click to visit home page
leading the way to the new storage frontier .....
SSDs over 163  current & past oems profiled
SSD news ..
memory channel storage
memory channel SSDs ...
pcie  SSDs - click to read article
PCIe SSDs ..
SSD SoCs controllers
SSD controllers ..
SSD market history
SSD history ..

the Top SSD Companies - 2014 Q3

30th quarterly edition - based on search metrics in Q3 2014

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - - December 1, 2014

The Top SSD Companies - researched and analyzed by - has established a unique reputation within the SSD industry for detecting and predicting significant new business and technology transitions in the SSD market.

I know from what readers tell me that each new edition is anticipated and read by many founders of SSD companies, their biggest institutional investors and customers too. It's one of the most popular articles on this site - and has been seen by millions of my readers - and referenced by millions of others in indirect attributions from the companies named in these articles.

And from a personal point of view - as I look back and think about all the many SSD related articles I've written - I have to admit that starting the Top SSD Companies List back in 2007 was probably the best time to do it.

When the series started in 2007 - there were 55 SSD companies. I knew them all intimately and nearly all were private companies.

Before then - the market was too small for people to care about such a list. But the launch of the Top SSD Companies series in 2007 - as is now clear from the years which followed - marked the beginning of a new growth phase point for the market which was on the verge of making no-turning back transitions in enterprise SSD flash controller architecture. This would lead to flash replacing DRAM as the definitive enterprise SSD memory type - a move which would lower cost and make SSDs more attractive to more users. (For a contemporary view of those early heady days see 2007 - Year of SSD Revolutions.)

The Top SSD Companies series has also provided early market alerts for all the significant new technology and business ideas which have changed in the market - and also been a dependable predictor of which companies would benefit or suffer the most from discernible trends in the market.

For more about the past successes of this list, highlights from, and links to the 29 past quarterly editions - go to the series overview page.

Here's the list of the Top SSD Companies ranked by analyzing the search volume of hundreds of thousands of SSD readers on in the 3rd quarter of 2014.
Top SSD Companies - ©

based on SSD search volume in the 3rd Quarter 2014

For more details about each company click on the compay name.

diablo logo - click for more onfo

1 - Diablo Technologies

Up 17 places!

Entered the Top SSD Companies list - 2013 Q3

Diablo's 1st time at #1 is significant for many reasons - coming as it does after the 5 year occupation of this position by Fusion-io.

Reader interest in Diablo in this quarter (by the SSD readers of was 33% higher than the #2 ranked company - SanDisk (despite SanDisk having acquired Fusion-io in this period).

Diablo entered the Top SSD Companies Lists a year ago - in Q3 2013 - so you my ask - what made such a stunning difference to the level of interest in this company and its technology platform in Q3 2014?

The overwhelming factor driving the surge of sustained interest in Diablo in this qaurter was curiosity following the unveiling of Diablo's next generation (2015) architecture for its memory channel storage (DDR4 DIMM attached flash SSD arrays) which the company said would have 48nS latency for data in its cache pipelines - a stunning advance on the already significant 3µS in 1st generation products.

As we've seen in earlier phases in SSD history any technology which promises to bring great performance gains to application servers - attracts a lot of reader interest.

At the present time we're seeing a lot of new solutions being introduced to enable big memory fabrics inside servers and enabling connections between servers.

Even before Diablo's announcements in Q3 2014 - the company had raised important questions about aspects of server based SSD archietcture such as:-
  • is there room to introduce a new latency tier within servers?
  • is there an appetite in the software market for new low latency / big persistent memory platforms? - such as would enable new applications?
Another factor driving interest in Diablo's technology - although much smaller in scale - was the ongoing saga of the company's patents entanglements with a company called Netlist (which designs an entirely different type of product - which is a flash backed DRAM DIMM).

Netlist had asked the courts to restrain sales of Diablo's technology (which is the key interface technology inside SanDisk's UlltraDIMMs). We may see that question answered one way or the other soon after publication of this article.

