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High end solo enterprise PCIe SSDs are under threat of being squeezed in the gap between DIMM wars, tiered memory architecture, M.2 SSDs and even SATA SSDs.

Blame cloud architects (the biggest early adopters of PCIe SSDs) who measure the value of every percentile of incremental apps performance and every contribution to watts in the box.

SSD ad - click for more info
.....
NVMe over Fabrics - market experiences
Editor:- March 31, 2017 - The state of the NVMe SSD and fabric market and its growth expectations are conveniently summarized in a new presentation - Experiences with NVMe over Fabrics (pdf) - by Mellanox. Among other things:-
  • 40% of AFAs will be NVMe based by 2020
  • shipments of NVMe SSDs will grow to 25+ million by 2020
The idea of having a PCIe based SSD fabric which can be accessed by many servers and which combines the latency advantages of local PCIe SSDs with the essential hooks from past low latency server interconnects - specifically - RDMA - has been many years in the telling.

There have been 3 main ingredients to this market brew:-
  • something worthwhile sharing as a resource (low latency SSD pools)
  • a convenient way of connecting to them (a large installed base of server PCIe interface chips were the essential starting point - but it took many years for industry standards to get agreed)
  • software support - which ranges from the storage stack to multi-vendor fabric support.
This paper captures current expectations for how the market is expected to grow. ...read the article (pdf)
.....

the changing shape of the enterprise PCIe SSD market

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - StorageSearch.com - July 12, 2016
If you knew the enterprise PCIe SSD market really well 4 years ago (in 2012) and if your attention had been distracted elsewhere in the intervening years - you'd hardly recognize it today as the same market you once knew.

It's not just the names of the key suppliers which have changed but the PCIe SSD market - which itself was a disruptive influence on the server and storage markets from the earliest product shipments in 2007 - has not been immune itself from further disruptive forces from within the SSD market.

I think it's not too strong to say that the enterprise PCIe SSD market (as we once knew it) has exploded and fragmented into many different directions. (And some parts of the PCIe SSD visionary outlook have shrunk too.)

Here are the main factors which have contributed to these extra layers of complexity.
  • commoditization... Although the enterprise PCIe SSD market started life as a high value, proprietary technology market it was inevitable that once the PCIe flash market got big enough (and especially as PCIe SSDs started to be designed for consumer SSD roles) many of those technology and cost factors would come back to taunt the parent enterprise market with cost comparisons which would undermine the original foundations of many pioneer PCIe SSD business plans. The predictable incumbent assassin tools included:- simpler (single chip SSD controllers), standard software frameworks (like NVMe) and smaller form factors (like M.2 - which we see being used singly and also in arrays on PCIe carrier boards).

    Once those smaller, cheaper solutions became available and proven in the market - they changed the cost structure and roadmap assumptions of the enterprise PCIe SSD market and also created new application roles which included physically smaller spaces into which the first generation products couldn't go. The traditional way for such older product designs to go would up market - but upmarket was becoming a more competitive space too for similar and other reasons.
  • new ways of server acceleration... As the enterprise SSD market became more confident in using SSDs - it became clear that the value of SSD acceleration - even within a single type of nominated CPU server - could be far more nuanced and finely grained and adaptable to different application roles (from a small SDS cluster upto a cloud scale data center) by using standard SSDs with different interfaces, latency and cost characteristics.

    Traditional high performance (big form factor) PCIe SSDs still had useful work they could do in this wider framework of acceleration - but they were no longer the only solution, or the easiest - but instead one of many possible solutions - in which electrical power consumption, capacity, scalability and affordability of the server were increasingly being seen as more desirable attributes than the peak performance of any single SSD.

    At the high end of the performance range for PCIe SSDs we're now seeing the market space being squeezed by SCM DIMM wars products too.

    In the current market therefore the traditional big bang ultrafast PCIe SSD doesn't seem as impressive as it used to be and instead is part of a continuum of possible performance options in the market rather than the best game in town.
  • New ways of storage box acceleration... When it comes to providing easy to integrate low latency flash based cache storage in arrays of storage drives - there have been 3 factors which have between them reduced the market demand for traditional PCIe SSDs in the kind of roles we saw in hybrids in 2010, 2011 etc.

    The enterprise has entered or passed the early majority adoption phase of SSD storage. This means when all the bulk storage drives in a big box are already cheap SSDs (SATA or SAS) rather than HDDs - the optimum technology for local caching in such boxes is more likely to look like a small amount of memory (whatever memory may be) rather than a big fat PCIe SSD front ending the array.

    For general purpose applications some big SSD users have reported that using arrays of SATA SSDs with their servers gives them similar application performance (and lower cost) to having PCIe SSD rich servers (SSDserver rank 2) operating in tandem with earlier generation HDD arrays. The business consequence has been that follow up deployments of infrastructure across a wide range of cloud scale uses have tended to use lower quantities of traditional PCIe SSDs than would have been forecast from the earlier market adoption models.

    But significant growth is beeing seen in smaller form factors within the PCIe SSD market.

    In new high performance storage arrays the drives in the array are likely to be 2.5" PCIe SSDs. This removes the need or benefit of having big form factor PCIe SSDs in such storage boxes.

    In value based hybrid arrays - if there is still a need for some kind of low latency flash cache (in the traditional PCIe SSD role) the need is likely to satisfied by M.2 SSDs rather than a larger form factor product.

    In SDS applications - everything which has been said above for servers applies too.
The notes above show some of the reasons why the traditional PCIe slot form factor enterprise SSD market has not followed a single and predictable pattern of market growth.

Other complicating factors have been the growing sophistication of the SSD aware software market and its ability to encompass many different SSD types (by interface and form factor) and use the varied SSD latency and R/W characteristics within pools of abstracted virtual storage. Again this kind of software feature was initially pioneered in PCIe SSDs and associated with such products. The decoupling of server application agility from SSD form factor and specific product lines has increased competitive choice for SSD integrators to the extent that they can now get PCIe-SSD -like capabilities without having to have PCIe SSDs physically installed.

PCIe SSDs will still be very useful components in the enterprise market. And the advantages of latency and ease of integration have migrated into other form factors as already noted above (2.5", M.2 and also BTW SSDs on a chip too).

The SSD, storage and server market has learned many valuable lessons from the early phases of the PCIe SSD market (2007 to 2012) about data architecture, how to use SSDs as storage and memory and how to improve infrastructure utilization. And the system shaping techniques so learned now form part of the conventional wisdom of the industry. But continuing adaptation of those new tricks is not tied or bound to the original past physical form factors or the companies which first experimented with them. Instead the PCIe SSD market and its associated ideas have exploded into many different shapes and sizes and segments.

