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SSD Market History - 2007

part of 30 years of SSD Market History

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor
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SSD Market 2007

I called 2007 - the "Year of SSD Revolutions".

This was the year in which 2.5" and 3.5" flash SSDs from Mtron and Memoright broke away from the me-too performance pack - and showed that solo flash SSD drives in traditional HDD form factors could economically challenge the R/W throughput and random IOPs of the fastest enterprise hard drives.

Meanwhile rackmount flash SSDs from EasyCo (array of COTS SSDs) and Texas Memory Systems (proprietary flash array) showed that flash SSDs could replace some market niches previously held by RAM SSDs - at much lower cost and without worrying about wear-out.

Fears and myths about endurance had in earlier years precluded flash as a serious contender in high R/W applications. And although those problems would reoccur - with good reasons - in later phases of the market - SLC was a safe technology choice in server apps - provided the controller architecture was designed correctly.

To clarify these new market choices we published - RAM SSDs versus Flash SSDs - which is Best? - collecting wisdom from both sides of the SSD civil war.

In January 2007 - pageviews of the Solid State Disks Buyers Guide (the most popular article on STORAGEsearch.com) increased by 74% compared to the year before period. Overall site readership increased 31% compared to Jan 2006.


In February 2007 - amid competing claims from various other oems Mtron launched the fastest 2.5" PATA SSD - with 80M bytes / sec sustained write time.

Cornice became the first hard disk maker to be ejected out from the hard disk business due to inability to compete with flash SSDs.

In a blog Key Changes in Windows Vista - which discussed ReadyBoost etc - former Microsoftie Vineet Gupta cited several SSD articles here on the mouse site.


March 2007

What had been the profitable SSD business in SimpleTech confirmed the legal change of its company name to STEC.

SanDisk joined the overheating market for 2.5" SATA SSDs... In fact there are more oems now making 2.5" flash SSDs than hard drives. What does that tell you?

Intel (at long last) entered the SSD market with an 8GB USB connected module.

Super Talent Technology extended its SSD range to include SATA interfaces and Attorn increased the speed and capacity of its HyperDrive4.

Samsung said it has developed a 64GB 1.8" flash SSD - which has a 60% faster write speed than its earlier 32G model.


April 2007

STORAGEsearch.com reported that SSDs were the 2nd most popular subject viewed by readers in the preceding month - nudging hard disks down to #3.

Fujitsu announced it had terminated plans to manufacture 1.8" hard drives for portable products - because in this form factor SSDs can offer better speed, lower power, lower weight and lower cost.

STEC announced a 512GB 3.5" SSD.

Dell joined the growing roster of notebook oems offering SSDs as a standard option.


May 2007

STORAGEsearch.com published a dedicated directory of flash SSDs. The F-SSD vendor list had previously been buried within the SSD Buyers Guide. Extracting it with related articles, news and ads makes it easier for readers to sift through the growing content in this segment.

MOSAID Technologies announced its new flash chip technology could deliver 800M bytes / second sustained throughput for flash SSDs using today's technology. That's 10x faster than the fastest commercially available 2.5" SSDs.

PNY Technologies announced at Computex, it will enter the SSD market with a product launch June 5th..


June 2007

DensBits founded.

STORAGEsearch.com reported that the fastest climbing subject in May 2007 was Flash - based Solid State Disks - which became the 4th most popular destination visited by readers in the same month that the page was introduced.

Concurrent Computer launched the MediaCache 1000, the first in a line of rackmount flash SSD storage products based on COTS technology aimed at the broadcast market.

SanDisk launched 64G 1.8" and 2.5" flash SSDs for the notebook market.

Cenatek launched the Rocket Drive Micro:- an ExpressCard form-factor, high speed solid state disk designed for use with any ExpressCard equipped laptop or desktop.

SanDisk launched 64G 1.8" and 2.5" flash SSDs for the notebook market.

Apacer showed a 2.5", 128GB flash SSD at Computex and previewed an SSD based RAID.

STORAGEsearch.com published a new 2.5" SSD Directory with quick links to nearly 100 SSD models from 24 oems actively marketing SSDs in the 2.5 inch form factor.

Myung unveiled its low power MyStor product family which includes 2.5" IDE, and 3.5" IDE or SCSI flash SSD products.

Samsung began mass production of 64GB 1.8" SSDs for mobile computing applications.

