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Inanimate Power, Speed and Strength Metaphors in SSD brands

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - StorageSearch.com

Choosing words which make your SSD product name sound good is an important challenge for SSD marketers. And using inanimate words which suggest Power, Speed and Strength for your SSD - enables you to draw on a much wider set of cultural references than just limiting yourself to animalistic SSD brands. But take care that your customers understand them too!
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examples of power, speed and strength metaphors and wording in SSD brands
  • Aeon - is the name of a 3.5" RAM SSD concept touted in a blog by OCZ in 2013. "Aeon" means ages of time - and the implication here was it wouldn't wear out due to endurance and would last forever. But we haven't seen it yet.
  • Alacritech - is the name of a company which makes SSD ASAPs. The name derives from the word "alacrity" - which means doing things fast in a positive, deft or pleasing way.
  • ArmourDrive - from Greenliant Systems is the name of an mSATA SSD - in the JEDEC MO-300 form factor. Tara Yingst at Greenliant told me "the name highlights the SSDs added features - power interrupt data protection, user-configurable security zones, erase/purge commands - as well as the ability to operate at full industrial temperatures (-40C to +85C)."
  • Cactus - is a tough plant which can thrive in the desert without any visibly apparent source of water. And - as I was surprised to learn from a vacation in Arizona - they can live a long time too. The big iconic saguaro cactuses which you see today standing like tree statues can be hundreds of years old. So you can see how that idea might work in the market today for an industrial SSD company - like Cactus Technologies. Having said that - the company's own history page tells a different story about the original roots of this company's name.
  • DDRdrive - from DDRdrive - is the name for a family of PCIe RAM SSDs. "DDR" was earlier used in the industry for Double Data Rate RAM - and the memory industry progressed onto numbers - like DDR3 and DDR4 for succeeding faster generations. Therefore in a way DDRdrive suggests a faster drive and also tells you that it probably uses RAM. But - as discussed elsewhere - these SSD naming signals can sometimes be misleading.
  • DuraClass - from SandForce - is the name given to the technological thinking in the company's SSD controllers - which enable consumer grade MLC flash to be used reliably in high performance SSDs. "Dura Class" suggests durability (related to flash endurance) and a class of products which is different to all the others out there. Can you think of any others? There are many - but as discussed in - Imprinting the brain of the SSD - most people would have difficulty naming them.
  • DuraDrive - from Super Talent Technology - is a range of industrial SSDs which doesn't use DuraClass technology - although confusingly - another product range from Super Talent does.
  • Fortissimo - from A3CUBE is the name given to the system software which underlies its PCIe connected shared reflective memory fabric.
  • Full Metal Jacket? - yes that was the idea behind choosing the name of the company - said John Conklin co-founder of FMJ Storage - in reply to a question by the editor of StorageSearch.com - in March 2014. FMJ operates in the embedded industrial and military SSD markets.
  • GigaExpress - from Fuji Xerox - was the name of a 1U rackmount PCIe SSD. "Giga Express" conveys the message "Very Fast" - and its 650MB/s was fast in 2006 when it was launched.
  • HyperDrive - from Attorn - is the name for a PATA/ SATA RAM SSD. In English usage - Hyper - suggests an extreme state. In the computer market it was used in the early 1990s - as part of "HyperSPARC" - to name a 32 bit processor designed by Ross Technology. In my view 2 things which were never quite right in the market orientation of the HyperDrive were (1) - the original form factor was 5.25" - at a time when all other SSD and hard disk makers had stopped making this size and - (2) - the initial product had a PATA interface. Although it was faster than other PATA SSDs at the time - this narrowed down the market to poor consumers rather than rich enterprise users - who could afford an SSD - if it had an appropiately fast interface such as parallel SCSI or fibre-channel.
  • Jet.io - from Density Dynamics - is the name for its 3.5" RAM SSDs. Although jets are fast - the problem in metaphor naming land is that other related words may be faster. So is a "Jet" type of SSD faster or slower than a "Rocket" type of SSD for example?
  • KingFast is the name of an SSD company founded in China. "King" implies the head or leader (except in a republic) and "Fast" is an obvious name to use in a brand. But when you start mixing personality brands with speed brands you run the risk of mental comparisons. So is a king more or less powerful than a god - (Zeus) for example? When you mix metaphors you don't always result in a combination which is stronger than the constituent parts. And this does come back to language and cultural expectations in the target market.
  • Lightning - from Pliant Technology - is the name for its family of SAS SSDs. In common English parlance - "flash" and "lightning" often appear in the same phrase - therefore lightning doesn't sound strange when used for a flash SSD. "Quick as a flash of lightning" also sounds natural / unstrained. On the negative side - lightning strikes can kill people and electronic systems too. All words come with complex baggage and potentially different readings to the one which brand marketers had in mind.

