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where are we heading with memory intensive systems and software?
inside every little memory is a lot of software trying to break out

Editor:- June 6, 2018 - "3DXPoint is a honey trap for new software so you can understand Intel's infatuation with the technology whatever shortcomings the raw memory may have compared to other options in the market today."

That's one angle of my new blog on - the importance of being earnest about 3DXPoint - and other SSD memoryfication heresies - which - among other things - reappraises the flash DIMM SCM market in the light of what was expected to happen at the outbreak of DIMM wars in 2015 and what really did happen (despite the stimulus of memory shortages - which should have made alternatives to DRAM seem even more attractive).

An important aspect of future market directions is the reality check that memory touches more software than storage. the article

Micron's ACS - viewed as Memory Defined Software

Editor:- April 6, 2018 - An outer limits example of Memory Defined Software (but one which has profound promise for changing the boundaries of compute platforms) is the work being done by Micron to create development platforms for its in-situ FGA inside memory array accelerators ACS datasheet (pdf).

The complexity of designing useful accelerators for new applications using FPGAs which can leverage the dataflow benefits of integrating the logic into offload intelligent memory is a large scale problem which crosses many divides of competence. Micron has been working with machine learning tool companies towards the holy grail of recompiling the nitty gritty elements of big data problems into custom engines and architecture which can be created in months rather than years of iterative design.

This effort was outlined in a recent blog Why Memory Matters in Machine Learning for IoT - by Brad Spiers - Principal Solutions Architect, Advanced Storage at Micron.

Qualcomm invests in Excelero

Editor:- November 7, 2017 - Excelero today announced a strategic investment from Qualcomm Ventures which brings the total of VC funds invested in Excelero to $30 million.

new test software from Quarch traces real-time SSD watts

Editor:- October 30, 2017 - The power consumption of an SSD design is a key determinant of its reliability and array density in system deployments. But how do you accurately measure the power over a range of performance and application demands?

Quarch Technology today launched a new software solution - Quarch Power Studio - which in conjunction with the company's test modules enables engineers to capture live scope traces of voltage, current and power performance; record high resolution results continuously over multiple days; scroll through multi-gigabyte data sets and zoom in to the smallest detail; examine minimum, maximum, mean and RMS statistics; and export images and trace sections.

don't mess with the OS - lessons from Coraid

Editor:- August 2, 2017 - AoE (ATA-over-Ethernet) is one of those ideas from storage history (AoE news coverage here on the mouse site started in 2003) which flash into the news pages for a while and then fade away.

There's a new article on StorageNewsletter - interview with Brantley Coile, CEO and Founder, Coraid - which takes you into the thinking behind the original concept and brings you up to date with what his new company is doing now.

Among other things in the article - Brantley Coile talks about the mistaken business direction which Coraid took to grow revenue after its successes in 2010 to 2012...

"...then management made a huge mistake: they decided to change the operating systems. Instead of using the Bell Labs technology I had used, and still use, they wanted to switch to Solaris. Companies like Coraid can't afford to change OSes no matter what the reason. It confuses customers. It means completely changing developers. It stops new features as the new team relearns all the lessons the old team had already discovered. Sales sagged. Funding disappeared." the article

See also:- VCs in storage , Surviving the Solaris x86 Wars

hard delays from invisibly fixed soft SSD errors can break apps
that's why you need better storage analytics - says Enmotus

Editor:- June 15, 2017 - Using SSDs as its prime example - but with a warning shot towards the future adoption of NVDIMMs - a new blog - storage analytics impact performance and scaling - by Jim O'Reilly - on the Enmotus blog site - describes how soft errors can contribute to application failure due to unexpected sluggish response times even when the data is automatically repaired by SSD controllers and when the self-aware status of the SSDs is that they are all working exactly as designed.

That's the needs analysis argument for storage analytics such as the software from Enmotus which supports the company's FuzeDrive Virtual SSD.

Jim says - "Storage analytics gather data on the fly from a wide list of "virtual sensors" and is able to not only build a picture of physical storage devices and connections, but also of the compute instance performances and VLANs in the cluster. This data is continually crunched looking for aberrant behavior." the article

NetApp acquires Software-Defined Memory

Editor:- May 29, 2017 - A report on says Network Appliance has agreed to buy Plexistor for $20 million.

Editor's comments:- Plexistor's claim to fame was Software-Defined Memory - with a chip agnostic approach to SCM DIMM wars and the memoryfication of the enterprise. This acquisition will enable NetApp to play around with options on that adoption curve in speculative system offerings without risking too much wasted software in memory dead ends.

a new name in low latency 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. the press release

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

a RAMdisk in flash?

Editor:- February 27, 2017 - The use of flash as a RAM tier was being talked about 5 years ago by Fusion-io and since then the market has got used to the idea. And since then as you know if you've seen the SSD news pages in recent times there are many different offerings in the market ranging from NVDIMMs to software which claim to work with any flash form factor.

But how good are such systems?

Well there are vendor benchmarks... but here's another way you might get insights.

A new blog on takes an unusual approach which is a probe into the future of the memory systems market.

I stuck my neck out here when I said "this may be a stupid question but... have you thought of supporting a RAM disk emulation in your new flash-as-RAM solution?" the article

Datrium celebrates one year of NVMe flash difference in its open converged platform

Editor:- January 24, 2017 - A recent press release from Datrium - celebrating one year of supporting NVMe SSDs within its high availability open convergence server storage (software) platform - DVX (pdf) - discusses bottlenecks which are inherent in legacy rooted storage architectures in AFAs which are implemented by SAS or SATA SSDs in comparison to native NVMe SSDs.

"The benefit of NVMe drives - blistering performance - is unavailable on most storage arrays today for two reasons. First, an array or hyperconverged design cycle can only adopt new drive connectivity approaches at a certain rate. As a rigid, composed system, it takes time. Second, successful flash array vendors depend on data reduction to optimize pricing. This means the controller CPU must filter data inline, which adds delay. The benefits of NVMe are subsequently small because the benefits over SAS links are bottlenecked by CPU cycles beforehand."

Editor's comments:- The message of the company seems to be that whereas modern flash storage systems undeniably have done a great job at reducing infrastructure costs (compared to old style HDD systems) there is still much more performance and utilization which can be extracted from COTS servers and SSDs when they're working in a modern architecture with modern software. See their 2 minute video for the key claimed gain factors.

The extent of this next level up in performance, utilization and efficiency (as an industry aspiration) was part of what I was hinting at in my 2013 article - meet Ken - and the enterprise SSD software event horizon.

tiering between memory systems layers - blog by Enmotus

Editor:- December 8, 2016 - A new blog - Flash Tiering: the Future of Hyper Converged - by Adam Zagorski, Marketing at Enmotus - discusses how hyper-converged infrastructure has evolved along with the associated impacts from data path latency and CPU overhead. Among other things Adam notes that...

"Very soon we'll have HCI clusters with several tiers of storage. In-memory databases, NVDIMM memory extensions and NVRamdisks, primary NVMe ultrafast SSD storage and secondary bulk storage (initially HDD but giving way beginning in 2017 to SSDs) will all be shareable across nodes. Auto-tiering needs a good auto-tiering approach to be efficient, or else the overhead will eat up performance." the article

See also:- SSD ASAPs (Auto-tuning SSD Accelerated Pools of storage)

NVMe flash as RAM - new software from OmniTier

Editor:- October 5, 2016 - OmniTier today announced the availability of its software MemStac which for cloud workloads can shrink DRAM requirements by about 8x using standard NVMe SSDs as caches for DRAM.

MemStac supports up to 4TB cache capacity per server node at a fraction of the cost of pure DRAM-only solutions.

OmniTier says that SSD performance in a standard Intel dual-socket server is upto 3.7M operations per second (100% Get operations) and 3.2M operations per second (80% Get operations / 20% Set operations) for 100 byte records.

These levels of performance are achieved with less than 1mS average latency. In addition, MemStac seamlessly delivers 10GbE network-limited throughput with typical workloads exceeding 250 bytes in average size, similar to the DRAM-only open-source solutions.

the emerging 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 - 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

FlexiRemap software wins award at Flash Memory Summit

Editor:- August 18, 2016 - AccelStor today announced it has won the Best-of-Show Technology Innovation Award for its FlexiRemap software at the Flash Memory Summit 2016 in Santa Clara, California.

AccelStor's FlexiRemap software improves performance, cuts down on overhead, and extends SSD lifespan. The technology achieves sustained performance and reliability even in the random-access scenarios typical of enterprise storage needs. Thanks to the global wear-leveling algorithm, FlexiRemap arrays have at least 2x the endurance compared to typical legacy RAID 5 flash systems.

Diablo gets more funding for Memory1 and DMX software

Editor:- August 3, 2016 - Diablo Technologies recently announced it has secured $37 million across 2 phases of an oversubscribed round of Series C financing.

Editor's comments:- that's kind of interesting - but much more interesting from my perspective was what I learned in a 1 hour conversation with the company last week about the software for their Memory1 (flash as RAM) product.

Diablo's DMX software is barely mentioned in the funding PR above. I expected to see more on their web site about this.

I also learned how Diablo handles the flash and endurance issues.

Those aspects were mysterious to me when the product was announced last year. But it's very straightforward. I'll write about them in an article later this week.

