 2x as high as either of the next 2 companies in the list in the Q1 2016 edition of the Top SSD Companies List .

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Editor's earlier comments:- January 15, 2014 - SanDisk was ranked #2 in the Q3 2014 edition of the Top SSD Companies List which is researched and published by

This isn't SanDisk's highest rank ever. SanDisk was #1 in Q3 2007 - at which time there were only 60 companies active in the SSD market (approximately 10x less companies than today).

SanDisk's acquisition of the #1 ranked SSD company Fusion-io reaffirmed the company's ambitions in the enterprise market. Although it became clear later (in January 2015) that SanDisk didn't want to keep everything which came in that package - resulting in the spin-off of NexGen.

An earlier acquisition by SanDisk - that of SMART Storage in July 2013 - has erupted with negative consequences recently - as part of a year long legal dispute related to a technology partner Diablo and its patent disupte with another company Netlist.

These problems arise from disputed technology patent and licensing rights related to the DIMM interface within SanDisk's ULLtraDIMM SSDs. Although this product line was a small part of the flash SSD IP acquired by SanDisk - and was negigible in revenue terms in 2014 - this type of SSD (memory channel SSD) will become more widely used in 2-3 years. Therefore it's essential for the patent and licensing aspects to be clear before more companies can feel confident about commiting themselves to this ecosystem.

In an investor conference briefing document - December 2014 (pdf) - SanDisk said it expects its enterprise SSD revenue in 2015 to exceed $1 billion.
look who's thinking like an enterprise systems SSD company now?

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - April 15, 2014

Can a semiconductor company - like SanDisk - ever truly do box level enterprise SSD thinking?

I used to think not. But SanDisk is getting up to speed in enterprise SSD thinking to a degree I wouldn't previously have believed possible.

That's the short version.

Now - here's where the longer version of this blog post begins.

People who talk to me about the SSD market know how hard I find it to stick with discussing any one particular SSD thing.

And that's never more true than when it comes to so-called "new product briefings" - in which case - (unless the technology is truly revolutionary) then we need to find something else to talk about for the other 55 minutes of our allotted hour slot - especially if the pdf or ppt which I got beforehand - explains everything - or if I can easily google or guess what else my readers might need to know.

I've been having these kinds of new product or new business briefing conversations for over 20 years.

Longer - you'll note - than there actually have been pdfs or ppts to brief with. Whatever did we use before?

But 3 weeks ago a new record for brevity when it comes to sticking to the time allocated to discussing the planned topic - in this case - a new SSD product - was established - in a conversation I had with SanDisk.

Because our time ran out - and we never even got as far as page 1 of the briefing document at all.

It started like this.

I was talking to someone in SanDisk I hadn't spoken to before - so I said how much I've seen SanDisk change when it comes to its enterprise learning curve.

I said - it's not just the acquisitions - but I've also noticed - from looking at various blog postings and linkedin etc - that SanDisk has also been growing its enterprise marketing talent organically too.

Something he said - made me realize I was speaking to another "enterprise systems veteran".

If you've been in the enterprise market long enough - you recognize enterprise thinking when you see it.

So then our conversation took a new turn.

For me the strategic core of future developments in enterprise SSDs is centered around rack-scale thinking - and the ability to create new SSD IP which better integrates - not just the memory arrays (at the controller and firnware level) - but also leverages or changes the internal assumptions of all the software which touches the SSD array too.

I said - I had asked myself many times in the past whether semiconductor companies (like Samsung, Intel, Micron and SanDisk) which design component level enterprise SSDs could ever design the best SSDs? - given that - in my view - the most efficient design optimizations require box level thinking and box level adaptation about matters such as:- where to partition algorithmic functions and how to leverage metadata and anticipate ongoing data R/W intentions intelligence from other parts of the SSD array.

I had concluded before - that the answer was no!

But in the past 2 years - my assessment has been gradually shifting as a result of conversations with people in some of the enterprise SSD companies which have been acquired by SanDisk (such as FlashSoft and SMART) and also as a result of seeing changes in the way that SanDisk corporate itself portrays its thinking about, and management of, its enterprise business.

The key enabler to this business intelligence - has been SanDisk's ability to talk to enterprise users - and view their SSD needs and aspirations in a systems perspective - because of SanDisk's FlashSoft software.

My gut feel is that SanDisk's enterprise SSD business is now able to do the same kinds of enterprise-aware SSD systems talk as traditional rackmount SSD vendors.

