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2011 SSD market milestones - from SSD market history

year of the FIO IPO

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor

In this article you'lll find a month by month summary (January through to December) of the main technical and business milestones in the SSD market in 2011.
January 2011 - SandForce dedupes inside the SSD controller chip

EMC revealed it had shipped 10 petabytes of SSD storage in 2010.

Fusion-io announced a new distributor in Japan - Tokyo Electron Device.

NeoMagic announced it was seeking finance to help expand its IP and presence in the SSD controller market.

TeleCommunication Systems acquired Trident Space & Defense.

A report in DIGITIMES said that Kingston Technology is considering an investment in SSD controller maker JMicron.

Super Talent Technology speeded up its DuraDrive range of 2.5" industrial SSDs with a new SATA model which has sequential R/W speeds of 125MB/s, 110MB/s respectively.

StorageSearch.com published a new article - Inanimate Power, Speed and Strength Metaphors in SSD brands - the 5th in a series about Branding Strategies in the SSD Market.

Alacritech launched the ANX 1500 ($70,000 base price) - a 2U fat flash SSD ASAP optimized for the NAS market - which the company claims can deliver 120,000 NFS OPS with 48GB of DRAM and up to 4TB flash SSD.

StorageSearch.com published a new edition of the Top 20 SSD companies. The 15th quarterly edition in this popular series is based on market data for the 4th quarter of 2010.

An article published in Electronic Design revealed more about the thinking behind SandForce's SSD controller chips. Among other things it confirmed they do compression and dedupe as some of the tactics to manage flash endurance.

Broadcast Engineering magazine published a new article - the future of data storage - written by Zsolt Kerekes, editor of StorageSearch.com. It's 2020 in the datacenter of a leading content factory. We used to call these companies broadcasters... "...the only spinning devices in the storage cabinets will be the cooling fans."

Texas Memory Systems announced the availability of 8Gbps fibre-channel interfaces for its RamSan-630 - fast 10TB 3U rackmount SLC SSDs. Each unit can be configured with upto 10 independent 8Gb FC ports for a total data transfer rate of 8 GBytes / sec. Ports can be mixed - with the previously available (and 25% faster) InfiniBand.

Fusion-io announced that in the past 12 months it had shipped more than 15 petabytes of its enterprise flash SSD accelerators.

Xiotech joined the crowding SSD ASAP market with the launch of its Hybrid ISE - a 3U FC rack with 14TB of capacity and 60,000 IOPS performance which internally uses a mixture of 2.5" SSDs and HDDs.
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February 2011 - SolidFire and Violin get more funding

SolidFire announced it has raised $11 million in financing this month which followed an earlier seed round of $1 million. The company is developing SSD enabled cloud storage.

Nimbus Data Systems announced that it had achieved profitability in its fiscal year ending December 31, 2010.

Dataram published a new benchmark white paper (pdf) which showed how EMC users could significantly improve the performance obtainable from 15k RPM based SAN storage arrays in VMware environments at about 1/10th of the cost by using Dataram's XcelaSAN (FC SAN compatible SSD ASAP). The simulated workload was based on a concept described in VMware's 100K IOPS, one ESX host blog (2008).

OCZ's CEO, Ryan Petersen revealed in a new article on bnet.com the difficulties he faced when he decided his business had to quit the memory business and focus on SSDs. The fast growing company also announced a new loan agreement with Silicon Valley Bank.

Violin Memory announced a $35 Million Series B funding round which includes Toshiba - a strategic investor since April 2010.

SandForce shipped more than one million of its SF-1500 and SF-1200 SSD Processors since they were released into production in 2010. SandForce Driven SSD Manufacturers shipped more than 100 Petabytes of NAND flash into the mainstream computing markets.

STEC announced that its revenue for full-year 2010 was $280 million, a decrease of 20.9% from $354.2 million for 2009. StorageSearch.com commented - "At the current rate of progress STEC's SSD revenue - on the way down - may intersect with that of OCZ during 2011 going up - contrasting the fortunes of a company (STEC) which once had technical leadership in the SSD market - with a company (OCZ) which never had technical leadership in any SSD segment - but knows how to market and sell SSDs."

PhotoFast announced it will start shipping 2.5" SATA 3 SSDs with 450MB/s write speeds and upto to 512GB capacity ($800 MSRP) to customers in Japan in April.

SanDisk preannounced details of a new miniature SSD which will ship in Q3 2011 - the iNAND has upto 64GB (x3 MLC) capacity in a 12mm x 16mm x 1mm package.

Extreme Engineering Solutions announced the availability of the XPort6103 - a conduction- or air-cooled rugged XMC form factor PCIe SLC SSD with upto 512GB capacity designed for MIL-STD-810F environments. Encryption is NIST- and CSE-certified. Declassification is via hardware or software control.