It's still an interesting market to keep your eyes on - but is no longer at the vortex of architectural disruption. Instead you could say it provides a sanity check and places cost zone limits on the future direction of the DIMM wars market (with which it overlaps in capabilities at the lower latency end of the PCIe SSD product spectrum) and the PCIe SSD market is itself prevented from getting too greedy by competing with the wide range of alternative technologies which (from the user point of view) provide similar and competing system capabitites.

.....
PCIe SSD oems list - over 60 companies
As promised above - here's a historic list of past PCIe SSD makers from the storage news archive and articles. It also includes some notable vendors which have been acquired or exited the market.

Addonics

Angelbird

Apacer

Aupera Technologies

Avant Technology

BiTMICRO

Biwin

CoreRise

Corsair

Dolphin

DDRdrive

EMC

Eonsil

Extreme Engineering

Everspin

Foremay

Fuji Xerox

Fusion-io

Greenliant Systems

G.Skill

HGST

Huawei

Hynix

IBM

InnoDisk

Intel

JMR

KingSpec

LaCie

Lite-On

Longsys

Mangstor

Mach Xtreme Technology

Marvell

Memblaze Technology

Memoright

Micron

Microsemi

Mushkin

NetApp

Netlist

NovaChips

OCZ

Oracle (Sun)

OWC

Patriot Memory

Phison

PhotoFast

Plextor

PMC

QLogic

Radian Memory Systems

Ramaxel Technology

Recadata

Renice Technology

RunCore

Samsung

SanDisk

Seagate

Shannon Systems

Sonnet Technologies

STEC (acquired by HGST)

Super Talent

Texas Memory Systems (acquired by IBM - EOL)

Toshiba

UDinfo

Violin (PCIe range sold to Hynix)

Virident Systems (acquired by HGST)

Virtium

Waitan
.
how fast can your SSD run backwards?
SSDs are complex devices and there's a lot of mysterious behavior which isn't fully revealed by benchmarks, datasheets and whitepapers. Underlying all the important aspects of SSD behavior are asymmetries which arise from the intrinsic technologies and architecture inside the SSD.
.
You don't have to understand the internal details of how these individual techniques work. And with hundreds of patents already pending in this topic there's a high probability that the SSD vendor won't give you the details anyway (not even under NDA). It's enough to get the general idea.
Adaptive flash care management & DSP ECC IP in SSDs
.

SSD software
the Fastest SSDs
popular SSD articles
SSD Market History
the SSD Buyers Guide
flash SSD Jargon Explained
the Top 20 SSD Companies
Reaching for the petabyte SSD
RAM Cache Ratios in flash SSDs
Yes you can! - swiftly sort Enterprise SSDs
the Problem with Write IOPS - in flash SSDs
Data Integrity Challenges in flash SSD Design
Are MLC SSDs Ever Safe in Enterprise Apps?
RAM SSDs versus Flash SSDs - which is Best?
Clarifying SSD Pricing - where does the money go?
Rackmount SSD Trends - open vs proprietary
.
the Problem with Write IOPS in flash SSDs
Random "write IOPS" in many of the fastest flash SSDs are now similar to "read IOPS" - implying a performance symmetry which was once believed to be impossible.

So why are flash SSD IOPS such a poor predictor of application performance?

And why are users still buying RAM SSDs which cost an order of magnitude more than SLC? (let alone MLC) - even when the IOPS specs look superficially similar?

This article tells you why the specs got faster - but the applications didn't.
the problem with flash SSD  write IOPS And why competing SSDs with apparently identical benchmark results can perform completely differently. ...read the article


.
classic SSDs from SSD market history
Virident FlashMAX.  - click for more info
Predictable, industry-leading PCIe SSD performance.
Scales across diverse workloads, data sets,
and sustains over time.
Learn more about - Virident FlashMAX
Both the world's largest HDD makers loved the FlashMax II (launched in August 2012). Seagate oemed it. Then later - WD acquired the company.


.
many years ago - in SSD market history
BiTMICRO & CENATEK collaborate on PCI SSDs

March 5, 2002 - BiTMICRO. and CENATEK announced today, a technology and marketing partnership to investigate developing a hybrid solid state disk storage solution that brings together the best in flashdisk storage and PCI bus-attached SSD technology.

Prices are likely to range between $1,000 to $2,000 per gigabyte.

Editor's later comments:- the fast PCI SSDs which later emerged from CENATEK - can be seen as immediate ancestors of the modern PCIe SSD market.

But the concept of using fast bus based SSDs as storage accelerators wasn't a new idea. It went back 3 to 4 decades.

Those earlier market experiments with solid state storage were always short lived - because the expensive SSD storage in each product generation was always competing with fast changing improvements in CPU clock speeds, bus memory throughput or faster external magnetic storage media.

The changes in the modern era of SSDs - which started about 2003 - was that due to those other computer technologies stagnating and not getting any faster - the only competitor which killed an SSD from about that time - was another SSD.

By that time - the new computer bus was known to be PCI express. But it was the failure of the alternatives to solid state storage to get faster - which made the big difference to the business viability of SSDs - rather than any inate characteristic of PCIe SSDs.



.
"despite the bewildering range of products in the market - the performance characteristics and limitations of ALL flash SSDs are determined by a small set of of architectural parameters."
a toolkit for understanding flash SSD performance characteristics and limitations

PCIe SSDs

M.2 SSDs
SSD news
the fastest SSDs
2.5" NVMe PCIe SSDs
after AFAs - what's next?
top SSD companies in Q1 2017 (memoryfication edition)
what were the big SSD ideas which emerged in 2016?
where are we heading with memory intensive systems and software?
Longsys showcases tiny NVMe BGA SSDs at FMS

Editor:- August 7, 2017 - Longsys today announced that it will be sampling the industry's first 11.5x13mm NVMe BGA SSDs which support Boot Partitions and the Host Memory Buffer features of NVMe rev 1.3 in Q4 2017.

The new P900 series - skinny (DRAM-less) PCIe 3.0x2 SSDs - aimed at the consumer market and being shown in the next few days at the Flash Memory Summit - will be available in capacities from 60GB to 480GB (64-layer 3D NAND ) and use the 88NV1160 controller from Marvell.

Editor's comments:- On a historical note the world's first PCIe SSDs in a BGA form factor were shown in January 2015. That was made by Toshiba.

But the big difference today is NVMe - which has become the new urgent low latency lingua franca of SSDs (although SCSI will still be around for decades too). I predict that NVMe is what will make it feasible to introduce enterprise array architecture concepts into consumer and IoT markets using BGA SSDs.


JMR enters the HPC NVMe PCIe SSD market

Editor:- June 16, 2017 - Persistence can be a virtue for PR folk and not just memories.

Although it's been 15 years since I last wrote about JMR I was still reading their emails.

