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the Top 25 SSD Companies - Q3 2015

based on based on search metrics in Q3 2015

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - - January 7, 2016

Who are the top SSD companies? - the companies which you absolutely have to look at if you've got any new projects involving SSDs? - Here they are in the list below.

For the series overview, links to earlier editions of this list and an outline of our market proven methodology click here.

In this quarter (34th in this series) we saw the start of momentous changes in the SSD market as you can see in the archived SSD news and linked articles from that period. What's new?
  • SanDisk is the new #1 SSD company - replacing Diablo - which had been at the top of the list for the 4 preceding quarters.
  • The list of companies outside the top 25 has been extended. So in effect you can now see the top 40 SSD companies. That can be useful in anticipating and understanding changes in other quarters as they relate to market events.
the Top 25 SSD Companies - Q3 2015

1 - SanDisk - up 1 place

If you only sampled what was going on in the SSD market twice in the past 8 years - the first time in Q3 2007 - when SanDisk was #1 in this list (based on news about its enterprise SSDs) and then glanced back again today - you might not be terribly surprised. What's changed?

But this has been a long journey for SanDisk and for the SSD industry as the tides of market change have been washing away the previous best beauty spots and redefining the SSD landscape with an impersonal power which resembles lunar forces.

And (as the history of this list shows) acquiring highly ranked SSD companies - while beneficial in the medium term - doesn't lead to instant benefits.

BTW - SanDisk's ascent to the #1 slot in this quarter was based on search metrics which closed more than 3 weeks before the acquisition announcement with WDC October 22, 2015.

2 - Diablo Technologies - down 1 place

Mid way through the quarter - the SSD industry learned that at least 2 other heavyweight companies had product plans which included the memory channel SSD niche which had been - upto that point - exclusively associated with Diablo.

A counter swing in Diablo's favor (in this quarter) was its launch into the flash as tiered DRAM market - with its Memory1 product. For more about this - see the contemporaneous article - DIMM wars in SSD servers how significant is Diablo's Memory1 for the enterprise data ecosystem?

But the illusion of a single supplier or technology straddling these markets with a sustainable dominant market position was seriously called into question soon after this quarter ended with 9 SSD vendors having made related announcements by the close of 2015 - concerned with SSD DIMM wars and retiring and retiering enterprise DRAM. (Big idea #3 in SSD year 2015).

As a result the SSD reader focus on memory channel SSDs itself having collapsed in reader popularity in December 2015 - due to growing confusion and re-interpretation of this as a much more fragmented technology space than it had first appeared to be. (Reported here later in January 2016).

Diablo had upto this point been strongly associated with the memory channel SSD concept in a similar way that Fusion-io had been associated with the creation of the enterprise PCIe SSD accelerator market 8 years earlier.

But, unlike Fusion-io, Diablo didn't succeed in establishing a compellingly strong partner ecosystem - before its space came under heavy competitive attack.

This was mostly due to a long period (over a year) of legal wrangling over patents which left potential partners sitting on the sidelines and uncomfortable about investing too many resources into an idea which stood at jeopardy of legal rulings which could have pulled the plug on the whole idea.

This "wait and see" period - helped competitors close the initial technology leadership gap during a period when Diablo was restrained by the courts from expanding its business development.

3 - Micron - up 10 places.

In mid July - I noticed a spike of reader interest in Micron which was so significant that I wrote about it (and the causes) at the time.

4 - HGST - same as before

In August 2015 - HGST demonstrated an InfiniBand memory fabric using PCM (phase-change memory).

5 - Seagate - same as before

In August 2015 - Seagate said would acquire Dot Hill Systems for $694 million.

6 - OCZ - down 3 places

In this quarter OCZ launched another new consumer SSD range - the Trion 100 - with a 3 year warranty.

7 - Violin Memory - up 2 places

Sometimes in this series - as we saw with STEC in its final years - SSD companies which once dominated market attention for positive business reasons - retain high visibility as their businesses decline. This is due to stakeholders trying to figure out if they have hot rock bottom yet or have any untapped upcycling potential.

see also:- rackmount SSDs

8 - EMC - up 12 places

EMC was the 2nd fastest climber in the list in this quarter.

This sampling period (Q3 - July, August, September) was before the October 13, 2015 announcement that Dell had agreed to buy EMC.

9 - Kaminario - up 3 places

This is Kaminario's best rank in the more than 5 years it has appeared in this series.