And that has come - not just from the affordability of having acquired some useful SSD IP - but from a corporate will to learn, evolve and adapt to being a new type of enterprise SSD centric business entity.

Which - if it sustains - would put them into a better vantage point than some of the other large scale component SSD companies they compete with.

Although having said that - just as with all enterprise SSD companies - there are differences of opinion about what they're seeing - and differences too - about the best ways to translate that into new product designs.

Anyway - those were the sort of things we were talking about.

And I hope that explains why we never got onto the first page of the new product briefing document in the webex. (Which I still haven't seen BTW.)

The briefing was supposed to be about some new products fleshing out SanDisk's CloudSpeed (SATA SSD) range.

But I had already written about the thinking behind this product family in May 2013 - where CloudSpeed appears as a footnote in an article describing (at that time) the architecture, technology and business thinking in SMART's SAS SSD product family.

So it was lucky we had something else to talk about.

PS - after our conversation I looked up the bio of the person I'd been speaking to.

It was Brian Cox, Senior Director of Outbound Marketing, SanDisk Enterprise Storage whose background (as you can see) is indeed in real enterprise systems stuff - as I had deduced in the first few seconds of our conversation.

If I'd known that before - would it have gone any differently? - Probably not.

PPS - After publishing the above blog - I did indeed get a whole blast of pdfs emailed to me among which was a new CloudSpeed (SATA SSD) product family overview (pdf) - which SanDisk had intended to be the focus of our conversation.

editor's comments:- September 2013 - SanDisk (a top 10 SSD company in Q3 2013) is a new force to be reckoned with in the enterprise SSD market in both legacy and new dynasty applications..

You can read about the road to this transformational positioning in the archived news stories on this page.

The short version is that because SanDisk learned how enterprise users really use SSDs - following their acquisition of FlashSoft (in a way which was much more reliable than analyst reports - by participating in user dialogs about a lot of different types of SSD use cases) they were in a better informed place from which to leverage any future hardware related enterprise SSD IP assets - however they might arise - the usual ways being organic development, licensing or acquisitions.

And now SMART Storage Systems gives them much more than a leading SAS SSD product line. - They also get efficient controller technology and a new way of doing fast SSD on the server motherboard which makes it the "must look at" alternative to any fast PCIe SSD in a "what shall I ship in my servers?" shortlist.

Key enterprise SSD market segments in which SanDisk now operates are:-

Who's who in SSD? - by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - May 2013

SanDisk (which has been a top 10 SSD company in past years and was #15 in the Top SSD Companies in Q2 2013 at the time of writing this - and then later moved back up to #10 in Q3 2013) - is one of the leading company in advancing the use of advanced MLC technology in SSDs (x3) continuing the thrust of technologies and market ambitions which it inherited from it acquisition of SSD pioneer M-Systems in 2006.

M-Systems was - at that time a credible leader in the enterprise flash and military flash SSD markets. For reasons best known to itself - SanDisk abandoned those market toe-holds and instead focused on the consumer SSD market.

In hindsight that was a serious business mistake because the consumer notebook SSD market in the first 5 years of its history (1996 to 2011) didn't turn out to be the money spinner which companies like SanDisk and Samsung had initially hoped.

So at the start of 2011 - SanDisk found itself in the unenviable position of having admirable flash memory technology - but no enterprise technology worth a damn. SanDisk was at the fuzzy end of the SSD market lollipop (consumer SSDs) instead of the much sweeter and bigger market of enterprise SSDs.

SanDisk made its first tactical move in that direction in May 2011 by acquiring Pliant Technology. Pliant had developed SAS SSDs which used its own fast SSD controllers - but Pliant had been unable to sell many due to the competiitive phenomenom of the SandForce inside market - which reshaped the competitive landscape in the STEC- class enterprise SSD market - and obsoleted the assumptions behind Pliant's business plans.

SanDisk made its 2nd move into the enterprise SSD market in Februrary 2012 - by acquiring an SSD software company - FlashSoft.

Whether or not SanDisk manages to put in place in effective enterprise marketing business still remains to be seen. Chipmakers which also make SSDs - such as Micron and Intel - don't really understand the enterprise SSD market and how to cultivate new business in the SSD industry.

Chipmakers (as opposed to systems companies) are used to selling components... This means talking directly to the biggest computer companies and hope that accounts for enough of the market. Leave the rest of the business development to distributors. That design-slot stuffing method has worked for over 30 years with evolutionary products like microprocessors and memories - but doesn't work so well with revolutionary products like SSDs.

