SSDs - boring right?|
|Editor:- June 13, 2017 - For the past 11 years
one of the safest assumptions you could make about the SSD market was that if
you were looking for excitement and big revenue growth opportunities then the
last place you should be looking was the industrial SSD market.|
an important part of
history is that it started in industrial applications and only became
mainstream and interesting - from a
point of view - when flash SSD designers turned their gaze towards other
directions like the consumer
In fact a good rule of thumb in the exciting days of
disruptive change in the SSD market during 2004 to 2016 was that if you knew the
capabilities of leading edge industrial SSD products in any one year the
picture was probably the same the next year too.
customers - who were concerned about whether they would still be able to get
the same locked BOM
SSD 5 to 10 years after choosing it for their long lived design - the
reassuringly boring predictability and calm, careful approach to new
technology adoption in industrial SSD companies was widely regarded as a virtue
compared to other brasher markets.
But there are many reasons to
believe that the industrial SSD market will soon become a new attention seeking
cauldron of innovation and architecture too.
I describe some of the
indicators which brought me to this surprising conclusion in a new blog -
your grandfather's industrial SSD market - on StorageSearch.com.
the SSD bookmarks -
early days of the
miniature storage drive market
Efficiency as internecine
SSD competitive advantage
|In the year 2000 no one
caught a cold from the Y2K bug - but 3 things did happen which would shape
enterprise server performance for the next 16 years.|
1 - hard drives
reached the latency limit set by waiting for a 15K RPM rotating platter (they
never got faster)
2 - 64 bit processor clock speeds reached almost
their maximum clock speeds (they got more cores but the cores didn't get faster)
- in the RAM market - the fastest server motherboard memory latencies in 2000
were very similar to what they are today (in 2016)
We all know that
SSDs came to the rescue of latency constrained advances in computing which had
been stalled by (1) and (2) above.
With some help from software the
next target is (3).
Why's DRAM so bad?
Most of us thought
that DRAM was the gold standard for latency you can rely on (unlike that cheap
flipperty gibbet flash).
indeterminate latencies and the virtual memory slider mix - a new blog
(March 2016) from StorageSearch.com|
tiny SSDs - this
page lists over 35 makers of tiny SSDs
includes - SSD on a chip, PBGA SSD, 1 inch SSD
flash and other nvm
sudden power loss
not your Grandfather's industrial SSD market
about tiny SSDs - from
|Longsys showcases tiny NVMe BGA SSDs at FMS|
August 7, 2017 - Longsys
that it will be sampling the industrys first 11.5x13mm NVMe BGA SSDs which
support Boot Partitions and the Host Memory Buffer features of NVMe rev 1.3
in Q4 2017.
P900 series -
(DRAM-less) PCIe 3.0x2 SSDs - aimed at the
and being shown in the next few days at the
Flash Memory Summit - will be
available in capacities from 60GB to 480GB (64-layer 3D NAND ) and use the
88NV1160 controller from Marvell.
As the worlds leading Mini SDP SATA DRAM-less SSD module
provider, Longsys has once again made a unique contribution to the storage
industry by pioneering the integration of Marvells DRAM-less SSD
controller 88NV1160 and the new 64-layer 3D NAND into a 11.5mmX13mm BGA package,
said Zhixiong Li, CTO of Longsys.
Editor's comments:- apart
from the obvious applications for NVMe SSDs on a chip in the consumer market I
think the widespread availability of such devices in 2018 could create new
opportunities for disruptive "high availability" BGA array
architectures in industrial market too.
new controller enables low latency persistent PCIe memory
July 10, 2017 - IP-Maker
the release of its new PCIe Gen 3NVMe reference design based on the Xilinx VC709
evaluation kit. IP-Maker has implemented NVMe management as a full hardware IP,
able to process it in less than 1S. The company says it has introduced the new
IP to support low latency persistent memories on the PCIe bus.