Until then - if you're wondering - the best way to think about the caching and tiering side of things is that Diablo's software leverages DRAM on the motherboard.

This DRAM (in another socket) must be present for every 1 or 2 Memory1 modules in the system. And in many respects it uses that DRAM and its own flash in a similar way to the early Fusion-io PCIe SSDs and some of the other tiering, caching products we've seen before like FlashSoft.

Diablo's DMX operates in memory layers and also the company has done machine learning of popular and proprietary apps it might work with so that it understands the nature of data demand patterns and structures.

Diablo says that unlike NVMe and those other storage cache / tiering products the benchmarks they've done with Memory1 have much more acceptable operation - because they don't have the same variability of latency which occurs when you go through storage stacks and related interfaces.

There are always infrequent traffic related congestion and contention problems in any multi-tiered latency system - even in real physical DRAM controllers.

These rare clogging events accumulate to bigger latency numbers in storage interchanges.

The ability to understand data at the application level and move it in and out of DRAM and flash via the DRAM bus with native custom silicon controller support for the memory movements - gets results which are on average several times better than the best PCIe based flash cache alternatives - as you'd expect.

But it's the superiority of the worst case latencies - which is the yea or nay breaking selection point between DIMM based flash and other interfaces.

DMX also includes a QoS latency feature so that application developers can retain control of data they like - in DRAM without having to rely on caching intelligence. More from me on this and the endurance side of things later.

memory intensive data architecture in a new family of boxes from 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."

Editor's comments:- I haven't spoken with Symbolic IO but my first impression is 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.

Revisiting Virtual Memory - read the book

Editor:- April 25, 2016 - One of the documents I've spent a great deal of time reading recently is Revisiting Virtual Memory (pdf) - a PhD thesis written by Arkaprava Basu a researcher at AMD.

My search for such a document began when I was looking for examples of raw DRAM cache performance data to cite in my blog - latency loving reasons for fading out DRAM in the virtual memory slider mix. It was about a month after publishing my blog that I came across Arkaprava's "book" which not only satisfied my original information gaps but also serves other educational needs too.

You can treat the first 1/3 or so as a modern refresher for DRAM architecture which also introduces the reader to several various philosophies related to DRAM system design (optimization for power consumption rather than latency for example) and the work includes detailed analysis of the relevance and efficiency of traditional cache techniques within the context of large in-memory based applications. the book (pdf)

PrimaryIO ships applications aware FT caching

Editor:- March 8, 2016 - PrimaryIO (which changed its name from CacheBox in August 2015) today announced the general availability of its Application Performance Acceleration V1.0 (software) for VMware vSphere 6.

PrimaryIO APA aggregates server-based flash storage across vSphere clusters as a cluster-wide resource enabling all nodes in the cluster to leverage the flash caching benefits even though a subset may already have flash deployed.

Using application awareness, PrimaryIO APA caches critical, latency-sensitive application IOs in order to boost overall application performance while enabling optimal utilization of data center server and networking resources.

PrimaryIO APA supports write-around and write-back caching with full fault-tolerance in face of node failures since writes to cache are replicated to up to 2 additional nodes.

Editor's comments:- in a technology brief (pdf) about their technology - PrimaryIO describes how they use application awareness to intercept data request streams based on its "relative value and ability to accelerate workload performance." PrimaryIO says this is more efficient in its use of flash than traditional approaches and can get good caching acceleration with a smaller amount of installed SSD capacity than other methods which don't discriminate so accurately.

worst case response times in DRAM arrays

Editor:- March 1, 2016 - Do you know what the worst-case real-time response of your electonic system is?

One of the interesting trends in the computer market in the past 20 years is that although general purpose enterprise servers have got better in terms of throughput - most of them are now worse when it comes to latency.

It's easy to blame the processor designers and the storage systems and those well known problems helped the SSD accelerator market grow to the level where things like PCIe SSDs and hybrid DIMMs have become part of the standard server toolset. But what about the memory?

Server memory based on DRAM isn't as good as it used to be. The details are documented in a set of papers in my blog - latency loving reasons for fading out DRAM in the virtual memory slider mix.

NSF funds project to progress in-situ SSD processing

Editor:- December 16, 2015 - NxGn Data today announced it has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 grant (about $150K) from the National Science Foundation.

"We've made great strides in developing our fundamental SSD technology, with a working prototype (of in-situ SSD processing) now running in our lab," said Nader Salessi, CEO and founder of NxGn Data.

The grant application says - "This project explores the Big Data paradigm shift where processing capability is pushed as close to the data as possible. The in-situ processing technology pushes this concept to the absolute limit, by putting the computational capability directly into the storage itself and eliminating the need to move the data to main memory before processing."

Plexistor aims to bind factions in SSD DIMM wars

Editor:- December 15, 2015 - Plexistor (an SSD software company emerging from stealth in stages) announced today that it is on track for beta release of its Software-Defined Memory (SDM) platform for next-generation data centers in Q1 2016.

Plexistor says that SDM will support a wide range of memory and storage technologies such as DRAM and emerging nvm devices such as NVDIMM-N and 3D XPoint as well as traditional flash storage devices such as NVMe and NVMe over Fabric, enabling a scalable infrastructure to deliver persistent high capacity storage at near-memory speed.

See also:- A File System for Use with Emerging Non-Volatile Memories (pdf) - Plexistor's presentation at last summer's FMS - which summarizes the value proposition thus - "Application developers can focus on business logic, not storage".

Write Cache Integrity Myths - blog from Datalight

Editor:- December 11, 2015 - Myth Busting: Using a Write Cache to Improve Performance Means Sacrificing Data Integrity - a recent blog from Datalight - (which also includes a 2 minute video) shows the value of having internal mechanisms and reference points in the file system to indicate that writes have completed.

transparent tiering between persistent memory and flash?

Editor:- November 26, 2015 - "What should applications developers do about all the possible permutations (interface and memory technology) emerging in the market for persistent storage class memory?"

That question is posed by Nisha Talagala, VP Engineering - Parallel Machines who goes on to discuss the technical design challenges and suggests strategies in a recent slideshare presentation.

In order to be widely adopted, any general abstraction solution has to embrace the business ambition of delivering competitively useful performance.

Nisha tackles that concern head on noting that...

"Persistent memory can be mapped in multiple ways depending on the hardware. We need to ensure that each memory type is default mapped to the optimal model possible for its physical attach."

Nisha's paper compares and notes the performance boundary choke points of several popular interface and memory (hybrid DIMM, PCIe SSD, Infiniband clustered server RAM) and suggests that transparent tiering between PM and flash is a viable software architecture approach which can deliver near optimal performance for local and remote PM. the article

Permabit shrinks data in new flash boxes from BiTMICRO

Editor:- October 20, 2015 - Permabit today announced that its inline dedupe and compression software is used in new rackmount SSD white boxes from BiTMICRO .

the impact of software - raised to the power of 1, squared and cubed on SSD future complexity

Editor:- October 16, 2015 - I partly blame punched tape porcupines and code monkeys for contributing to the complexity of new product permutations now being seeded in the SSD market with software, software squared and software cubed in a new home page blog on the mouse site - the SSD Bookmarks - ver 2.0 (preview).

But it's not just the fault of software.

Everyone's to blame (or to be congratulated).

The only problem is whom do we trust to tell us what's going on?

Here's an extract...

"There are even more intervention opportunities for leveraging software (this must be software cubed) for efficiency, making friends with applications, shunting sacred storage and server precepts into retirement homes (sometimes with a virtual forklift so that the old time classic infrastructure doesn't even realize that it's been packed up and already moved aside into its own little object appartment) to make way for brash new SSD-everywhere gangs which now have the confidence and the money to know that the future of the data streets belongs to them (or their successors). the article

Radian's Symphonic - Most Innovative Software at FMS

Editor:- August 18, 2015 - Radian Memory - which recently emerged from stealth mode - today announced it had received a best of show award at the Flash Memory Summit for "Most Innovative Software Technology".

This was for its software product Symphonic - designed for its new 2.5" NVMe SSDs - which replaces the traditional FTL controller approach with a 3rd generation approach - described by the company as "Cooperative Flash Management" - which partitions data movement responsibility between the controller in the SSD and the host CPUs and which enables data to be moved around the flash array under host control without needing to be read back into main system memory.

Our products are intentionally sold software-free - says Savage IO

Editor:- July 28, 2015 - "Our products are intentionally sold software-free, to further eliminate performance drains and costs caused by poor integration, vendor lock-in, rigidly defined management, and unjustifiable licensing schemes" says Savage IO which today launched its SavageStor - a 4U server storage box with "more lanes of SAS than anyone else".

NexGen decouples from Fusion-io accelerator juice with NVMe readiness

Editor:- June 30, 2015 - As previously signaled - NexGen Storage has decoupled itself from relying on SanDisk's PCIe SSD product line in its hybrid storage arrays with the announcement today that NexGen has introduced NVMe readiness as an update in its software services. This paves the way for expanding the systems product line with a wider range of 3rd party internal SSD accelerators with different price and workload capabilities.

Hedvig has amassed $30 million to start fixing broken SDS market

Editor:- June 1, 2015 - Hedvig - which operates in the SDS market - today announced an $18 million Series B funding round (bringing the company's total funding to date upto $30 million).