This morning I noticed they're offering NVMe PCIe SSDs (HHHL and bigger) aimed at the HPC and other high throughput integrator markets. MSRP of the JMR SiloStor starts at $795 for 512GB. Capacities available upto 8TB.

If you need any boxes to put the new SSDs in - they might have some suggestions too as they've been in the special enclosure business since 1982.


what's 5 microseconds latency worth in PCIe SSD fabric?

Editor:- May 24, 2017 - 10 microseconds is the latency advantage of Excelero's proprietary NVMesh compared to simple NVMeoF when managing fabrics of dispersed NVMe SSDs in a PCIe connected network. More details like this appear in a new blog on InfoWorld - cloud storage architecture for the enterprise - by Yaniv Romem CTO and Tom Leyden VP of corporate marketing at Excelero. ...read the article

Editor's comments:- when Excelero emerged from stealth in March 2017 the low latency overhead of their software was a big deal - at just 5µS compared to accessing a similar SSD in the same rack.

This is an industry magic ballpark number which has been quoted as a worst case response in earlier years by several pioneers in big memory architectures - including A3CUBE and Diablo. (Although details may have changed or been refined since.)

SCM DIMM wars watchers know that if you can get inside that curve for most of your worst case latencies then (with enough memory and cache) you can run popular memory hogging applications with better performance than using traditional DRAM in traditionally networked servers. PCIe fabrics compete and collaborate in the same intelligent memory systems market. Latency lessons learned from one of these contexts can be used to guide initial expectations (subject to verification) in the other.

the SSD Bookmarks - latency


now Cinderella industrial systems with "no-CPU" budgets and light wattage footprints can go to the NVMe speed-dating ball

Editor:- April 19, 2017 - A dilemma for designers of embedded systems which require high SSD performance is how can you get the benefits of enterprise class NVMe SSDs for simple applications - which integrate video for example - without at the same time escalating the wattage footprint of the entire attached micro server?

A new paper published today by IP-Maker - Allowing server-class storage in embedded applications (pdf) discusses the problem and how their new FPGA based IP enables any NVMe PCIe SSD to be used in embedded systems to provide sub-microsecond latency using "20x better power efficiency, and 20x lower cost compared to a CPU-based system."

image shows where the FPGA IP fits in the context of an embedded low power system using fast NVMe SSDs

The company says the NVMe host IP - which is now available - can be used in an FPGA connected between the PCIe root port and the cache memory, internal SRAM or external DRAM. It fully controls the NVMe protocol by setting and managing the NVMe commands. No CPU is required. It supports PCIe gen 3 x 8 interface.

Michael Guyard, Marketing Director said that - among other things - applications include:-
  • military recorders
  • portable medical imaging
  • mobile vision products - in robots and drones
...read the article (pdf)

Editor's comments:- Now Cinderella embedded systems with low cost budgets and low wattage footprints can go to the enterprise NVMe performance ball. The new magic - in the form of the FPGA IP released today by IP Maker - has the potential to transform the demographics and class of SSDs seen in future industrial systems.

SSD glue chips
optimizing CPUs for use with SSDs
not your grandfather's industrial SSD market


Intel is sampling 3DXpoint PCIe SSDs

Editor:- March 19, 2017 - Intel today announced that it is sampling its long awaited first enterprise SSD which uses 3DXpoint (Optane) memory and which is aimed at the HHHL PCIe SSD market. The P4800X Series (pdf) has a PCIe 3.0 x 4 NVMe interface and provides upto 375GB capacity, 500K mixed IOPS (4KB), block level R/W latency 150/200µS (queue depth 16), and endurance of 30 DWPD for 3 years (equivalent to 18 on a 5 year adjusted basis).

The new drives are supported by caching / tiering software (Intel Memory Drive Technology) which collaborates with motherboard DRAM resources to transparently provide an emulated 3DX as RAM memory pool. This is similar in concept to earlier products in the market from various vendors which supported flash as RAM.

As widely expected the new SSDs have worse performance and higher pricing than Intel had indicated at the first public unveiling in the summer of 2015.

A rounded perspective can be seen in a new blog Intel Announces Optane SSDs for the Enterprise - by Jim Handy - founder Objective Analysis.

Among other things Jim says "Intel has announced an SSD whose performance is close to that of NAND flash at a price that is close to that of DRAM. How did that happen?" ...read the article

Editor's comments:- As the new P4800X is not hot pluggable and as its main difference to previous flash SSDs from Intel is its support as a tiered memory - the most obvious role for a competitive comparison is memory channel based NVDIMM solutions - in particular the Memory1 product from Diablo which provides 128GB of flash as RAM per DIMM socket - and upto 2TB in a 2 socket server.

Density comparison - Optane PCIe and Flash DDR-4

On a density comparison the current technology appears to be 1x HHHL Optane PCIe SSD gives the equivalent emulated memory as 3x DDR-4 Memory1 DIMMs. Although this doesn't take into account how much DRAM is needed to support each type of configuration it's a good enough comparison point to start with. But there are some areas of doubt about the roadmaps for each of these memory solutions. See more analysis in SSD news.


Everspin enters NVMe PCIe SSD market

Editor:- March 8, 2017 - Everspin today announced it is sampling its first SSD product an HHHL NVMe PCIe SSD with upto 4GB ST-MRAM based on the company's own 256Mb DDR-3 memory.

The new nvNITRO ES2GB has end to end latency of 6µS and supports 2 access modes:- NVMe SSD and memory mapped IO (MMIO).

Everspin says that products for the M.2 and U.2 markets will become available later this year. And so too will be higher capacity models using the company's next generation Gb DDR-4 ST-MRAM.

Editor's comments:- Yes - you read the capacity right. That's 4GB not 4TB and certainly not 24TB.

So why would you want a PCIe SSD which offers similar capacity to a backed RAM SSD from DDRdrive in 2009? And the new ST-MRAM SSD card also offers worse latency, performance and capacity than an typical hybrid NVDIMM using flash backed DRAM today.

What's the application gap?

The answer I came up with is fast boot time.

If you want a small amount of low latency, randomly accessible persistent memory then ST-MRAM has the advantage (over flash backed DRAM such as you can get from Netlist etc) that the data which was saved on power down doesn't have to be restored from flash into the DRAM - because it's always there.

The boot time advantage of ST-MRAM grows with capacity. And depending on the memory architecture can be on the order of tens of seconds.

So - if you have a system whose reliability and accessibility and performance depends on healing and recovery processes which take into account the boot times of its persistent memory subsystems - then you either have the choice of battery backup (which occupies a large space and maintenance footprint) or a native NVRAM.

The new cards will make it easier for software developers to test persistent RAM tradeoffs in new equipment designs. And also will provide an easy way to evaluate the data integrity of the new memories.