See also:- memory channel SSDs, flash DIMMS, MCS versus PCIe SSDs

SanDisk logo - click for more info

2 - SanDisk

Up 4 places.

Best previous position - #1 in 2007 Q3.

Entered the Top SSD Companies list - 2007 Q2 (1st edition).

If you had asked me to predict what SanDisk's position would be in this list - before the quarter began - I would have said I expected SanDisk to acquire most of the benefit from having acquired Fusion-io - which was the previous long running #1 SSD company.

That's partly what happened.

SanDisk attracted 3x as much interest from our readers as the jointly ranked #3 SSD companies which are listed below.

But even though SanDisk has been the main flash partner of Diablo - the Diablo effect - or was it the surge realization that memory channel SSDs are really different to PCIe SSDs (and different to hybrid DIMMs) - but in ways which are different - and not simply interchangeable? All these factors led to the surprising result that in this quarter SanDisk didn't simply inherit the #1 slot in this list from Fusion-io.

See also:- SSD services, SSD software , PCIe SSDs

IBM logo

3 (tied) - IBM

down 1 place

Best previous position - #2 - 2014 Q1 and 2014 Q2

Entered the Top SSD Companies list (TMS an IBM Company) - 2012 Q4

There was no significant change in IBM's enterprise SSD offerings in this period.

Having said that - IBM wasn't entirely silent on the subject of enterprise SSDs. In June 2014 - IBM announced that an IDC report had identified IBM as the #1 company (ranked by revenue in 2013) for rackmount SSDs with 25% market share.

Another Diablo effect?

An interesting observation - given the prominence of Diablo in this article - is that in November 2014 Alex Yost - who had been VP Strategy and Alliances in IBM's x86 server business - joined Diablo Technologies as President.

IBM had been Diablo's biggest customer - and had worked on refining MCS architecture for years. Yost cited the outstanding customer benefits he'd seen at IBM from Diablo's technology as a factor in his move.

Seagate logo - click for  more info

3 (tied) - Seagate

Up 7 places from previous quarter.

Entered the Top SSD Companies list - 2010 Q3

This is the highest ever rank for Seagate in the 7½ years of this landmark SSD market series.

It shows that once a company has realized it is hostage to the fortunes of the SSD market and decides to do something dramatic about it - then astonishing changes can happen.

In this quarter having completed acquisition of the SSD product lines from LSI - there was only one direction which Seagate could go. And that was up.

Along the way Seagate wasted no time in telling the world what it was going to do with this treasure chest of controller and PCIe SSD assets - launching straight into announcements about new products and a new customer relationship with Baidu.

OCZ logo

5 - OCZ

Same as before.

Best previous position - #4 - 2012 Q2 and 2012 Q3

Entered the Top SSD Companies list - 2010 Q2

In this quarter OCZ previewed the Z-Drive 6000 - its first product aimed at the 2.5" enterprise PCIe SSD market.

For SSD customers in the central European market - OCZ also launched a new German language website.

HGST logo

6 - HGST

Down 2 places.

Entered the Top SSD Companies list (as HGST) - 2013 Q3

Related 1st entry in the Top SSD Companies list (as Western Digital Solid State Storage) - 2009 Q2

In this quarter HGST announced a new improved version of the high availability clustering capability previously available in the PCIe SSD product line acquired last year from Virident.

Quaintly at odds with its intrinsically modern PCIe nature, however, these HA features are implemented by InfiniBand or ethernet rather than PCIe fabric.

A3CUBE logo

7 - A3CUBE

Up 2 places from previous quarter.

Entered the Top SSD Companies list - 2014 Q1

In this quarter A3CUBE unveiled details of its software platform and said that it was on the verge of its first US customer shipment.

In a conversation with the founders of A3CUBE I learned that in addition to the many possibilities of extending legacy server apps beyond the constraints of a single server box - which the company had already written about - they didn't think it would be too difficult for systems integrators to also mix and match their extended PCIe fabric with newly emerging persistent memory based APIs - such as SanDisk's ZetaScale - or Diablo's MCS platform.