Hedvig's founder - Avinash Lakshman - who is credited with building some of the most successful distributed systems in the world, including Amazon Dynamo, the foundation of the NoSQL movement, and Apache Cassandra for Facebook said - "We've identified the potential in a broken and fragmented storage market, and are not only looking to bring software-defined storage mainstream, but fundamentally change how companies store and manage data."

Caringo gets patent for adaptive power conservation in SDS pools

Editor:- May 19, 2015 - Caringo today announced it has obtained a US patent for adaptive power conservation in storage clusters. The patented technology underpins its Darkive storage management service which (since its introduction in 2010) actively manages the electrical power load of its server based storage pools according to anticipated needs.

"The access patterns and retention requirements for enterprise data have changed considerably over the last few years to a store-everything, always accessible approach and storage must adapt," said Adrian J Herrera, Caringo VP of Marketing. "We developed Darkive to help organizations of any size extract every bit and watt of value while keeping their data searchable, accessible, and protected."

new power fail safe file system for tiny memory IoT

Editor:- May 5, 2015 - Datalight today released a preview version of Reliance Edge, a power fail-safe file system for FreeRTOS which allows developers building IoT devices to reliably store and quickly access data in embedded SSDs. It requires as little as 4KB of RAM and 11KB of code size.

"Designing a file system which met the high reliability standard set by our (high performance) Reliance Nitro and could fit into tiny microcontroller based systems presented a challenge – and I love a challenge," said Jeremy Sherrill, architect of file systems for Datalight. "Reliance Edge offers a rich set of features in a highly efficient architecture."

Reliance Edge can work with a broad array of storage media—including NOR and NAND flash, eMMC, SD/MMC, NVRAM, USB storage, and SATA (or PATA) SSDs. Datalight plans to release new pre-ported kits for other small-kernel OSes over the coming months.

software is key to enterprise flash consolidation

Editor:- April 21, 2015 - In an new article today on I look at drivers, mechanisms and routes towards consolidation in the enterprise SSD systems market along with some other outrageous and dangerous ideas.

"Users now realize that in their own self interest they have much to gain from abstracting the benefits they get away from the diverse feature sets of any single supplier towards a minimalist set of common must-have features which will satisfy all their needs while giving them independence from failed or greedy suppliers." the article

FalconStor shows why it has taken so many years to launch an SSDcentric next software thing

enterprise SSD segments
hidden segments
Editor:- February 19, 2015 - You might think there are enough SDS companies already - but SSDcentric data architectures are pulling system solutions in different directions - so until the dust settles and the landscape looks clearer - there are plenty of gaps for new companies to enter the market.

The most significant this week was FalconStor - who announced a new SSDcentric storage pool redeployment and management platform called FreeStor - which the company says works across legacy, modern and virtual environments.

FalconStor says - "The heart of FreeStor is the Intelligent Abstraction layer. It's a virtual Rosetta Stone that allows data - in all its forms - to migrate to, from and across all platforms, be it physical or virtual."

They've posted a good video which describes it all.

FalconStor's natural partners are enterprise SSD systems vendors and integrators who have good products but who don't have a complete (user environmentally rounded) software stack.

Editor's comments:- For 4 years FalconStor gave me the impression of a storage software company which didn't know what it wa going to do with the SSD market - despite having a base of thousands of customers in the enterprise storage software market.

FalconStor's delay can now be explained. They were studying what needed to be done - and it took a lot of work.

If you want to understand who else is offering a product concept which is similar in vision to FalconStor's FreeStor - I'd say Primary Data. Although due to a difference in ultimate scaling aspirations and markets - I would say that FalconStor's product is lower end and currently more accessible. Part of the reason being that FalconStor already has a customer base for pre SSD era software - which they are hoping to convert incrementally.

$34 million funded SDS company Springpath emerges from stealth

Editor:- February 18, 2015 - Springpath emerged from stealth with these related announcements.

A server based data platform priced from $4,000 per server per year.

A distribution agreement with Tech Data who will offer Springpath's software preloaded onto servers.

$34 million funding from investors Sequoia Capital, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and Redpoint Ventures

OCZ and Levyx aim to shrink server-counts and DRAM in real-time big data analytics

Editor:- February 10, 2015 - OCZ and Levyx today announced a technological collaboration whereby the 2 companies will develop and validate a new type of flash as DRAM solution which will be positioned as a competitive alternative to DRAM rich server arrays used in many big-data real-time analytics environments.

"As demand for immediate I/O responses in Big Data environments continues to increase, our ultra-low latency software paired with high-performance SSDs represent a better and more cost-effective alternative to traditional scale-out architectures that rely heavily on DRAM-constrained systems," said Dr. Reza Sadri, CEO and co-Founder of Levyx Inc. "We are pleased to work with OCZ on this new usage model as our technology is specifically designed to leverage the latest in advanced SSD technologies and we'll utilize the Z-Drive 4500 (PCIe SSD) to deliver the enhanced performance that helps validate our technology."

Editor's later comments:- "retiring and retiering enterprise DRAM " was one of the big SSD ideas which emerged in 2015.

Primary Data - one of the best known enterprise software companies in 2016-2017 - emerges from stealth

Editor:- November 19, 2014 - Primary Data - the most ambitious storage software startup I have ever encountered - today emerged from stealth mode - with 2 announcements.
  • 1st announcement

    The news that Steve Wozniak has joined the company as Chief Scientist.

    Wozniak who cofounded Apple in 1976 - elevated the general visibility of fledgling Fusion-io when he joined that company in the Chief Scientist role February 2009.

    The impact of this was assessed and captured in a 2011 blog by Woody Hutsell - who at that time was working at erstwhile enterprise SSD competitor - TMS. Woody wrote at that time (2011)...

    "I used Google trends data to see if there was an inflection point for Fusion-IO and I found it. The inflection point was their hiring of Steve Wozniak. What a brilliant publicity move... I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to create a similar event at TMS. I thought if we could hire "Elvis" we would have a chance."

    Today (in November 2014) Primary Data's cofounder - Rick White said...

    "With Woz on the team along with Lance and David, we now have the band back together, and I'm amped to be reunited at Primary Data." more in SSD news

Enmotus FuzeDrive software - now available

Editor:- November 4, 2014 - Micro-tiering within the server box - between the lowest possible latency persistent memory (such as flash backed DRAM DIMMs from Viking), then up a level to SATA SSDs and finally to hard drives - gives users materially different performance and cost characteristics to merely caching between those devices when they are used in a hybrid storage appliance.

That's the message behind the announcement today by Enmotus about the general availability of the company's FuzeDrive server (SSD software) for Windows and Linux - in which (unlike simple server based cache based solutions) - FuzeDrive treats the SSD as primary storage and so "all reads and writes to the hot data occur at full SSD speeds".

""Even SSDs are becoming bottlenecks in some cases" said Marshall Lee, CTO and co-founder of Enmotus. "As a result, newer classes of storage devices continue to appear that can take advantage of higher performance busses inside servers, NVDIMMs being a great example."

McObject expands reach of in memory database for serious embedded apps developers

Editor:- October 28, 2014 - First 2, then 3 and finally - 4 interesting things caught my eye in news about version 6.0 of eXtremeDB - an in-memory database system from McObject
  • Data compression. This release adds data compression for both in-memory and on-disk databases. Once upon a time compression was a value add feature in some products - but now in the SSD age when compression is almost latency free - it has become a must-have on the feature list - especially for embedded systems.
  • Avionics platform support. This upgrade adds compatibility with Wind River Systems' VxWorks 653 COTS platform for delivering safety-critical, integrated modular avionics applications.
  • More flexible transaction scheduling. Applications using eXtremeDB's multiple-user, single-writer transaction manager can override the default FIFO scheduling policy within priority levels to favor either read-only or read-write transactions.
  • Distributed query processing support. eXtremeDB partitions a database and distributes query processing across multiple servers, CPUs and/or CPU cores - which can accelerate performance.
""Demand for distributed query processing cuts across market segments, but is especially relevant to the automation and control field, where eXtremeDB is historically strong" said McObject CEO and co-founder Steve Graves.

See also:- industrial SSDs, military SSDs, hybrid DIMMs

Efficiency is important for web scale users - says Coho

Editor:- October 9, 2014 - Facebook as a file system - a web scale case study - a new blog by Andy Warfield , cofounder and CTO - Coho Data - made very interesting reading for me - as much for revealing the authoritative approach taken in Andy's systematic analysis - as for the object of his discussion (Facebook's storage architecture).

It reveals useful insights into the architectural thinking and value judgments of Coho's technology - and is not simply another retelling of the Facebook infrastructure story.

When you read it you may get different things out of it - because it's rich in raw enterprise ideas related to architecture, software, and dark matter users. All of which makes it hard to pick out any single quote. But here are 2.
  • re - the miss match between enterprise products and user needs

    Andy Warfield says - "In the past, enterprise hardware has had a pretty hands-off relationship with the vendor that sells it and the development team that builds it once it's been sold. The result is that systems evolve slowly, and must be built for the general case, with little understanding of the actual workloads that run on them."
  • re efficiency and utilization

    Andy Warfield says - "Efficiency is important. As a rough approximation, a server in your datacenter costs as much to power and cool over 3 years as it does to buy up front. It is important to get every ounce of utility that you can out of it while it is in production."
There are many more I could have chosen. ... read the article

We need new software abstractions to efficiently handle persistent enterprise memory - says SanDisk

Editor:- October 3, 2014 - New enterprise software abstractions are needed in order to efficiently utilize all those unruly developments in flash, tiered flash-DRAM architecture and NVDIMMs.