StorageSearch.com published a new article - what happens in SSDs when power goes down? - which surveyed SSD internal power management architectures and characteristics.

Dataram announced availability of its XcelaSAN Model 100 - a new version of its rackmount FC SAN compatible SSD ASAP - with improved HA features.

SandForce announced availability of its 2nd generation SF-2200 processors optimized for SSDs deployed in client computing applications. This enables SSD makers to deliver 500MB/s R/W throughput (6Gbps SATA) and 20K sustained and 60K burst IOPS - and are compatible with newly available ONFi2 and toggle flash memory from all major suppliers. The new chips can be oem configured to suit various consumer markets, for example by intelligently limiting the power (performance is optimized within a preset wattage envelope) and / or removing internal RAID features (to make more capacity available to users).

Intel launched the SSD 510 - a 2.5" SATA 3 MLC SSD with 250GB capacity and upto 315MB/s sequential write performance. Unusually for Intel SSDs - a week after the product was launched it was not recalled and neither was it subject to a vital firmware upgrade.
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March 2011 - OCZ acquires Indilinx, Fusion-io announces IPO, WD acquires Hitachi GST

Fusion-io announced it has filed with the SEC for a proposed IPO.

StorageSearch.com published a new article - the 3 fastest PCIe SSDs list(s).

OCZ announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Indilinx for for approximately $32 million.

Pangaea Media entered the SSD backup market with a 2.5" SSD which uses a completely new fast purge technology.

StorageSearch.com published a new edition of the SSD Bookmarks - with suggestions by Jack H Winters, CTO, Foremay .

WD announced it will acquire Hitachi GST for approximately $4.3 billion. Although the primary motive is hard drives - the companies said they would put more resources into SSDs too.

StorageSearch.com published - the Top 30 SSD articles - a new weekly updated list which includes summaries of the most popular articles viewed by our readers.

iSuppli announced SSD revenue in 2011 is projected to hit $4.4 billion, up 91% from $2.3 billion in 2010. By 2014, iSuppli expects SSD revenue to reach $7.2 billion.

Foremay today announced it is shipping 32GB PATA versions of its OC177 SSD Disk on Chip which measures 22 x 22 x 1.8 mm and has R/W speeds of 70 and 40MB/s respectively.

Intel published version 1.0 of a new proprietary standard for designers of PCI SSDs in systems which use Intel processors - the NVM Express Optimized PCI Express SSD Interface.

Seagate announced details of new 2.5" SAS SSDs - marketed under its Pulsar brand - which will ship in the 2nd quarter. Available capacities are 400GB (SLC) and 800GB (MLC). R/W speeds are upto 360MB/s and 300MB/s respectively. Sustainable random R/W IOPS are 48K and 22K respectively.

Anobit announced that it has commenced high volume production of its MSP2020 NAND flash memory controller in cooperation with Hynix Semiconductor. The MSP2020 controller enables the use of commercial-grade 2-bits-per-cell and 3-bits-per-cell NAND flash across all of the latest process nodes, within endurance- and performance-intensive embedded computing applications. MSP2020 controllers support up to 2 ONFI-compliant NAND interfaces to a host processor, and can support product configurations from 4GB to 128GB.

Microsemi announced initial production and availability of its TRRUST-Stor a rugged 2.5" SATA SSD designed for mission critical applications in the aerospace, defense, and military markets. Security features in the new SSD include:- AES encryption with a 256-bit key with XTS, a fast purge feature called SnapPurge which destroys key in less than 30mS and hardware-based fast clear of the entire drive which takes less than 4 seconds. Uncorrectable bit error rate is one sector per 1030 bits read. Other reliability oriented features include:- Built-In-Self-Test (BIST) and power interruption protection with over and under voltage detection and protection which does not rely on super caps or batteries.

Intel launched a new 2.5" SSD aimed at legacy notebook designs which have 3Gbps SATA ports. The Intel SSD 320 (which includes 128 bit encryption) is available with MLC capacities from 40GB ($89 1k price) to 600GB ($1,069 1k). R/W speeds are 270MB/s and 220MB/s respectively. R/W IOPS are 39,500 and 23,000. In this new design , Intel has added redundancies that will help keep user data protected, even in the event of a power loss.

Kaminario announced immediate availability of its K2 DRAM storage appliance a family of enterprise FC SAN rackmount RAM SSDs which scales up to 12TB and delivers 1.5 million IOPS with 16 GB/s throughput. K2's entry level configuration provides 500GB of storage and delivers 150,000 IOPS with 1.6 GB/s throughput for $50,000. Kaminario's K2 has true N+1 high availability, including mirrored storage with automatic data recovery, redundant fibre channel connectivity and a UPS, to reduce the risk of losing data access.