In this quarter Kaminario provided more visibility into its customer base usage profiles with the statement that 97% of its customers were writing to their AFAs under 1 DWPD. This was the justification for a new 3D TLC based model supported by a 7 years endurance related systems warranty.

10 - Pure Storage - same as before

In August 2015 - Pure Storage filed documents with the SEC for its IPO - which revealed many interesting details about the company's revenue and customer base.

11 - Intel - up 5 places

In this quarter Intel announced it would enter the DIMM wars markets (targeting both memory channel SSD and SCM) with a non volatile memory technology called 3D XPoint / Optane developed in partnership with Micron with sampling expected in 2016.

12 - Western Digital - re-entry to the list

Western Digital was the fastest climber in this edition of the Top SSD Companies - up more than 15 places

13 - Tegile Systems - down 5 places.

In this quarter Tegile launched a new storage box called IntelliFlash HD based on SanDisk's InfiniFlash SSD hardware box and Tegile's software which can provide 0.5 petabytes of uncompressed flash capacity in 3U.

Back in March 2015, commenting on the launch of InfiniFlash I said - "The availability of cheap, raw, white box rackmount SSDs like this from SanDisk, HGST and other vendors may put some pressure on traditional storage vendors to justify why they charge so much for - what in most cases - are in reality vanilla flash arrays with some added software features."

In the same news story - I also named Tegile as a vendor which (while having creatively priced functionality) would need to react to the cost assumptions set by the InfiniFlash platform.

Which is what they did.

See also:- the whys, wherefores and roadmap to enterprise SSD consolidation

14 - Samsung - same as before

Samsung didn't make any significant SSD announcements in this quarter. But in an educational paper revealed more about the technology and reliability aspects of its 32 layer V-nand.

15 - InnoDisk - same as before

see also:- industrial SSDs

16 - BiTMICRO - up 5 places

see also:- PCIe SSDs, rackmount SSDs

17 - Foremay - up 2 places

Foremay didn't make any significant SSD product announcements in this quarter.

see also:- military SSDs

18 - Nimbus Data - same as before

In this quarter Nimbus was one of the AFA vendors shortlisted for comparison by DCIG in a market report discussed here in September 2015.

Also Nimbus was one of only two AFA vendors in the Top 20 SSD Companies which was still privately owned (the other being Kaminario).

19 - Microsemi - down 12 places

In this quarter Microsemi launched 3 new secure rugged SSD products in 2.5", mSATA and XMC form factors.

see also:- military SSDs

20 - Virtium - down 14 places

see also:- industrial SSDs

21 - Cactus Technologies - down 14 places

see also:- industrial SSDs

22 - Marvell - same as before

see also:- SSD controllers

23 - RunCore - same as before

24 -Toshiba - up 11 places

25 - IBM - down 8 places

Who were the SSD companies just outside this list?

The next 15 companies (listed in ranking order) were:- For more like this take a look at these resources:- Footnotes

The rankings above were based on analzying the SSD related search activity of our readers referred from over 112,000 servers during the sampling period in Q3 2015 (July, August and September).
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- SSD news (January 12, 2016)

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RAM used to mean components:- SRAM, DRAM etc.

Now after 8 years (of the PCIe SSD learning curve experience) we have to rethink the RAM concept.

RAM is whatever the software thinks is RAM.

And it doesn't just live in DIMM sockets.

Or even have to live in the same cabinet.
what's RAM really?

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We're now nearing a pivotal point in the enterprise SSD market where the long held assumptions I helped to encourage (especially how many leading systems vendors there will be in the market at the same time) are about to change dramatically.
90% of the enterprise SSD companies which you know have no good reasons to survive


Editor:- July 16, 2015 - If you saw the news a few days ago you won't be too surprised to learn that Micron was the #1 most researched SSD company by readers in the first half of July.

SSD news - July 2015

(1st month of the sampling period for this quarter)

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Editor:- August 21, 2015 - Explaining why 3D TLC is good enough - Kaminario says its HealthShield - "has been collecting endurance statistics for the past few years, and from analyzing the data we see that 97% of (our) customers are writing less than a single write per day (under 1 DWPD) of the entire capacity."

SSD news - August 2015

(2nd month of the sampling period for this quarter)

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Editor:- September 30, 2015 - It's not DCIG's fault that the enterprise SSD market resembles at times the navigational uncertainty of Lost in Space (original tv series) when in the very first episode the rocket gets hit by a meteor storm.

SSD news - September 2015

(3rd month of the sampling period for this quarter)

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