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|Micron dares skin in the
SSD box game|
Editor:- May 5, 2017 - Micron this week
its long overdue plans for entering the
rackmount SSD market.
Micron's ambitions revolve around
a 2U box stuffed with NVMe SSDs and interconnected in a fabric using software
is seeking early validation customers and technology partners now and says its
platform is expected to begin volume production in early 2018.
comments:- see my article and analysis in
SSD news - Micron
dares skin in the SSD box game
How do banks use big memory systems to detect fraud?
January 9, 2017 - In the early 2000s I started hearing stories from vendors
about how their fast memory systems were helping banks to not only ease the
choke points in their transactions but also provide insights into fraud
A new white paper GridGain Systems
provides a good introduction and synthesis of
various roles of in-memory computing in accelerating financial fraud detection
and prevention (pdf) which includes many named bank examples.
paper describes how in memory computing provides the low latency data sharing
backbone which is needed to enable pattern detection for fradulent activity to
be assessed in real-time while at the same time enabling genuine transactions
to proceed quicky.
Among other things, the paper says...
move from disk to memory is a key factor in improving performance. However,
simply moving to memory is not sufficient to guarantee the extremely high memory
processing speeds needed at the enterprise level... Clients who have implemented
the GridGain In-Memory Data Fabric to detect and prevent fraud in their
transactions have found that they can process those transactions about 1,000
times faster." ...read
the article (pdf)
U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs uses RAID Inc. in 5PB SDS
Editor:- December 7, 2016 - A customer news story from RAID Inc. -
of Veterans Affairs Selects RAID Inc. for Multi-Petabyte Microsoft Storage
- includes the useful ratio metric that "400TB of flash-accelerated
hot tier storage" were used to support 5PB of cold tier data in an
fault tolerant array which supports over 460,000 devices in more than 280
- mentions in StorageSearch.com
Pure says it's ready to ship petabyte SSDs
October 12, 2016 - Pure Storage
availability of its of petabyte-scale rackmount SSD - the
- which in 7U includes 512TB of raw flash delivering 1.5PB of effective
capacity (based on its customer use metrics).
Pure says this product family has 99.9999% availability across the installed
base, which equates to only 31.5 seconds of downtime on average per year.
comments:- In my 2013 article -
impacts of the
enterprise SSD software event horizon - I discussed the improving
efficiencies we could still expect to see in pure SSD arrays as more layers of
ancient HDD architecture were removed from archeologically stratified
Pure disclosed in a 2015 white paper -
enterprise flash storage from commodity components (pdf) - that in
real-world applications its customer base averaged 5.4x more effective
storage than the physical storage in the system excluding gains from thin
provisioning. And that provides some context for their effective to raw flash
capacity ratio of 3 in the press release - which seems reasonable after you
take into account that some raw capacity is "lost" due to reliability
You can also see the signficance of 30 seconds in the
above pdf too.
You can get a comparitive idea of the elasticity of SSD
vendor promises about
capacity by clicking on the link which mines archived news.
also:- petabyte SSDs
Kaminario offers free iPads to boost K2 tryouts
Editor:- October 4, 2016 - I saw a promotional email offer from Kaminario today which
I think may backfire as it seems to be in direct conflict with the ethical
principles of buyers in many large organizations.
email says "Test and evaluate a Kaminario K2 all flash array with up to
50TB capacity for as little as $1.25 per GB and iPAD management console for 45
days. Try it today and the iPad is yours to keep."
comments:- I think the offer will turn off buyers in big companies - because
the inducement of a free iPad to take part in the evaluation sounds like a
personal gift rather than having any benefit for the evaluating organization.
Seems to me that the marketers in Kaminario have been reading too many consumer
Violin issues going concern warning
September 14, 2016 - Violin
Memory today filed a
10-Q (pdf) with the SEC which provides a snapshot of the company's poistion
for the quarter ended July 31, 2016. Among other things:-
- Violin's revenue had fallen by 72% compared to the year ago. Product
revenue was $2 million and services revenue was $5.4 million (unaudited).
of the enterprise SSD companies which you know have no good reasons to survive
- Violin has issued a going concern warning which concludes - "Failure
to generate sufficient revenue, increase gross margins, control or reduce
operating costs and to raise sufficient funds may result in an inability of the
Company to continue as a going concern."