Crossbar samples 8Mb ReRAM
Editor:- January 12, 2017
- A report in EE Times Europe
ReRAM in production at SMIC - says that Crossbar is sampling
8Mb ReRAM (its byte writable alt nvm) with R/W latency about 20nS and 12nS
respectively and endurance north of 100K cycles.
The 8Mb chips use
40nm CMOS processing and the company plans to offer its nvm IP as cores which
can be integrated in SoCs so as to make best use of the low latency.
told EE Times Europe that the early customers would be characterizing the new
memory and assessing its reliability. This is an important hurdle for any
new memory technology to cross before designers can have the confidence to
integrate them into commercial products. ...read
Mobiveil's Universal NOR Controller Allows SoC Designers to
Leverage Adesto's EcoXiP Flash Memory
November 30, 2016 - Mobiveil
it is working with Adesto Technologies
to enhance the memory in low capacity intelligent IoT systems.
Incorporating Mobiveil's U-NFC controller to control the new Adesto
EcoXiP flash will
provide SoC designers an eXecute-in-Place solution that more than doubles the
performance of alternative approaches using standalone NOR-Flash memory.
SST qualifies NOR SuperFlash on mixed signal platform
July 12, 2016 - SST
qualification and availability of its low-mask-count embedded
NVM on GLOBALFOUNDRIES' 130 nm
advanced analog, mixed-signal and RF technology platform.
embedded SuperFlash memory solution requires the addition of only 4 masking
steps to enable cost-effective, high-endurance embedded flash for demanding
battery-powered applications such as drones, intelligent motor control, and
normally-off mobile computing.
new power fail safe file system for tiny memory IoT
May 5, 2015 - Datalight
a preview version of
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.
a file system which met the high reliability standard set by our (high
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 mediaincluding NOR and NAND flash, eMMC,
USB storage, and
PATA) SSDs. Datalight
plans to release new pre-ported kits for other small-kernel OSes over the
Samsung's new 128GB BGA TLC SSD
Editor:- March 19,
2015 - Samsung
today expanded its
product line with a new 128GB BGA TLC SSD aimed at mid-market
smartphones and mass market tablets.
new 3 bit device has 260MB/s sequential read performance (similar to MLC
IOPS (5,000 / 6,000) are sufficient to support
high definition video.
Microsemi's new BGA SSD
Editor:- March 17, 2015 -
its 2nd generation highly secure, rugged 64GB BGA SLC SSD - the
- TRRUST-Purge clears encryption key in less than 30mS
- hardware-based self destruct - renders media data forensically
unrecoverable in less than 10 seconds
- anti malicious attack technology
- no super caps or batteries
- write protect option for read-only applications
Toshiba shows early version of BGA PCIe SSD
January 7, 2015 - Toshiba
it will showcase a prototype of the worlds first PCIe single package SSD -
with up to 256GB in a single BGA package at
CES this week. The NVMe compatible device
fits into 16mm x 20mm x 1.65mm and weighs under 1g.
Marvell's new skinny controller will enable BGA PCIe SSDs
December 9, 2014 - 3 of the most significant differentiating factors in
flash SSD control
In the past year or
so - we've seen a few companies - whose controller products have long been
distinctly at one end of each of the above categories - introduce new designs
which can operate in the other. This is a competitive response to the
realization that any single architecture is better suited for some applications
rather than others and no single design set is best for all markets.
example - the SandForce
SF-3700 - launched last year - added big controller features as an option to
its legacy minimalist small architecture configuration mode. And before that -
the intrinsically skinny (cache) SF family added support for optional external
This week Marvell - whose
controllers have always until now been firmly in the regular RAM flash cache
it now has IP which enables it to play a significant part in skinny RAM flash
cache designs with 2 new controllers:-
- Marvell's 88NV1140 - aimed at
NVMe PCIe Gen3x1 SSDs
- can work with 15/16nm TLC and 3D NAND and needing no external DRAM -
will simplify the design of smaller form factors including the capability of
BGA PCIe SSDs.