As we've seen in recent years - there are many big end users in the internet economy which buy more SSDs than the big server oems - but who aren't on the chipmakers' lists of traditional companies to call.

SanDisk was very late entering PCIe SSD market - which is 1 of the 7 main market silos in enterprise SSD architecture. (SanDisk launched its first enterprise PCIe SSDs in June 2012.) So in that respect SanDisk was even further behind than STEC - which entered the PCIe SSD market in late 2011 and SanDisk is 5-6 years behind the market leader Fusion-io.

In April 2013 - SanDisk's CEO confirmed that the company's PCIe SSD business had been negligible upto that time. Instead most of SanDisk's enterprise sales were still coming from SAS SSDs and the product line based on its acquisition of Pliant.

SanDisk has hundreds of SSD competitors .It's difficult enough for any single SSD company to be successful and a leader in any of the major SSD markets. SanDisk's ambition to be successful in both consumer SSDs and enterprise SSDs is shared by competitor Micron.

SanDisk's toughest competitor in the SAS SSD market is SMART - which sells these products to many oems including IBM - and like SanDisk has world leading adaptive flash controller technology.

SanDisk's companies to catch up with in the PCIe SSD market are Fusion-io, Virident, OCZ, Micron, and LSI.

SanDisk is already a leader in the consumer SSD market. And its SSDs have also been adopted for use in hybrid hard drives for the notebook market by WD and Fujitsu.
some SanDisk Milestones from 35 Years of SSD Market History

In February 2009 SanDisk announced that it will begin mass-production of the world's first 4-bits-per-cell (X4) flash memory. Using 43nm process technology, this breakthrough enables 64Gb memory in a single die - the highest capacity in the industry

In June 2009 - SanDisk started shipping its 2nd generation of miniature PATA compatible SSD modules for the netbook market. Performance is 9,000 vRPM and capacities range from 8 to 64GB. SanDisk says it has improved the non volatile cache to prevent "stalling" or "shuddering" which was a problem in 1st generation netbook SSDs.

Storage clairvoyants, IDC, project consumer purchases of netbooks to rise from 11.5 million sold in 2008 to 50 million in 2013.

27 companies make miniature SSDs under 1.0" in size. pSSD is simply a brand name of this SSD family from SanDisk - and not new SSD jargon term you need to know about. The traditional term for this type of product is a DOM (disk on module). A SanDisk document describing the 1st generation pSSD said the benefits were low cost and low weight - 1/10th the weight of a typical 1.8" HDD.

In November 2009 - SanDisk announced that its 64GB (9,000 vRPM) pSSD module has been selected as a standard SSD option in Sony's new VAIO X ultra-thin laptop.

In January 2010 - SanDisk today announced results for the quarter ended January 3, 2010 - revenue of $1.24 billion increased 44% on a year-over-year basis and increased 33% sequentially.

SanDisk's Chairman and CEO, Eli Harari, said the company had achieved unit sales growth of 55% and gigabyte growth of 100% compared to the year prior quarter.

In February 2010 - SanDisk said it was shipping its G3 range of SSDs which had been preannounced in January 2009 - and originally expected to ship "in mid 2009."

In April 2010 - SanDisk dropped out of's top 10 SSD oems list - and got its lowest ever ranking.

In May 2010 - SanDisk started sampling netbook SSD modules with upto 128GB capacity in the "mSATA mini" form factor. SanDisk also started sampling 256GB models in its G4 notebook SSD range.

In September 2010 - SanDisk announced that NDS (a tv set top box designer with with over 30 million DVR units deployed) has successfully has designed SanDisk SSDs into a new range of lower cost set-top DVRs. The new solution allows for the deployment of energy-efficient STBs with decreased power consumption, small form factors and virtually silent operation.

In February 2011 - SanDisk preannounced details of a new miniature SSD which will ship in Q3 2011 - the iNAND has upto 64GB (x3 MLC) capacity in a 12mm x 16mm x 1mm package.

In May 2011 - SanDisk acquired Pliant Technology for approximately $327 million.

In June 2011 - SanDisk expanded its Lightning range (2.5" and 3.5" SAS skinny flash SSDs) which now offer upto 800GB MLC capacity. The new models are being delivered for OEM qualification, and will be available via authorized channel partners in Q3, 2011.