Web-Feet Research said they expect the embedded flash drive market to approach $17 billion annual revenue in 2015. In Web-Feet 's usage - "EFDs provide internal storage functions in mobile, consumer and some compute applications. They are the non-removable Flash storage positioned between Flash cards, found in many of these same applications, and SSDs. As the EFD evolves they take on many controller features found in the low end SSDs." More details about their predictions are in their annual report (130+ pages, $6,500, outline pdf)

PLX Technology (supplier of 65% of the world's PCIe switch chips) announced it's working with system partners worldwide to accelerate adoption of PCIe SSDs.

StoneFly announced that it will integrate Fusion-io's ioMemory accelerators into its iSCSI storage systems.
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April 2011 - Virident does 1 million IOPS with 2 PCIe SSD cards

StorageSearch.com published the 16th quarterly edition of the top 20 SSD companies - based on metrics in the 1st quarter of 2011.

SMART announced the release of its XceedIOPS2 6Gb/s SATA SSDs in 1.8" and 2.5" form factors which use with the latest SandForce SF-2000 series SSD processors.

Virident Systems announced that working with SGI they demonstrated 1 million IOPS performance in a 1U server rack using just 2 of its tachIOn PCIe SSDs at a system list price of less than $.05 per IOPS.

Anobit announced it has licensed IP cores from Cosmic Circuits for several of its SoCs. The analog IPs which consisted of linear regulators, a power-on-reset and a silicon oscillator (with integrated clock multiplier) were implemented in 65nm CMOS process. These IPs were integrated into Anobit's flash memory controllers to enhance reliability and performance.

ADLINK Technology launched a range of 6Gbps SATA industrial 1.8" and 2.5" SSDs with R/W speeds upto 470MB/s and 385MB/s respectively (for SLC models).

Marvell unveiled a PCIe compatible SSD ASAP. Marvell claims 10x speedups can be realized using its new DragonFly Virtual Storage Accelerator - which is designed to reduce write amplification to external storage arrays and acts as an OS agnostic multiprotocol storage cache for NAS, SAN or DAS storage arrays. The product - is expected to sample in Q3.

Macrotron announced the availability of 1.8" ZIF MLC SSDs which have R/W speeds upto 120/85MB/s and 30GB ($115) to 240GB ($615) capacity.

IO Turbine popped out of stealth mode and announced it has secured $7.75 million in funding to design software for high IOPS virtual flash SSD environments. .

Web-Feet Research has added a quarterly SSD company SWOT market analysis service to its range of SSD reports. Web-Feet says that given the large number of players in the SSD market, it is not an easy task profiling each company from a competitive position. Their new publication covers 30 notable companies with SWOT analysis along with product summaries and other information to help compare companies with each other.

Dataram has doubled the RAM cache available in its XcelaSAN (2U rackmount fibre-channel SAN SSD accelerator) to 256GB (the system price is approx $75,000). XcelaSAN delivers up to 30x transparent R/W acceleration to attached disk storage arrays with a high-availability architecture (internal performance is upto 450,000 IOPS). Unlike most solid state storage solutions, XcelaSAN dynamically caches high I/O activity application data when it is needed, to support multiple applications many times larger than the cache itself.

Web-Feet Research has added a quarterly SSD company SWOT market analysis service to its range of SSD reports. Their new publication ($7,500 for 1 year) covers 30 notable SSD companies with SWOT analysis along with product summaries and other information to help compare companies with each other.

Samsung announced it is exiting the hard disk market. Seagate has agreed to acquire Samsung's HDD assets for $1.375 billion.
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May 2011 - IPO prices Fusion-io 3x more valuable than Pliant

Fusion-io's IPO pricing indicates a $1 billion market cap SSD company.

SanDisk announced a definitive agreement to acquire Pliant Technology for approximately $327 million.

SandForce named DriveSavers (a data recovery company) as a member of its trusted partners program.

IO Turbine announced that its flash SSD supporting acceleration software for VMware environments was available for beta testing.

Texas Memory Systems unveiled imminent availability of a new fast PCIe SSD - the RamSan-70 - a 900GB (SLC) 1/2 length card with 330K / 160K R/W IOPS and upto 2GB/s throughput.

Microsemi announced that its TRRUST-STOR (2.5" rugged SSDs) are the industry's first SSDs to pass zero-failure testing at vibration levels that are consistent with the industry's most severe environments.

STEC announced it will transition the hardware used in its high performance ZeusIOPS (2.5" and 3.5") SSDs from a dependence on FPGAs to ASICs. And the same ASIC design will be used in new PCIe SSDs later this year. The company's revenue in the 1st quarter of 2011 was 2.5x the level of the preceding year - breaking a year of under par revenue results for the company - compared to the trend for its leading competitors in the enterprise SSD market.