- Marvell's 88NV1120 - aimed at the embedded
SATA SSD market which
supports DevSlp - won't by itself create new markets - but will - due to its
small footprint and memory support - lower the cost barriers for greater
adoption of small SATA SSDs in traditional embedded markets.
Silicon Motion's FerriSSDs
Editor:- March 23, 2014 -
FerriSSD (pdf) from
- is a PATA
SSD on a chip (BGA)
which I learned about from Jonathan Bruce
- who suggested it for my article -
Speed and Strength Metaphors in SSD brands - because - he said - the "Ferri"
prefix means "strong or durable".
31, 2014 - in the same product family - Silicon Motion is now sampling a
high performance 6Gb/s SATA FerriSSD - the SM659 (8GB to 64GB capacity, with
80,000 random IOPs, and 30K Program/Erase (P/E) cycles) - which fits into a
90-ball BGA package measuring just 16x20x2mm.
Marvell samples 5K IOPS eMMC SSD
18, 2014 - Marvell
it is sampling a new
5.0 controller - the 88NV1088 - which enables "SSD class"
performance (280MB/s read speed and 5K random IOPS) in a smartphone compatible
InnoDisk announces production of industrial nanoSSD
January 20, 2014 -InnoDisk
full scale production of its
that conforms to JEDEC's
Innodisk integrates a
flash control chip,
NAND flash, and ball grid array (BGA) package to deliver a nanoSSD that requires
only about 1% of the volume (16mm x 20mm x2mm) of a
nanoSSDs has R/W speeds upto 500MB/s and 170MB/s respectively), high
shock-resistance, quick erase features, and ATA security.
Greenliant promises 10 years market availability of SLC
Editor:- September 17, 2013 - One of the pressures which
has been driving embedded SSD designers towards the kind of elaborate
which enable MLC to operate over the full
temperature operating range has been the
cost per terabyte
- but another has been the open question of whether it will be realistically
possible to guarantee sourcing SLC in the future at all - which is why some
companies like Virtium
have instead got product roadmaps which ensure that future design slots can be
filled with identical footprint SSDs which will use whatever future variations
of nand flash memory the future market is likely to offer.
contrast to the decades old market practise of stockpiling old technology
chips for use in legacy equipment designs which are assembled much later.
These longevity assurance programs can get complicated and expensive - and I've
even heard of recent cases where SSDs are emulating 1970s vintage
floppy drives to keep
some expensive machinery running.
There are risks involved in both
these approaches (to SSD design socket continuity).
Anyway in a
today Chen Tsai,
senior VP, manufacturing operations - Greenliant Systems
said that ""To address applications with long lifecycles -
Greenliant's new SLC
SATA NANDrive (industrial
BGA form factor SSDs)
will be available up to 10 years through
For those in the
rugged and military SSD
markets - this type of consideration about long term product availability is
the usual way of doing business.
That's in stark contrast to the
enterprise SSD markets
- in which designers are more interested in the probability that they will be
able to get superior (faster and higher capacity) products in future
motherboard designs (so long as they are
software and interface
compatible) - rather than getting exact clones of the original devices to work
in the unchanged original motherboards.
new WD hybrid has SanDisk iSSD inside
Editor:- May 7,
2013 - a new 2.5"
from WD -
called WD Black
SSHD (500GB HDD
capacity, 5mm high SATA)
- has an iSSD
inside - it was
today. The iSSD has 9K/1K R/W IOPS performance and measures 16mm x
20mm x 1.2mm for capacities upto 16GB. Average power consumption is typically
Marvell aims at SSD on a chip market
January 2, 2013 - Marvell
it has made a strategic investment in Memoright.
part of the new collaborative agreements Memoright will write firmware
for Marvell's eMMC controllers - which will speed Marvell's entry into the
tiny SSD market for
use in smartphones and tablets.