STORAGEsearch.com published a directory of the Fastest SSDs in each popular form factor....

SiliconSystems said that it had received an additional patent for its PowerArmor voltage detection and regulation technology. PowerArmor, used in the company's SiliconDrives protects critical operating system files and application data from corruption due to power disturbances.


July 2007

SiliconSystems launched the first high reliability USB SSD in CF form factor.

STORAGEsearch.com published a new article - the Top 10 Solid State Disk OEMs

Solid Data Systems launched the StorageSPIRE, a terabyte capacity Fibre Channel connected SSD array.

STORAGEsearch.com published a new 3.5" SSD Directory with quick links to over 22 SSD models from 11 oems.

SanDisk announced that its SATA 5000 2.5-inch SSD will be offered as an option in IBM's new BladeCenter HS21 XM.


August 2007

STEC announced it will sample 3.5" SAS SSDs in Q108.

Violin Memory launched world's fastest 2U SSD.

VMETRO acquired Micro Memory

Attorn said its new rackmount HyperDrive4 provided the the lowest price per gigabyte for a RAM based solid state drive.

Targa Systems launched a 64G 3U CompactPCI flash SSD with USB interface.

EasyCo launched its "Managed Flash Technology" a storage system which includes a RAID-5 array of flash SSDs with a patent pending drive management layer which results in system write performance that is 100x faster than the bare solid state flash drive.

STORAGEsearch.com published a new article:- RAM SSDs versus Flash SSDs - which is Best? With features from the world's leading SSD companies this article looks at how technology and price trends have reduced the gaps between the 2 main SSD technologies.


September 2007

BiTMICRO Networks received $9.3 million in Series F funding and promised to ship 412GB 2.5" flash SSDs in Q108.

Texas Memory Systems launched the RamSan-500 - which delivers 2 terabytes of high speed flash SSD in a 4U rackmount package. Performance is 100,000 IOPS sustained random read, 10,000 IOPS sustained random write. Throughput performance from fibre-channel hosts to internal flash storage is 2G bytes / sec sustainable (3G bytes / sec peak).

Objective Analysis published a 110 page report called - the Solid State Disk Market: A Rigorous Look to their offering

Third I/O demonstrated a prelaunch version of its Iris SSD at the Intel Developer's Forum in San Francisco. Sustained performance reached 1,540MB/s on a single 8 Gb/s port.

Austin Semiconductor announced its Solid State Disk on Chip - a PATA compatible flash SSD in a 1.22" square footprint with upto 16GB capacity.


October 2007

Addonics Technologies launched what it called a "low cost large capacity SSD" platform. It's a PCI card that can be installed with 4 Compact Flash cards with inbuilt RAID support. The risk with this approach is that most CF cards aren't designed for intensive write operations and don't have wear levelling controllers. That means if a user installs such a product in a server application - as a lower cost alternative to a true SSD - the storage media may fail in under a year.

STORAGEsearch.com published the new 2nd quarterly ranking of - the Top 10 Solid State Disk OEMs

Texas Memory Systems took part in an 8Gbps Fibre Channel demo at Storage Networking World

Violin Memory said it would announce a supported InfiniBand interface for its Memory Appliance at November's SC07 .

SiliconSystems launched a postage-stamp sized USB solid-state drive designed for embedded storage applications - called the SiliconDrive USB Blade.



November 2007

BiTMICRO Networks announced plans to sample a terabyte class 3.5" flash SSD in Q108. With 1.6TB capacity and a 4Gbps Fibre Channel interface - it will deliver sustained throughput more than 230MBps and upwards of 55,000 IOPS.

Samsung Electronics announced it was sampling faster versions of its 64G 1.8" and 2.5" SATA flash SSDs with sequential write speed of 100MB / sec and sequential read speed of 120MB / sec.

SanDisk launched a PCIe compatible 16G flash SSD.

Micron Technology said it would launch a family of SATA 1.8" and 2.5" flash SSDs in Q1 2008 bringing the total number of market active SSD oems to 60.

INTELLIAM launched its LeanSTOR flash SSDs with AMC card form factor, SATA interface and 128GB capacity.


December 2007

SSD Alliance is founded to develop compatibility standards for flash SSDs.

RunCore launched the E-drive, a PCIe SSD with upto 256GB capacity and R/W speed upto 400MB/s or 200MB/s respectively.