This demonstrates that some of the new solutions which we're seeing in the enterprise SSD market already may have the ability to scale and create new capabilities which go way beyond what any one of them was originally planned to do by themselves at the time they were conceived.

Tegile logo - click for more info

8 - Tegile Systems

Up 12 places.

Entered the Top SSD Companies list - Q4 2013

In 2014 - 2 companies have stood out for me with respect to their ability to invent genuinely new business models in the enterprise SSD market based on their unique analysis of customer data and sifting through the same raw customer material which has already been well raked over and ignored by competitors.

They are Tegile and SanDisk.

When I mentioned this to Rob Commins, VP Marketing at Tegile recently - he said the 2 companies have something else in common - which I hadn't mentioned. SanDisk is an investor in Tegile.

See also:- Exiting the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing, SSD services

Violin Memory logo - click for more info

9 - Violin Memory

Down 2 places from previous quarter.

Best previous position - #2 in 2013 Q1, 2013 Q2 and 2013 Q3

Entered the Top SSD Companies list - 2007 Q3

Before Violin became a publicly owned company I observed that the company was involved in too many product segments within the SSD market.

In 2014 Violin's solution to the growing fragmentation and specialization within the enterprise SSD array market has mostly been to introduce new product variations (differentiated by software) at a faster rate than ever before.

Has it worked?

Judging by the reaction of the market as filtered by revenue (23% lower in the quarter ended October 31, 2014 than in the year ago period) - the answer appears to be not yet.

Related to that sales performance - in December 2014 - Violin announced the appointment of enterprise storage sales veteran Jeff Nollette as worldwide VP Channel Sales.

But is sales the problem for Violin? Or is it just a symptom of complex marketing issues?

The problem (as I see it) is that the company's energetic marketing communications output has been engaged in the vain pursuit of multiple message wars which it can never win – because almost everything it says - sounds like exactly the same words which other competitors have been saying too.

Violin has some genuine core SSD strengths and some genuine technology disadvantages.

Instead of pretending it can be great all kinds of enterprise deployments - simply by leveraging its most recently announced software compatibility - it would be better for the company in 2015 to realize its limitations - and do less things the best - rather than do more things - in ways which are interesting but not compellingly competitive.

Skyera logo - click for more info

10 - Skyera

Down 2 places from previous quarter.

Best previous position - #4 in 2013 Q1

Entered the Top SSD Companies list - 2012 Q2

Skyera's great advantage is that because it understands how to manage cheap modern flash memory in arrays better than any other systems competitor - it has the potential to create very competitive high capacity flash boxes.

But Skyera's self confessed disadvantage - told to me by its founder - is that when the company was founded it didn't understand the enterprise market.

The idea appears to have been to solve the difficult flash technology integration problems first and then add the simpler "enterprise" must-haves later.

As a result - its initial products - didn't have the best mix of features - despite its low aspirations in the "enterprise" features list.

Skyera tweaked the enterprise feature with an evolutionary model launched in October 2014. When I was talking to Skyera's new CEO about the changing enterprise market - I said - it looks as if Skyera is grooming itself to join an elite old gentlemen's club - at a time when it's not even certain if the current members - or the club will survive long.

As I write this - the clear marketing model for Skyera to avoid is Violin's apparent model of simply adding more and more software to the same underlying flash array to meet some idealized notion of what a legacy storage box should look like.

Skyera told me it was already talking to customers about new roles for its SSD boxes which would be technically unfeasible for other array competitors to have conversations about (no matter how much software they had - my comment) because fitting in the physical space budget is sometimes what makes the application viable.

...Later:- Well as things turned out - soon after publication - that Skyera did manage to avoid following Violin's business development model - as it got acquired in mid December 2014 and went into the enterprise SSD melting pot of HGST.

Currently the only scale at which Skyera's technology works is at the box level.

Will we see it being reapplied into new HGST PCIe SSDs? - It would take a very long time to integrate the technologies in this way. And I doubt if it would be worthwhile.