STEC eyes large market opportunity for small SSDs
November 20, 2012 - STEC
today published a new blog -
small format SSDs are better than traditional (2.5") in embedded designs.
"...Embedded system designers no longer have to compromise when
it comes to storage, and now have true industry-standard SSD-grade options that
allow for smaller, lighter and lower-power system designs that deliver all of
the benefits of SSD technology at a price they can afford." ...read
Samsung makes fast phone 64GB SSDs on 10nm
November 15, 2012 - Samsung
they've started production of
eMMC SSDs which use 10nm flash geometry.
Aimed at the phone
and tablet market - R/W IOPS performance is 5,000 and 2,000 respectively. R/W
throughput is 260MB/s and 50MB/s.
Editor's comments:- this
shows that when Samsung see a huge enough market opportunity for a specific
range of SSDs their engineers are clever enough to design and make it.
temperature related data rot in flash... a new blog by WD
July 26, 2012 - A good analysis of temperature affects on flash data integrity
can be seen in a recent blog - about
temperature related data rot in flash SSDs - by Eli Tiomkin,
Director, Business Development,
WD Solid State Storage
who says (among other things) - "Over time, NAND cells may lose enough
charge and flip enough bits to overwhelm the ECC capability of the drive
controller and cause data loss."
Eli Tiomkin's useful table lets
you look up the SSD storage temperature and see how much more quickly the
native flash will corrupt - if a suitable
controller or healing
process isn't in place to detect changes and fix them....read
|TDK ships new BGA SSD|
March 21, 2012 - TDK
imminent shipments of a new SATA SLC
SSD on chip.
company's eSSD series provides 1 to 4GB encrypted capacity in a 17mm x 17mm
208-ball BGA package.
Greenliant ships industrial secure SATA NANDrives
February 28, 2012 -
volume shipments of its
rugged SATA SLC
SSDs on a chip (BGA -
14mm x 24mm x 1.95mm) -
GLS85LS - which have upto 8GB capacity, 70/60MB/s R/W, include zoneable
password security and
fast erase, and
strong power fail data
"The SATA NANDrive GLS85LS product family is
backward compatible with the same pin-out across all capacities and temperature
ranges - commercial and industrial - giving customers added flexibility when
using solid state storage in their designs, said Nobu Higuchi, VP of
application engineering and product marketing, Greenliant Systems.
comments:- I never understood before where the "Green" part
in the company's name came from - but it makes sense now - if they're offering a
stable chip footpprint across multiple flash generations.
surprising how many
applications are now viable for tiny SSDs.
The Disk on a Chip
product concept goes back
a long way...
In 1995 - EDN magazine
cited DiskOnChip as 1994's most innovative product for embedded systems. In
those days it provided 1 to 2 Mbytes of data storage.
Commenting on the
(1995) award - Dana
Gross, president of
M-Systems said - "DiskOnChip
represents the innovation and efficiency of M-Systems' technology. This
award-winning product has found applications in embedded computer systems, where
it provides a highly reliable solution for designs faced with space and power
Viking ships nv 8GB DDR3 DIMM
Editor:- October 18,
Viking Modular Solutions
said it is shipping
extension of their nv module range.
ArxCis-NV plugs into standard
RAM sockets and provides
2GB to 8GB RAM which is backed up to SLC flash in the
event of a
power failure - while the memory power is held up by an optional external
25F supercap pack. Viking says these new memory modules can eliminate the need
for battery backup units in servers and the maintenance logistics associated
with maintaining them. They are specified as being maintenance free for "5
years @ 60C".
Editor's comments:- will these new modules
replace batteries in
RAM SSDs? - I doubt it
- because of scalability issues - like managing a spiderweb of 100+ dangly
bits of wire when you have a terabyte of RAM. Having said that - there are many
applications which only use a small number of memory chips which could benefit
from such a product.
RunCore samples new SSD chip for smart phones
September 12, 2011 - RunCore
is sampling a low power SATA SSD chip - in a BGA micro-chip package for
embedded apps like mobile phones and tablet PCs.