    Lightning - strikes again - being the name of EMC's stealth mode (Jan 2012) PCIe SSD.
  • MACH - from STEC - is based on the idea of high speed. Mach 1 - is the speed of sound. Mach 2 is twice as fast. STEC has used this naming concept for many generations of SSD products for example MACH4, MACH8 and MACH16. The company has also combined this with the suffix IOPS - in some products - for example MACH8IOPS.
  • MagicRAM - is the name of a flash SSD company founded in 1990. Magic is a metaphor which may work well in other markets or at other times - but doesn't sound too good to me. I know we talk about software wizards and the black art of SSD performance tuning - but in the industrial SSD market where this company operates its customers probably prefer good old reliable technology engineering to mysterious sounding magic. Now it may be that its long established customers have got used to the name and they know what they can expect to get from this company. But in my view MagicRAM is a negative and weak name for an SSD company looking to attract new customers - and they probably have to work hard to overcome the inherent disadvantage of their brand.
  • Nimble - is the first part of the name for Nimble Storage - a company which entered the SSD market in Q3 2010 - with an iSCSI compatible SSD accelerated backup compression and dedupe appliance.
  • Nitro!FC - from Curtis - combined the explosive power of nitroglycerin - with the more prosaic FC abbreviation for fibre-channel. It was the original name for a 3.5" SSD - but the name was later changed to HyperXCLR . The word Hyper had also been used in the early 1990s in a related market as a brand of microprocessor - HyperSPARC.
  • PowerArmor - from WD Solid State Storage - is the name given to the technologies which the company wraps around its SiliconDrive SLC SSD during power up, power down and line distrubances. WD says "75% of drive field failures are the result of power-related corruption. This means that brownouts, blackouts and even lightning strikes all contribute to the number #1 cause of RMAs among embedded systems storage."
  • QikDRIVE - from Platypus Technology - used the phonetic qik to suggest a drive that was quick / fast.
  • Quicksilver - is a brand of hybrid storage system from Panzura.
  • RevoDrive - from OCZ - is a family of PCIe SSD accelerators. Revving up your car engine in the hope that it will accelerate faster from a standing start is the image which comes to mind when I see this name. And it's a playful allusion to the fact that being an SSD - it doesn't have any spinning or revolving parts - unlike the hard disk arrays it's designed to replace. Brands which, like this one, successfully suggest more than one idea from a single set of words create mental images which are easier for potential customers to remember. That can be more important than making a strong immediate impact.
  • Rocket Drive - from Cenatek - used the concept of a rocket being fast in this PCI bus RAM SSD.
  • Saber - from OCZ is an enterprise SATA SSD launched in 2014. The implication of saber is - "cutting edge" which also associates the idea of cutting edge technology.
  • tachIOn - from Virident Systems - is a family of PCIe SSDs. Although conceptually in the same speed category as the WarpDrive (below) - because a tachIOn is a faster than light particle - I have doubts about how many people actually understand the allusion or can be bothered to look it up.
  • Talino - from BiTMICRO - means "talented" in Filipino. Talino is the name given to the company's SSD controllers which were introduced in 2011.
  • TiGiJet - from TiGi - used the idea of jet speed in its 3.5" SCSI RAM SSD accelerator.
  • ToughFlash - from GalaxyStor - was the name for a range of industrial 2.5" flash SSDs.
  • Torqx - from Patriot Memory - is the name of a 2.5" flash SSD family. Torque is a measure of rotational force.
  • Trrust-Stor - from Microsemi - is the name for a 2.5" military SSD family. Here the idea is that you can "trust this storage" drive with your data because it's protected from environmental stresses and hostile intent by an array of data integrity, reliability and security features.
  • Ultra Drive - from Super Talent Technology - is a family of 2.5" SSDs. Your own imagination has to supply the parameters for which the "Ultra" drive is superior. "Ultra" has been used successfully as a brand booster in the past. In 1995 Sun Microsystems launched its UltraSPARC processor. The suggestion at the time was that the Ultra variety was better than all the other existing SPARC CPUs with prefixes like hyper, super, turbo, etc. Over 15 years of marketing UltraSPARC processors has lent a certain amount of gravitas to the Ultra prefix in the server world. But does any of that rub off into the storage world? It's nearly a decade since UltraSCSI was synonymous with "fastest DAS speed" in the storage market. So my view is that the concatenation - Ultra Drive - has low impact as an SSD brand.
  • Velocity - from ATP Electronics - is a family of industrial SSDs.