Nimbus re-emerges from stealth with 1PB / U raw HA SSD
August 9, 2016 - Nimbus
Data Systems has emerged from its self imposed exit into
mode with the
of a new range of Ethernet/FC/Infiniband attached rackmount SSDs based
on its new
OS with GA in Q4 2016.
Entry level products start in a 2U box with
50TB raw capacity for under $50K and for larger configurations Nimbus says its
ExaFlash offers an effective price point as low as
effective gigabyte (including all software and hardware).
density boxes in this product line - D-series models - will have 4.5 PB raw
capacity in 4U (12 PB effective).
- I haven't seen details - Nimbus says there is no data network between the
storage arrays themselves, guaranteeing that performance truly scales in
lock-step with capacity and with consistent latency.
video above shows the 4PB raw ExaFlash
Editor's comments:- if there are to be sustainable
roles in the future
enterprise SSD systems market for AFA vendors which previously sold arrays
of SAS/SATA SSDs - and who don't own their own semiconductor fabs - the only
viable ways to establish such platform brand identities are with SSD
software and architecture.
There's a huge gap between the technological
aspiration which Nimbus talks about and the weakness of its past marketing and
the kind of
funding which we've
seen competitors in this market burn through in the past with mixed results.
In the next few quarters I hope we'll hear more from Nimbus about its
business development plans and customer adoption.
roadmap to the
positioning of many flash array "startups"
Pure Storage says its AFA revenue in Q1 2016 was more than the
leading HDD array brand
Editor:- June 21, 2016 - Scott Dietzen, CEO -
says in his recent blog -
a generational shift in data center storage - "...not only were we the
fastest-growing storage vendor named in IDC's report, but we cracked of the
top 10 storage vendors (for revenue) globally not just for all-flash storage,
but for ALL external enterprise storage."
this result in the real world of market revenue tracking is broadly in line
with a long range
prediction I made in 2009 - in which I said "50% of the (enterprise)
hard disk market will no longer exist in 5 years, and none of it will exist in
10 years (except in museums)."
terabyte talliers and
storage market research
memory intensive data architecture emerges in a new family of
latency roled boxes - unstealthed by Symbolic IO
Editor:- May 25,
2016 - 1 petabyte usable storage in 2U along with a
flash backed RAM
rich server family which uses patented CPU level aware cache-centric data
reduction to deliver high compute performance are among the new offerings
today by Symbolic IO which has
emerged from stealth mode.
Founder & CEO, Symbolic IO - Brian Ignomirello, said - "This
industry hasn't really innovated in more than 20 years, even the latest
offerings based on flash have limitations that cannot be overcome. Our goal at
Symbolic IO was to completely redefine and rethink the way computing
architectures work. We've completely changed how binary is handled and
reinvented the way it's processed, which goes way beyond the industry's current
excitement for hyper-conversion."
Giving a clue to
performance Ignomirello said - "One of our early tests, allows us to
run a full cable class content delivery network over 80+ nodes, while streaming
80+ full-featured movies simultaneously on one channel and requires less than 8%
of the CPU capacity and we had plenty of headroom to run more. IRIS
(Intensified RAM Intelligent Server) is 10,000 times faster than today's flash."
comments:- I hadn't spoken with Symbolic IO (when I wrote this) but my
first impression was that the company is in line with at least 3 strategic
trends that you've been reading about on StorageSearch.com in recent years:-
company profile summarizes their capability like this...
IO is the first computational defined storage solution solely focused on
advanced computational algorithmic compute engine, which materializes and
dematerializes data effectively becoming the fastest, most dense, portable and
secure, media and hardware agnostic storage solution."
about the company's background see this article -
IO Rewrites Rules For Storage on Information
From the marketing point of view it's interesting to see that
in its launch press release Symbolic IO positions itself in the
context in this way "IRIS... is 10 times faster than 3D XPoint."
