quarterly edition - based on search metrics in Q2 2015|
editor - StorageSearch.com
- September 30, 2015
Over 8 years ago
when I started compiling and publishing the
Top SSD Companies lists
I suggested that one of the reasons such a list would be useful is that
the number of SSD companies would grow to a level which would make it impossible
for most of us to track every new product and technology idea connected with
the SSD market.
My thinking was that by using the crowd sourced
intelligence of the SSD readers of StorageSearch.com - we might be able to
abstract a shortcut of the most important companies which we should get to know
for a variety of changing purposes.
Well - the success of that idea
- has been demonstrated in more ways than I could ever have imagined at the
outset - and as the sample size of the SSD companies population grew from its
modest pilot episode cast of 55 then (2 years later) doubled to 112 ,
then (4 years later) exceeded 300 and 5 years later exceeded 400.
2012 we were
starting to see validation of this methodology with
VC investments, IPOs
activity helping to calibrate and connect the advance signals from those
earlier research based rankings.
And further confirmation and
refutation of the market significance of SSD technology trend signals became
clearer via news stories in subsequent years.
All of which
demonstrates that one way or another if a new technology idea is going to
be adopted widely in the SSD market - or if a company is going to be successful
or acquired - it often shows up quarters or years before as a search signal in
I stopped counting SSD companies over a year ago at the
600 or so level - although every week I still hear about newcomers to the
Like all good things that seemingly inexorable onward and
upward growth in raw SSD company numbers will one day come to an end - and in a
article in April 2015 - I discussed the background pressures and market
routes by which I expect (in the enterprise anyway) the raw SSD companies count
would eventually come crashing down to a much smaller level.
many SSD companies will that be?
Well -here's the thing...
I was using a completely different method of analysis developed and refined
over many years (which analyzes uniquely useful architectures and use cases and
projects 5 years ahead) I came to the conclusion that when
does arrive - maybe 25 or so SSD companies is all that there will be to know.
that respect there's a satisfying feel to the idea that the abstracted lists
of "most important SSD companies to know" (sampled from a huge
chaotic and changing market) will one day converge and become another list of
"all the SSD companies which are knowable" (in a much more stable
and predictable market).
For reasons I explained in my consolidation
article. We're still on the way up (in SSD vendor population counts) as
entirely new startups and existing companies scramble alike to react to new
opportunites and market gaps which are being created to make the end point
In the projected endpoint (2020 or so) vastly greater
market revenue which will be shared by vastly fewer competitors - due to
standardization and better marketing - what's not to like? - if you're one of
The SSD everywhere ecosystem is a strange kind of
creature which has emerged as sufficiently big in scope to deserve its own
thinking as the only viable way forward and indeed the endgame - instead of
merely being a collaborative vehicle to improve the ride for data safaris
which were designed long ago with entirely different raw technology components
what's new in this edition of the Top SSD Companies?
of the companies in this edition of the list have been here before. But there's
a significant newcomer too - Primary Data -
which is at the forefront of a new wave of growingly sophisticated,
SSD-aware, user-focused enterprise software - which is decoupled from the
hardware it can manage.
While at the same time 2 of the fastest
climbers in the list are players in the oldest game in SSD town -
taking data to
rugged hostile locations. I think there's more to this than simply an IoT
issue. It's about SSDs getting everywhere, into new applications and not
replacing hard drives.
the Top 25 SSD Companies - 2015 Q2based on SSD search volume in the
second quarter 2015
1 - Diablo Technologies -
same as before
This was the 4th consecutive quarter at #1 for Diablo.
Interest in Diablo continued to be at a high level - but the gap between
Diablo and the #2 company and the others in this list had narrowed.
search volume was 34% above SanDisk. And Diablo's search volume was
7x the level of the #20 ranked company.
In this quarter -
Diablo was able to resume shipments of its flash based
SSDs following an affirmative court outcome in a patent dispute with
Netlist which had cast
a long shadow of doubt over the future of this product line.
2 - SanDisk
- same as before
In this quarter - SanDisk launched a long anticipated
3rd generation of Fusion-io
PCIe SSDs but also
cautioned that in its own customer base it was seeing that some of the business
which had traditionally been implemented by its customers using PCIe SSDs was
moving towards arrays of SATA SSDs.