    Later - in 2013 - Velocity was the name given to a family of PCIe SSDs designed by Violin.
  • WarpDrive - from LSI - is a PCIe SSD. As millions of Star Trek fans can tell you - warp drive (invented by - I can see his name but the name escapes me...) is the fast way to go when chasing (or evading) Klingons on the starboard bow. And warp is far superior in open space to the impulse drive. For the minority of people on this planet who don't get the Star Trek reference and yet who might still be in the market such an SSD - an alternative and equally valid reading of Warp Drive is that of a storage drive which can stretch to adapt to the load challenges it might encounter when used as a cache or SSD ASAP.
  • the World's Fastest Storage - was the message used by Texas Memory Systems - when they were promoting their FC SAN rackount SSDs in 2001. They were the world's first enterprise SSD company to run banner ads to promote such products. (You can easily guess which site they chose to do that.) Below is an example of one of those early ads.
TMS banner ad from 2004
  • XcelaSAN - from Dataram - sounds like it's something to do with "acceler"ating a SAN - which is what the product does. The more obvious coupling of these words - SANaccelerator - was already used 7 years earlier by Imperial Technology.
  • ZeusIOPS - from STEC - combines 2 ideas - Zeus (father of the gods in ancient Greek mythology) with IOPS - which is a measure of application speed.


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Branding Strategies in the SSD Market

Marketing Nomenclature, and the Naming of Names

Would users buy an SSD just because it has an animal printed on the label? If so - what animal should it be?


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MarketingViews.com FAQs for connected IT marketers
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OCZ unveils cutting edge Saber 1000 SSD
Editor:- September 9, 2014 - OCZ unveiled a new SATA SSD aimed at customers in hyperscale and cloud markets - the Saber 1000 - which uses OCZ's Barefoot 3 controller and Toshiba's 19nm nand flash memory.

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SSD ad - click for more info

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SSD jargon

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Can you trust SSD market data?
Heck no!

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"Across the whole enterprise - a single petabyte of SSD with new software could replace 10 to 50 petabytes of raw legacy HDD storage and still enable all the apps to run much faster..."
the enterprise SSD software event horizon

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other SSD articles worth seeing
The Top 100 SSD articles on StorageSearch.com is based on popularity - and spans the full spectrum of SSD reader interests and experience.

But if I had to suggest just 3 articles which you should have a look at - depending on who you are - it would be these.

for experienced enterprise SSD readers
  • adaptive flash care management IP (including DSP) for SSDs - what is it? and who does it?

    In the future - all flash SSDs will have to use these new technologies which can magnify reliability and performance while reducing cost. As we go through the transition years - all the safe assumptions which you thought you knew about flash SSDs and suppliers will change.
  • where are we now with SSD software? - and how did we ever get into this mess?

    In the next few years the software for SSDs will have as much of an effect as hardware architectuyre did in earlier years. But don't expect this to be an ordered top-down process.
if you're new to the SSD market
  • the SSD Buyers Guide - will take you to groups of articles and directories which are organized by technology and market theme.
  • the Top 20 SSD Companies - whatever your interest in SSDs - these are the companies which are attracting the most interest amongst your peers.
Any other questions?

my company profile - It's over 20 years since I collected the first carload of enterprise directories from the printers and launched my publishing business. When I switched from paper to the web in 1996 - it became much easier to update the contents. But there never seems to be enough time to publish everything about the SSD market that I'd like to.

my linkedin page - One of these days I'll figure out what this is all about. I still prefer traditional email from readers for my incoming communications.



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