And laying the educational framework for those ideas - along with some practical suggestions for where applicable solutions might be coming from - is the theme of a recent blog - the Emergence of Software-Defined Memory - written by Nisha Talagala, Fellow at SanDisk & Fusion-io - who (among other things) says:-

"We're seeing excitement build for a new class of memory:- persistent memory - which has the persistence capabilities of storage and access performance similar to memory.

"Given this richness of media technologies, we now have the ability to create systems and data center solutions which combine a variety of memory types to accelerate applications, reduce power, improve server consolidation, and more.

"We believe these trends will drive a new set of software abstractions for these systems which will emerge as software-defined memory – a software driven approach to optimizing memory of all types in the data center." the article

See also:- are you ready to rethink enterprise DRAM architecture?

Microsoft's SSD-aware VMs - discussed on InfoQ

Editor:- September 24, 2014 - There are now so many enterprise SSD software companies that keeping track of them all is a little like tallying 2.5" SSD makers - a tedious chore -which in most cases isn't worth the bother.

Nevertheless - SSD-centric software is strategically important - and some vendors are more important than others - despite having been latecomers in the enterprise flash wars .

One such company is Microsoft.

A news story today - Microsoft Azure Joins SSD Storage Bandwagon on InfoQ - discusses Microsoft's D-Series SSD-aware VMs - and places this in the context of other products from well known sources.

The blog's author - Janakiram MSV says "One important aspect of SSD based VMs on Azure is that they are not persistent. Data stored on these volumes cannot survive the crash or termination of virtual machines. This is different from both Amazon EC2 and Google Compute Engine, which offer persistent SSDs. On Azure, customers have to ensure that the data stored on the SSD disks is constantly backed up to Azure blob storage or other VMs." the article

HGST announces 2nd generation clustering software for FlashMAX PCIe SSDs

Editor:- September 9, 2014 - HGST today announced a new improved version of the high availability clustering capability previously available in the PCIe SSD product line acquired last year from Virident.

HGST's Virident Space allows clustering of up to 128 servers and 16 PCIe storage devices to deliver one or more shared volumes of high performance flash storage with a total usable capacity of more than 38TB.

HGST says its Virident HA provides a "high-throughput, low-latency synchronous replication across servers for data residing on FlashMAX PCIe devices. If the primary server fails, the secondary server can automatically start a standby copy of your application using the secondary replica of the data."

For more details see - HGST Virident Software 2.0 (pdf)

Editor's comments:- This capability had already been demonstrated last year - and ESG reported on the technology in January 2014.

But at that time - the clustering product called vShare - was restricted to a small number of servers - and the data access fabric was restricted to Infiniband only.

With the rev 2.0 software - the number of connected devices has increased - and users also have the lower cost option of using Ethernet as an alternative supported fabric.

SanDisk extends the reach of its SSD software platform

Editor:- July 8, 2014 - 2 weeks ago SanDisk announced a new enterprise software product - ZetaScale - designed to support large inmemory intensice applications.

I delayed writing about it at the time - until I learned more. But now I think it could be one of the most significant SSD software products launched in 2014 - because of the freedom it will give big memory customers (in the next 2-3 years) about how they navigate their tactical choices of populating their apps servers with low latency flash SSD hardware.

what is ZetaScale?

SanDisk says - "ZetaScale software's highly parallelized code supports high throughput for flash I/O, even for small objects, and optimizes the use of CPU cores, DRAM, and flash to maximize application throughput. Applications that have been flash-optimized through the use of ZetaScale can achieve performance levels close to in-memory DRAM performance."

ZetaScale is SSD agnostic. "ZetaScale is compatible with any brand of PCIe, SAS, SATA, DIMM or NVMe connected flash storage device, providing customers the ability to choose, avoiding hardware vendor lock-in."

I was curious to see how this new product - which is a toolkit for deploying flash with tiering to DRAM as a new memory type - fitted in with other products - from SanDisk and from other vendors which also operate in this "flash as a big memoryalternative to DRAM" application space .

So I asked SanDisk some questions - and got some interesting answers.
  • Where does the ZetaScale product come from?

    SanDisk - ZetaScale builds upon our Schooner acquisition technology for additional use cases and flash deployment models.

    ZetaScale allows any developer to better tune their applications for flash-based environments, no matter which vendors hardware or interface is being leveraged. Thus, ZetaScale represents a major step forward in our vision of the flash-transformed data center—empowering software developers to scale and enhance their applications to meet today's big data and real-time analytics demands, while lowering TCO.
  • How much commonality is there between ZetaScale and FlashSoft product offerings?

    ZetaScale and FlashSoft software are complementary and orthogonal.

    FlashSoft provides direct-attached flash-based caching for NAS and SAN devices, with the goal of improving performance for unmodified applications running on a server.

    ZetaScale software provides a flash and multi-core optimization library that applications can integrate to allow them to achieve 3x times the performance improvement from flash alone.

    Both ZetaScale and FlashSoft software provide their benefits in bare metal and virtualized environments
  • Does ZetaScale support ULLtraDIMM?

    Yes. The software is compatible with any brand of PCIe, SAS, SATA, DIMM or NVMe connected flash device, enabling users to avoid vendor lock-in. However, the software does not get embedded into any SSD.
  • How would ZetaScale fit into a future SanDisk product line which also includes Fusion-io?

    SanDisk cannot comment on open M&A activity. As usual, all planning surrounding the product portfolio and roadmap will begin following the close of the acquisition.
Editor's comments:- overall I'd have to rate SanDisk's - ZetaScale as one of the most significant SSD software products launched in 2014.

From a technical point of view - it's a toolkit which will enable architects of SSD apps servers with very large in memory databases to decouple themselves fromdeep dives into specific low latency SSD products. Instead of gambling on whether they should exploit particular features which come with particular low latency SSDs - they can instead use ZetaScale as the lowest level of flash which their apps talk to. And that will change markets.

And although SanDisk didn't want to comment on how this would be positioned against Fusion-io's VSL - it's undeniable that in some applications it does compete today.

Although I wouldn't be surprised to see - a year after the acquisition (if it goes ahead) ZetaScale could be useful as a way of introducing new customers to the ioMemory hardware environment - without those customers having to make a hard commitment to the rest of Fusion-io's software.

And - looking at the memory channel SSD market - it also means that SanDisk software might be a safer standard for future customers of any DDR4 or HMC SSDs which might emerge from competitor Micron which - unlike SanDisk - hasn't demonstrated yet any strong ambitions in the SSD software platform market.

say hello to CacheIO

Editor:- June 10, 2014 - CacheIO today announced results of a benchmark which is described by their collaborator Orange Silicon Valley (a telco) as - "One of the top tpm benchmark results accelerating low cost iSCSI SATA storage."

CacheIO says that the 2 million tpm benchmark on CacheIO accelerated commodity servers and storage shows that users can deploy its flash cache to accelerate their database performance without replacing or disrupting their existing servers and storage.

Editor's comments:- The only reason I mention this otherwise me-too sounding benchmark is because although I've known about CacheIO and what they've been doing with various organizations in the broadcast and telco markets for over a year - I didn't list them on before.

That was partly because they didn't want me to name the customers they were working with at that time - but also because with SSD caching companies becoming almost as numerous as tv stations on a satellite dish - I wanted to wait and see if they would be worth a repeat viewing. (And now I think they they are.)

Decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise

Editor:- May 28, 2014 - today published a new article - Decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise for rackmount SSDs

Some of the world's leading SSD marketers have confided in me they know from their own customer anecdotes that there are many segments for enterprise flash arrays which aren't listed or even hinted at in standard models of the enterprise market.

Many of these missing market segments don't even have names.

The glut of new flavors in SSD software - mostly boldly promising new architectures but sometimes with a better plea bargain for legacy - is one of the biggest segment multiplying factors. the article

Fusion-io demonstrates life and capacity amplification effects of combining 2 software ingredients

Editor:- April 2, 2014 - In a benchmark demonstration this week Fusion-io showed the combined advantages of using NVM compression in conjunction with its Atomic Writes APIs in SkySQL environments. The results indicate that:-
  • 2x as much data can be stored on the same flash media - while giving similar performance and latency to the uncompressed case with legacy software, and
  • using compression and the new APIs - reduces write traffic and improves endurance limited operating life by a factor of 4x
Editor's comments:- compression has been used as a secret invisible endurance helper inside enterprise flash SSD systems (and as a way to speed up performance and housekeeping functions such as garbage collection) starting in 2007 with MFT flash management software from EasyCo.

From 2009 onwards - invisible compression speedup and reliability boosting became widely adopted in the industry - as they were both intrinsic parts of every SSD controller shipped by SandForce.