Instead I think it's more realistic to think of the 1U rackmount SSD - as an alternative and convenient standard form factor for embedded enterprise SSD applications.

PLX logo - click for more info

11 - PLX Technology / Avago

Up 4 places.

In this quarter Avago Technologies completed it acquisition of PLX.

The core technologies involved here are:- PCIe switching chips and the emergence of PCIe as an enterprise fabric.

I discussed PLX's fabric solution - a 1U PCIe fabric switch - in an article earlier this year. And I've updated the article with more details which have emrged since.

If the PCIe fabric idea is successful - then whoever makes the box matters less than who makes the chips.

And PCIe SSDs are getting everywhere - with 2.5" and M.2 form factors already having joined the traditional server slot sizes.

So in that respect - whatever assumptions you make about the adoption of PCIe fabric in high end servers (compared to traditional connectivity methods) PLX / Avago can look forward to significant increase in PCIe chip volumes coming from the SSD market.

Pure Storage logo - click for more info

12 - Pure Storage

Down 1 place from previous quarter.

You can buy SSD boxes built from standard 2.5" SSDs from hundreds of companies.

The challenge for Pure is to try and convince enough enterprise users that if they're going to buy this kind of safe sounding boring product anyway - they should buy it from a company which does this as the main thing it does - instead of from a vendor who sells flash arrays as a sideline because its older storage products are no longer selling so well.

The fact that Pure maintains a good ranking in this list of Top SSD Companies (when many of its competitors have lower positions or have never even been in the list) is a sign that when markets get big and confusing - a simple focused message can be as important as technology.

Virtium logo - click for more info

13 - Virtium

Same as before.

Virtium didn't announce any significant new products in this quarter.

Throughout 2014 I've been talking to leading industrial SSD companies - such as Virtium - about the problems posed by market growth, fragmentation and the difficulties of using the same flash technologies which work in more benign applications.

From a business point of view choosing the viable reality of excellence in selected niches above the unfeasible goal of having the best technology roadmap for all applications - has become a priority in the industrial SSD market.

I discussed the industrial market as #11 in my article - what changed in SSD year 2014?

image is Foremay's logo - click to read profile

14 - Foremay

Up 11 places.

2 of the topics which Foremay regularly talks about at trade shows are:- In this quarter Foremay updated its long running outputs on these themes with a paper (pdf) presented at the Flash Memory Summit.

In November 2014 - Foremay announced it was accepting orders for 8TB 2.5" SSDs optimized for the military SSD market.

Cisco logo

15 - Cisco / WhipTail

Down 3 places from previous quarter.

Some SSD brands leave longer lasting impressions than others.

So too the best way to understand Cisco's SSD offering - for many people - still begins with reading about WhipTail - who along with its Invicta SSD product line - Cisco acquired in October 2013.

Kaminario logo - clock for more info

16 - Kaminario

Up 3 places.

Kaminario's guaranteed effective (virtual) capacity concept was 1 of 3 new enterprise SSD cost models which I later grouped together in my article - Exiting the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing

In December 2014 - Kaminario announced it had closed an oversubscribed $53 million financing round, bringing total raised capital to $128 million.

See also:- VCs and SSDs, HA SSDs

Nimbus logo click for more info

17 - Nimbus Data

Down 3 places from previous quarter.

Nimbus didn't say anything noteworthy in this quarter.

See also:- rackmount SSDs

Micron logo - click for more info

18 - Micron

Down 1 place.

Usually when talking about Micron in an SSD context you'd be thinking about segments like PCIe SSDs, hybrid DIMMs, consumer SSDs, and flash memory itself.

In November 2014 (remember that was after the closing period for metrics in this Q3 list) Micron announced it was serious about the auto market too.

click to see more info about Microsemi's rugged SSDs

19 - Microsemi

Down 3 places.

See also:- military SSDs

20 - PLDA logoPLDA

1st time appearance in these lists.