STEC started shipping its MACH8-MLC 1.8" and 2.5" PATA / SATA flash SSDs aimed at the notebook market. While the performance is at the middle range of the market spectrum - the new SSDs are available in high capacities upto 512GB (2.5"). Pricing is aggressive. STEC offers this SSD family at pricing of $5/GB today, declining to less than $2/GB within two years.

Toshiba said it will enter the SSD market with 1.8" and 2.5" SATA models which will be sampled in January 2008.

Commenting on the current success of the disk to disk backup market - STORAGEsearch.com predicted that the earliest realistic threat to hard disks as a backup media (from solid state storage) wouldn't be before around 2014.

White Electronic Designs, well known as a supplier of high reliability products in the military market, announced its first medical series CompactFlash cards.

Objective Analysis predicted that the Hybrid Hard Drive would not make a big splash in 2008 in a new 36-page report called Hybrid Hard Drives: How, Why, And When? - The author Jim Handy said - "Unfortunately, the hardware is ready but the software support is weak. Hybrid drives will have to wait for better support to justify their small additional cost."

SSD market revenue in 2007 reached $400 million according to a (later / June 2008 ) report from IDC.


look ahead in history

SSD Market History - 2008

SSD Market History - 2009

SSD Market History - 2010

SSD Market History - 2011

SSD Market History - 2012

SSD Market History - 2013

SSD Market History - 2014
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2007 - Year of SSD Revolutions?
Editor: - August 2007 - One of the few dates I can remember from studying European history (at the age of 16) was 1848.

1848 was the Year of Revolutions...

I don't think we did any dates before that. And due to lack of time - we didn't quite finish the syllabus and reach the other end of this historical slice - which was 1945. I think we only got as far as 1933 before the exams crept up on us.

The definition of "Europe" in that academic context meant "continental Europe" and axiomatically excluded the UK - as England (where the exams took place) was naturally not considered to be a part of Europe.

As I found in later years there are plenty of things that have happened in the world before and after these magic dates - and most of these events have taken place outside the continent of Europe (whichever definition of the old world you choose). But one benefit of my history education has been that I've enjoyed many long hours reading about history - since leaving school - without the narrative plot having been spoiled by a fore-knowledge of what happened next.

Similarly with my knowledge of English literature. When I am occasionally dragged to Stratford upon Avon to see a new production by the Royal Shakespeare Company - I know that - as long as it's not that one play we did for the exams - I don't know the plot - or even whether it's supposed to be a comedy or tragedy - and I can enjoy it (or not) without any previous prejudice.

But back to the Year of Revolutions.

2007 is shaping up to be the Year of Revolutions in the Solid State Disk market.

Although I've been expecting something like this for many years the new SSD technology announcements in the past year have included many twists and revolutionary changes which will break down the barriers which once separated different segments of this market.

The old obsolete price comparisons between hard disk and flash SSD pricing sound as ridiculous today as dinosaur print media executives who still talk about the internet as "new media".

As I said to one reader this week "Hard disk pricing is irrelevant for many parts of the enterprise SSD market." Even if hard disks were free - users will switch to SSDs if they have the right type of applications - because the alternative cost of managing more servers, swapping out failed disks, electrical power and data center floor space are too high - or technically unfeasible.

The real battle in the enterprise server market in the next few years will be internecine...

"RAM versus Flash SSDs - which is Best?"

I invited the world's leading experts to contribute to an article on this subject which was published August 20, 2007.
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How big was the thinking in this SSD's design?
Does size really does matter in SSD design?

By that I mean how big was the mental map? - not how many inches wide is the SSD.

The novel and the short story both have their place in literature and the pages look exactly the same. But you know from experience which works best in different situations and why.

When it comes to SSDs - Big versus Small SSD architecture - is something which was in the designer's mind. Even if they didn't think about it that way at the time.
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Have you ever wondered how the amount of flash inside a flash SSD compares to the capacity shown on the invoice?

What you see isn't always what you get.
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Surviving SSD sudden power loss
Why should you care what happens in an SSD when the power goes down?

This important design feature - which barely rates a mention in most SSD datasheets and press releases - has a strong impact on SSD data integrity and operational reliability.

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.
image shows Megabyte's hot air balloon - click to read the article SSD power down architectures and acharacteristics If you thought endurance was the end of the SSD reliability story - think again. ...read the article
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