Kingston ships HHHL NVMe PCIe SSD using Liqid controller

Editor:- March 7, 2017 - Kingston today announced shipments of a another new NVMe PCIe SSD based on its partnership with Liqid. The DCP1000 has a Gen. 3.0 x8 interface and delivers upto 6.8GB/s and 6GB/s sequential R/W throughput respectively. The HHHL form factor SSD has upto raw 3.2TB capacity and is rated at under 0.5 DWPD for 5 years.


NxGn Data is now called NGD Systems

Editor:- February 22, 2017 - NGD Systems (formerly called NxGn Data) today announced the availability of a new product aimed at the PCIe NVMe SSD market. The Catalina SSD has 24TB of 3D TLC flash which the company says uses less than 0.65 watts per terabyte.

Editor's comments:- I couldn't see any mention of DWPD or performance or price on the NGD Systems web site. This is reminiscent of consumer product launches - in which the picture supposedly tells the story - rather than serious enterprise / cloud marketing.


Corsair enters M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD market

Editor:- December 13, 2016 - Corsair today announced its entry into the M.2 SSD market with a new PCIe Gen. 3 x4 product aimed at the consumer upgrade market. The Force MP500 is Corsair's fastest SSD and uses a controller from Phison.


WDC samples its fastest ever NVMe PCIe SSDs

Editor:- December 6, 2016 - Western Digital today announced it is sampling faster new models in its range of enterprise SSDs. WDC says that these are the fastest NVMe PCIe SSDs which they have offered to date.


Foremay ships aerospace capable 8TB 2.5" U.2 NVMe SSD

Editor:- September 26, 2016 - Foremay today announced volume production of 8TB models in its rugged secure 2.5" U.2 NVMe SSD product range - which with PCIe x4 lanes has R/W speeds up to 1.2GB/s with latency as little as 25 microseconds. Optional features of the SC199 hi rel model include:-
  • Military secure erase and fast erase features.
  • Rugged designs with anti-shock and anti-vibration, meeting MIL-STD-810G/F standards.
  • Anti-radiation and anti-emission, both electrical and magnetic, for aerospace applications subject to the customer's specifications.
See also:- military SSDs


Radian will sample PCIe based competitor to NVDIMMs in October

Editor:- August 2, 2016 - Radian Memory today announced it will be sampling in October a new byte addessable, regular (NVRAM-flash cache ratio), 12TB PCIe SSD which has on-board host controlled tiering between its flash and NVRAM.

Editor's comments:- Radian is positioning the new product as a cost effective alternative competitor to hybrid NVDIMMs and similar emerging products in the SCM DIMM wars market.

In an interview last year with Radian's CEO Mike Jadon - what's the role for a Radian Memory SSD? - I learned more about the company's software thinking.


IP-Maker releases Gen 3 NVMe PCIe reference design

Editor:- July 11, 2016 - for designers of PCIe SSDs - IP-Maker has released its new Gen 3 NVMe PCIe reference design which is based on the VC709 evaluation kit by Xilinx. It's integrated with Xilinx's Virtex-7 PCIe Gen3 hard IP and a soft DDR3 controller. The UNH-IOL NVMe compliant design uses a x4 lanes configuration.

See also:- SSD controllers, SSD glue chips


Mangstor has P2P in NVMe-based PCIe SSDs

Editor:- June 22, 2016 - Mangstor announced that its MX-Series family of NVMe-based PCIe SSDs now features higher capacity 5.4TB usable models (FHHL) as well as Peer-to-Peer (P2P) capabilities which provide low latency access to an extremely large storage pool of non-volatile memory, bypassing host resources. The new models have been shown this week at the ISC High Performance Conference in Germany.

""Our innovative ability to separate data control from the data path optimizes I/O, reduces latency spikes and system bottlenecks, and delivers accelerated performance" said Paul Prince, CTO for Mangstor


Micron samples 2TB 3D 2.5" PCIe NVMe SSDs for desktops

Editor:- May 31, 2016 - Micron today announced it is sampling new 2.5" PCIe NVMe SSDs based on 3D nand for the consumer market. The Micron 2100 with 2TB capacity is expected to be in [roduction in the summer.


enterprise PCIe SSD shipments grew 16% Q-Q

Trendfocus  reports SSD market Q1 2016 shipments Editor:- May 18, 2016 - TrendFocus today announced publication of its Q1 2016 nand/SSD quarterly market report. TrendFocus says the enterprise SSD market saw Q-Q growth in all segments. See also:- storage market research


2 ASIC roles for PCIe based BiTMICRO SSD controllers

Editor:- March 25 , 2016 - 5 years ago when BiTMICRO unveiled an earlier generation of its high performance enterprise SSD controller architecture - it was clear that their preference was for a chipset which included 2 different types of functionality.

This kind of thinking wasn't unique at that time - as I'd seen similar things in rackmount SSD designs before but (unlike BiTMICRO) those other designs were captive and not offered as COTS SSD controllers.

How many controller chips do you really need for a PCIe SSD?

In a new blog today BiTMICRO explains why its current generation of controllers continues using a 2 ASIC architecture with one acting as a flash array extender and the other as the main PCIe host interface controller.

Among other things the blog says "To increase flash channel bandwidth and capacity, more flash channel expander chips can be instantiated and connected to the main controller."

As noted in the SSD design heresies - SSD vendors often have different implementation architecture approaches which compete in similar application slots. When evaluating different types of offerings it can be useful to ask yourself - which direction is my own design likely to stretch in future? (Towards more performance? lower cost? bigger scale? adjacent application role? etc.) BiTMICRO's blog clarifies where they see their strengths in the market. ...read the article


PCIe 4.0 chips milestone

Editor:- March 14, 2016 - Signs of onwards and upwards progress towards future PCIe SSD speeds emerged today in an announcement that Cadence and Mellanox have demonstrated electrical interoperability for PCIe 4.0 with "robust signal integrity" (BER below 10-15) at 16Gbps with 4 lanes running traffic concurrently.


Seagate promises faster PCIe SSDs

Editor:- March 8, 2016 - Seagate today announced it will ship a 16 lane NVMe PCIe SSD with 10GB/S throughput in the summer. No further details are available at this time.

Editor's comments:- in 2015 the fastest production PCIe SSDs were probably the Flashtec NVRAM from Microsemi and the MX6300 from Mangstor.

In 2016 the fastest motherboard SSDs will be memory channel SSDs rather than PCIe SSDs - which potentially will be able to deliver twice the performance of 16 lane PCIe SSDs - but which are more limited in capacity and fault tolerance.


It's not worth paying more for SLC reliability in PCIe SSDs says Google field study

editor:- February 26, 2016, 2016 - A 6 year study of PCIe SSDs used by Google (spanning millions of drive days and chips from 4 different flash vendors) concluded that SLC drives were not more reliable than MLC.