In this quarter PLDA anounced the availability of a new SSD controller aimed at the PCIe 3.0 SSD market.

PLDA's IP has been engineered for both ASIC/SoC and FPGA implementations.

Samsung logo - click for more info

21 - Samsung

Same as before.

Among other things - in September 2014 - Samsung announced it had started mass producing 3.2 TB NVMe PCIe SSDs (HHHL) based on its 3D flash memory technology, for use in enterprise systems.

Intel logo click to see  info

22 - Intel

Same as before.

RunCore SSDs click for more info

24 (tied) - RunCore

Up 1 place

Bitmicro logo - click for more info

24 (tied - BiTMICRO)

Reentry to the list.

what about the companies which dropped out of the list?

2 very significant SSD companies dropped out of this list simply because they had been acquired. EMC dropped out of the list - for reasons you'd have to ask our readers about. But EMC didn't drop far. It was #26.

Other companies just below the Top SSD List threshold also included:- Innodisk #27, Maxta #28, Marvell #29 and Memblaze #30.

Note:- Rankings above are based on analyzing the search activity of over 280,000 SSD readers on in the 3 months period ending September 30, 2014.

The rankings above are based on multiple types of search and browsing activity - and after filtering out unreliable and fake searches coming from robots and spam intended to subvert rankings for criminal or malicious reasons. Our rankings and tie breakers also use data from some other SSD related internet sources from time to time.

You can read more about the significance and track record of this methodology in predicting and observing SSD market intentions in earlier editions of this article.
SSD ad - click for more info

storage search banner

the top 10 SSD oems

the Top SSD Companies
series overview

Foremay SSD image - click for more info
10 TB SATA / 2 TB microSATA
1 TB mSATA & M.2 / 8 TB VPX & PXIe
military SSDs from Foremay

SSD news
SSD history
VCs in SSDs
market research
the SSD Bookmarks
SSD news archive - July 2014
SSD news archive - August 2014
SSD news archive - September 2014
the Top SSD Companies - series overview
10 things which changed in SSD year 2014
4 big things which changed in SSD year 2015
about the publisher - 22 years guiding the enterprise
the previous edition of the Top SSD Companies - Q2 2014
the next edition of the Top SSD Companies List - Q4 2014

A new scale of ambition - enabled by a creative and competitive SSD ecosystem which has the confidence to move mountains

In 2014 I think we've been witnessing the birth of a renaissance in SSD inspired enterprise architecture - on a scale of ambition we haven't seen since the Year of SSD Revolutions in 2007.

Back then it was about the idea that - on the SAN - enterprise flash architecture could take on the role of RAM SSDs.

Meanwhile (also in 2007) - talking about a new idea for SSDs inside the server - the first enterprise customers were being shown by a company called Fusion Multisystems what could be done with software centric PCIe SSDs.

In 2014 / 2015 - the assumption (originally foretold by PLX) is - PCIe SSDs are everywhere - so what next?

The answer seems to be - adding depth, breadth, globalized-viewpoint efficiency and what I call - "continuum SSD architecture."

The details come in many shapes and sizes.

At least one more tier of faster SSD latency inside servers.

Maybe more tiering within DRAM too.

New hardware and software fabrics which will have the same effect on how you come to view a single server - as RAID did on the limitations of a single hard drive.

So anything you could do before in a single server - can now be done on tens, hundreds or thousands or servers - without having to throw away your legacy applications.

From the cloud we've learned the value and flexibility of being able to incrementally augment and scale resources. But we also know that sometimes the cloud isn't always there when we need it.

SSD vendors are bringing cloud-like manageability and micro-tiering into small spaces (tiny clusters of servers or storage) which you can afford to own. So you don't have to trust any assets which aren't in your own direct control.

New SSD based software will demolish many limits you thought were set in concrete - such as the size of server memory and the restrictions of how you can redeploy and migrate data which is siloed in different legacy systems.

Those old limits were set - by performance and software based on ancient rules carved out over 20 years ago.

The new SSD revolution - is building on the confidence of an ecosystem - which starts with this idea...