SMART began sampling a new 64GB 1.8" Slim (39x54x4mm ) SATA SLC SSD for embedded applications. The XceedIOPS iSATA Slim has a typical power consumption of 0.5W at +5VDC and supports automatic 5V/3.3V input power selection. R/W throughput is upto 120/115MB/s and 14K/1.4K R/W IOPS.

Kaminario announced it has secured $15 million in Series C funding bringing its total investor funding to $34 million.

EMC announced it has created a flash business unit and will enter the PCIe SSD market later this year. The company indicated that its run rate of shipping flash storage array capacity in 2011 is approximately 3x the level it had achieved in 2010.

Fusion-io announced that more of its PCIe SSDs (including 640GB ioDrives and the 1.28TB Duo) are now available from Dell - which is also extending the number of server platforms supporting these accelerator options.

Emphase launched a new range of rugged, MIL-STD-810F compliant 2.5" SATA SLC SSDs - which are currently available with upto 128GB capacity. The MIL-SPEC S5 SSD has R/W speeds upto 170 / 90MB/sec respectively and fast erase. Should the drive lose power during a protect, erase, or destroy command, the device will resume the operation as soon as power is restored. Standard product has high tolerance for high altitudes, shock, vibration, temperature, and humidity - options include conformal coating.

Texas Memory Systems announced record-setting audited SPC-1 and SPC-2 performance results produced by its flagship rackmount SSD - the RamSan-630. What's significant about these results - is that the SLC flash SSD system cost less per gigabyte than the previous record holder's HDD based system.
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June 2011 - FlashSoft ships auto tiering SSD software for Windows Server

Kove announced it had achieved over 11 million IOPS in a single addressable space in its XPD2 - 4U rackmount SSD.

Virident Systems announced that it has been chosen as a winner of the Red Herring Top 100.

VeloBit announced it had received Series A funding to develop its software for leveraging traditional SAS / SATA SSDs as caches in SSD ASAP environments.

SolidFire announced details of its first product - an iSCSI SSD appliance designed for cloud storage applications which the company says can scale to 1 petabyte capacity (which takes 100 nodes with current models).

NVSL ( the Non-Volatile Systems Lab at UCSD) demonstrated a prototype PCIe PCM (phase-change memory) SSD - with R/W speeds upto 1.1GB/s and 327MB/s respectively and 8GB usable capacity. In a white paper Protoype PCM Storage Array (pdf) the team outlines the design and architecture of their PCM SSD prototype and also compares aspects of performance with entry level PCIe flash SSDs from Fusion-io.

Violin Memory announced a $40 Million Series C funding round - just 4 months after the company had raised $35 Million in Series B funding.

Texas Memory Systems announced imminent availability of the RamSan-710 - a 1U rackmount SSD with 5TB usable SLC flash storage with 2 dual ported 8Gbps FC ports upto 2 40Gbps InfiniBand ports. Throughput is quoted as 5 GB/s - although no IOPS figure was mentioned at press time. The system includes various reliability options- including N+1 batteries to support orderly shutdown and an internal active spare flash card configuration option which provides protection levels beyond RAID.

SandForce announced that a single SSD using its SF-2000 SSD Processor along with 25nm MLC flash memory has achieved the highest possible WEI score of 7.9 for the disk data transfer rate in a Windows 7 environment (3.5GHz AMD CPU with 8GB 1.3GHz RAM). The company also announced that Kingston Technology has joined the SandForce Driven SSDs group - bringing the membership upto 30 companies.

Micron announced it is sampling the first products in a new family which will ship in the 3rd quarter of this year. The company says its RealSSD P320h drive delivers upto 750K / 341K R/W IOPS, and 3GB/s / 2GB/s R/W throughput. It uses Micron's own 34nm SLC ONFI 2.1 NAND flash and has on-board RAM cache.

SanDisk expanded its Lightning range (2.5" and 3.5" SAS skinny flash SSDs) which now offer upto 800GB MLC capacity. The new models are being delivered for OEM qualification, and will be available via authorized channel partners in Q3, 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. Capacities 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 conformal coating.

FlashSoft announced it has secured $3 million Series A funding and has launched its first product - software which enables enterprise flash to be used as a cost-effective, server-tier computing resource (ASAP functionality in software) which is available for free evaluation through a 30-day "Try Before You Buy" program.

AMP launched the CineDrive a low power, rugged 2.5" SATA SSD optimized for the video recording industry.

Oracle announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Pillar Data Systems - which was already majority owned by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.

SANBlaze Technology started shipping a new rear transition module which connects upto 8x 1.8" SSDs to PCIe with RAID options.
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July 2011 - OCZ elevates performance of Indilinx SSD controllers

Violin Memory anoounced it had been named "company of the year" by AlwaysOn.