An important conclusion re RAS is the importance of being able to map out bad chips within the SSD architecture. This is because somewhere between 2% to 7% of enterprise PCIe SSDs (depending on where they were used) developed at least bad chip during the first 4 years in the field - which without such remapping would necessitate replacing the failed SSD.

The source is - Flash Reliability in Production: the Expected and the Unexpected (pdf) - by Bianca Schroeder University of Toronto, Raghav Lagisetty and Arif Merchant, Google.

This is just one of a set of papers which was presented February 22 - 25 , 2016 at the 14th USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies.

Editor's comments:- For more like this scroll down this page to see the June 2015 story about a large scale study of PCIe SSD failures within Facebook.


Microsemi completes acquisition of PMC-Sierra

Editor:- January 15, 2016 - Microsemi announced it has completed the acquisition of PMC-Sierra for $2.5 billion.


new TB PCIe SSD on M.2 from OCZ

Editor:- January 5, 2016 - OCZ says it will show new NVMe PCIe SSDs with 1TB capacity and up to 2.4GB/s of bandwidth on a single M.2 module at CES this week.


Memblaze gets more funding

Editor:- December 21, 2015 - Memblaze today announced it had received "tens of millions of US dollars" in Series C funding. Among other things the company said it will now expand its sales efforts in international markets.


PMC-Sierra agrees to be acquired for $2 billion

Editor:- October 6, 2015 - PMC-Sierra has agreed to be acquired by Skyworks for $2 billion it was announced recently.

"With our acquisition of PMC, Skyworks will be uniquely positioned to capitalize on the explosive demand for high performance solutions that seamlessly connect, transport and store Big Data," said David J. Aldrich, chairman and CEO of Skyworks. "Specifically, we plan to leverage PMC's innovative storage systems, flash controllers, optical switches and network infrastructure solutions to expand our engagements with some of the world's leading OEMs and ODMs as well as emerging hyperscale data center customers."


Mangstor gets $10 million series B funding
for fastest NVMe flash SSDs


Editor:- September 17, 2015 - Mangstor today announced it has closed $10 million in Series B funding which will be used to fuel growth in sales and engineering and business development.

"This investment confirms our leadership in NVMe over fabrics technology which delivers an order of magnitude higher performance at the lowest latency verses legacy iSCSI and Fiber Channel" said Trevor Smith CEO and co-founder of Mangstor .

Editor's comments:- last week I had a 90 minutes one on one with Trevor which we spent talking about gaps in the enterprise SSD market, Mangstor's technology and the competitive positioning of its PCIe SSDs and systems. You can see some of our discussion topics in their profile page.


Memoright 4 way M2 SSD card1x M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD good
4 is better says Memoright


Editor:- September 3, 2015 - Memoright discussed the possibilities arising from using an array of 4x M.2 NVMe PCIe SSDs packed onto a single PCIe switch card as a way of building competitively priced SSD accelerated servers - in a paper Using a PCIe-Based Switch Module to Enhance Enterprise Storage Architecture (pdf) presented at the recent Flash Memory Summit. Each of the new M.2 SSDs from Memoright would have upto 1TB capacity and R/W IOPS upto 81K / 54K respectively.

Editor's comments:- And another recent example of something similar - may be Kingston's E1000 - discussed on Tom's hardware - where it was described as a PCIe SSD which integrates an "array of 4 NVMe SSDs". (Possibly 4x Kingston's HyperX Predator would be my guess.)

This is part of a new trend in enterprise SSDs.

5 years ago companies which at that time didn't have their own large controller architecture (OCZ etc) were able to compete in raw throughput performance with those who did (Fusion-io, Virident etc) by designing PCIe SSDs which were populated by an array of SATA SSDs - routed together by an onboard RAID controller.

The modern way of doing something similar is to have an array of small form factor NVMe SSDs on a single card.

The (wishful thinking) marketing argument for this is that the small NVMe SSDs have their costs and design roadmaps attached to a much faster changing and more competitive groove in the SSD market than the big proprietray designs - which reduces the risks of customers being tied to an expensive single source design.

Although these different design approaches can deliver SSDs which overlap in standalone performance capability - there are usually other factors involved - related to customer risk perceptions and preferences - which determine the SSD chosen.


Seagate enters 2.5" NVMe SSD market

Editor:- August 11, 2015 - Seagate today announced details of 2 new families of NVMe SSDs which will be available in 2.5" (October) and M.2 (in early 2016) form factors. Also new - the Seagate Nytro XP6500 - a PCIe SSD accelerator (which is currently available) delivers the lowest write latency within Seagate's Nytro product portfolio.

Editor's comments:- until this announcement it wasn't clear how Seagate would deal with an issue which has been problematic for other competitors too - that of introducing SSDs in form factors and interface types which can (at the fringes) compete with pre-existing product lines.

But because there is clear customer demand for both SAS SSDs and PCIe SSDs in 2.5" form factors for example - then it would be a mistake for any vendor with large scale market ambitions to opt out of supplying such products despite the potential risk of some cannibalization.

Nevertheless - the order in which we see enterprise SSDs being introduced in various form factor and interface combinations (different for each supplier) tells us what they consider are their native strongholds.


BiTMICRO has new faster, denser PCIe SSD

news image Bitmicro SSDEditor:- August 11, 2015 - BiTMICRO announced the release of the company's MAXio Z-Series enterprise PCIe SSDs (gen 3 8 lanes) which are controlled by its patented Talino ASIC architecture. The new Z-Series provides up to 8.8TB in a PCIe edge card form factor and also includes military-class erase technology. For 4KB blocks the R/W IOPS and latencies are respectively - 430K 50µS and 150K 30µS respectively.

Editor's comments:- BiTMICRO which 10 years ago was a pioneer in the high performance enterprise flash SSD market got kind of swept aside from mainstream market view for many years as the market expanded and the rate of memory innovation seen in such SSDs changed too fast for most companies to keep up.

For years the company retrenched back into its safe roots in industrial military applications - and like many other SSD companies - it has had business setbacks. But it's also had some customer successes too with its newer SSD technologies in the China market in partnership with RunCore.


Toshiba's new NVMe PCIe SSDs will be available in 4 form factors

Editor:- August 10, 2015 - Toshiba today announced details of 3 new NVMe PCIe SSD families which will sample in the next quarter.

2 of these are aimed at the consumer market and come in variants of the M.2 form factor - with upto 4 lanes of PCIe 3.

More interesting, however, are the new enterprise products - model PX04P - in 2.5" or HHHL form factors.