We made some things faster and cheaper and easier - with SSDs - picking at the little easy problems we could put in a single business plan.

Now we know how to do this stuff - and SSDs are everywhere.

So let's change everything and make it all much better.

what changed in SSD Year 2014?

SSD ad - click for more info

There are many segments for enterprise flash arrays which aren't listed or even hinted at in standard models of the enterprise market.

Many of these missing market segments don't even have names.

Hey - that means SSD-world is like a map of the US before Lewis and Clark.

If you're a VC should this make you anxious or happy?
Decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise for rackmount SSDs


SSD ad - click for more info


"Having SSDs located in a DIMM socket in one server - no longer precludes that very same data being accessed by another server as if it were just a locally installed PCIe SSD."
Zsolt Kerekes, editor - in an SSD news story linking Diablo to A3CUBE (September 23, 2014)

SSD ad - click for more info

"I think SanDisk's ZetaScale could be one of the most significant SSD software products launched in 2014 - because of the freedom it will give big memory customers about how they navigate their tactical choices of low latency flash SSD hardware."
Zsolt Kerekes, editor - - SSD news (July 8, 2014)


Tegile's IntelliCare and SanDisk's STAR programs are both interesting examples of a new marketing differentiation trend in the SSD market - where some companies are making it easier to do business with them - by offering services which make it easier for customers to buy their SSDs.
services which sell SSDs




I think that 2014 will be seen as the start of a new phase of creativity in the enterprise SSD market on the subject of pricing and affordability.
Exiting the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing












Skyera is putting a lot of effort into joining a market which resembles an old fashioned English gentlemen's club.

But we know the founding members of that club are so old they will die soon anyway.

Is it worth it?
SSD news story - skyHawk FS - October 29, 2014


SSD ad - click for more info


"I think the context in which to view this is as the embodiment of a new wisdom in the industry - that to succeed in the enterprise SSD market today - and to achieve the ultimate efficiencies at the manufacturing level - vendors have to think like systems companies."
Zsolt Kerekes, editor -
re news that WDC had acquired Skyera (December 15, 2014)




Today - if you're in a big company in a traditional market - and hoping to do something equally big in the SSD market - then $1 billion may not be enough - but $5 billion may be too much.
VCs & SSDs


"The winners in SSD software could be as important for infrastructure as Microsoft was for PCs, or Oracle was for databases, or Google was for search."
get ready for a new world in which
all enterprise data touches SSDs


Something in the market has changed.

I noticed this week that the topic of HA/FT SSDs has risen to be 1 of the top 10 topics that you've been looking at this month. Which means it's mainstream.
high availability enterprise SSD news (October 13, 2014 )

what if (and this is a big IF) both SSD types had the same flash controller management scheme and the same flash memory?.
memory channel SSDs versus PCIe SSDs - are these really different markets?


Can you trust SSD market data?
Heck no! - and here's why




Cactus 2.5" rugged SLC SSD
military grade 2.5" SATA SLC SSDs
-45°C to 90°C / quick erase 512GB in <15S
from Cactus Technologies

the key band members - which made Fusion-io so very famous - have reunited at Primary Data
SSD news story - November 2014

One thing which hasn't changed since the early days of enterprise flash - is the concept of a "naughty" type of flash memory.
the evolution of enterprise flash - a 10 year history


who are the 10 plus
$1B eSSD companies?

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - February 16, 2015

You're reading one of my SSD list series of articles now - but soon it may be joined by another.

A new special interest list of SSD companies - those whose annual revenue in the enterprise SSD market is running at a $1 billion or more run rate.

When I started thinking about it - I realized I could - without much thought - populate such a list most of the way up to 10 companies - from piecing together things I've read in presentations and news stories. Which indicates to me that with a bit of research - and help from readers - we should easily get past 10 by the end of 2015.

So I will publish a preliminary list of who these companies are and which products are the most important ones driving their revenue in Q2 2015.

If you think your company should in there - just contact me and let me know the details.