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SSD Market Milestones - 2010 2nd quarter

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor

how fast can your SSD run backwards?
How will hard drives fare in an SSD world?
perspective - comparing the SSD market today to earlier tech disruptions
storage history
storage history

Beware the distorting lens of viewpoint
as in - "SSDs are similar to..."
Can you trust SSD market data?

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"Don't believe everything SSD companies tell you about the past, present or future of the SSD market."
Survivor's Guide to Enterprise SSDs

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April 2010 - Texas Memory Systems packed 10TB fast SLC SSD in 3U ......

Violin Memory announced it has received a significant investment from Toshiba.

Fusion-io announced another $45 million in series C funding led by new investor, Meritech Capital Partners. published the 12th quarterly edition of the top 10 SSD oems - which included rankings for the period January 1 to March 31, 2010. 5 out of the top 10 companies sold PCIe SSDs - compared to just 1 - in the year ago edition of this list.

XLC Disk announced details of a paper called - "Paramagnetic Effects on Trapped Charge Diffusion with Applications for x4 Data Integrity." The company said its findings could have applications in the enterprise storage market by solving data integrity problems in x4 MLC SSDs within a new class of hybrid storage drives.

OCZ launched the Z-Drive R2 - a bootable PCIe MLC SSD with upto 2TB capacity and upto 950MB/s sustained write throughput. R/W IOPS are 29,000 and 7,200 respectively - an order of magnitude slower than the fastest PCIe SSDs today - but nevertheless useful for many applications.

SSD companies Avere Systems and Pliant Technologywere 2 of 5 companies named in an 8 page report published by Gartner - Cool Vendors in Storage Technologies, 2010 ($495).

Texas Memory Systems announced the availability of the RamSan-630 an FC / InfiniBand compatible 3U SLC SSD with 4 to 10TB capacity, 500,000 IOPS, 8GB/s bandwidth, and R/W latency of 250 / 80 microseconds in a 450W power budget.

Micron Technology and PhotoFast made their 1st appearances in the 12th quarterly edition of the Top 10 SSD Companies - covering the 1st quarter of 2010.

Strontium announced the availability of a new 2.5" SATA flash SSD family - called Swift - with upto 256GB capacity and R/W speeds of 236MB/s and 160MB/s respectively.

Everspin Technologies announced it is sampling a 16Mb MRAM. Access time is 35ns with unlimited read/write cycles. Data is always non-volatile after each write for more than 20 years. In addition, MRAM is immune to soft error rates associated with cosmic rays that impact other memories.

Pliant Technology announced the appointment of Frank Kull as VP of operations. He brings more than 15 years of experience in operations management for Google, Cisco Systems and other leading technology companies.

NextIO announced availability of its vSTOR S100 - a 3U PCIe connected SSD with upto 7TB modular capacity and 1.7 million IOPS (4TB model). The best way to think about it is "Fusion-io in a box".

Nimbus Data Systems launched its S-class storage system - a 2U 10GbE rackmount SSD with 24 hot swappable internal 6Gbps SAS flash SSD blades in an 80W power footprint offering 5TB protected capacity for $39,995. Powered by Nimbus' HALO storage OS the systems support iSCSI, NFS, and CIFS protocols and provide inline deduplication (typically 10 to 1), continuous local and remote replication capability in-the-box at no additional cost. Data protection inside the box ensures that no data is lost even with 2 simultaneous blade faults.

Objective Analysis published a new 104 page market report - Data Centers Drive Major SSD Growth ( $5,000) which concludes that "the stunning growth of SSDs in enterprise servers and storage systems is only going to get stronger." The company says that the enterprise SSD market is likely to approach $4 billion in revenues by 2015, nearly 17x times that of 2009, while unit shipments will increase by 50x during that period to over 4 million units.

Foremay started sampling SAS SSDs in its EC188 product line. The new models (available in 2.5" or 3.5" form factors, and available in commercial and industrial temperature grades) have R/W speeds of 250MB/s and 200MB/s respectively, random read/write IOPS up to 30,000/25,000 and upto 400GB capacity. That brings the number of SAS SSD companies listed on to 13.
May 2010 -branding comes to the SSD chip market with "SandForce Driven SSDs"

Fusion-io announced that it had validated its PCIe SSDs with Oracle Enterprise Linux.

SandForce announced that its SSD SoC technology had been used in a TPC-C benchmark recently published by IBM. The system used 10.5TB of MLC flash SSD capacity - implemented by 56 SSDs that use SandForce SF-1500 SSD processors.

SandForce also officially announced a branding program called - SandForce Driven SSDs. This effectively confirmed's analysis of the company's marketing efforts which we had described in the past year as "SandForce inside" SSDs.

StorSimple exited stealth mode - announcing a bunch of collaborative customer supply agreements - and disclosing info about its Armada storage appliance - which can be regarded as an application specific SSD ASAP which includes "missing link" features to make cloud storage more managable and economic within datacenter environments. published a new article - What's the best / cheapest PC / MAC SSD? This apparently simple question resulted in a very complicated answer.