WhipTail was the first enterprise SSD array vendor I knew of to offer inline time compression as an explicit feature which users could turn on or off - to increase usable virtual capacit. That was in February 2009 - and James Candelaria (who at that time was WhipTail's CTO) mentioned this as an attribute in his SSD bookmarks for readers in September 2010.

However, in a later conversation (January 2012) with Cameron Pforr (who at that time was WhipTail's President and CFO) - Cameron told me they were no longer emphasizing compression because it led to latencies which were too long to be competitive - and instead they were focusing on performance.

Since those days many leading SSD array makers have used compression to offer tactical advantages in their products - particularly in cost sensitive markets like iSCSI. And compression and more efficient software are just some of many ingredients I identified in last year's article better thinking inside the SSD box.

To sum up - Fusion-io's demonstration this week simply confirms what anyone who knows their product line well would have already expected.

See also:- SSD compression - editor mentions on

VMware enters the SSD market

March 6, 2014 - With the launch of its Virtual SAN - VMware has at last joined the crowding SSD software ecosystem as a lead SSD player rather than (as before) in a subordinate role (as the legacy software dancing partner - a bit like dancing with your uncle or aunt at the wedding disco) which was the case before in hundreds of acceleration compatibility stories narrated by other SSD companies.

VSAN version 1.0 is an SSD ASAP (hybrid virtualizing appliance) - which supports 3-8 server nodes. The company says that "support for more than 8 will come later." the details.

Editor's comments:- first impressions? It's late and doesn't look great (in features). But it will probably be deemed adequate for many users starting down this road.

Before dismissing it entirely (as some commentators and competitors have already done) let's remember that when LSI entered the SSD market in January 2010 - it was the "163rd company to enter the SSD market". And look where they are now.

Being late to market doesn't count as a mortal sin in the SSD marketing lexicon right now because first mover advantage (pdf) assumptions aren't valid in this phase of the market's development.

more comments re VSAN

"Our customers who had the opportunity to participate in the VSAN beta told us that in most cases, (our) Maxta MxSP performs better" - said competitor Yoram Novick, founder Maxta in his blog - Software-Defined Storage – the Devil is in the Details

"I'm especially proud of how the team has outperformed expectations. Today we're announcing GA support for 32 nodes. That means that Virtual SAN can now scale from a modest 3 node remote office, to a multi-petabyte, mega-IOPS monster — just by adding more server resources... and ...VSAN isn't bolted on, it's built in." - says Ben Fathi, CTO VMware - in his blog - Virtual SAN: Powerfully Simple and Simply Powerful

old software will slow new silicon in memory done by SSDs

Editor:- February 5, 2014 - In a new blog - New Vistas For Persistent Memory - Tom Coughlin, President Coughlin Associates reminds us that in exteremely fast SSDs - lowering the hardware latency is just one part of the design solution.

Tom says - "An important element in using persistent memory in the PCIe and memory bus of computers is the creation of software programs that take advantage of the speed and low latency of nonvolatile memory. With the increase in performance that new interfaces allow, software built around slower storage technologies becomes a significant issue preventing getting the full performance from a persistent memory system."

Tom's article includes a graph which shows the increasing proportion of the read access time taken up by system software in successively faster hardware interface generations. the article

Editor's comments:- living with the old while planning for a new type of SSD-aware computer architecture is complicated.

Just how complicated that picture can be... you may glimpse in a classic far reaching paper (about abstracting application transactional semantics in usefully different ways when viewed from their interactions with the flash translation layer) - called Optimizing I/O Operations via the Flash Translation Layer (pdf) by Gary Orenstein, Fusion-io (August 2011).

SNIA proposes new standard for virtualizing SSD implemented memory

Editor:- January 27, 2014 - It's years since the first thoroughbred SSD software horses were seen to be leaving the stables - but last week - a standards ORG - SNIA announced an effort to bolt these doors with the release of version 1 of what it hopes will be a new standard called the NVM Programming Model (pdf)

Editor's comments:- Currently if you use SSDs as memory using PCIe SSDs from Fusion-io or Virident, or if you plan to use memory channel SSDs from SanDisk - then you're potentially looking at working in 3 different software environments.

The viable permutations of hardware and software compatibility levels shrink for users when they converge at a popular market application level such as virtual desktops - but explode into crazy unsupportability for 3rd party software developers as they try to step back from proprietary APIs and hang onto more general hooks in operating systems which were never designed around the core class of capabilities offered by low latency SSDs.

Whether the long term solution to the current messy state of ad hoc SSD software lies in adapting current OS's - or maybe in bypassing old OS's entirely and starting again with cloud level service-like abstrations in virtualized servers - is interesting to speculate.

In the meantime software developers have to work with existing de-facto software environments (to generate revenue) and also keep an eye on future standards in the hope that standardization will reduce their costs (one day in the remote future).

The SSD software platform and the optimum level of engagement for vendors is a lottery which will suck billions more dollars from VCs before it is resolved. And I think that market dominance will be a bigger part of the solution than a set of committee based standards.

Maxta joins the elite set of enterprise contenders who are vying to own the next generation SSD-centric platform

Editor:- November 13, 2013 - This week Maxta completed its staged emergence from stealth mode and launched its first product - the Maxta Storage Platform - a hypervisor-agnostic software platform for repurposing arrays of standard servers (populated with cheap standard SATA SSDs and hard drives) into scalable enterprise class apps servers in which the global CPU and storage assets become available as an easily managed meta resource with optimized performance, cost and resilience.

Editor's comments:- I spoke last week to Yoram Novick about this new product, his company and what customers have been doing with it.

Before you dip into my bullet points below - here's a header note of orientation.

We've all seen new companies launching SSD software and pitching for the enterprise with products which are little more than spruced up versions of "hello SSD world!"

Then a year later - some essential compatibility features get added, and later still some degree of better or worse high availability.

It didn't used to matter much if everything wasn't in place at the start - or if these new companies didn't have sustainable business plans - because there was an appetite for acquiring them.

From my perspective I'd say that many companies have regarded the launch of their SSD software is simply an invitation to attract users who could provide the market knowledge they needed to flesh out the feature set.

In these important respects Maxta is different because:- prior to this week's product launch they've already had a group of 10 or so advanced customers in different industries who have been using the product and also the enterprise features - like manage-ability, scalability, resilience and data integrity are already in the product today.

Maxta's technology and business architects have done enterprise storage software before - as you can see from their linkedin bios. Yoram told me that he and Amar Rao (Maxta's VP of Business Development ) used to compete with each other in earlier storage startups and the companies which had acquired them.

So it soon became clear to me in the details I saw and asked about (not all of which are listed here) that a lot of careful planning and up front thinking and problem solving has already guided the "launch".

Here's some of what I learned.
  • market scope

    MxSP is the software glue for enabling easily managed SSD enhanced storage pools in VM environments which scale from the ROBO upto cloud infrastructure.

    The base level configuration which provides HA features starts as low as 3 nodes. This is attractive for enterprises with remote offices because it's a small footprint. But it's also attractive from a running cost point of view too - Yoram said because of the special low price point for associated software.

    Maxta has a customer who started with these 3 node configurations for remote offices but liked them so much that their bigger arrays are now built mostly from arrays of 3 too.
  • the problem it solves

    The evolution of enterprise CPU and storage resources have followed different tracks in the past decade - leaving users in the position today where it's easy and economic to deploy more CPUs but relatively awkward, expensive or error prone to map these CPU resources into virtual storage which scales with the same ease and which takes advantage of the low cost and high performance of commodity enterprise SSDs.
  • the storage pool

    Maxta's architecture aggregates the SSDs and HDDs in the server pool into a single globally accessible, fault tolerant SSD accelerated virtual storage pool.

    Within Maxta's software - all the SSDs are collected together as 1 super SSD resource and another big resource is created from the HDDs.

    Internally Maxta's software knows that SATA SSDs and SATA HDDs have different personalities for example:-

    • HDDs have low cost per unit of capacity but slow random read latency
    • SSDs have fast random read, and fast sequential write

    Not every node in the array has to have an SSD or HDD inside but it's not sensible to have a system which doesn't have any SSDs at all.
  • fault tolerance, data integrity, VM snapshots, cloning etc

    Yes they're all in the product now.
  • software? - it's a virtual world view

    Everything about MxSP is virtual. And it doesn't require new management tools. The operational aspects will clarify in customer case studies and white papers.
  • Maxta's business plan

    I told Yoram how disillusioned I had become about the sustainability and viability of new storage software companies - given my experience of having tracked over 1,000 storage companies and terminating the list of gone-away and acquired companies in a single decade at the 500 company level. (That's before I started the gone-away SSD companies list BTW - which is well on its way to 100.)

    Jaundiced by that experience it seems to me that over 95% of storage software startups don't have much of a clue about how to translate their IP assets into any sustainable business value and are mostly founded at the outset with the fervent desire that before the VC and IPO money run out - they will get acquired. So I asked him if Maxta would be any different to that?

    Yoram told me some of what Maxta has been doing in laying the foundations for growing the business to become a significant storage platform (in his words) a significant software company like Microsoft or Veritas.

    I won't say more here because this is too long already - despite having not even mentioned most of the notes I made during our conversation.

    Looking back on this nearly a week later (and having seen some of their documents before) I'm left with the impression that maybe indeed Yoram is right and his company could become not only one of the rare storage software companies which are sustainable as a business. But going further than that - maybe too it has the makings of a company which could be one of the five to ten companies which will dominate the SSD software platform market of the future.