3 - OCZ -
up 1 place
In this quarter - OCZ revealed more details about its new
2.5" NVMe SSDs
- among which were programmable power envelopes - with 15W, 20W and 25W settings
- which makes them attractive denizons of high density, high performance
4 - HGST
- down 1 place
In this quarter - HGST announced volume production of
its recently sampling NVMe SSDs - the Ultrastar SN150 HHHL and Ultrastar
5 - Seagate
- up 1 place
In this quarter - Seagate announced another significant
design win for its Nytro SSDs in the China cloud market.
call question to elicit Seagate's comments re SanDisk's reported
experience of customer drift away from PCIe SSDs to SATA and SAS - Steve
Luczo, CEO Seagate said - "I wouldnt pick one against the other,
although Id say that maybe some of the growth of the PCIe space was a little
overblown in the past. Its very customer and application specific."
future SSD capacity ratios in the server, SAN and cold storage
6 - Virtium
- up 2 places
In this quarter - Virtium announced it had extended
its distributor relationships to include Arrow (EMEA and APAC) and MEV in
7 - Microsemi
- up 4 places
In this quarter - Microsemi acquired
Vitesse for $389
Microsemi also introduced a new 64GB BGA SLC SSD - the
MSM064 - (aimed at the military
market) which like other Microsemi SSDs doesn't use super caps or
batteries in the design.
be or not to be? - hold up capacitors in 2.5" military SSDs
Tegile Systems -
up 2 places
In this quarter - Tegile closed a $70 million Series D
funding round bringing the company's total capital raised to $117 million.
also:- VCs in SSDs
9 - Violin
Memory - same as before
In this quarter - Violin reported
that revenue for the quarter ended April 30, 2015 had declined 33%
year on year to $12 million and was 41% less sequentially compared to
the previous quarter.
So in that respect Violin was lucky to maintain
its interest in the SSD reader base. My guess is this has something to do with
- Violin still has a strong brand - due to its prominence in the early phases
of the enterprise flash array market
- Violin was one of the pioneers in
SSD architecture. And as that kind of approach has been adopted
successfully by more and more leading vendors - there's still a kind of
expectancy that this gives vendors some kind of competitive edge. (Which -
generally - it can do with the right investment of technical effort and
- But I also think that Violin now holds the same kind of gruesome but
hopeful fascination for investors which used to prop up
STEC in this Top SSD
Companies series during the fading years of its business prior to
10 - Pure
Storage - up 4 places
In this quarter - Pure Storage said it
had raised another $225 million in funding - bringing the total in all rounds to
SSD funding stories
11 - Cactus
Technologies - up 8 places
In this quarter - Cactus launched a
new range of extremely reliable industrial Grade SD Cards available in
capacities from 512MB to 16GB with an expected life of at least 5-7 years.
Cactus - whose VP of Engineering (in 1994) led the design team of the world's
first single chip flash card controller enabling the CompactFlash card market
- has produced some outstanding educational materials about long term flash
reliability and cost of ownership issues. The company was very active on
the blog front in this quarter - having written over 10 new technical blogs on
topics related to industrial SSDs.
Kaminario - up
In this quarter - Kaminario announced the appointment of a new
board member - a partner at Menlo Ventures - whose past sales leadership roles
included recently famous storage companies:- Fusion-io and 3PAR and way back
before then - one of the ancestors of the RAID industry - Data General's
13 - Micron
- same as before
In this quarter - Micron announced it was in
production with 2D 3 bits per cell (TLC) 16nm nand flash memory with 16GB
capacity. Micron said it believed that TLC would account for almost 50% of the
total NAND gigabytes shipped in 2015.
14 - Samsung
- up 2 places
In this quarter - Samsung announced it had started mass
production of the fastest
M.2 NVMe PCIe SSDs for the
15 - InnoDisk
- up 9 places
In this quarter - InnoDisk launched a new family of
(DRAM-less ) SSDs for embedded applications in a variety of form factors
including mSATA, M.2, SATADOM, CFast, and SATA Slim.
was best known for industrial
SSDs) had also developed (in 2013-2014) a seemingly out of context range
of enterprise rackmount SSDs. After discussing this with the company I thought
it significant enough to mention the seldom written about market segment for
which this had been optimized as one of the segments in my article -
hidden and missing segments in the analysis of market opportunities for
enterprise rackmount flash.
