SSD Year 2018?3 things which have already happened and 1 which
editor - StorageSearch.com -
November 12, 2018
Is there an easy way to summarize
the main developments in the SSD market of 2018 already?
|at this time of
year Megabyte sets aside |
more time for reading and re-reading
articles about SSDs
such articles have been publishable from around the start of November.
And with a few cosmetic edits those past summaries have generally withstood
the test of time.
But the closing months of the calendar aren't as
non eventful as that suggests - and every now and again - vendors have used the
news snooze of the holidays to perform
Here are some examples.
- December 2012
- Samsung acquired NVELO (a flash caching software company).
So on the subject of writing year end
summaries of the SSD market - it's more accurate to say that - generally in
recent years - it has been possible to capture all the major
trends in such articles before all 12 months had elapsed. And looking ahead -
if there isn't an acquisition story in the December 2018 news - then you should
watch out for a note of one having been quietly done in January 2019.
- December 2018 - this hasn't happened yet - and is the "1" which I
referred to in my headline
- what can we say did happen in SSD Year 2018?
For the essential
month by month details you can see the SSD news archive pages in the sidebar
links on the right.
|But I didn't need to revisit any those pages to
write my shortlist - of 3 things - which goes likes this.
3 things in SSD year 2018
1 - international trade barriersIn 2018 - the free flow of memory and
SSD products between the US and China which had characterized business trends
since the start of the modern era of SSDs - came to an end.
growing set of patent disputes, government embargoes and the background
worldwide babble of trade wars (related to other countries - not just
involving the US and China - and related to other types of products too)
created market conditions for memory and SSD companies in which the mood of
doing business in 2019/2020 is expected to be different to how things had worked
Will this affect prices?
We saw the SSD market
survive and thrive when the costs of memory doubled during the
memory shortages. Set against that market robustness and expectations of
again (the way they used to be) - then I think tariff barriers won't have
a damaging effect on prices.
Will trade barriers affect SSD company
Yes - but it's a mixed picture.
(whose business models leveraged the freedom of micro managing
international differences in the costs of assembling products) will see
initial setbacks and will have to redraw their supply chain maps.
the other hand - there will be new opportunities for smaller companies
arising from a trading climate in which there is more local protection from
locked out dominant international competitors..
which operate outside the disputed hot spots - will see opportunities to
service markets in which they would have been uncompetitive before.
2 - memory cost outlookIn the 4th quarter of 2018 - the imbalance
between supply and demand of traditional memory products (nand flash and DRAM)
which had for 2 years flipped the price per bit curve outlook upwards from
established downwards direction - looked like it was getting ready to flip back
again - according to price trends being reported by leading
at in isolation - it would be reasonable to expect that the memory industry's
ability to ship more products in 2019 - than it could when still dealing with
the overhang of yield issues related to the structural switch away from the
last significant generation of 2D scaling - would inevitably lead towards
expectations of lower prices.
However - the impact of trade wars
introduces new variables into the cost outlook for memory systems.
interplay between the industry's ability to manufacture traditional memory
products - compared to the growing difficulties of legally shipping them into
traditional geographic markets will create a rich vein of source material for
SSD bloggers in 2019.
3 - memory defined processingBecause
have traditionally taken so long to say anything meaningful about the past
disruptive trends in the modern era of SSDs (such as the gap between the
proprietary PCIe SSD market invasion of the server market and its taming by
the unifying language of NVMe) you know that when a standards ORG
intervenes in this market - then something has really happened.
2018 when SNIA said it was interested in getting involved in talks about taming
the computational storage market - then that was another one of those things.
a problem for the industry - which hasn't been solved yet in 2018 - is what to
call this thing.
I 've touched upon it each time a news story has
appeared on these pages and the
SSD jargon page
includes some (but by no means all) the examples which have been used by various
companies which have implemented products.
This is one of those
subjects - like the original adoption of SSDs - about which we already know a
lot - except what to call it.
- in-situ processing
- processing in memory
- computational storage
- in-memory computing (historically means something different - but is
starting to sound like its meaning should change)
It intersects with many other top level
views of memoryfication architecture.
You can describe it as one of
the eleven SSD
design symmetries - specifically - "adaptive intelligence flow
Or you can say it's a variation of the data
industry's creative use of
- whereby any data whose latency is beyond the here and now in this chip -
whether due to media speeds or distance and the speed of light - requires a
local intelligent agent which can do useful things at our remote bidding.
the concept still lacks a universally agreed name.
And by "universal"
I mean a term which is usable whether the memory is an SSD or RAM array - and
whether the local intelligence is an SSD controller, FPGA, ASIC or other
In my headline above - I used the words "memory
defined processing". I wasn't being provocative in offering that. I don't
think it will stick. But real concepts need acceptible words. And just as
defined software was a temporary placeholder in a blog for a real market
concept - even if the words seem as if they are in the wrong places. I think
that 2018 is the year that the concept of memory defined processing was crying
out for a better name than it had received so far.
|some earlier home page blogs|
40 years of thinking
about non volatile memory endurance
are we ready for
infinitely faster RAM? (and what would it be worth)
Memory Defined Software - yes seriously - these words are in the right order
milestones from SSD market history|
||Foremay announced the
availability its "Immortal" brand of radiation hardened SSDs for the
military and aerospace markets. |
|| The Gen-Z
Consortium announced that the Gen-Z Core Specification 1.0 was publicly
||Nimbus announced it was
sampling 3.5" 100TB
SAS SSDs with unlimited
announced a breakthrough design improvement to MRAM. STT's Precessional Spin
Current (PSC) structure lengthened retention time by a factor of over 10,000
while also reducing write current.
||Micron began sampling the
industry's first SSD built on quad-level cell (QLC) NAND technology. |
GridGain began beta
sampling its in-memory cache as a cloud service.|
Micron agreed to a
parting of the ways on future 3DXPoint development. |
Marvell began sampling
the first NVMe-oF SSD Converter Controller. aimed at a EBOF (Ethernet Bunch
of Flash) applications.|
SNIA (Storage Networking
Industry Association) entered the computational storage market.|
market research company
which tracked memory and
SSD price trends)
said the supercycle of DRAM price growth - which had lasted for 9 consecutive
quarters - was over.|
||SMART Modular demonstrated
a 96GB Gen-Z Memory Module which was implemented in a PCIe form factor and
used bridging technology based on IntelliProp's Mamba fabric memory controller.|
||December 2018 was still in the future tense when
this article was first published.|
|Unlike all the other
products in the storage market - such as SSDs, RAID, HBAs, storage software,
hard drives, etc where I had in an earlier life driven them to their limits or
written about them for years in a SPARC server context - Data Recovery was
something I had never experienced first hand when I launched StorageSearch.com -
and although I soon created an image for this subject along with a list of
companies which were involved in this topic - I didn't really have a clue how
data recovery would pan out as a publishing asset.|
the data recovery market|
|I love ratios as they have
always provided a simple way to communicate with readers the design choices in
products which tell a lot to other experts in that field." |
|re RATIOs in SSD architecture|
|A popular fad in selling
flash SSDs is life assurance and health care claims as in - my flash SSD
controller care scheme is 100x better (than all the rest).|
|razzle dazzling flash SSD
cell care |