RunCore has opened its first international sales office outside its its original roots in China. The new office - which will handle sales and distribution is in San Jose, California. The company also launched a 6Gbps mSATA SSD based on the SandForce SF-2281 controller - with R/W rates upto 550 MB/s and 470 MB/s respectively and upto 120GB capacity.

StorageSearch.com published the 17th quarterly edition of the top 20 SSD companies - based on metrics in the 2nd quarter of 2011. 4 companies dropped out of the list from the previous quarter - and there was a first time appearance by enterprise SSD maker Virident Systems.

Web-Feet Research published a new quarterly edition of its SSD market report series (annual subscription $7,500). You can see the introduction and summary here (pdf) - where among other things you'll learn... "Adoption of SSDs in client and enterprise applications gained momentum in 2010 with shipments and revenue doubling to 10.3 million units and $2.6 billion. The outlook for 2011 is 16.6 million units and $4.1 billion in revenue demonstrating continued strong growth."

NVELO announced it had $6.6 million in series A funding to support its business development in the PC segment of the SSD caching / SSD ASAP software market.

OCZ is sampling a new dual core ARM based SSD controller for 6Gbps SATA SSDs which can deliver upto 500MB/s sequential throughput and 200 mega transfers per second. The Indilinx Everest platform supports up to 1x nm NAND Flash with 1, 2, or 3 bits per cell, has 70 bits of BCH ECC per sector, end to end data protection, fast boot options (50% faster than competing SSDs) and enhanced power fail protection. The new platform - supports 1TB flash capacity and has a 400MHz DDR3 DRAM cache interface with support for up to 512MB.

MOSAID Technologies said it will sample silicon based on its HLNAND2 specification in late 2011. Using a high-speed, point-to-point ring topology, HLNAND2 facilitates SSD development with data transfer rates into the multiple Gigabyte-per-second range. In comparison, NAND Flash interfaces based on a parallel bus structure are limited to transfer rates of up to 200MB/s, with only a few devices supported on each channel. The company's HLNAND 256Gb Flash memory device is packaged as an MCP composed of a stack of 9 dies - 8 industry-standard NAND Flash chips, and 1 MOSAID proprietary ASIC. The design supports either monolithic 32Gb MLC Toggle Mode or 32Gb MLC legacy asynchronous NAND Flash chips, evenly distributed over 4 banks.

Huawei Symantec launched its first SSD system - a 2U FC SAN SSD with hot swap features, and 2.4TB usable capacity implemented by a RAID aray of its own design 2.5" SLC SSDs. The Oceanspace Dorado2100 has 800 microsends access time, 170,000 IOPS, and 8x 8Gbps ports with 2 controllers and multipath connections.

NAID announced it had started plans to develop a new certification program to verify the security and processes of companies that removed data from solid state memory devices and mobile phones.
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August 2011 - FIO's revenue 6x higher, auto tiering heats up

Samsung has acquired Grandis - an nv RAM company which has been developing spin transfer torque random access memory (STT-RAM).

RunCore announced it is building the biggest SSD factory in China to enable the company to cope with the increasing international demand for its products. The new factory and test facility - based in Jinzhou Development Zone in Changsha city - is expected to be complete in early 2012.

SANRAD introduced the industry's 1st front loadable PCIe flash SSD accelerators as options in its V-Switch storage appliances enabling upto 4TB of flash, together with 2x10GE networking and 2x8Gb FC, all in a single 1U rackmount appliance (or 10TB in 2U).

Hyperstone introduced their new A2 family of SSD controllers - designed to enable physically small, very low power consumption industrial SATA skinny flash SSDs.

Nimbus Data Systems announced that eBay has deployed more than 100 terabytes of Nimbus S-Class flash memory to power its VMware virtual server infrastructure. The Nimbus solution delivered near line-rate 10 Gbps iSCSI performance to the VMware hosts while consuming 78% less energy and 50% less rackspace than conventional disk-based solutions.

Pure Storage unveiled its first SSD product (an FC SAN compatible bulk storage SSD) and announced it had received $30 million in series C funding bringing its total capital funding up to $55 million.

In a white paper (pdf) presented at the Flash Memory Summit - Rado Danilak, founder of StorCloud said that RAID / RAIS technology and the other clever SSD controller techniques that the industry has learned to lean on in the past few years "...will not sufficient for advanced node MLC to be used in enterprise... But - StorCloud has identified technical solutions for next 10x improvement in endurance and enabling 1x nm MLC in enterprise storage systems..."