So... a noteworthy product concept - I
had been wrong to dismiss it before. But how about the differences in marketing
- between industrial components and enterprise systems? I wondered how that
would work in the confused babble of the modern SSD market?
rackmount SSD product line was quietly spun off without fanfare at the end
of 2014 and then re-emerged from stealth mode in Q2 2015 as a new company
16 - Intel
- up 4 places
In this quarter - Intel launched a new range (750 series)
of NVMe PCIe SSDs
available in HHHL and 2.5" form factors and also a new family (535 series)
of SATA SSDs in M.2 and
2.5" form factors
Intel was also one of the investors in a Series C
funding round of Coho Data.
17 - IBM
- down 10 places
In this quarter - IBM announced it had been the
number #1 all-flash storage array vendor in 2014, shipping more petabytes and
units for Solid-State Arrays than any other competitor. IBM said that in
2014 it had sold more than 2,100 FlashSystems, totaling 62 petabytes of
At around the same time 2 competitors made similar claims for
enterprise flash array market leadership in 2014 citing different data and
counting different types of products.
Nimbus Data - up
In this quarter - Nimbus didn't make any product
announcements. But the company's products had been rated #1 (compared to 39
competing products) according to a proprietary scoring system in a 2014-2015
buyers guide published by DCIG
19 - Foremay
- up 2 places
In this quarter - didn't launch any new products.
EMC - up 2 places
this quarter - EMC doubled the capacity of the X-Brick building blocks used in
its XtremIO flash arrays and confirmed that the XtremIO product line on its own
accounted for EMC's #1 market share position in 2014 - which had been
reported in this period by Gartner.
reappearance in this list
In this quarter - BiTMICRO announced new
management software called DriveLight to monitor the health of its MAXio
E-Series PCIe SSDs.
Marvell - up 3
In this quarter - Marvell sampled a new PCIe Gen2 SSD
controller claimed to be the industrys first to be fully compliant with the
Express standard and which will allow SSD manufacturers to offer
PCIe SSDs at price
parity to SATA SSDs.
23 - RunCore
- reappearance in this list
In this quarter - RunCore - which since
2013 has marketed SSDs under a special brand called V&G for SSD customers
in the military and enterprise markets in China - exhibited at the Defense
Information Technology & Equipment Exhibition in Beijing.
reappearance in this list
In this quarter - Maxta was named a 2015 Cool
Vendor in Storage Technologies by
25 - Primary
Data - 1st appearance in this series for the company (although the "gang"
of founders have been at the top of the list in a previous incarnation).
Making it easier for users who have big data assets to
decouple their data from whatever hardware it was accidentally created on - and
extracting more business value from it by being able to deploy it on whatever
happens to be the right latency of hardware which is thought to be appropriate
at the time.
At the heart of this is the ability to not just migrate
data - but to understand architecture and metadata and being able to
automtaically repackage it in new ways - which virtualize the data assets in
ways which can efficiently be exploited by any new or future SSD server
storage resources which may come into your possession or be under your own
Who dropped out of the list from the previous quarter?
noteworthy was Cisco
- which having exited the SSD market - has dropped out of the reckonings
Others which dropped out of the list were:- A3CUBE,
Avago (PLX) and PLDA - any of which could
return in future editions.
So - which companies lay just outside the
top SSD companies list in Q2 2015?
The next 10 companies (listed in
ranking order) were:-
That's it from me for now. Digesting the implications from the above will
keep you busy. I will return in the next few days to add more narrative
For more like this take a look at these resources:-
|It looks like you're seriously interested
in SSDs so if you've got the time - you might also want to take a look at
the home page of StorageSearch.com
which - unlike most home pages - also includes some real content.|
|About the publisher - 23
years guiding the enterprise market|
the Top SSD Companies
|When I listed "adaptive
intelligence flow symmetry" as one of the 11 key design symmetries in my
2012 classic article - how fast can your SSD run backwards? - it was located
pretty close to the end of the article. That didn't signify its relative
importance in SSD architecture. But it was a topic whose significance at that
time was relatively little appreciated...|
|there's no single
best place to locate all the IO and management intelligence of a big SSD.|
DWPD - state of the market
Imprinting the brain of
SSD Companies - series overview
about the publisher - 24
years guiding the enterprise
in enterprise flash arrays - why? when? analysis
there's more to
future change in SSD and SCM than DIMM wars
the key SSD market developments in this quarter? |
|The background to search activity is
always better informed when you interpret them by these perspective:-
- what was happening in the market at the time (news)
in an interconnected world it's not that simple - because readers are also
influenced by stuff they read elsewhere - which may not have been reported
here, or maybe they read about issues which were discussed here at different
points in time.