    Who are the other contenders?

    I've given you lists before - but this list is evolving because 4 of the 10 companies were still in stealth mode last time I did that.

    If you're interested in the SSD enhanced storage platform idea (and who wouldn't be) then another good place to look is the list of competitors which I've compiled in Maxta's profile page.

new blog by PernixData describes the intermediate states of play for its HA clustered write acceleration SSD cache

Editor:- November 5, 2013 - In a clustered, SSD ASAP VM environment which supports both read and write acceleration it's essential to know the detailed policies of any products you're considering - to see if the consequences - on data vulnerability and performance comply with strategies which are acceptable for your own intended uses.

In a new blog - Fault Tolerant Write Acceleration by Frank Denneman Technology Evangelist at PernixData describes in a rarely seen level of detail the various states which his company's FVP goes through when it recognizes that a fault has occured in either server or flash. And the blog describes the temporary consequences - such as loss of acceleration - which occur until replacement hardware is pulled in and configured automatically by the system software.

Stating the design principles of this product - Frank Denneman says - "Data loss needs to be avoided at all times, therefore the FVP platform is designed from the ground up to provide data consistency and availability. By replicating write data to neighboring flash devices data loss caused by host or component failure is prevented. Due to the clustered nature of the platform FVP is capable to keep the state between the write data on the source and replica hosts consistent and reduce the required space to a minimum without taxing the network connection too much." the article

high availability enterprise SSDs
SSD ASAPs - auto tiering / caching appliances

Permabit has shrunk data storage market by $300 million already

Editor:- September 30, 2013 - Permabit today announced that its flash and hard disk customers have shipped more than 1,000 arrays running its Albireo (dedupe, compression and efficient RAID) software in the past 6 months.

"We estimate that our partners have delivered an astonishing $300 million in data efficiency savings to their customers" said Tom Cook, CEO of Permabit who anticipates license shipments to double in the next 6 months.

See also:- SSD efficiency, new RAID in SSDs

Proximal Data announces AutoCache version 2

Editor:- August 26, 2013 - Proximal Data today announced the release of version 2.0 of AutoCache (SSD ASAP software ). Pricing starts at $999 per host for flash caches less than 500GB. The company has been demonstrating the new version working with PCIe SSDs from Micron at VMworld.

Enmotus demos FuzeDrive hybrid array software

Editor:- August 13, 2013 - Enmotus announced that it is demonstrating its FuzeDrive (hybrid SSD ASAP) solutions (with Toshiba SSDs inside) at the Flash Memory Summit.

"While helping accelerate early adoption of SSDs, today's caching solutions don't always provide the results users expect. FuzeDrive avoids using traditional caching techniques, and instead borrows its concepts from intelligent real time virtualization, data movement and storage pooling techniques typically found in larger 'big iron' enterprise systems," said Andy Mills, CEO and Co-founder of Enmotus.

how new SSD software gets things done faster

Editor:- July 29, 2013 - "One of the ironies of legacy systems software running in flash systems is the way that the data weaves through layers of fossilized unreality where emulation is stacked on emulation." - from the news page blog - Atomic Writes, and a faster way for the Princess to get her shoes

Do you have impure thoughts about deduping SSDs?

Editor:- March 28, 2013 - What comes to your mind when you think about SSDs and dedupe?

A theoretical ratio? - x2, x5, x10...

Or maybe you groan? - It's too messy to manage and even if capacity gets better, something else gets worse - so let's just forget the idea...

A new blog - Introducing the SSD Dedupe Ticker - by Pure Storage looks at the state of customer reaility in this aspect of SSD array technology and comments on the variations you can get according to the type of app and the way of doing the dedupe.

Among other things the article also looks at the biggie question - of performance impact - answering the author's rhetorical question - "why hasn't deduplication taken the primary storage world by storm like it has the backup world?" the article

Nimbus brings flash SMART plus stats to SSD rackmounts

Editor:- March 25, 2013 - Nimbus Data Systems today announced new software APIs which support its proprietary HALO OS based family of rackmount SSDs - and report on hundreds of real-time and historical metrics such as:- flash endurance, capacity utilization, latency, power consumption, deduplication rates, and overall system health. Another new feature is that sys admins can monitor their Nimbus SSD arrays via new apps on Android / Apple phones and tablets.

Thomas Isakovich, CEO and founder of Nimbus Data said the new software framework would enable cloud architects and enterprise customers to gain greater insight into their flash storage by viewing internal aspects of their flash storage which mattered to them - rather than simply relying on benchmark indicators which have been cherry picked by vendors or reviewers

Software - a new reason to reconsider Intel's server SSDs

Editor:- February 13, 2013 - Intel yesterday announced that in the next 30 days it will ship a Linux version of the SSD caching software - based on IP from its acquisition of NEVEX last August. The products have been rebranded as Intel® CAS (Cache Acceleration Software).

Editor's comments:- I would categorize Intel's current generation of enterprise SSD solutions (which includes the same old indifferent SSDs working with the new CAS software) as being in the medium to fast-enough performance range.

Suitable customers might be end users who have never used SSD acceleration before - or users with apps which don't need the higher speeds offered by competing SSD bundled drive / module packages from Fusion-io, SanDisk and OCZ - and customers who don't want to do their caching via dedicated rackmount based products from the dozens of other vendors listed in the SSD ASAPs directory.

The market segment addressed by these new Intel products is the early majority of enterprise SSD adopters - who will be reassured by the perceived safety of buying into the dangerous world of solid state storage acceleration from a value based brand.

I spoke about the new CAS software to Intel product manager Andrew Flint who cofounded NEVEX and I learned some useful things about the product.

The first question I asked was - how many PCIe SSDs can the CAS product support in a single server? And were there any graphs showing how performance drops off or is maintained when you do that.

The answer was - this info isn't publicly available right now. Although it may be in the future.

That's when I concluded that Intel CAS (married to current generation Intel SSDs) isn't a fast product - and is not in the kind of performance league where a user would seriously worry about this type of scalability problem.

Intel's ideal end-user customers right now for CAS are people who have been using no SSD acceleration at all coupled with hard drive arrays. That performance silo could change - with faster Intel SSDs in the future - and isn't due to limiting characteristics in the software.

I asked - Does it support 3rd party SSDs?

I was told - the standard release only supports Intel SSDs. But there's nothing in principle to prevent it being used with other SSDs using the open source release of the software.

The product is a read cache. I was told that it makes very good use of whatever RAM is in the server to optimize both read and write performance. However, my view is that as Intel SSDs aren't fast - this is somewhat academic.

I asked about the time constants which are analyzed by the caching software - and learned that - depending on the app - the data usage period which is analyzed goes up to days. (Generally in this type of product longer is better - and when you go up from milli-seconds and seconds to minutes, hours and days - you have the potential to get better caching results.)

I learned that Intel CAS isn't written around the data structure or interface - and is hardware agnostic. Users can tell the software which apps they want to cache - via a control panel. This is very useful in environments where a single server is running a mix of apps - some of which are critical (in performance needs) while others are not.

I asked - does the CAS have to have advance knowledge of the app? - Is it optimized for a preset list of apps?

I was told - No. It will work just as well for - what I called - dark matter software- which might be a proprietary app which no one else knew about.

I asked if Intel collects stats from the general population of installed servers which use the software? - in order to improve tuning algorithms...

I was told - No. The optimizations (data eviction probability rates) are done based on what is learned on the customer's own server and private data - and the factory shipped software. There isn't a wider intelligence learning or gathering or snooping function.

I learned that a special feature of this Intel CAS release is the ability to share cache resources with a remote SSD. The data stays hot and doesn't have to be recreated when different virtual machines are accessing this type of resource.

Overall I came away with a good impression of the CAS software and how well the NEVEX technology idea has been assimilated into Intel's SSD business.

It will undoubtedly help Intel sell more SSDs to people who have never used enterprise SSDs before - and maybe also to people with low end apps who have used SSD acceleration before but whose first choice of SSDs wouldn't otherwise have been Intel.

aligning database block sizes with SSDs

Editor:- February 5, 2013 - I was only saying to someone yesterday that I've had emails from readers who are designing software for SSDs who - having researched the subject of flash etc - then spent too much time over-worrying about internal SSD hardware details that they really shouldn't be worrying about - because by the time they learn about it - that type of hardware issue is ancient history.

By a curious coincidence today I came across a recent blog by Chas. Dye at Pure Storage called Please DON'T Fiddle with Your Database Block Size! - which also warns about this very issue.

Chas says - "At Pure Storage, we believe that a factor that should never influence the block size decision is your storage subsystem."

Editor's comments:- I'd certainly agree that trying to slavishly make your data structures look like something you've read about which might be inside an SSD controller is probably a waste of time - because unless you know the SSD designer you don't really know what's going on - and the abstraction you read about in some web site is only a small part of the picture. If an SSD is so sensitive to the data you hit it with - it's not the SSD you should have bought in the first place.

Enmotus demos its SSD ASAP technology

Editor:- November 27, 2012 - Enmotus is demonstrating its auto-tiering software - which it calls automated MicroTiering technology (pdf) - for the first time in public this week at the Server Design Summit.