IO says the new systems will be start to become generally available in late Q4
segmentation viewpoint the IRIS systems will be proprietary. There is space
for such approaches in the future market consolidation roadmap because not
everyone needs the fastest performance. But many
webscale SSD companies
are already using data reduction techniques for their own utilizations and
The new thing - if there is a new thing - is
that Symbolic IO will make available boxes which incorporate modern data
architectures from a single source.
Although like all new systems
companies they'll have to wade their way through the apps accreditation and
compatibility lists before their revenues create any ripples - an adoption
dampening factor I wrote about in my 2013 article
also:- towards SSD
Avere ranked #1 in Google's cloud partner search list
March 16 , 2016 - How well does Avere Systems (and
its virtual edge filer) work as a
Google's cloud services?
Apparently very well - as Avere today
it had been named "Google Cloud Platform Technology Partner of the Year"
enterprise SSD petabytes doubled in China in 2015
March 15, 2016 - Gregory
Insights says that Enterprise SSD petabytes doubled YoY in the China
market in 2015.
AccelStor says it can do 600K IOPS in 2U iSCSI AFA
February 17, 2016 - AccelStor
launched a 2U
high end model in its NeoSapphire (rackmount SSD)
(which includes 24 hot-swap SSDs including 2 spares) achieves 600K IOPS for 4KB
random writes with iSCSI
over its 4 port 10GbE connectivity.
- AccelStor says its automatic data reconstruction makes it easy to replace
drives on the fly and without a performance penalty.
Tegile trims fat in Europe
Editor:- February 8,
headcount and costs in Europe were disproportionately high compared to
revenue - according to a story in SiliconANGLE
slashes global headcount in pre-IPO cost cutting - which discusses layoffs
by the company to improve its business efficiency.
Pivot3 acquires NexGen
Editor:- January 27, 2016 -
today it has agreed to be acquired by Pivot3.
comments:- The last time I wrote about Pivot3 was 7 years ago. I had a
good feeling about their
architecture thinking which was being applied to hard drive arrays but
I viewed it more as a valuable
efficiency boost to
buy breathing space for the
last gasp years of
enterprise HDD rather than the new direction I was focused on - which was
heading towards the solid state storage datacenter. And so - from my point of
view - I had nothing more to say.
On the other hand we're heard
times in recent years.
Combining the software and architecture from
these 2 companies could produce a platform with characteristics comparable to
the best upwardly stretched efforts of much better known competitors if
Pivot3 and NexGen can draw the integration boundaries in the right places (and
get it done quickly enough).
7 out of top 10 SSD companies are systems companies
January 7, 2016 - Rackmount SSD companies dominated the top 10 zone of the
34th quarterly edition
of the Top SSD
Companies published today by StorageSearch.com
- with 7 out of the top 10 being in the rackmount SSD business.
EMC was the 2nd fastest
climber and this period marked Kaminario's best
rank in the more than 5 years it has appeared in this series.
back at the dominance of rackmount systems makers in past editions in this
series - the pattern first became clear in
Q2 2013 when it
was 8 of the top 10 companies.
The compelling technology
necessities driving this trend were noted in my
SSD year transitions article. The top level idea is the same today as it
"The rack has become the most important form factor at
which level enterprise SSD vendors must focus their strategic product ideas.
What we're seeing in the market today at the rack level - are efficiencies and
competitive advantages which accrue from combining and integrating design
factors at many levels within large SSD arrays (at the memory utilization level,
the SSD controller level, the drive interface level, the flash array
organization level and multiple levels up and down the system software and apps
software stacks). Mastering the design possibilities of SSD at the rack level
enables new levels of competitive advantages for vendors."
the precise details which have changed since 2013. Hence all those recent AFA
and big data SSD acquisitions.
And the market
has changed too (90% of enterprise vendors will disappear) which means it's
less safe for SSD outsiders to sit back and wait to see what happens.