In July 2011 - SanDisk was one of several compatible companies named in FlashSoft's launch of its auto tiering SSD software.

In February 2012 - SanDisk announced it has acquired FlashSoft - one of the leading independent software vendors in the SSD ASAPs market.

In June 2012 - SanDisk launched a new family of bootable enterprise PCIe SSDs with upto 400GB (MLC) capacity ($2,350 MSRP) - the Lightning - which leverages SSD IP from 2 previously acquired companies (Pliant for the controller hardware and FlashSoft for the auto caching software).

In May 2013 - SanDisk announced that its iSSD BGA form factor SATA SSD was being used in a new 2.5" hybrid for notebooks from WD.

In July 2013 - SanDisk announced a definitive agreement to acquire SMART Storage Systems for approximately $307 million.

In January 2014 - IBM launched the world's first standard servers based on a new architecture leveraging "eXFlash DIMMs" - which were rebranded DDR3 compatible memory channel SSDs from the ULLtraDIMM product line designed and made by SanDisk.

In April 2014 - SanDisk began sampling 4TB SAS SSDs in a 2.5" form factor. The Optimus MAX was rated at 1-3 DWPD

In March 2015 - SanDisk entered the rackmount SSD market with the launch of the InfiniFlash (an array of SAS SSDs). This wasn't simply a rebranded version of rackmount products which had been acquired from Fusion-io but represented a new strategic direction for the company.

In October 2015 - Western Digital agreed to acquire SanDisk for $19 billion. SanDisk at that time had entered the standard rackmount SSD market and had enterprise SSD product lines in the PCIe SSD market (primarily from Fusion-io), Software (from FlashSoft and other acquisitions) and SAS SSDs (from SMART Storage). SanDisk was also a leading supplier of consumer SSDs and flash memory.
Many enterprise users - who wouldn't dream of approaching SanDisk to use its raw SSDs - seem more than willing to use SanDisk's enterprise SSD software (FlashSoft). Can SanDisk leverage this to transform itself into an enterprise SSD heavyweight?
Why are so many enterprise SSD users sharing their thoughts with SanDisk? (June 19, 2013)
90% of the enterprise SSD companies which you know have no good reasons to survive.
this way to market consolidation
"Don't believe everything SSD companies tell you about the past, present or future of the SSD market."
Survivor's Guide to Enterprise SSDs
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"One petabyte of enterprise SSD could replace 10 to 50 petabytes of raw HDD storage in the enterprise - and still run all the apps faster and at lower cost."

meet Ken and the SSD event horizon


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SanDisk announces the late arrival of its 2.5" NVMe SSD
Editor:- February 10, 2017 - SanDisk recently recycled the "Skyhawk" SSD brand - which had previously been associated with a rackmount SSD product (launched in October 2014) from Skyera - another SSD company - like SanDisk - which was acquired by Western Digital and by coincidence whose founder's new company emerged from stealth this week. (See the story about Tachyum in SSD news.)

The new SanDisk Skyhawk is aimed at the 2.5" NVMe PCIe SSD market.

Although SSD brand names can be important the significant thing about SanDisk's new Skyhawk is that it fixes a longstanding strategic weakness in its enterprise PCIe SSD product line which I commented on in October 2015 (when WD announced it would acquire SanDisk).

The irony is that Fusion-io (which created the enterprise PCIe SSD market and by whose acquisition SanDisk hoped in June 2014 to broaden its flash presence in the enterprise market) had been one of the earliest companies to demonstrate a prototype 2.5" PCIe SSD (in May 2012). But Fusion didn't productize that concept and chose instead to move upscale in form factor to boxes.

Decoupling from the complex legacy of the past is why it has taken nearly 5 years for SanDisk to launch its me too Skyhawk 2.5" NVMe SSD now.
So we're looking at a list of 10 well known suppliers of flash arrays.

Probably you've spent days already (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.

Now imagine that every single one of these products is actually the same hardware.

And when I say the same - I mean the same.
towards consolidation in the enterprise SSD market
"Hybrid systems incorporating hard-disk drives are not part of SanDisk's strategic focus."
Sumit Sadana, executive VP and chief strategy officer, SanDisk in an announcement that SanDisk had spun off NexGen. (SSD news - January 8, 2015)

See also:- hybrid systems
SanDisk hops into WDC's flash shopping basket
Editor:- October 22, 2015 - Following weeks of speculation and leaks came the confirmation 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.

