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SSD History - 2015

raw highlights from the SSD news archive

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor -

see also:- What were the big SSD ideas of 2015?

January highlights - click for more
Novachips acquired HLNAND.

Toshiba showed the 1st BGA PCIe SSDs.

"Storage-class 3D ReRAM will ship in 2016" - said Tezzaron.

"Clearly we're doing something right... XtremIO will be the fastest product we've ever done that hits a billion dollars a year" - said EMC.

February highlights - click for more
Avago acquired Emulex for $600 million.

Northwest Logic provided FPGA support for Everspin's MRAM.

OCZ announced a collaboration with Levyx to develop and validate a flash-as-DRAM memory solution for big-data real-time analytics.

FalconStor's FreeStor made a pitch for the SSD platform market. (Now it's clear why it has taken FalconStorso so many years to launch an SSDcentric next software thing.)

Waitan launched an autonomous self destruct SSD for the military market triggered when 2 or more customizable trigger conditions had been met. (To avoid false positives.)

March highlights - click for more
Toshiba sampled 48-layer 3D nand.

8TB 2.5" PCIe SSDs were promised soon by Novachips

SanDisk launched a white box rackmount SSD - InfiniFlash.

"That whole dominant storage architecture thing has totally flipped... SAN is on the decline" - said StorageGaga

"What scares me is when companies fall into the trap of trying to architect a single application to work across multiple different cloud providers... Unfortunately, this effort eats into theFmit productivity gains that compelled the organization to the cloud in the first place." - said AWS's Head of Enterprise Strategy.

"Recently I've seen a resurgence in numbers of industrial focused SSD companies" - said

April highlights - click for more
WD's enterprise SSD revenue was $1 billion / year run rate

Diablo resumed shipments of MCS following legal victories.

Silicon Motion agreed to acquire PCIe SSD maker - Shannon Systems for $57 million.

Although I couldn't write about it at the time - in April 2015 I noticed the start of a new trend - military SSDs wearing DWPD badges too. This was a result of enterprise-like data architectures being designed for off-grid powered systems in hostile environments with a new design concept. The use of native military grade SSDs instead of repackaged (higher swap footprint) enterprise systems. See my later blog about this - toughening up DWPD

In April - the home page blog on said - "Now consider this... 90% of the enterprise SSD companies which you know have no good reasons to survive." - It came with the warning that it was the "most dangerous new article of the year" (and it became onf of the most popular too) - drivers, mechanisms and routes towards consolidation in the enterprise SSD market .

May highlights - click for more
Tegile got another $70 million funding.

OCZ shipped 2.5" hot swap NVMe SSDs with programmable power envelopes.

Nimble's CEO commented in an earnings conference call about the problem of his company being perceived as only a hybrid storage supplier by potential customers who had what they considered to be all flash applications. (Nimble started with hybrids but now does AFAs too.)

"We're #1 in flash arrays."

"No we are."

"You're both wrong - because we are."

3 different vendors announced enterprise flash array leadership at around the same time based on similar raw market data. These claims were swiftly dissected and disambiguated in a blog by Objective Analysis This story exemplified one of the problems discussed in my classic article - Can you trust SSD market data?

June highlights - click for more
Nantero got $31 million funding for 300 C retention nvram.

Altera launched an adaptive DSP controller for the PCIe SSD market in the same month it was acquired by Intel.

"51% of enterprise flash arrays customers expect to see an ROI in 12 months or less" - according to survey results sponsored by Tegile.

"The classic bath tub failure curve is not the most useful way of thinking about PCIe SSD failures" - according to a large scale study of PCIe SSD failures used in Facebook's infrastructure over a 4 year period.

34% of FC SAN sites used custom performance scripts as part of their pre purchase and deployment evaluations - according to a survey by Load DynamiX

"Longsys is the biggest buyer of Samsung flash in China, and our revenue is $800 million /year" - a spokesperson from Longsys informed the editor of who up to that time hadn't heard of the company before. (Shows how big the market really is.)

July highlights - click for more
Micron was the #1 most researched SSD company in 1H July by readers of (Metrics were collected before the story broke that Tsinghua Unigroup was rumored to be talking about acquiring Micron - and 2 weeks before the 3D XPoint preannouncement with Intel.)

Savage IO's new rackmount has most internal lanes of SAS than any other box.

Radian Memory Systems was one of several SSD companies noted to be preening their emergence from stealth mode in advance of the annual Flash Memory Summit.

"In situ processing by application specific arrays of FPGAs integrated in the flash array in regular servers is not a replacement for fat RAM servers - but can deliver nearly the same apps performance at much lower cost and lower electrical power" - paraphrase of key SSDcentric findings from BlueDBM - an experimental big data architecture project by MIT .

August higlights - click for more
Aupera launched the world's first M.2 MRAM SSD.

Seagate said would acquire Dot Hill Systems for $694 million.

Pure Storage filed documents for its IPO. (This showed that Pure had over 1,100 customers and coincidentally - 1,100 employees. I asked myself and readers - is 1 to 1 a sustainable ratio?"

Intel and Micron song and danced their way around their mutual aspirations for future Optane memory (but unlike Les Mis - this performance lacked any hard edged gritty credibility).