Permabit shrinks data in new flash boxes from BiTMICRO
Editor:- October 20, 2015 - Permabit today
that its inline dedupe and compression software is used in BiTMICRO's new
rackmount SSD white boxes - which include a 1U iSCSI appliance (20x 2.5"
TB SSD shown at FMS) and a 3U
fast SSD server (8x PCIe SSDs) which is due to be shipped this quarter.
Dell buys EMC - the SSD view
good for Dell-EMC - long
good for AFA and hybrid competitors - short term
and changes for SSD suppliers - short term
Editor:- October 13, 2015 - Dell yesterday
it has agreed to acquire EMC
for approximately $67 billion. The acquisition also included EMC's stake in
the storage software
company VMware - which
will remain in public ownership.
Editor's comments:- In the
short term this fixes a problem for Dell (its weakness in enterprise storage)
and offers a credible way for EMC to adapt to a long term future in which its
storage products become
commoditized and accessible to smaller businesses (something which Dell has
historically been good at with its server business.)
landscape in enterprise storage is
but a long term SSD centric summary goes something like this.
have become a commodity. And there is little or no scope for genuine
differentation options to be offered within the server market. (Being able
to offer the same memories or SSDs in servers as everyone else - does not
decommodify server product lines BTW.)
In contrast - enterprise storage
- which in the HDD and post tape library and post optical storage era (2001 to
2008) had been coasting towards oblivious commoditization - has been
temporarily reprieved from that fate (2009 to 2018) by the disruptive
impact of SSD memory technologies which enabled the construction of
5 to 6 role
differentiated types of new storage boxes which could deliver value to
users in ways which were technically unimaginable and unfeasible with
classically tiered memory and storage.
Having misfired its original
entry into the enterprise flash market in
2008 - EMC has
in recent years managed to accumulate credible industry leading proprietary IP
and product lines in 2 of the 5 above storage box segments (which will satisfy
projected enterprise storage needs in the post HDD era) meanwhile treading
water in the other 3 main box segments (indicating its aspiration to occupy
part of those other crowded beachheads if possible).
Assuming all goes
well with the acquisition process - the Dell-EMC product line will enable EMC
storage to be more competitive in the short term with existing products and to
maybe credibly add another notch to the list of product types for which it has
aspirations for clear leadership.
on the server and storage markets which are emerging from
SSD centric software
and data architectures will mean that traditional product lines from both
vendors will shrink away.
And those lost revenues will stay gone
forever. The old ways and the
orders won't be coming back. That's why it's important for both companies
to draw in new smaller customers and to nurture them (if possible) into the
new sustainable sold state storage and server product lines.
about impacts for the SSD market?
Anyone who competes with Dell or EMC
will - for the next year - have an easier ride - due to the inward focus
which sucks away the attention of the talent following such acquisitions.
SSD market as a whole will continue to supply memory and SSDs to the new company
- and probably can look forward to getting more business in 18 months time.
it won't simply be more of the same. Some SSD vendors may see big changes
when Dell EOLs systems and modules which are cannibalistic and compete within
the combined product lines.
NexentaStor available with InfiniFlash
September 3, 2015 - Nexenta
support for SanDisk's
InfiniFlash AFA box.
List price for the integrated solution including, perpetual software licenses,
controllers, InfiniFlash, 3 year support and installation can be as low as
enterprise hardware consolidation,
"more lanes of SAS than anyone else" - new 4U
Editor:- July 28, 2015 - As the
rackmount SSD market
consolidation - new business opportunities are being created for those
brave hardware companies which accept the challenge of providing simple
hardware platforms (which provide high density or efficiency or performance or
other combinations of valued technical features optimized for known use cases)
while also being willing to sell them unbundled from expensive frivolous
In that category - Savage IO today
its SavageStor - a 4U
server storage box - which - using a COTS array of hot swappable SAS SSDs -
can provide upto 288TB flash capacity with 25GB/s peak internal bandwidth with
useful RAS features for embedded systems integrators who need high flash
density in an untied / open platform.