The rSSD T100 will be
available in industrial temperature versions - and includes SMART commands to
monitor the life expectancy of the product.
"MCP products will be
the next high market demand in the future, and we foresee that this growth will
increase exponentially " said , the RunCore's CEO Jack Wu.
comments:- the 1st "disk on chip" products
came to market 17
years ago in 1994. In those days
flash controllers were
wasn't an issue because of the slow interfaces and high endurance (large
geometry) SLC. Today's tiny SSDs (listed in the
directory) - have all the same functions inside as regular
2.5" SSDs. Over 30
oems make them - for markets ranging from military systems to phones.
new Emphase SSDs suit small spaces and power budgets
June 22, 2011 - Emphase
announced a new
range of miniature industrial SATA SLC SSDs which have been engineered
to operate off as little as 0.5 watts max and fit into less than 4mm height.
range from 1GB to 32GB. R/W speeds upto 120/100MB/s. All S3 Series SATA modules
come with a tightly managed BOM and a 5-year warranty, with the option for
Foremay ships 32GB PATA disk on chip
25, 2011 - Foremay
today announced it is shipping 32GB
PATA versions of its
SSD Disk on Chip which measures 22 x 22 x 1.8 mm and has R/W speeds of 70
and 40MB/s respectively.
what happens in SSDs when power goes down? - and why you should
Editor:- February 24, 2011 - StorageSearch.com today published
a new article -
SSD power is
going down! - which surveys power down management design factors in
SSDs. This article will help you understand why some SSDs which work perfectly
well in one type of application might fail in others... even when the changes
in the operational environment appear to be negligible. ...read the
Memoright's new 1.2" SSDs
Editor:- December 8,
2010 - Memoright
recently launched a new range of
SATA SSDs with secure
erase, 8,000 IOPS, 100/80MB/s R/W performance and upto 64GB capacity.
Greenliant samples SATA BGA SSDs
Editor:- November 8,
compatible variants of its
The new SSDs have upto 64GB capacity in a 14mm x 24mm x
1.85mm 145 BGA. Active-mode power consumption as low as 500mW and a deep
power-down mode can reduce this to 10mW. The SSDs have content protection zones
and designers can select areas of the storage to protect with
"OEMs have recognized the benefits of Greenliant's NANDrive in providing
and the addition of SATA-based NANDrive devices provides our customers with more
options to choose a compatible SSD that best suits their needs for various
market segments and applications," said Bing Yeh, CEO of Greenliant
Systems. "While we are currently sampling our new commercial-grade SATA
NANDrive products, an industrial-grade version is under development."
ATP launches slim SATA SSD module
29, 2010 - ATP
Electronics launched a
vertical Slim SATA Embedded
SSD module with 2GB to 16GB capacity and sequential R/W speeds upto
116MB/s and 102MB/s respectively.
ATP's new SSD module has internal
wear-leveling and has drivers for Windows and Linux. Its small size (54mm
x39.8mm x4.0mm) makes it a viable replacement for
2.5" SSDs in
space constrained embedded applications.
Update on the smallest PATA SSD
Editor:- August 18,
2010 - Micross
Components indicated that a future version of its
(the world's smallest PATA
SSD - which has a footprint of 14 x 24 x 1.3mm and weighs only 0.8 grams)
may be offered with extended operation upto 105 degrees C.
WEDC Launches Secure PATA SSD in PBGA
January 18, 2010 - White
Electronic Designs has
4GB secure PATA SLC
SSD in a 22mm x 27mm
PBGA for embedded military applications.
This product is designed for
applications in aircraft, communications and missiles. A hardware and software
triggered fast purge
can eliminate all data in less than 10 seconds and device options include
compliant with various government agency specifications.
new home page for - SSD SoCs
Editor:- April 7, 2009 -
launched a new directory of merchant market
SSD controller vendors.