OCZ has started shipments of its latest PCIe SSD - the Z-Drive R4 which is capable of transferring up to 2.8GB/s and completing over 500,000 IOPS. A dual SuperScale controller card reaches 5.6GB/s and 1.2 million IOPS. OCZ's software enables user-selectable data recovery and non-stop configuration modes ensuring enterprise-class data integrity. It also supports the industry-standard SCSI command set and TRIM/SCSI Unmap.

STEC announced it is sampling a new software SSD ASAP product - called EnhanceIO - a cross-platform cache solution that works with any SSD to accelerate enterprise applications, however, it is optimized for STEC SSD devices. The company also started sampling its previously unveiled PCIe SSD family.

Fusion-io announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire IO Turbine for approximately $95 million. And Fusion-io reported revenue of $72 million for the fiscal fourth quarter of 2011 - 6x higher than the year ago quarter.

Texas Memory Systems launched the RamSan-810 - a 10TB FC SAN MLC SSD in a 1U rackmount package - with 320K IOPS performance.

SMART launched a new range of 2.5" SAS SSDs which provide upto 1.6TB usable capacity, 100K/50K random IOPS and 500MB/s sustained R/W transfer rates.

Foremay announced that it has shipped SSDs from its SC199 Hi-Rel range for deployment in NASA's next generation space program.

Coraid unveiled a new version of its 10GbE AoE compatible 4U rackmount storage - the EtherFlash solution - which integrates commodity SAS or SATA SSDs at a system price under $10/GB with less than 200 microseconds latency.

OCZ launched a hybrid PCIe SSD - the RevoDrive Hybrid - which integrates 100GB SSD capacity along with an onboard 1TB HDD and SSD ASAP / auto hot spot cache tuning controller capable of 910MB/s peak throughput and upto random write 120,000 IOPS (4K) at an MSRP under $500.

StorageSearch.com reported that reader interest in auto tiering SSDs had shot up 34 places in August - making it the fastest growing topic in the top SSD articles.
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September 2011 - Anobit joins the high performance 2.5" MLC set

GridIron Systems announced general availability of its TurboCharger - an FC SAN fat flash SSD ASAP / auto-tiering cache - which has low latency (tens of microseconds) and is intended to be used in what the company calls "Big data" installations.

Violin Memory announced new models and options in its range of fast iSCSI / FC SAN rackmount SSDs. The new 6000 series - designed for high availability applications with no single point of failure and hot swappable "everything" - provides 12TB SLC, or 22TB MLC usable capacity with 200/600 microseconds mixed latency, 1 million / 500K sustained RAIDed spike free write IOPS, in 3U rackspace at a list price around $37K / $20K per terabyte.

Microsemi announced it's shipping secure rugged SATA SSD chips for embedded defense applications with upto 75GB SLC capacity in a single 32mm x 28mm PBGA (plastic ball grid array).

Dataram announced that Dell OEM Solutions will manufacture and support Dataram's FC SAN compatible auto-tiering / SSD ASAP - the XcelaSAN from November 2011.

Fusion-io announced that its new SureErase data sanitization tool has been confirmed as meeting Department of Defense sanitization standards by the Defense Information Systems Agency. SureErase enables users to securely remove/erase all data on any ioMemory-based technology, following DoD/NIST standards, regardless of capacity, in less than 1 minute.

OCZ launched its Synapse Cache Series 2.5" SATA SSDs for Windows 7 environments. The new SSDs (64GB / 128GB, R/W speeds upto 510/550MB/s, 80,000 IOPS) integrate NVELO's Dataplex cache / SSD ASAP software to dynamically manage the SSD in conjunction with standard hard disk drives. When used to support a pre-existing terabyte hard drive - the overall performance for popular PC benchmar tasks can be 4x to 6x faster - as the software learns the where the hot data is for that user's PC - according to benchmarks and data in OCZ's related white paper (pdf) . No data migration or OS installation is required.

Anobit announced it is sampling the fastest (yet) 2.5" SATA SSDs based on its own controller design. The new Genesis SSDs (upto 400GB) delivers up to 70,000/40,000 IOPS (4K block size) and 510 MB/s sequential read/write with non-compressible data using 2xnm MLC NAND. Anobit says its patented Memory Signal Processing technology elevates MLC endurance from 3,000 write cycles to over 50,000.
OCZ announced it's been supplying custom 7.5mm high 128GB SATA SSDs which use its Indilinx Everest SSD controller to LG for use in its in LGP220 ultra-thin notebooks. See also SSD controller news, notebook SSDs.

SANRAD entered the auto-tiering SSD / SSD ASAPs market (22 vendors listed in that directory) with the launch of its VXL software which supports its family of FC and GbE unified storage network routers.