Savage IO says it "products
are intentionally sold software-free, to further eliminate performance drains
and costs caused by poor integration, vendor lock-in, rigidly defined
management, and unjustifiable licensing schemes."
comments:- I spoke to the company recently and most of you will
if it's the right type of box for you or not.
fast rackmount SSDs from EMC, IBM, Pure... which is cheapest?
Editor:- July 9, 2015 - In a recent blog about the
competitiveness of fast rackmount SSDs -
I Hate Cost/GB Discussions - Michael Martin,
FlashSystems Specialist - IBM
- leads you through a series of arguments to convince you that - when
measured on a 5 year ownership basis (against a very specific set of parameters)
his company's fast
rackmount SSDs are cheaper to own than competitive models from EMC and Pure.
other things Michael says - "Why is everyone so focused on the initial cost
when it comprises such a small percentage of the "real" or total cost
of the storage array?"
condition question which Michael Martin looks at is - what is if EMC gave
you a FREE VMAX? How would that compare to the IBM V9000 FlashSystem's TCO?
I like that style of analysis - because it's one I've used a lot
myself in the past 12 years or so - in various market forecasts where I
looked at the cost of one type of product being zero but another type of
product (SSD) still being cheaper or better.
comments:- recently we've seen survey data from
Tegile suggesting that
for a significant proportion of enterprise users the ROI on their enterprise
flash investment can be as little as 1 or 2 years - which suggests that looking
at the 5 year cost, or the initial purchase cost are equally unreliable
For most users - the uncertainty of capturing reliable
predictive cost benefit data to justify the acquisition of enterprise flash
arrays was discussed in my article -
the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing.
The reasons for
choosing one system over another include so
preferences and associated customer service values that the 5 year
predicted cost from a particular web site are not likely to be the decisive
factor for most users - who will prefer to trust their own analysis.
long as you don't take the rankings in Michael Martin's blog too seriously - as
gospel - and don't come away with the idea that IBM's FlashSystem is always the
best and cheapest fast rackmount SSD - it's a fun read. ...read
Conspicuously absent however in this discussion -
given the 5 year cost justification timeframe - is a new class of fast
rackmount SSDs which will be emerging in the next year - based on arrays of
2.5" NVMe SSDs
- which will have the same impact on this segment of the market (IBM, EMC,
Violin etc) as did
flash on RAM SSDs.
(Implode the costs and explode the scalability and market roadmaps.)
also:- SSD costs and
justifications 2001 to 2015
SolidFire opens sales channel in Japan
19, 2015 - SolidFire
it has expanded its sales reach into Japan with the opening of a new office
in Tokyo and a distribution agreement with
||If he had his way... Sir Squeaks-a-Bit
would stretch all rotating disk pretenders on the rack and remove their
the FlashSystem 900?|
|Editor:- December 7, 2016 - NVMe was one of the
SSD ideas of the year which was mentioned by several contributors.|
onto that thought.
"The only thing better than an improved
protocol like NVMe, is no protocol" - says Woody Hutsell,
Technologist, Evangelist - IBM in his new blog -
waiting on NVMe all flash arrays.
Among other things Woody says -
"There is no storage protocol inside the IBM FlashSystem 900. Once the
data hits the interface controller it ceases to be SCSI or PCI or NVMe. The
only thing better than an improved protocol like NVMe, is no protocol. The
FlashSystem 900, like many prior generations of FlashSystem solutions treats the
flash inside the system like memory. The result is unmatched latency
Latency was the central theme of Woody's
SSD bookmarks for
StorageSearch.com readers earlier this year too.
Woody has been
extolling the virtues of low latency enterprise SSD storage to me and my
readers for over 15 years.
I always relax when reading Woody's
writings about solid state storage as I can be secure in the knowledge that
everything he says is reliable.
|Some of the deepest
thinking going on in the SSD market right now is focused on rackmount SSDs. (Or
enterprise flash arrays - if you think that sounds better.)|
|new SSD thinking
inside the box|