OCZ's new VXL software release includes fault tolerant support for arrays of PCIe SSDs

Editor:- October 23, 2012 - OCZ today released a new version (1.2 ) of its VXL cache and virtualization software - which provides high availability, synchonous replication and enhanced VM performance across arrays of the company's Z-Drive R4 PCIe SSDs.

The company says this assures that host-based flash is treated as a continuously available storage resource across virtualized clusters and yields no data loss and no VM downtime even during complete server failures.

"By combining the power of storage virtualization and PCIe flash caching, and by working centrally with the hypervisor rather than with each local VM, we have developed a solution that takes full advantage of flash without losing any of the benefits associated with virtualization," said Dr. Allon Cohen, VP of Software and Solutions, OCZ. "VXL's ability to transparently distribute flash resources across virtualized environments provides IT professionals with a simple to implement solution..."

AMD will rebrand Dataram's RAMDisk software

Editor:- September 6, 2012 - Dataram today announced it will develop a version of its RAMDisk software which will be rebranded by AMD in Q4 under the name of Radeon RAMDisk and will target Windows market gaming enthusiasts seeking (upto 5x) faster performance when used with enough memory.

AutoCache for PCIe SSDs

Editor:- July 23, 2012 - Proximal Data announced immediate availability of its first product - a software based SSD ASAP - designed to work with PCIe SSDs - in particular - products from LSI and Micron.

AutoCache ($999 for cache sizes less than 500GB) reduces bottlenecks in virtualized servers to increase VM density, efficiency and performance. The company says it can increase VM density upto 3x with absolutely no impact on IT operations.

Editor's comments:- here are some questions I asked about the new product - and the answers I got from Rich Pappas, Proximal's VP of sales and business development.

Editor:- How long does it take for the algorithms to reach peak efficiency?

Pappas:- It varies by workload, but typically it takes about 15 minutes for the cache to warm to reach peak efficiency.

Editor:- Is the caching only on reads, or is it effective on writes too?

Pappas:- AutoCache will only cache reads, but by virtue of relieving the backend datastore from read traffic, we have actually seen overall write performance improvements as well. This effect is also dependent on the workload.

Amazon offers explicit SSD performance in the cloud

Editor:- July 19, 2012 - There are many ways SSDs can be used inside classic cloud storage services infrastructure:- to keep things running smoothly (even out IOPS), reduce running costs etc.

Amazon Web Services recently launched a new high(er) IOPS instance type for developers who explicitly want to access SSD like performance.

In 3 to 5 years time all enterprise storage infastucture will be solid state - but due to economic necessities it will still be segmented into different types by speed and function - as I described in my SSD silos article - even when it's all solid state.

I predict that when that happens - AWS's marketers may choose to describe its lowest speed storage as "HDD like" - even when it's SSD - in order to convey to customers what it's about. It takes a long time for people to let go of old ideas. Remember Virtual Tape Libraries?

Nutanix announces a new NFS for PCIe SSD accelerated CPUs

Editor:- June 12, 2012 - Nutanix today Nutanix announced the general availability of NDFS (Nutanix Distributed File System), a bold new distributed filesystem that has been optimized to leverage localized low latency PCIe SSDs such as those from Fusion-io.

By shifting the NFS datapath away from the network directly onto the VMware vSphere host, NDFS bypasses network communications that have historically been fraught with multiple high-latency hops between top-of-rack and end-of-row switches.

Nutanix accelerates both read and writes for any workload. Redundancy and availability are achieved by data mirroring across high-speed 10GbE switches.

Editor's comments:- Nutanix is in the SSD ASAP market - with CPU-SSD equivalency architecture integrated in the OS. The company says their architecture "collapses compute and storage into a single tier." You can get the general idea from their blog and video.

storage search banner

STORAGEsearch is published by ACSL
click for bigger image and more about Spellabyte's software factory
Spellerbyte's software factory
In the past we've always expected the data capacity of memory systems (mainly DRAM) to be much smaller than the capacity of all the other attached storage in the same data processing environment.
after AFA? - cloud adapted memory?
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When you can make virtual DRAM from physical flash SSDs using the heat pump of software - the choices become complicated.
where are we heading with memory intensive systems?

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Getting acquainted with the needs of new big data apps
Editor:- February 13, 2017, 2017 - The nature of demands on storage and big memory systems has been changing.

A new slideshare - the new storage applications by Nisha Talagala, VP Engineering at Parallel Machines provides a strategic overview of the raw characteristics of dataflows which occur in new apps which involve advanced analytics, machine learning and deep learning.

It describes how these new trends differ to legacy enterprise storage patterns and discusses the convergence of RDBMS and analytics towards continuous streams of enquiries. And it shows why and where such new demands can only be satisfied by large capacity persistent memory systems.
slideshare by Parallel Systmes - memory and storage demands from new real time analytics and other new apps
Among the many interesting observations:-
  • Quality of service is different in the new apps.

    Random access is rare. Instead the data access patterns are heavily patterned and initiated by operations in some sort of array or matrix.
  • Correctness is hard to measure.

    And determinism and repeatability is not always present for streaming data. Because for example micro batch processing can produce different results depending on arrival time versus event time. (Computing the right answer too late is the wrong answer.)
Nisha concludes "Opportunities exist to significantly improve storage and memory for these use cases by understanding and exploiting their priorities and non-priorities for data." the article

SSD software news
where are we heading with memory intensive systems?

"My software will be your ensurence."
a limerick for flash endurance

SSD ad - click for more info

" ...One of the main rationales for FTLs, which is to emulate hard drives, is becoming an obsolete requirement."
Mike Jadon, CEO of Radian - interviewed in what's the role for a Radian Memory SSD? (November 2015)

SSD history
Can you trust SSD market data?
where are we now with SSD software?
how fast can your SSD run backwards?
Decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise for SSD boxes
utilization impacts from the enterprise SSD software horizon
SSD ad - click for more info

"The winners in SSD software could be as important for infrastructure as Microsoft was for PCs, or Oracle was for databases, or Google was for search."
get ready for a new world in which
all enterprise data touches SSDs

It sounds simple enough... New Dynasty is a software environment and architecture which is planned at the outset to operate with SSDs. But adding SSD software into the mix brings its own multiplication factors.

What does a server node look like? How is it clustered or scaled? Is the server node part of the storage? Is the server node a building block for all the storage? Where should the storage live? How should it be tiered?
Decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise for rackmount SSDs

SSD ad - click for more info

That step - when users make the switch to newer generations of software - means not only do they need less servers - but they don't need as many SSDs as they did in an earlier phase of SSD market adoption either.
meet Ken - and the enterprise SSD software event horizon

Baidu found that by modifying standard SSDs to be compatible with its workload optimized Software-Defined Flash SDF - which changes some of the management methods in the controller - the result is 2x the usable flash capacity and 3x the I/O bandwidth.
SDF: Software-Defined Flash for Web-Scale Internet Storage Systems - research results (pdf)

One of the more fascinating stories to me in the last two years has been the rapid adoption of the phrase: "software defined storage."
IBM V840 - the way "Software Defined Storage" should be done - by Woody Hutsell, IBM (April 22, 2014)

"SSDs require a lot of software and processing power to optimize performance, capacity and durability."
Hu Yoshida, VP and CTO, HDS - in his blog - SSDs Are Differentiated by Software (July 30, 2013)

"One of the potential issues I could see with one of the vendors I interviewed with was their plan for scalability."
Why I Joined a Scale Out Storage Company - by Christopher Wells, Coho Data (April 15, 2014)

"Scale-out, like anything that is truly worth doing, is really, hard to do well!"
Ritu Jyoti, VP Product Management - Kaminario - in her blog EMC fails to make a splash with flash (September 10, 2013)

"why are so many companies piling into the SSD market - when even the leading enterprise companies haven't demonstrated sustainable business models yet?"
hostage to the fortunes of SSD

Software used to be SSD's enemy. Now it can be SSD's best friend.
Survivor's Guide to Enterprise SSDs

what shoes does the Princess need now?
Editor:- July 29, 2013 - One of the latency reducing tricks in a world where every SSD vendor has access to the same flash memory and interface chips and choice of controller architectures is the applications magnifying power of SSD software.

Sometimes the way that new SSD software gets things done faster is to avoid doing some things at all - by carefully discriminating between - what needs to be done - compared to what would normally get done in blind obedience to tradition.

One of the ironies of legacy systems software running in flash systems is the way that the data weaves through layers of fossilized unreality where emulation is stacked on emulation - and hardwired into the software and data flow logic are the remembered once-deemed-to-be-efficient solutions to data flow control problems whose origins are now almost forgotten.

So the SSD emulates a hard drive. And the hard drive emulates memory.

And it gets worse.

The fetching and prefetching and polite but useless flurries of activity which happen behind the scenes makes it appear more like a bunch of courtiers in a fairy tale palace reacting to this simple request.

The Princess needs shoes.

What shoes? What color? What style? What for?

She hasn't said yet - just get as many shoes as you can carry and be quick about it!

Yet despite all this background mayhem the application - somehow - still runs faster on SSDs than on the old hardware. (And the Princess has never been seen in public without wearing appropriate footwear.)