Editor's comments:- From an SSD server storage competitive landscape perspective I think this is more significant than the EMC - 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 Intel.

Time will 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.

(SanDisk's 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 lagged behind 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.

On 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 product line.

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.

On 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.
SanDisk and HP ally in SCM DIMM wars
Editor:- October 9, 2015 - SanDisk and HP yesterday announced 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 expertise.

Editor's comments:- In the summer Intel and 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 that 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 today.

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 proprietary memory.

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.

See also:-
  • "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 - HP to replace flash and SSD in 2013 (October 2011) on Electronics Weekly
no change in positioning of SanDisk's ioMemory PCIe SSD...

it's still the standard by which all others are judged
Editor:- April 28, 2015 - Back in the summer of 2012 - at which time the PCIe SSD market was already well served by many strong (and soon to be acquired) competitors (as you can see in this archived news page from September 2012) I came up with a short phrase to summarize the positioning of Fusion-io's products (in ads here on which ran like this...

"the standard for enterprise PCIe SSDs by which all others are judged:- ioDrives from Fusion-io".
Fusion-io fast SSDs - click for more info
the standard for enterprise PCIe SSDs
by which all others are judged
ioDrives from Fusion-io

ad circa 2012
Then a year later (in about December 2013) when I was seeking for a way to refine that description - I updated that to...

"(still) the standard for enterprise PCIe SSDs by which all others are judged:- ioDrives from Fusion-io."

The reason I mention that is to show how phrases which appear in ads can stick in readers' minds years later and resurface in everyday conversations.

So you can imagine my delight at seeing a recent press release from SanDisk about a new generation of Fusion ioMemory PCIe SSDs which among other things included this statement by John Scaramuzzo, senior VP and GM, Enterprise Storage Solutions, SanDisk.

"Fusion-io's technology fundamentally transformed expectations about data center performance when it debuted 8 years ago and it remains the standard by which all other PCIe products are judged.

Also in this news story we learn that over 250,000 of these accelerators have been deployed by over 7,000 customers. And that having been re-engineered to use SanDisk memory - the new models cost a lot less than the previous generation ioDrive2 product, and are 2x faster at reads.
SanDisk enters the rackmount SSD market
Editor:- March 4, 2015 - As I've been saying for the past several years now - the rack is a strategic component form factor for enterprise flash.

And SanDisk recently announced it has joined the enterprise rackmount SSD market - with a new product - 3U 512TB array of 8TB SAS SSDs - with iSCSI (and upto 8 way SAS connections for local servers) called the InfiniFlash system (pdf) which leverages the market proven SanDisk ION Accelerator software stack which came with the acquisition of Fusion-io.

Pricing is under $2K / TB before compression or dedupe are applied.

Editor's comments:- SanDisk's pricing and storage density for the InfiniFlash is similar to Skyera's skyHawk FS (pdf) - launched in October 2014 - although the 2 products have very different internal architectures. The InfiniFlash is an array of standard SAS SSDs while the skyHawk FS is a proprietary design with internal big controller architecture - which can use any type of cheap, high density flash.

The availability of cheap, raw, white box rackmount SSDs like this from SanDisk, HGST and other vendors may put some pressure on traditional storage vendors to justify why they charge so much for - what in most cases - are in reality vanilla flash arrays with some added software features. But it's that software and related integration and migration services which have locked newer vendors out of these older markets.

Having said that - there are many types of users in the rackmount market who don't want the kind of software offered by companies like EMC, IBM, or HP and for whom - even the more creatively priced management functions integrated in boxes from newer companies like Tegile represent an expensive solution bundled with a data management approach which is different to what they need.

I first wrote about the conundrum of different rackmount SSDs - with different characteristics - co-existing at the same time and satisfying different user risk and value judgement profiles in a 2009 article.

In the 6 years since then - as the market has grown larger - it has been possible to delineate more functional differences in SSD box types than existed at that time - while at the same time - the variety of possible attached permutations - with respect to application compatibility, inherent technology risk factors, and buyer behavior - has grown too.