Diablo launched Memory1 - a flash based replacement for big data DRAM. (The most significant development in the enterprise flash market in the past 3 years.)

"Why can't you just install a new storage solution from a different vendor, migrate data from existing storage to new storage, decommission existing storage, and move on?" - asked Maxta's founder in his blog which discussed the past, present and future of storage vendor lock-in.

September highlights - click for more
Mangstor got $10 million series B funding for fastest NVMe flash.

Crossbar got $35 million series D funding to make RRAM SSDs a reality in 2016.

"Marvell may have been boosting quarterly sales by pulling them forward a quarter" - was one of several quotes on as the reaction to Marvell's admission that its financial reporting included unreliable elements.

"After numerous delays, a new wave of next-generation, nonvolatile memories are finally here. One technology, 3D NAND, is shipping and gaining steam. And 3 others - Magnetoresistive RAM, ReRAM and even carbon nanotube RAMs - are suddenly in the mix" - said the Executive Editor of Semiconductor Engineering

October - highlights - click for more
With less than 90 shopping days remaining in the run up to Christmas - this was a "spend it while you've still got it month" for buying SSD companies. The scale of some of these acquisitions led me to conclude that "No SSD company is too big to be acquired" in my later article - what were the 4 big SSD ideas in 2015?

Dell agreed to acquire EMC for $67 billion.

Micron acquired a stealth mode NVMe SSD controller company - Tidal Systems

Skyworks agreed to acquire PMC-Sierra for $2 billion.

Western Digital first beefed up its credit card by agreeing to sell 15% of its shares for $3.8 billion to UNIS after which WDC said that if the approvals came through it would gobble up SanDisk for $19 billion. Between these 2 announcements SanDisk said it had agreed a technology alliance with HP to establish a Memristor based assault on the SCM DIMM wars front.

But there was some real technical news too.

OCZ announced it was offering adaptive intelligence flow symmetry features in a new range of 2.5" SSDs - but with a much better name - "Host Managed SSD Technology".

November highlights - click for more
Netlist announced it was working with Samsung to develop flash-as-RAM DIMMs.

December highlights? - click for more
Network Appliance agreed to acquire SolidFire for $870 million.

NxGn Data was awared a research grant by the National Science Foundation to advance its prototype development in the new computing tier of in-situ SSD processing.
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AccelStor NeoSapphire  all-flash array
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InfiniBand or 10GbE iSCSI
NeoSapphire series - from AccelStor
SSD news
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Fastest SSDs
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DWPD - state of the market
data recovery for flash SSDs
hostage to the fortunes of SSD
auto-tuning SSD accelerated pools of storage
the Problem with Write IOPS - in flash SSDs
Why do some SSDs use less chips? - Efficiency in SSD designs
Now in the 4th quarter of 2015 - I feel that the whole SSD industry (and everything it touches) is hurling itself once more into the melting pot with a spin speed fury not seen before.
the SSD Bookmarks

SSD ad - click for more info

2 of the fastest climbers in the list are players in the oldest game in SSD town (industrial SSDs) whereas a significant newcomer to the list is at the forefront of an increasingly sophisticated enterprise software market.
the Top SSD Companies in Q2 2015

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RAM has changed from being tied to a physical type of component to being a virtualized systems software idea and the concept of RAM stretches up to a distributed multi-cabinet memory fabric.
what's RAM really?

SSD ad - click for more info

90% of the enterprise SSD companies which you know have no good reasons to survive.
market consolidation - why? how? when?


the enterprise SSD story...
why's the plot so complicated?
the golden age of enterprise SSDs
The Golden Age of enterprise SSDs?

SSD ad - click for more info

"SDS (software defined storage) is a good example of an illusory market idea for comfortably bringing technologies together which due to its many incompatible incarnations will probably rip many business plans apart."
what kind of SSD world can we expect in 2015?

SSD ad - click for more info

From 2007 to 2014 - the dominant focus and center of SSD accelerator gravity was PCIe SSDs.

It was the rapid domino-effect adoption of 3rd party PCIe SSD accelerators by every mainstream server manufacturer - which changed the way that SSDs were perceived from being an alienlike technology promoted by industry outsiders to being a necessary option which was expected to be supported inside every new server product line.

But the next chapter of the fast SSD accelerator story looks more like a DIMM.
DIMM wars in SSD servers - Memory1 - episode 1

to be or not to be?

what's holding up 2.5" military SSDs?
0 to 3 seconds and what it means

"Thousands of systems design groups are not only looking at designing their own SSDs (which has been happening for years already) but also a heck of a lot of these designers are also looking at deeply customizing the SSD in their life - with customization which aims far beyond adding a few firmware tweaks to a COTS SSD controller and choosing the flash to populate someone else's reference design."
processors used in SSD controllers - series preview

In the summer of 2015 Intel and Micron established the precedent that it's now OK to talk about futuristic memory roadmap intentions as long as they include a big dollop of memory types which are less well known than flash - because most of the press and business analysts treat it with just as much seriousness as if you were talking about something which you can ship today.
Editor's comment re - SanDisk and HP ally in SCM DIMM wars (October 2015)

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