RunCore started 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. ...read more in 1" SSD news

Kaminario announced it has integrated Fusion-io's PCIe SSDs as a new option in its K2 FC SAN compatible SSD product line (which was hitherto RAM SSD only) to provide flash and hybrid storage options. Using the new options the K2 can provide from 3 to 30TB of non-stop, protected and self healing, blade server based flash storage in 4U to 12U of rack space with R/W latency of 260 / 150 microseconds at a list price of $30K / TB. ...read more in SSD news

Intel launched a new 2.5" SATA MLC SSD for hard drive replacement in datacenters. The 710 series (1K unit price is $1,929 for 300GB) has low performance (by SSD standards) - with random R/W IOPS of 38,500 IOPS and 2,700 respectively. But this performance is more than good enough for use in general purpose, value engineered, bulk storage arrays.
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October 2011 - LSI buys its way into the top 5 SSD companies list

SolidFire has raised $25 million in its 2nd funding round, bringing its total funding to $37 million.

NEVEX launched its first product - an auto-tiering / SSD ASAP software cache for Windows Server, VMware, Hyper-V priced at $2,495 per physical server.

Kove's RAM SSD - the XPD2 was 12x faster than the previous fastest system - in the Market Snapshot benchmark audited by STAC.

LSI announced a definitive agreement to acquire SandForce for approximately $370 million. The transaction is expected to close early in the first quarter of 2012. SandForce president and CEO, Michael Raam will become General Manager of LSI's newly formed Flash Components Division.

Samsung and Micron launched an new industry initiative - the Hybrid Memory Cube Consortium - which will standardize a new module architecture for memory chips - enabling greater density, faster bandwidth and lower power.

StorageSearch.com published the 18th quarterly edition of the top SSD companies list - based on search metrics in the 3rd quarter of 2011. This was the first time that any ISVs had entered the list (FlashSoft and IO Turbine).

OCZ agreed to acquire the UK Design Team (approximately 40 engineers located in Abingdon) and certain assets from PLX Technology which will enable OCZ to accelerate the development of its next generation of fast SSDs - while also reducing development costs.

Fusion-io announced that it will sample new faster models in its range of PCIe SSDs in November. The ioDrive2 family (pdf) will offer R/W latency of 68 / 15 microseconds for the MLC models and R/W IOPS of 350k / 510K IOPS (512B) for the SLC models.

Viking announced an extension of their non volatile module range. The DDR3 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 application dependent supercap arrays.

SMART announced imminent sampling of a SATA 3 version of its MIL-STD-810 compliant 2.5" SSD family - which includes encryption and fast erase. The new Xcel-200 provides from 60GB to 240GB SLC capacity, 500MB/s sequential R/W speeds and 60K/40K random R/W IOPS. It operates at standard industrial temperature ranges and is certified for operation at altitudes up to 80,000 ft.
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November 2011 - RunCore is one of the fastest growing tech companies in China

SandForce has been nominated for the 2011 Global Semiconductor Alliance Awards - in the category "most respected private semiconductor company."

OCZ started sampling dual port 6Gbps SAS SSDs in a smaller form factor - the Talos 2 SAS SSD provides upto 70,000 4K IOPS (75R/25W) and upto 1TB capacity in 2.5" (previously only available from OCZ in 3.5" size).

STEC started sampling a new high endurance MLC SSD - based on its proprietary CellCare technology - the new ZeusIOPS XE (Extreme Endurance) is a 6Gbps SAS SSD family, available in 1.8", 2.5" and 3.5" sizes (300GB or 600GB) and supports at least 30 full capacity writes per day, every day, for 5 years. Latency is 50 microseconds max. Sustained R/W throughput is upto 500MB/s and 275MB/s respectively and random IOPS is upto 38,000 8K (70R/30W).

NexGen emerged from stealth mode and announced general availability of its first product - the n5 - a 3U iSCSI auto-tiering and real-time compression appliance - which internally leverages 48GB RAM cache, 1.3TB PCIe SSD and 32TB raw SAS HDD capacity to deliver 120TB RAID protected usable fast virtual storage with adjustable performance QoS for every volume.

BiTMICRO announced that it has designed a new generation of enterprise SSD controllers which will deliver upto 400,000 IOPS performance, support upto 5TB capacity and will be available in SSDs with SAS, SATA, Fibre Channel, and PCIe interfaces in the first half of 2012. BiTMICRO's new ASIC based platform architecture consists of a multi-core SSD controller integrated with multiple high-speed serial on-chip buses and embedded processors

Fusion-io announced that it will ship 10TB versions of its ioDrive Octal (so-called because it includes 8 memory modules on double-wide PCIe cards) in the next quarter - which deliver 1.3 million IOPS with 6.7 GB/s bandwidth.

Coraid announced that it has closed a $50 million investment round - bringing its total funding to over $85 million.