RunCore started sampling 2.5" and 3.5" SAS flash SSDs for the enterprise server market. The Kylin II product line, available with MLC, EMLC or SLC flash, has R/W speeds upto 270MB/s and 260MB/s respectively, R/W IOPS of 30,000 and 25,000, upto 400GB capacity and 3 years warranty.

STEC confirmed that its revenue for the 1st calendar quarter of 2010 decreased 39% (to $38.8 million) compared to the year ago period. Poor results had been anticipated and flagged in guidance due to the company's over strong dependence on a single oem customer - EMC. Later an article in suggested that STEC may soon launch a PCIe flash SSD accelerator and a low capacity RAM SSD.

PMC-Sierra announced a definitive agreement to acquire Adaptec's channel storage business for approximately $34 million in cash. This deal includes Adaptec's RAID storage product line, its global VAR customer base, board logistics capabilities, and SSD cache performance solutions.

Mushkin joined the throng of SSD companies marketing SandForce-inside 2.5" SSDs. Mushkin's new Callisto range includes a 240GB model with R/W speeds upto 285MB/s and 275MB/s respectively, and shopping cart price of $666.49.

BiTMICRO published a white paper (pdf) which describes the risks of SSD data loss from power disturbances - and outlines the design approach they have taken to minimize data corruption in their E-Disk Altima SSD product range.

OWC launched the Mercury Pro SSD family - which are 2.5" SSDs with SandForce designed SSD controllers inside. R/W speeds are upto 285MB/s . At the time of launch prices and capacities were as follows:- 60GB - $219.99, 120GB - $379.99, 240GB $699.99 and 480GB $1,579.99.

Solid Access Technologies launched the UNAS 100 a very fast 2U rackmount NAS SLC fat flash SSD - with 2.4TB capacity, 96GB DRAM Cache, 2x 10GbE ports, 300,000 IOPS, 1,000MB/s bandwidth and under 10 microseconds access time.

Nexenta Systems announced that its products (which include SSD ASAP features) are being used by the Dutch Public Broadcasting Agency NPO for storing and delivering online tv in a configuration which includes 192TB of hard disk drives and a 1.9TB SSD read cache. The broadcaster's website has approximately 80TB of video available to online users who want to watch previously broadcasted television programs. During an average evening, between 10 and 20,000 people stream data, adding up to 25GB in capacity.

Microsemi announced it had completed the acquisition of White Electronic Designs. James J. Peterson, CEO of Microsemi said - "This acquisition extends our offering into high-growth sectors in our core Aerospace & Defense markets and adds an extraordinary anti-tamper functionality to our existing product suite."

Memoright's President, Alex Kuo gave many interesting insights about his company in an interview with DIGITIMES. Among other things - he explained that's why his company is focusing on rugged SSDs - "The market for military- and industrial-use SSDs is relative small in terms of shipments compared to the market for consumer ones, but it is where suppliers can make huge profits. There is a limited number of suppliers capable of making ruggedized products for industrial and military applications."

Semico Research published a report Flash SSDs Making Inroads into Computing .
Imprinting the brain of the SSD
Editor:- How did the SSD market change from:- Who cares? to You care! about the identity of SSD controllers.
click to read the case study - about the SandForce Driven program My article - Imprinting the brain of the SSD - compares SandForce's SSD processor branding program with previous examples in chip history and analyzes key business success factors.
the SSD Bookmarks series

other great SSD sites
click to see more SSD  Bookmarks
Now we're well and truly in the SSD market bubble there are thousands of websites which talk about SSDs.

But how can you tell the good ones from the bad ones - which frankly don't understand the market or the technology?

You already know about - the most respected site on the subject of solid state drives - which we have covered extensively since the 1990s.

But what about other good SSD sites and articles?

I asked SSD industry leaders to name their own favorites and tell our readers why you should look too.

They're busy people - running their companies and making the SSD future happen sooner. But they all agree with me that better understanding about the SSD market is an important factor in its success.

I always look forward to seeing these suggestions.

The SSD Bookmarks series will take you to new quality sites and articles which you may not have seen before.

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June 2010 - Anobit samples 1st Memory Signal Processing flash SSDs

Violin Memory announced it has acquired the technology assets of of Gear6.

Samsung announced imminent volume production of a 512GB SATA SSD for the notebook SSD market - the 1st to use toggle-mode DDR NAND which enables sequential R/W speeds upto 250MB/s and 220MB/s respectively while using about half the power of a regular flash SSD of the same capacity.

Memoright entered the PCIe SSD market.