- reaction to what had been happening just before?
These sampling biases and analysis errors - as they
relate to the SSD market -are discussed in this article -
trust SSD market data?
|SSD news highlights in Q2
|April highlights -
click for more|
|WD's enterprise SSD
revenue was $1 billion / year run rate|
shipments of MCS following legal victories.
agreed to acquire PCIe SSD maker - Shannon Systems for
Although I couldn't write about it at the time - in
April 2015 I noticed the start of a new trend - military SSDs wearing DWPD
badges too. This was a result of enterprise-like data architectures being
designed for off-grid powered systems in hostile environments with a new
design concept. The use of native military grade SSDs instead of repackaged
(higher swap footprint) enterprise systems. See my later blog about this -
toughening up DWPD
In April - the home page blog on StorageSearch.com said - "Now
90% of the enterprise SSD companies which you know have no good reasons
to survive." - It came with the warning that it was the "most
dangerous new article of the year" (and it became onf of the most popular
mechanisms and routes towards consolidation in the enterprise SSD market .
|May highlights -
click for more|
|Tegile got another $70
shipped 2.5" hot swap NVMe SSDs with programmable power envelopes.
Nimble's CEO commented
in an earnings conference call about the problem of his company being
perceived as only a hybrid storage supplier by potential customers who had
what they considered to be all flash applications. (Nimble started with hybrids
but now does AFAs too.)
"We're #1 in flash arrays."
"You're both wrong - because we are."
3 different vendors announced enterprise flash array leadership at around the
same time based on similar raw market data. These claims were swiftly
dissected and disambiguated in a blog by Objective Analysis
This story exemplified one of the problems discussed in my classic article -
trust SSD market data?
|June highlights -
click for more|
|Nantero got $31
million funding for 300 C retention nvram.|
Altera launched an
adaptive DSP controller for the PCIe SSD market in the same month it was
acquired by Intel.
of enterprise flash arrays customers expect to see an ROI in 12 months or less"
- according to survey results sponsored by Tegile.
classic bath tub failure curve is not the most useful way of thinking
about PCIe SSD failures" - according to a large scale study of PCIe SSD
failures used in Facebook's infrastructure over a 4 year period.
of FC SAN sites used custom performance scripts as part of their pre purchase
and deployment evaluations - according to a survey by Load DynamiX
"Longsys is the biggest
buyer of Samsung
flash in China, and our revenue is $800 million /year" - a spokesperson
from Longsys informed the editor of StorageSearch.com who up to that
time hadn't heard of the company before. (Shows how big the
market really is.)
What were the
big SSD ideas of 2015?|
|The enterprise flash
story... why is the plot so tangled? |
|The enterprise flash story... A lot has been
written about it. But have you ever wondered - why did the plot get so
complicated? And have you seen some of the recent episodes? Many of these
new characters just aren't believable. But the SSD startup scriptwriters keep
adding new heroes and villains and twists. |
Which got me thinking.
Was there ever a best past time to simplify the whole series? And was
there ever a heroic golden age of enterprise SSD? By which I mean - when was
the most exciting episode at which to get started? ...read the
|Decloaking hidden segments
in the enterprise|
|Some of the world's leading SSD
marketers have confided in me they know from their own customer
anecdotes that there are many segments for enterprise flash arrays which
aren't listed or even hinted at in standard models of the enterprise
Many of these missing market segments don't even have
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?
If you're a user - maybe that's why no one is
delighting you in the way you think you deserve.
That's what led me to
write the article -
hidden segments in the enterprise for rackmount SSDs
|Unlike old jokes - old SSD
market models aren't always the best - even if some of them have surprisingly
well withstood the test of time. |
That's why there are so many on this
site (market models - not jokes - sorry.)
|hostage to the
fortunes of SSD|