You may ask - is it still needed? -The answer is yes. Because
despite the number of big
the SSD market in recent years - we're still on the last stretches of an upward
ramp of vendors in the SSD market because of new opportunities being created by
changes which are necessary and predictable before we get to the kind of
standardized product roles and ecosystem which will lead to a collapse in
distinct brands needed to sustain the market. (For more about that -
So it's the same problem as we had before...
many companies to track and still many new ways of doing things better which
break away from the restricted capabilities of past technologies. And that's
why it's still useful to have a short list of companies ranked by the search
activity of readers like you on StorageSearch.com.
through our past actions and insights we've guided the SSD market from the
dawnings of SSD market self awareness and early evolutionary struggles to
test and prove degrees of sustainability. No one today seriously disputes
that all the key ways of advancing progress in the capabilities and
affordabilities of the digital data economy will have multi-role adapted,
intensive-memory data architectures (call it SSD thinking for simplicty) at
What were the back stories in Q1 2016 which drew SSD
readers to these companies? Clues to reader search gravity can be seen in the
for this period (January,
although expectations set by earlier events and things going on elsewhere
in these markets also play a part. Enough of the preamble. Here's the list.
This will be the last time that SanDisk is reported as its own
identity in this series due to the acquisition by WDC having closed in Q2 2016.
SanDisk's search volume was 2x as high as either of the next 2 companies in
the list. 2 (tied) - Pure Storage - up
This is the best ever ranking for Pure Storage in this
series. Later (in May 2016) Pure reported that its revenue in this period had
grown 89% year on year. 2 (tied) - Violin
Memory - up 1 place
Violin's revenue picture was somewhat
different to Pure's in this period. (Pure's revenue was 14x higher than
Violin's.) Violin's quarterly revenue in early 2016 was about half what it was
in 2012 (the year before going public). Given that Violin's product line uses
proprietary controllers some of the fascination with Violin is that it is still
One lifeline on the competitivity front for Violin - should
it choose to grab for it - is that it may be feasible to expand its reach to
lower cost flash memory by incorporating endurance hardening technology from
NVMdurance to create
its own brand of eMLC. That's the kind of thing which the company needs to be
looking at. 4 - Diablo
Technologies - down 2 places
10 companies indicated they had plans to enter the
SCM / SSD DIMM
wars market and compete in the application zone evangelized by Diablo.
Although the DRAM displacement market is expected to become a multi-billion
dollar opportunity there are already signs that it will be fragmented. 5 - Micron
- same as before
In this quarter Microsemi completed its acquisition of
PMC-Sierra for $2.5
billion and also announced it was selling its military SSD business to
Mercury Systems for
$300 million. 9 - Foremay
- up 12 places
In this quarter Foremay announced that a fast method of
SSD erase - "crypto erase" - now available in its SSDs could sanitize
a 20TB drive in under a second. 10 - OCZ
- down 1 place
In the following quarter
Toshiba (which has owned
OCZ for over 2 years) changed the way it was using the OCZ brand. OCZ is now
designated as a consumer brand within the Toshiba SSD portfolio. 11 - Kaminario
- up 1 place 12 - HGST
- down 5 places
In this quarter during the long waiting period between
the announcement and completion of yet another SSD company (SanDisk) by its
parent WDC - HGST was so silent in the flash airwaves it almost seemed as if
all those previous SSD companies which had got sucked into the recycling vortex
Competitors can probably take comfort from the fact
that many of the SSD product lines which HGST and WDC have previously sucked in
- don't appear to have stayed stuck to the sides with any meaningful market
And my guess is that given the amount of turbulent changes in
technology still in the market's forseeable future we can expect to see more
SSD companies being acquired after the present meal has been salami sliced and
digested. 13 - EMC
- same as before 14 - Samsung
- down 3 places 15 - BiTMICRO
- down 5 places 16 - V&G
also formerly known as RunCore - up 1 place 17 - InnoDisk
- down 3 places 18 - Toshiba
- down 2 places
I have been asked by some readers why don't I combine
the search activities of SSD companies which own other SSD companies which are
shown in the same list?
In the 9 years of publishing this series my
decision about when to do so has been determined by whether that provides
greater or lesser clarity in the market.
Sometimes it takes years for
acquiring companies to determine effectively what to do with the new company and
products they've got (in a way which the market is empathetic with). In other
cases the rebranding and assimilation can be almost instant.
it case by case and month by month for each company. I've been making these
judgements in my enterprise buyers guides for
25 years but I
still don't have a magic formula. 19 - Memblaze
- up 7 places
Nimbus (which from external
digital media appearances resembles a company which has gone back into stealth
mode) is the highest ranked privately owned maker of
rackmount SSDs in
this list. 24 - Netlist
- up 6 places
This is the first time in the Top SSD Companies List for
Netlist. 25 - NxGn
- up 6 places
This is the first time in the Top SSD Companies List
for NxGn. Who were the SSD companies just outside this list?
The next 10 companies (listed in ranking order) were:-
is always an interesting portion of the list for me as it includes many stories
of what has been and what might still happen.
For example HP is on its
way up. Although it has never been ranked inside the list - its position in this
quarter just outside the main list is its highest consideration by SSD readers
in the 9 years that this market tracker has been running.
IBM on the
other hand has dropped out of the list. Maybe because readers are just tired of
hearing new pumped up stories about the same things which they're already read
about about before.
For Viking - its prime position in this quarter is
If you follow up the links and stories for any of the
companies in the list above you'll start to form your own views of what they
have been doing that deserves more of your time and consideration.
it from me for now. As usual I'll add more detail to the narrative above in the
days after publication.
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.
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.
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
RAM used to be components:-
SRAM, DRAM etc.
Now after 8 years of the PCIe SSD market learning
curve experience we have to rethink the RAM concept.
virtualized world of SSDs everywhere - RAM is whatever the software thinks is
RAM - always provided that the typical average performance (at the apps level)
meets user QoS needs.
Although few of us will
ever get close enough to a real iceberg to worry about being the next Titanic -
it's nevertheless widely known that 9/10 of the mass of these floating mountains
is under the surface of the water.