Hagiwara Unveils CFast Storage Card
26, 2009 - Hagiwara
Sys-Com has extended its range of
1" SSDs - with
the launch of the
Card which will ship in Q2.
These industrial grade SSDs are form
factor compatible with CF cards, but have a
Capacities range from 2GB to 16GB. See also:-
Evolution of the CompactFlash Interface (pdf)
Waiting for Legal Costs Related to Cornice Litigation|
February 18, 2009 - a report today on Law.com says Seagate is
suing its legal insurer for not paying in full the costs incurred in suing Cornice.
SiliconDrive Blade Gets Editor Award in Electronic Design Magazine
Editor:- January 13, 2009 - SiliconSystems
announced that its SiliconDrive
Blade has been selected as a "2008 Best
Electronic Design" technology of the year winner in the embedded small
form factor category.
Petite SSD Chip Seeks Reliable Rugged Assignments
Texas - November 5 , 2008 - Austin Semiconductor, Inc. announces a
smaller, more compact 7.5 cm3 (31mm sq x 7.8mm max height) ruggedized SSD.
The SLC flash SSD offers upto 16GB capacity, has an IDE, PIO/4
interface, and MTBF of more than 2 million hours. and is designed for harsh
InnoDisk Announces Smallest SATA SSD
Taiwan - June 2,
2008 - InnoDisk announced the world's physically smallest SATA SSD - the
SATADOM - measuring 39mm by 20.5mm by 8mm.
from 128MB to 8GB. The SLC flash SSD has a sustainable read speed of 24MB/sec
and write speed of 14MB/sec. ...InnoDisk profile
STEC Announces Fast 1" SSD
ANA, Calif - April 21, 2008 - STEC, Inc. announced the MACH4 - a 1"
SATA / PATA SSD.
For a small drive - the MACH4 is fast:- with
sustained sequential reads upto 90MB/s and writes upto 55MB/s. It's expected to
be in mass production at the end of April in capacities up to 32GB. Projected
OEM pricing for the 8GB capacity point is $45.
"For the numerous
applications which were historically challenged by the severe limitations of 1
inch HDDs, STEC is now offering a much more cost-effective, higher capacity and
higher reliability alternative..." said STEC's Patrick Wilkison.
SSD news /
30 years of
SSD market history|
probably just as scared of us" |
|who makes 1 inch SSDs?|
|Aitech Defense Systems|
Fortasa Memory Systems
Silicon Storage Technology
|SSDs - the big picture|
StorageSearch.com was the
world's 1st publication to provide continuous editorial coverage and analysis
of SSDs (in 1998) and in the years which have followed we've led the market
through many interesting and confusing times.|
|| If you often find yourself
explaining to your VC,
lawyer or non technical BBQ guests why you spend so much time immersed in SSD
web pages - and need a single, simple, not very technical reference to
suggest - this may be the link they need.|
Ago - flashback from
|Toshiba Introduces World's Smallest Hard
7, 2004 - Toshiba
today announced the development of a 0.85-inch hard disk drive, the first drive
to deliver multi-gigabyte storage in a
sub-one-inch form factor.
Expected to be available in 2GB and 4GB capacities, Toshiba will start sampling
the new drive in summer 2004, with mass production to begin in late 2004
Measuring only a quarter of the size of Toshiba's 1.8-inch drive, the 0.85-inch
HDD is expected to boost the functionality of a new generation of products,
including mobile phones, digital audio players, PDAs, digital still cameras,
camcorders and external storage devices.
Toshiba initially plans to
introduce capacities of 2GB and 4GB, and anticipates achievement of even higher
densities in the 0.85-inch form factor.
A prototype of the 0.85-inch
HDD will be shown at Toshiba's booth (#12214) on the CES show floor January
in January 2011 - over 30 manufacturers now market
drives in 1" and
smaller form factors - although for economic reasons these are mostly SSDs.
The history of this market is described in
Miniature Storage Drive Market for 1" and smaller SSDs