Apacer started sampling its 1st SSDs which comply with JEDEC's spec MO-300 for mSATA SSD - which is about 75% smaller than a typical 2.5" SSD. Apacer's miniature SATA Disk Module II M1 SLC SSD has R/W speeds upto 100MB/sec and capacities options from 4GB - 32GB - whereas the MLC version R/W speeds are upto 95MB/s and 50MB/s and MLC capacities are 2x greater. Both new SSD families include global wear leveling, S.M.A.R.T technology, 8-bit/15-bit ECC function and intelligent power failure recovery, and are processed compliant with MIL-STD-810F.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has deployed over 100TB of Fusion-io's dual 320GB enterprise MLC ioMemory modules deployed in ioSAN carrier cards that connect over Infiniband in a testbed project to develop high-performance simulation computing capabilities needed to ensure the safety, security and reliability of the nation's aging nuclear deterrent without underground testing. With the addition of Fusion-Powered I/O, the Hyperion testbed will deliver over 40 million IOPS and 320GB/s of bandwidth from just 80 1U appliances (2 racks) compared to 43 racks and more power if implemented in an HDD based system.

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

Macronix announced research results related to its patented BE SONOS (barrier engineering) charge-trapping technology which could make terabit NAND flash feasible without relying on advances in lithography technology.

OCZ unveiled the RevoDrive a bootable PCIe SSD with R/W speeds up to 540MB/s and 530MB/s respectively and 75,000 IOPS.

Stealth.Com launched a family of 2.5" SATA flash SSDs with SLC and MLC variants, 64MB RAM cache, and R/W speeds upto 260MB/s and 210MB/s respectively.

Indilinx announced it was supplying SSD controllers for use in a hybrid storage module - called the HyDrive - designed by Hitachi-LG Data Storage - which includes a 32GB flash SSD integrated with a Blu-ray optical drive.

Denali Software was named as a possible savior of the hybrid drive concept in a white paper by Objective Analysis - Flash Cache is Back (pdf) - which predicts that all computing platforms will soon employ a cache layer between the HDD and the DRAM. Author Jim Handy said projections cited by notebook SSD makers that SSDs would already have replaced tens of millions of HDDs were over optimistic and may "never happen".

Intel announced that its SSDs are now available in 800 Best Buy stores across the country and on

Axxana published findings from a survey it funded to understand the role that cost plays in inhibiting user adoption of zero data loss disaster recovery solutions such as its SSD based solutions.

Kaminario launched its 1st product - an FC SAN connected acceleration appliance in which a grid of blade servers access upto terabytes of shared memory. Pricing starts at $200,000.

Virident Systems announced the immediate availability of its tachIOn - a fast PCIe SSD using SLC flash - with 800MB/s sustained R/W throughput, 200K sustained random IOPS (320K peak) and capacity options of 200 / 300 / 400GB. Aimed at the enterprise acceleration market - the tachIOn's data intergity features include end to end error correction. Endurance is quoted as 24 years at 5TB writes / day.

Anobit announced it is sampling SSDs based on its patented Memory Signal Processing technology which provide 20x improvement in operational life for MLC SSDs in high IOPS server environments. Based on proprietary algorithms that compensate for the physical limitations of NAND flash, Anobit's technology (a variation of adaptive R/W and DSP ECC) extends standard MLC endurance from approximately 3K read/write cycles to over 50K cycles - to make MLC technology suitable for high-duty cycle applications. This guarantees drive write endurance of 10 full disk writes per day, for 5 years, or 7,300TBs for a 400GB drive, with fully random data (worst-case conditions). First-generation Anobit Genesis SSDs deliver 20,000 IOPS random write and 30,000 IOPS random read, with 180MB/s sustained write and 220MB/s sustained read.

Super Talent Technology announced availability of a new range of 2.5" SATA MLC SSDs which use SandForce controllers. Capacities and street prices are as follows:- 60GB $199 , 120GB $349, 240GB $669, 480GB (contact vendor). And the company entered the 2.5" SAS SSD market by announcing imminent shipments of its ShuttleCraft brand - which includes SLC and MLC models with capacities upto 240GB.

Lexar Media offered consumers a 64GB version of their 2.5" 6Gb/s SATA SSD for $149.99 - with R/W speeds upto 355MB/s and 75MB/s respectively.

Afaya announced details of a dual interface USB + SATA 256GB 2.5" flash SSD for mobile applications. R/W speeds are 170MB/s and 140MB/s respectively. It can survive 1,500G shock.
SSDs - the big picture
Editor:- was the world's 1st publication to provide continuous editorial coverage and analysis of SSDs (in 1998) and in the 12 years which have followed we've led the market through many interesting and confusing times.
click to read the story about why SSDs are taking up so much time on so many web pages 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, non very technical reference to suggest - this may be the link they need.
click for more info about the RamSan-630 SSD
RamSan-630 - 1 miilion IOPS
10TB FC / InfiniBand SLC flash SSD
from Texas Memory Systems
the fastest SSDs

Speed isn't everything, and it comes at a price.........
But if you do need the speediest SSD then wading through the web sites of over 180 current SSD oems to shortlist products slows you down.

And the SSD search problem will get even worse as we head towards a market with over 1,000 SSD oems.
the fastest SSDs  sorted by interface and form factor - click to read article ... Relax - I've done the research. And this whizzy wish list is updated daily from storage news and direct contacts from oems. the article
3rd quarter 2010 - what happened next? - continue this narrative or take a look at SSD news is published by ACSL