Virtium launches industrial M.2 PCIe SSDs

Editor:- July 28, 2015 - Virtium today announced it has expanded its StorFly range of industrial SSDs with new PCIe SSDs (gen 2) available in both M.2 and Mini Card form factors with capacities from 16GB upto 480GB.

Endurance is upto 3.3 petabytes of writes (about 3.7 DWPD for 5 years). Virtium's new SSDs have full BOM control with up to 5 years of uninterrupted product availability.


bath tub curve is not the most useful way of thinking about PCIe SSD failures - according to a large scale study within Facebook

Editor:- June 15, 2015 - A recently published research study - Large-Scale Study of Flash Memory Failures in the Field (pdf) - which analyzed failure rates of PCIe SSDs used in Facebook's infrastructure over a 4 year period - yields some very useful insights into the user experience of large populations of enterprise flash.

Among the many findings:-
  • Read disturbance errors - seem to very well managed in the enterprise SSDs studied.

    The authors said they "did not observe a statistically significant difference in the failure rate between SSDs that have read the most amount of data versus those that have read the least amount of data."
  • Higher operational temperatures mostly led to increased failure rates, but the effect was more pronounced for SSDs which didn't use aggressive data throttling techniques - which could prevent runaway temperatures due to throttling back their write performance.
  • More data written by the hosts to the SSDs over time - mostly resulted in more failures - but the authors noted that in some of the platforms studied - more data written resulted in lower failure rates.

    This was attributed to the fact some SSD software implementations work better at reducing write amplification when they are exposed to more workload patterns.
  • Unlike the classic bathtub curve failure model which applies to hard drives - SSDs can be characterized as having early an warning phase - which comes before an early failure weed out phase of the worst drives in the population and which precedes the onset of predicted endurance based wearout.

    In this aspect - a small percentage of rogue SSDs account for a disproportionately high percentage of the total data errors in the population.
enterprise array reliability study in Facebook
The report contains plenty of raw data and graphs which can be a valuable resource for SSD designers and software writers to help them understand how they can tailor their efforts towards achieving more reliable operation. ...read the article (pdf)

See also:- SSD Reliability


Memblaze is #1 enterprise PCIe SSD supplier in China market

Editor:- May 22, 2015 - Memblaze accounted for 60% market share of the enterprise PCIe SSD market segment in China in 2014 - according to CEO Yin Xuebing who made this comment in a recent press release announcing the availability of Memblaze's new PBlaze4 700 Series bootable 2.5" NVMe PCIe SSDs which was demonstrated at CeBIT in March 2015.


OCZ's power envelope programmable 2.5" hot swap NVMe SSDs

OCZ 2.5 inch hot swap PCIe SSDEditor:- May 20, 2015 - OCZ today revealed more details about the new models shipping in its NVMe compatible PCIe SSD family - which was first announced last September. We had already heard before these new models include 2.5" hot swappable versions.

Today OCZ said this model - the Z-Drive 6300 SFF will be available with usable capacities of 800GB, 1.6TB and 3.2TB (in this quarter) followed by 6.4TB (later this year).

R/W performance is upto 2.9GB/s and 1.4GB/s respectively. Random R/W IOPS are 700K IOPS and 120K IOPS. Latencies are 30µs (write) and 80µs (read). Endurance options are 1 or 3 DWPD.

high availability and reliability features

The new Z-Drive 6000 models are dual ported so that 2 host systems can concurrently access the same SSD.

Additionally, the Z-Drive 6000 Series supports hot swapping of 2.5" drives, pre-set power thresholds and temperature throttling to support many types of enterprise ecosystems.

Editor's comments:- for various reasons to do with a combination of standardization efforts and changes of ownership for nearly every major enterprise PCIe SSD company in the market - you've had to wait 3 years since the idea of this kind of product was first discussed seriously on these pages and at conferences.

What has become clear to systems architects is that these new products offer far more flexibility in their roles than merely performance upgrades to high end SAS SSDs and traditional storage arrays.

Among other things these new types of products will enable lower cost mini SSD server clustering at PCIe latencies which will spur growth in the SDS market. At the high end - they could become the new building blocks inside the world's most powerful computer arrays.

Power consumption and heat in these NVMe SSDs?

I know from talking to systems architects that the electrical power and thermal footprints of 2.5" NVMe SSDs is a critical detail when considering the design of dense storage arrays so I asked Scott Harlin, OCZ for more information these factors. Here's what Scott said.

Hi Zsolt – you are correct – the 2.5" drives can get a little toasty packing in the higher densities into this form factor -- typical power consumption of the Z-Drive 6000 series is 25W active and 9W idle. So we included a few items to address these concerns:

1. - Temperature sensing and thermal throttling to maintain consistent operating conditions even under adverse temperature variances

2. - User-selectable power envelopes, in 15W, 20W and 25W settings, reduces wasted power when maximum performance is not required while efficiently addressing temperature requirements in support of a variety of ecosystems

3. - An innovative 'flow-through' case design enables more airflow to critical components, keeping the device cool while reducing airflow requirements

Editor's comments:- that user selectable power envelope- in graduated steps - seems like a really useful design attribute. So I'll be watching out for it in future arrayable SSD launches.


CoreRise ships new smaller BladeDrive PCIe SSD

Corerise E24 PCIe SSDEditor:- April 20, 2015 - CoreRise today announced customer shipments of a new version of its BladeDrive family of gen 2 x8 PCIe SSDs - the E24 - which has a smaller form factor than the earlier E28.

Its ASIC based implementation supports upto 1.6TB capacity, 275K IOPS (4KB) and 2GB/s throughput in half-height half-length. Software support includes Windows Server, Linux and virtualization such as Xen, Hyper-v, as well as TRIM.


SanDisk comments on customer drift away from its PCIe SSDs

Editor:- April 16, 2015 - You should be careful not to misconstrue SanDisk's recent statement about enterprise PCIe SSD replacement by SATA SSDs as a general trend for all customers and all types of PCIe SSDs. I think some of these customer migrations are probably more specific to some large scale customers for the Fusion-io product line rather than the whole industry.

In a quarterly results related conference call (transcript) this week SanDisk's President and CEO - Sanjay Mehrotra - said that in the enterprise market it was seeing some of the business which had traditionally been implemented by its customers using PCIe SSDs was moving towards arrays of SATA SSDs.

Editor's comments:- another emerging market is arrays of 2.5" PCIe SSDs which you could argue will take away market share from SAS SSDs - as well as enabling a new market.

Factors at work in the rackmount flash array market are very complex due to very different customer needs and different ways of judging the same tech attributes due to users' own business values related to their core activities and what they've done before.


8TB 2.5" PCIe SSDs sampling soon from Novachips

Editor:- March 4, 2015 - Are you interested in a world's first 2.5" 8TB (15mm height) PCIe Gen2 x4 SSD (pdf) with a single controller developed by Novachips. in Korea?