Virident Systems announced it has completed a $21 million Series C funding bringing its total equity funding to $50 million. The company also launched its first MLC based PCIe SSD - the FlashMAX MLC - with 1.4TB RAID protected (7+1) capacity and 1.4 Million IOPS with 20 microseconds latency. (1TB MSRP $13,000)

RunCore announced it has been ranked #14 in the new Deloitte Technology Fast 50 China Program of 2011 - which ranks companies based on revenue growth over the past 3 years. The top 5 companies achieved an average revenue growth of 77x this year while other winning companies posted an average revenue growth of 11x (1,186%).

OCZ launched 2 new models in their full height PCIe SSD range - aimed at the Windows consumer market - the RevoDrive 3 Max IOPS (120GB to 480GB costs $549-$1,399) and RevoDrive 3 X2 Max (240GB to 960GB costs $849-$2,499) with 4KB random write performance of up to 245,000 IOPS, and R/W rates upto 1,900MB/s and 1,725MBs/ respectively.

new SSD articles on StorageSearch.com this month include:-
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December 2011 - Apple acquires Anobit
Apple acquired Anobit for a sum thought to be in the range $400 to $500 million.

SandForce announced that it is sampling a new design of SSD controller for enterprise markets - the SF-2481 - which will enable oems designing small architecture SSDs to adjust the amount of flash used in over-provisioning.

OCZ reported preliminary revenue for the past quarter (ended November 30) to be in the range $100 and $105 million - an increase of approximately 90% compared to the year ago quarter and a 30% increase compared to the immediately preceding quarter. The company attributed much of this to its growing traction in the enterprise SSD market.

Texas Memory Systems announced imminent availability of the RamSan-720 - a 4 port (FC/IB) 1U rackmount SSD which provides 10TB of usable 2D (FPGA implemented) RAID protected and hot swappable - SLC capacity with 100/25 microseconds R/W latency (with all protections in place) delivering 400K IOPS (4KB), 5GB/s throughput - with no single point of failure (at $20K/TB approx list).

XtremIO secured a 2nd round of funding in December 2011 - from various source including Lightspeed Venture Partners - bringing its total funding upto $25 million.

new SSD articles on StorageSearch.com this month include:-
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what happened next? - see SSD news

what happened earlier? - see SSD history

other SSD articles? - see the top 50 SSD articles (updated monthly)
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SSDs - what changed in 2011?
Editor:- what were the 3 most significant changes in the SSD market in 2011?
1 - There's money to be made in SSDs (one day) so (some) SSD companies are valuable.

Fusion-io's IPO early in the year kicked the SSD market into the attention of many investors who had never thought about this market before. FIO's valuation validated many other rounds of VC investment in SSD companies. This year companies like Pliant and SandForce were each being acquired for dollar amounts which were nearly as big as the total SSD market revenue had been just a handful of years before.

The SSD market is going to grow big and fast. And what else can VCs do with their money? Lend it to the Eurozone bank bail-out fund?

2 - The old evangelical style arguments about using "good" SLC versus "naughty" MLC in mission critical server apps changed in 2011.

Is it safe to for enterprise servers to have close relations with naughty flash?

Yeah. But wear protection. And you might need to take some data healing pills after.

The new enterprise MLC SSD debate in 2011 switched to - "which brand of naughty flash enterprise protection is best?"

3 - SSD software started to become real and useful.

An important inhibitor in the enterprise SSD market until 2011 was that users "knew" they couldn't afford to replace all their storage with SSDs (yet) but the question of deciding where to put a little bit of SSD so it would do most good didn't have any simple answers.

The cost and complexity of getting performance tuning experts (SSD hot-spot, hot-shots) to analyze existing systems and tune the enterprise apps storage remained out of reach for most mortals whose storage ROI models didn't convert faster IOPS directly into cash.

But 2 years after the magic bullet of auto-tiering / SSD ASAPs started to appear in the market - some of these solutions looked like they might actually work - and in the 3rd quarter of 2011 - new ISVs were entering the SSD market at the rate of one a week. And SSD ISVs entered the top 20 SSD companies list too - for the first time ever.

In 2011 - we learned that from FIO's acquisition of IO Turbine that (some) SSD ISVs are valuable too.

Think of SSD software as being able to convert raw SSD gold into SSD jewelry.

If enough users like the style the end-result is worth a lot more than the scrap value.
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Perspectives - on the SSD market
How does the SSD market today compare with earlier disruptive tech markets?
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IDC confirms SSD market revenue doubled in 2011
Editor:- January 9, 2012 - worldwide SSD revenue doubled and reached $5 billion in 2011 - according to a report by IDC.

See also:- SSD market analysts.
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StorageSearch.com article image - punch and judy -
SSDs - the big market picture
Once upon a time...
there was a hard drive and an SSD.
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1.0" SSDs
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1976 - SSD history

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