The other way to save time (improve latency) is to say - what if instead of just speeding up all the tangled processes of emulating a hard drive emulating memory and worrying about all the old fossilized limits of packet sizes and flow control in drives and interface cards which no longer exist except in museums but which have been preserved in legacy software - we instead make an effort to write some new software which knows it's operating in a flash world and doesn't have to recite old HDD spells to charm the data?

Or what-if the Princess knows where the shoe room is - and rather than wait - she's going to get the shoes for herself?

The implications of these what-if? results (for SSD software) are easy to anticipate and we've seen what happens when these ideas have found their way into SSD benchmarks but it still takes time for these new ideas to work their way into standard software products.

And if the Princess changes her mind between the time she sets off to the shoe room and when she gets there - she's still going to get the shoes she wants quicker than if she asked her maid.

All of which is a preamble to say that Fusion-io last week announced that its Atomic Writes API contributed for standardization to the T10 SCSI Storage Interfaces Technical Committee is now in use in mainstream MySQL databases MariaDB 5.5.31 and Percona Server 5.5.31.

Modern SSD Princesses prefer not to be kept waiting.

"SSD is going down! - We're going down!"
If you've ever watched the movie - Black Hawk Down - there's a memorable scene in which...
Surviving SSD sudden power loss

If you've seen or read - The Hobbit - then you'll be familiar with the concept of the riddle game.

Something similar is playing out now in the enterprise flash array market.

The setting? I forgot to mention this.

The hero - a mythical hobbit-like creature called "User" is trapped in a high gravity well / force-field - just outside the entrance to a cave in which are stored great treasures.
playing the SSD box riddle game

better thinking inside the box
Editor:- May 29, 2013 - If you're an enterprise user who is already sold on the idea of using more SSDs - what could be better than a great new SSD drive?


If you're an SSD vendor looking for the magic formula to open up vast new untapped markets for SSDs - what kind of solution do you need to offer to attract enterprises who aren't at the sharp end of the performance pain curve, are content with the speed they get from HDDs and who aren't even looking at SSDs for their network storage?

These problems have been preoccupying the SSD industry's smartest thinkers for years.

And their answer to both questions is the same. (Although details vary).

It's a new type of SSD box.

A new generation of enterprise SSD rackmounts is breaking all the rules which previously constrained price, performance and reliability. The sum impact of cleverly designed SSD arrays is systems which are many times more competitive than you would imagine from any tear-down analysis of the parts.

g about rackmount SSDs is explored in the new home page blog on - better thinking inside the box.

"The performance impact from RAID rebuilds becomes compounded with long rebuild times incurred by mutli-terabyte drives. Since traditional RAID rebuilds entirely into a new spare drive, there is a massive bottleneck of the write speed of that single drive combined with the read bottleneck of the few other drives in the RAID set."
Dave Wright, CEO - SolidFire - in his recent blog - Say farewell to RAID storage (March 14, 2013).

see also:- RAID & SSD

the Modern Era of SSDs
Editor:- January 2, 2013 - My recent home page blog - Strategic Transitions in SSD - mentions some of the key changes in the SSD market which took hold in recent quarters - but as we're starting another new calendar year in SSD - I want to say more about the context here.

Even in a market which appears to be so fast moving as the SSD market - where hot new SSD companies can enter the top SSD companies list (ranked by search) within weeks of exiting stealth mode, and some new SSD companies are acquired within a few quarters of launching their first product - it can still take years before new technologies which excite technologists, analysts and investors are adopted by more than 10% of SSD users.

It's those strategic multi-year big changes and transitions which are sometimes hard to pin down to a single year. For example the transition in the enterprise SSD market from RAM to 98% flash - which took 8 years.

Although it's easy to recognize the start of new technology changes - it's harder to be so precise about big market shifts - because those - by their very nature - occur only when enough people get hold of a new way of doing things and change their buying behavior.

For me looking back at the SSD market - 2013 now clearly marks the 10th anniversary of a distinct market period which I now think of as - the Modern Era of SSDs.

What do I mean by the Modern Era of SSDs?

It's when SSDs changed from being a niche tactical technology which satisfied the needs of some markets (ruggedized military / industrial storage and next generation server acceleration at any cost) to a time when the market advance of SSDs as a significant well known core market within the computer industry became a historical inevitability - and when the only serious technology which could displace an SSD from its market role was another SSD.

Although products which we would recognize as enterprise SSDs were shipping for several years before 2003 - it was in that year, 2003 - when there was enough confidence in the minds of enough people in the SSD market that the future of SSDs could be much bigger (100x bigger) and different to what had happened before.

It wasn't simply my publication of an article at the time which explained why this could happen - nor simply the immediately post publication discussions I had with SSD industry leaders at the time - nor indeed in later years when founders and managers of new SSD companies kindly told me that some of their thinking about the possibilities for the SSD market had been influenced by those earlier articles on

It's just as much the case that the alternative futures which could have knocked the SSD market off-course (such as faster CPU clock rates, faster hard drives or faster optical storage) didn't happen.

The year after year "no-shows" by SSD's past phantom demons were just as important as the new SSD technologies which did put in an appearance.

Today it's clear to anyone looking seriously at the data economy - the SSD market is here to stay and has its sights set on being at the center of your future hardware and infrastructure decision making.

lookahead to big upcoming changes in SSD market thinking?

Can I say anything at all useful at this stage about what the 2nd decade of the modern era of SSDs will be like?

I think it will be the time when a critical mass of SSD users become more sophisticated in their understanding and use of different types of SSDs - and when each part of the SSD market becomes less generalized and more focused.

It's not just about the SSD software, and iit's not just about the SSD chip technologies. These simply outline possibilities. What's important - and what will become even clearer - is the dividing lines and colors of application specific SSDs.

Application specific enterprise SSDs - is a technology trend which started shipping more than 3 years ago. But - as I said above - markets happen when enough people have decided to make them happen - and not simply because pioneering products are available.

"In some ways, blocks lost due to media corruption present a problem similar to recovering deleted files. If it is detected quickly enough, user analysis can be done on the cyclical journal file, and this might help determine the previous state of the file system metadata. Information about the previous state can then be used to create a replacement for that block, effectively restoring a file."
Why CRCs are important - blog by Thom Denholm Datalight (January 2013)

In October 2002 -'s editor talked about the role of software versus human-ware in enterprise hot spot optimization.

"Until the storage management software you run in your orgazination is intelligent enough to learn by itself what kinds of applications you're running, and optimize the characteristics of your different types of storage devices, your ability to make the best use out of new storage technologies such as SSDs will be limited by your own technical skills and the amount of work and effort you are prepared to put into solving your own performance and resource utilization problems."
Ancient storage software management inhibits roadmap to $5 billion enterprise SSD market -'s news page blog (October 2002)

In November 2002 - Bill Gates, talking about Tablet PC's said:- "There are also a lot of peripherals that need to improve here. ...Eventually even the so-called solid state disks will come along and not only will we have the mechanical disks going down to 1.8 inch but some kind of SSD... will be part of different Tablet PCs."
...from:- SSD market history

"In May 2003 -Imperial Technology launched the world's first SSD tuning software tool called - WhatsHot SSD - which analyzed real-time file usage on the SAN to identify hot-files to place in SSD."
...from:- SSD market history

"In May 2004 - the SPARC Product Directory published an article - Why Sun Should Acquire an SSD Company - which argued that integrating SSDs into Sun's Solaris OS and servers would result in the fastest database servers and more than make up for speed deficiencies in its SPARC processors."
...from:- SPARC market history

In November 2006 - Microsoft announced business availability of its new Vista operating system - loudly heralded as being the first PC market OS to include SSD-aware support and native SSD cache management.

Vista (whether for SSDs or HDDs) proved to be so good that for years after its launch millions of professional pc users upgraded back to XP.
...from:- SSD market history

"In August 2007 - EasyCo launched its "Managed Flash Technology" software to enable enterprise grade RAID-5 arrays built from consumer grade flash SSDs. MFT boosted SSD writes while also improving endurance..."
...from:- SSD history - 2007 milestones

"In September 2009 - Dataram launched the XcelaSAN - a fast 2U rackmount SSD ASAP (auto accelerating appliance) which automatically identified hotspots to relocate critical data. The company said the XcelaSAN would automatically learn and self optimize during the 1st few hours of operation..."
...from:- SSD history - 2009 milestones

In November 2009 - Google opened its doors to developers who wanted to work with Chrome OS - a new operating system for tablets.

In the opening video of the Chrome OS blog we learned that the architects of the new OS were "obsessed with speed". And the new netbook OS was designed from the ground up to support only flash SSDs as the default mass storage.

Google said - there is no room in this OS for outmoded 50 year old hard disk technology.

"The 3rd quarter of 2011 - was the first time in SSD market history that any software companies had achieved enough search volume to enter the top 20 SSD companies list."
...from:- SSD history - 2011 milestones

how fast can your SSD run backwards?
SSDs are complex devices and there's a lot of mysterious behavior which isn't fully revealed by benchmarks, datasheets and whitepapers.

Underlying all the important aspects of SSD behavior are asymmetries which arise from the intrinsic technologies and architecture inside the SSD.
SSD symmetries article Which symmetries are most important in an SSD? That depends on your application. to read the article