Novachip 8TB 2.5 inch PCIe SSDThat was an email I got recently from Sean Oh, in Germany, who is the sales representative for these products in Europe.

What would you say?

I did the same. After reading up the info he attached (there's a SATA version too) I asked some questions about availability. Here's what Sean said.
  • The working engineering samples have been available since last year.
  • The 1st customer sample comes out in the next 30 days.
  • We plan to start a mass production in 2nd half of this year.
  • What do you think ? Is it something cool, isn't it ?
Editor's comments:- part of this story has its roots in a news story from May 2007 - when a company called MOSAID was talking about a new, light capacitive load, ring based, flash memory topology called HLNAND. To make it work they needed a controller. Novachips collaborated on the design and recently acquired the assets and patents.


Greenliant enters PCIe SSD market

Editor:- January 12, 2015 - Greenliant Systems - has entered the entry level enterprise NVME PCIe SSD market - with the launch of its new G7100 (pdf) series MLC gen 2 x4 PCIe SSDs - upto 2.75 TB raw capacity, Full Height, Half Length form factor, 130K / 60K R/W IOPS, and endurance of upto 10 DWPD for 5 years.

Internally Greenliant's new PCIe SSD has a RAID protected array of miniature NANDrive SSDs which use the company's own controllers.

"Leveraging our in-depth flash memory knowledge and volume-proven NAND controller expertise, Greenliant is addressing the industry's increasing need for higher reliability, higher performance and larger capacity flash-based storage solutions," said Bing Yeh, CEO of Greenliant Systems.

Editor's comments:- ever since the company was founded - in 2010 - Greenliant's focus has been on the industrial and embedded SSD market. So it's surprising to see this new product aimed at the "enterprise" market. However it's part of an emerging trend in the market.


Samsung mass producing gen 3 PCIe SSDs for notebooks

Editor:- January 7, 2015 - 19 months after launching its first M.2 PCIe gen 2 SSDs aimed at the notebook market (the XP941 (pdf) in June 2013) - Samsung said it is now mass producing the follow-up SM951 - which supports gen 3 PCIe.

Samsung says - "For ultra-slim notebooks and workstations the SM951 can read and write sequentially at 2,150MB/s and 1,550 MB/s respectively..."

The SM951 is the first SSD to adopt L1.2 low power standby mode (the PCIe SSD equivalent of the power saving devsleep mode in SATA SSDs) . When hibernating in L1.2 mode, the SM951's power consumption is less than 2mW.


Toshiba shows early version of BGA PCIe SSD

Editor:- January 7, 2015 - Toshiba announced it will showcase a prototype of the world's first PCIe single package SSD - with up to 256GB in a single BGA package at CES this week.

The NVMe compatible device fits into 16mm x 20mm x 1.65mm and weighs under 1g. See also:- BGA SSDs


Samsung mass produces 3TB 3D PCIe SSDs

Editor:- September 25, 2014 - Samsung today announced it has started mass producing 3.2 TB NVMe PCIe SSDs (HHHL) based on its 3D flash memory technology, for use in enterprise systems.
pic of Samsung PCIe SSD
The new NVMe PCIe SSD, SM1715 provides a sequential R/W speeds upto 3GB/s and 2.2GB/s respectively with endurance rated at 10 DWPD for 5 years.

Editor's comments:- Samsung supplied an IOPS rating for the new SSD - but forgot to include the block size to which it relates - so I've asked for clarification.


Seagate launches new improved Nytro PCIe SSDs

Editor:- September 10, 2014 - Seagate today launched 2 new PCIe SSDs - which are based on the SSD product lines and brand assets of the recently acquired SSD business of LSI.
  • click for more infothe Nytro XP6302 is a HHHL, gen 3 PCIe SSD - which provides up to 1.75 TB of usable eMLC capacity with 200 microseconds average latency, and 295K/79K R/W IOPS (8KB) and rated for 0.9 DWPD (approx) write endurance for 5 years.
  • click for more infothe Nytro XP6210 is a FHHL gen 2 PCIe SSD with 1.86TB usable 19nm cMLC capacity, with 50 microseconds average latency 185K/120K R/W IOPS (8KB), and rated at 1.6 DWPD (approx) write endurance for 5 years.



HGST announces 2nd generation clustering software for FlashMAX PCIe SSDs

Editor:- September 9, 2014 - HGST today announced a new improved version of the high availability clustering capability previously available in the PCIe SSD product line acquired last year from Virident.

HGST's Virident Space allows clustering of up to 128 servers and 16 PCIe storage devices to deliver one or more shared volumes of high performance flash storage with a total usable capacity of more than 38TB.

HGST says its Virident HA provides a "high-throughput, low-latency synchronous replication across servers for data residing on FlashMAX PCIe devices. If the primary server fails, the secondary server can automatically start a standby copy of your application using the secondary replica of the data."

For more details see - HGST Virident Software 2.0 (pdf)

Editor's comments:- This capability had already been demonstrated last year - and ESG reported on the technology in January 2014.

But at that time - the clustering product called vShare - was restricted to a small number of servers - and the data access fabric was restricted to Infiniband only.

With the rev 2.0 software - the number of connected devices has increased - and users also have the lower cost option of using Ethernet as an alternative supported fabric.


StorageSearch.com updates 10 key SSD ideas in 2014

Editor:- September 5, 2014 - Are SSD years getting faster? It's not just the SSDs.

Anyway it seemed to me that an end of year SSD market update was due even though 1/3 of this year hasn't happened yet.

That's why StorageSearch.com this week published a new home page blog - updating 10 key SSD ideas in 2014.

As you might expect - PCIe SSDs come into the picture. But there's more to it than that. If you're impatient - you don't have you don't have to wait till January 2015. ...read the article


Plextor's M.2 PCIe SSD wins award at FMS

Editor:- August 7, 2014 - Plextor today announced that its M6e - an M.2 PCIe SSD - has won Best of Show for most Innovative flash memory technology at the Flash Memory Summit.

The M6e SSD combines a multi-core Marvell PCIe 9183 controller and Toshiba toggle NAND flash with firmware developed by Plextor's in-house team.


say hello to Shannon Systems

Editor:- August 6, 2014 - I hadn't heard of Shannon Systems before. But I got a nice email this morning from Xueshi Yang, CEO and co-founder who said he has been reading StorageSearch.com "for quite a number of years now" and also said that his company is showing their products at Flash Memory Summit.

Among other things - Xueshi Yang said - "Shannon System is a startup I co-founded in 2011 in China after I left Marvell.