The result has been inefficient markets - and an inadequate range of products - often inappropriately marketed. Problems which I identified (with help from leading users and marketers) in my recent article - Decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise for rackmount SSDs

PS - prior to being aware of the InfiniFlash I had been discussing the role of such hypothetical white box rackmount SSDs as a factor in future consolidation of the market.
"I think SanDisk's ZetaScale could be one of the most significant SSD software products launched in 2014 - because of the freedom it will give big memory customers about how they navigate their tactical choices of low latency flash SSD hardware."
Zsolt Kerekes, editor - - SSD news (July 8, 2014)
What will SanDisk really get from Fusion-io?
SSD pizza"the ability to get more enterprise petabytes out from the same raw flash chips in - by shipping it through better architecture - is a more significant business factor in the flash memory market today than the ability to do another cell geometry shrink - or adding a few more layers of toppings on the 3D nand pizza"

Zsolt Kerekes, more in SSD news (June 17, 2014)
SAS SSDs were main reason for SanDisk's enterprise SSD revenue
Editor:- April 16, 2014 - SanDisk today announced $1.5 billion revenue for the quarter ended March 30.

In a related statement - Sanjay Mehrotra, president and CEO stated "...Combined client and enterprise SSD sales accounted for ($423 million) 28% of our first quarter revenue, with enterprise SSD revenue more than doubling on a year-over-year basis. Our expanded SAS SSD portfolio has enabled us to further strengthen our market position, and it has been the primary contributor to our enterprise SSD revenue growth."
"One of the most significant new form factors introduced in the enterprise SSD market in 2013 was memory channel storage."
what changed in SSD year 2013?
SanDisk, SMART and enterprise SSDs
Editor:- August 22, 2013 - SanDisk today announced it has completed its acquisition of SMART Storage Systems whose president John Scaramuzzo will now assume the new role of senior VP enterprise storage solutions at SanDisk - reporting to Sanjay Mehrotra, president and CEO.

Editor's comments:- I've been reporting on SanDisk's metamorphosis on the way to becoming a serious enterprise SSD company since long before they acquired Pliant Technology (an SAS SSD maker) in May 2011.

Lessons were learned from that - and a transformation seemed to take place in SanDisk's thinking triggered by their acquisition of FlashSoft in February 2012 - which enabled SanDisk to get much better clarity on what was really happening in a wide range of enterprise SSD users' sites - as a result of feedback coming from customers using its SSD software.

The 4 key assets which SMART brings to SanDisk in the enterprise SSD context are:-
  • enterprise grade (world class) adaptive R/W flash SSD technology.

    SMART has already demonstrated - in launched products - that this technology is scalable across a wide span of cost, power consumption and IOPS use cases.

    And at the fab level adaptive R/W IP increases SSD efficiency (usable SSDs per wafer).
  • an attractive (tier 1 validated) SAS SSD and enterprise SATA SSD product mix which has already displaced competitors in many leading server and storage oem design wins.
  • an embryonic new type of SSD - memory channel storage - which aims at the market space of fast PCIe SSDs - and which - if successful - could change the future mix of motherboard memory used in servers.
  • a team of technical, sales and marketing people with a long track record of successful product innovations in the mission critical flash SSD market.
Unlike the other Top 10 SSD company acquisition which is currently in the pipeline (Stec by WD which may need a lot of reworking to make it fly) - the SMART product lines within SanDisk have already been expanding their reach of new customer destinations.

If you look at what LSI did with SandForce - I think that provides a better idea of the future scale and speed of ramp up which you can expect to see with the new enterprise SSD business in SanDisk.
new WD hybrid has SanDisk iSSD inside
Editor:- May 7, 2013 - a new 2.5" hybrid for notebooks from WD - called WD Black SSHD (500GB HDD capacity, 5mm high SATA) - has an iSSD from SanDisk inside - it was announced today. The iSSD has 9K/1K R/W IOPS performance and measures 16mm x 20mm x 1.2mm for capacities upto 16GB. Average power consumption is typically 55mW.
Our PCIe SSD business is negligible today - but we plan to change that - says SanDisk's CEO
Editor:- April 18, 2013 - Nearly all SanDisk's enterprise SSD revenue still comes from SAS SSDs - derived from their acquisition of Pliant in March 2011 - and the company's PCIe SSD revenue today is "negligibly small" but they see PCIe SSDs as a large market opportunity which they want to get into with products they will launch in the 2nd half the year.

That was the gist of the message from Sanjay Mehrotra, cofounder and CEO SanDisk - in the company's earnings conference call yesterday.

Other things which emerged:- SSDs are 20% of SanDisk's sales this year, and like other flash memory makers SanDisk is reluctant to invest in new wafer fabs while there's still uncertainty about the exact direction and proven viability of flash technology beyond the current 2-3 years window. transcript on