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the Top 20 SSD Companies - in 2011 Q4

19th edition in this 5 year running series - by Zsolt Kerekes, editor, StorageSearch.com
Who are the top 20 most important SSD companies?
... the companies which you absolutely have to look at if you've got any new projects involving SSDs? This list ranks companies based on the quarterly search volume of over 1.2 million annual SSD readers here on StorageSearch.com

There's a 1st time newcomer to this list - at the #20 slot - and 2 re-entries - apart from the usual incremental moves and non-movers from the previous quarter. The new format below clears out a lot of the detailed comments which used to appear in earlier editions. For a detailed SSD commentary on each company - just click their logo or name.

If you're searching for a common theme in the top 10 SSD companies in this quarter - it's not in the interfaces or form factors or VC funding or acquisitions. It's this... Every single company in the top 10 has its own proprietary SSD controller IP and architecture - even if they also use controllers from other companies. Now there's an angle you may not have thought about before. SSD IP is still an important factor in establishing leadership in the minds of the market. We haven't got the stage where the color or the brand on the SSD box determines how many get sold. Nevertheless some brands are now firmly associated with particular concepts.

Top 20 SSD Companies - based on search volume Q4 2011 - © 2012 StorageSearch

rank ...company

notes...........................................................

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1....... ... Fusion-io - click for more info
Same as before.

This is Fusion-io's 12th straight quarter in the #1 slot. Fusion-io's search volume was more than 2x the level of the #2 ranked company in this list and 10x the level of the #20 company.

Who's who in SSD? - Fusion-io

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2....... ... Violin Memory logo - click for more info
Same as before.

Who's who in SSD? - Violin Memory

...
3....... ...  SandForce logo - click  for more info
Up 1 place since the last quarter.

This will be SandForce's last appearance in this list - as LSI's acquisition of the company completed soon after the quarter was over.

Who's who in SSD? - SandForce

...
4....... ... STEC logo - click for StorageSearch.com's analysis and profile of STEC
Down 1 place since the last quarter.

Who's who in SSD? - STEC

.......
5....... ... TMS logo - click for more info about Texas Memory Systems ...
Same as before.

Who's who in SSD? - Texas Memory Systems

6....... ... OCZ logo - click for more info
Up 1 place since the last quarter.

Who's who in SSD? - OCZ

7....... ... Toshiba logo - click for more info
Re-entry into the top 20 list.

Who's who in SSD? - Toshiba

...
8....... ... SanDisk logo - click for more info
Down 3 places since the last quarter.

Who's who in SSD? - SanDisk

.......
9....... ... Western Digital Solid State Storage - formerly SiliconSystems
Same as before.

Who's who in SSD? - Western Digital

.......
10....... ... BiTMICRO logo - click for profile
Up 4 places since the last quarter.

Who's who in SSD? - BiTMICRO

.......
11....... ... Kove logo - click for profile
Up 1 place since the last quarter.

Whichever company sits at the top of the fastest SSDs list - always gets particular attention - because people want to know what the limits are.

Who's who in SSD? - Kove

.......
12 ....... ... image shows Viridentem's logo - click to go to their home page
Up 1 place since the last quarter.

Who's who in SSD? - Virident Systems

.......
13....... ... RunCore SSDs click for more info
Down 3 places since the last quarter.

Who's who in SSD? - RunCore

.......
14....... ... Smart logo - click for more info
Down 4 places since the last quarter.

Who's who in SSD? - SMART Storage Systems

..
15 (joint) ... Seagate logo - click for SSD profile
Up 3 places since the last quarter.

Who's who in SSD? - Seagate

..
15 (joint) ... Samsung logo - click for more info
Re-entry into the top 20 list.

Who's who in SSD? - Samsung

..
17....... ... EMC logo - click for SSD profile
Up 1 place since the last quarter.

Who's who in SSD? - EMC

.......
18....... ... FlashSoft logo - click for profile
Down 4 places since the last quarter.

Who's who in SSD? - FlashSoft

..
19....... ... click to see profile and editor's analysis for Intel
Up 1 place since the last quarter.

Who's who in SSD? - Intel

.......
20 (joint) ... DDRdrive click for more info
Down 4 places since the last quarter.

Who's who in SSD? - DDRdrive

.......
20 (joint) ... WhipTail logo - click for  more info
First appearance in the top SSD companies list.

Who's who in SSD? - WhipTail


3 companies dropped out of the top 20 list in this quarter:- Foremay, LSI and Nimbus.

Their stats mean they're clustered just below the top 20 list - this quarter along with Micron.

It's reasonable to expect that LSI will be back in the list next quarter - due to their acquisition of SandForce.
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about the top SSD companies list
StorageSearch.com tracks over 300 manufacturers of SSDs.

That's 30x more than when we started publishing daily updated SSD guides in 1998 and 6x as many as when we started this quarterly top SSD companies series in 2007.

Our search volume based rankings give you an idea of which SSD companies other readers like you have been following in the most recent quarter.

People don't buy products (or companies) they don't know about.

StorageSearch.com has been the leading publication in the SSD market since the 1990s. Our readers have been making SSD history and not just reading about it.

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.......
How to interpret these rankings?
The most important thing is being included in the list rather than the position within it. As the number of SSD oems has grown - since this series started - from 50 to over 300 - and now SSD ISVs are another factor too - it's much harder than it used to be to break into general awareness in the serious SSD market.

Our brains haven't got any bigger. The SSD market has become really important - and we have to filter in (and filter out) more SSD messages - to recognize those which matter. (That includes me too - BTW - as the editor.)

Despite the importance of being in the top SSD companies list - there are many companies - which have strong positions and narrow product lines in their own application niche - which can survive and thrive without ever worrying about being in it. It's only when those niches get large enough to impinge on others that the visibility stakes matter. Let's not forget that the whole of the SSD market was itself a tiny niche in the dim distant past.

I sometimes get emails from SSD product managers griping about the validity of these lists. My reply is that it's a marketing reality they have to live with. Just as being ranked #1 or #91 on Google could make a big difference to your company - being #1 or #99 with the readers of StorageSearch.com makes a difference to your SSD business. It's not me as the editor which makes the difference. It's our readers. SSD vendors often tell me that our readers are the most significant new customers they see. (And when it comes to financial matters and understanding the SSD market too - our site is high up in the thinking of would-be investors, VCs, market analysts, acquirers and go ahead vendors - as I know from my discussions with readers.)

I also get asked by companies - what can I do to get into the list and improve my rankings?

My reply is -

I'm just the messenger. I created the format - but I don't pick who's in the list. I use the stats myself to tell me - who's important and who's not - what's important and what's not?

Here's my advice for how to get better rankings...

Design better SSDs. Improve your SSD marketing and spend more effort in communicating with important SSD market segments. Improve the customer experience of using your SSDs. Get your most enthusiastic customers to spread the word about you by telling people they know that you are such a great supplier.

The converse is also true.

Related reading:-
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MLC flash in enterprise SSDs
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High Availability enterprise SSD arrays
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Where are we now with SSD software?
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