"The company is dedicated to the enterprise flash storage market. Currently, we focus on the high performance PCIe market with our proprietary controllers and software systems. In April this year, we announced the industry first 6.4TB PCIe SSD with a single controller, which boasts 67us read access latency and 9 us write access latency (all in 4KB, random). While in June, we introduced a PCIe SSD with SFF-8639 interface, which is hot-pluggable. We currently serve over 100 customers in China, including Tier 1 internet companies, as well as other named customers such as China Mobile, China Telecomm etc."


eASIC supports Mobiveil's NVMe platform

Editor:- August 6, 2014 - eASIC today announced announced support for Mobiveil's NVMe platform (pdf) implemented in eASIC devices.

"eASIC is enabling the rapid deployment of SSD technology at substantially lower cost and up to 70% lower power than alternative solutions", said Jasbinder Bhoot, VP of Worldwide Marketing at eASIC. "By working with Mobiveil, customers will have access to a complete NVMe solution running in cost, power and performance optimized eASIC devices."


HGST rekindles concept of a PCM based PCIe SSD

Editor:- August 4, 2014 - HGST today announced it will demonstrate a PCM PCIe SSD concept at the Flash Memory Summit. HGST says the demonstration model delivers 3 million random read IOPS (512 Bytes) and a random read access latency of 1.5 microseconds.

Editor's comments:- Micron funded the world's first enterprise PCM PCIe SSD demo 3 years ago (in June 2011). The storage density of PCM resulted in an SSD which had pitifully low capacity compared to flash memory at that time - and earlier this year (in January 2014) there were reports that Micron had temporarily abandoned this idea.

Is HGST really going to wander into memory space where even the memory makers don't want to go? Or is this just a market signal that HGST isn't just looking at short term SSD product concepts?


Lite-On enters enterprise M.2 PCIe SSD market

Editor:- July 30, 2014 - Lite-On will be showing a new M.2 PCIe SSD for the enterprise market next week at the Flash Memory Summit.

The P1P is a M.2 PCIe SSD with capacities of 1TB and power loss protection circuit all in a small form factor.

The small form factor and high capacity allow enterprise customers to pack more storage in a smaller footprint. The P1P Series can deliver sequential R/W speeds up to 610MB/s and 520MB/s while random R/W speeds can be upto 95K/15K IOPS.

The drive has a MTBF of 2 million hours and an endurance rating of up to 1 drive write per day for 5 years.
archived versions of this PCIe SSDs news page
from SSD market history

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PCIe SSD milestones from SSD market history
August 2007 - Violin Memory launched the world's fastest 2U SSD - with a PCIe interface.

September 2007 - Fusion-io launched the ioDrive - a PCIe form factor flash SSD with upto 640GB capacity and 100K IOPS performance.

April 2008 - StorageSearch.com published a new market directory of PCIe SSDs.

April 2009 - StorageSearch.com announced that Fusion-io was the Top SSD Company researched by readers in Q1 2009.

September 2009 - StorageSearch.com disclosed that search volumes for PCIe form factor SSDs by its readers had surpassed that for 2.5" SSDs for the 1st time ever.

April 2011 - Virident Systems 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.

March 2012 - Micron unveiled a future hot swappable 2.5" PCIe SSD for use in Dell servers.

February 2013 - Virident Systems announced beta availability of a software suite which enabled low latency shared server-side storage and high availability when used with the company's range of PCIe SSDs.

June 2011 - NVSL demonstrated the world's first PCIe PCM (phase-change memory) SSD.

May 2013 - LSI said it was #2 in PCIe SSD shipments in US - having shipped over 40,000 units in the previous 12 months.

June 2013 - Samsung has entered the PCIe SSD market with an M.2 form factor model with a sequential read performance of 1,400MB/s, and capacity up to 512GB.

February 2014 - A3CUBE unveiled a PCIe memory fabric for 10,000 node-class architectures at the heart of which was a shared reflective RAM SSD engine.

May 2014 - Seagate agreed to acquire LSI's PCIe SSD and SSD controller business for $450 million.

June 2014 - SanDisk agreed to acquire Fusion-io for $1.1 billion.

January 2015 - Toshiba demonstrated a prototype of the world's first PCIe single package SSD - with up to 256GB in a single BGA package.

February 2016 - A webscale reliability report by Google concluded it wasn't worth paying more for SLC rather than MLC in enterprise PCIe SSDs.
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Why did the enterprise DRAM market wake up and discover its future will resemble that of 15K HDDs?
latency loving reasons for fading out DRAM in the virtual memory slider mix
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the 3 fastest flash PCIe SSDs - list / lists
Are you tied up in knots trying to shortlist flash SSD accelerators ranked according to published comparative benchmarks?

You know the sort of thing I mean - where a magazine compares 10 SSDs or a blogger compares 2 SSDs against each other.

It would be nice to have a shortlist so that you don't have to waste too much of your own valuable time testing unsuitable candidates wouldn't it?

StorageSearch's long running fastest SSDs directory typically indicates 1 main product in each form factor category but those examples may not be compatible with your own ecosystem.

If so my article - the 3 fastest PCIe SSDs list (or is it really lists?) may help you cut that Gordian knot. Hmm... you may be thinking that StorageSearch's editor never gives easy answers to SSD questions if more complicated ones are available.
the 3 fastest  PCIe SSDs  - click to read article But in this case you'd be wrong. (I didn't say you'd like the answers, though.) ...read the article
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PCI Express SSDs Technical Pros and Cons
The great attraction of PCIe for SSD oems is that it can support a wide range of performance options with throughput upto 16GB/s, and much lower attachment costs than the alternatives.

The older busses like PCI and cPCI also provide performance which is adequate for many applications.

Bus connected SSDs have been around since the earliest days of the SSD market.

The advantage of this approach is high throughput and low latency compared to SSDs connected via traditional hard disk style interfaces like SAS, SATA, fibre-channel or InfiniBand.

But there are disadvantages too which include:-

1 - Bus style interfaces reduce the available market for the SSD oem. Because older servers may not have the interface, or perhaps the interface (for example Sun's SBus) is proprietary and is only available in a small range of models.

2 - Bus interfaces tend to have shorter permissable cable lengths - which restrict how such SSDs can be connected.

3 - Bus interfaces usually don't include intrinsic end to end error detection and correction. If the physical arrangement of the SSD pushes the speed and cable lengths too far - then errors can arise in the bus connect - which have to be dealt with in the associated driver.

...Later:- May 13, 2009 - Dolphin's CTO, Venkat Krishnan emailed this article correction.

"Dolphin's StorExpress addresses concerns of PCIe direct attached SSDs raised in (2) above. It includes support for different types of PCIe interfaces (ExpressModule, AMC, etc.). Multiple PCIe SSD cards can be used without requiring multiple PCIe slots in the server. The storage can be collocated at distances of up to 300m from the server and can also be potentially shared by more than one server."
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