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the Top SSD Companies - Q2 2016

37th quarterly edition

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - - July 5, 2016
When I started publishing the Top SSD Companies in 2007 I advocated timeliness as being one of the useful attributes of such a list.

I said - "search volume data - is a near real-time and (nearly) reliable way to see which way things are heading in changing markets."

In the past 9 years the Top SSD Companies has proven itself to be a consistently sensitive predictor of market activity and business trends in all kinds of ways.

Part of this success has undoubtedly been due to the feedback effect of the list on the market due the filtering and funnelling aspect of the list itself and the way it focuses the attention of influential readers whose decisions impact the market.

The series has also been a useful repository for comments about changing trends in the SSD market - playing a role between the relentless daily comments and analysis you'll see in SSD news and blogs (here and elsewehere on the web) the scatter gun noise from SSD market reports and other storage related research (which are now declining), industry trade shows and the annual updates which pull together a narrative trend from the many threads of change which have been observed in the market.

One of the shortcomings I've noticed in my own reporting of the series in recent quarters has been that I've published the lists later than the ideal deadline- which is within days of the sample period ending.

My excuse is there always seems to be another call for my time. All to do with the day to day work of learning about the market and running and maintaining a web based publication which tries to distill the essence of what's important. And another distraction has been the temptation to write apposite notes about many of the companies listed.

Those factors while undeniably adding to the quality of the reader engagement experience in one dimension have also had the negative impact of detracting from the quality of timeliness. And as a result the "real-time" impact of the list has weakened.

In this edition I've decided to publish the list as soon as possible and without many commentaries. If you need them you can find more information and narrative in the usual places by following the link trails.

the Top 25 SSD Companies - Q2 2016

based on reader search (over 200,000 unique readers in this period)

1 - Pure Storage - up 1 place

What can I say?

This is the culmination of many long term strategic trends - all of which were pointing towards the answer that until we reach a point of less disruptive change and greater stability which is still some years in the future - that in today's changing enterprise market it is the rackmount SSD companies (including cloud) and systems architecture and software which are the only optimal scale in which to design, integrate, and sell SSD everywhere solutions as a business brand.

This doesn't mean to say that Pure Storage will always be that brand. Any more than that in previous periods - Fusion-io was the enterprise PCIe SSD market or that Diablo was the SSD DIMM wars market.

In the SSD market it's ideas rather than companies which stick around.

But Pure Storage encapsulates in one place or brand today's market reality of a dream which began with other companies in other places and before Pure itself was even founded - which was one of the fundamental predictions of the SSD market adoption model due to user value analysis. "SSDs will replace HDDs as the working storage in the enterprise."

I promised you less commentary. But for a new #1 company in this historic series - I couldn't just leave it without saying a few words.

2 - SanDisk - down 1 place

See also:- who's been acquiring SSD companies since 2000?

3 - Seagate - up 3 places

See also:- SSD controllers, the SSD empowered cloud

4 - Violin Memory - down 2 places

If you haven't been following this story closely for the past 9 years - the simple version is this.

Violin shot to fame in the market at a time when acceleration was the thing.

Shortly after that - when caching and tiering software fragmented the SSD acceleration market into many shapes and sizes Violin failed to stick to any single core market role and instead spent lots of investor money trying to get into enterprise application segments which were far too numerous for any single company to competently compete in.

See also:- high availability enterprise SSDs

5 (tied) - Diablo Technologies - down 1 place

See also:- should we set higher expectations for memory systems?

5 (tied) - Micron - same as before

See also:- what's DRAM really?, nvms for SSDs, memory boom-bust

7 - Foremay - up 2 places

See also:- SSD security, military SSDs

8 - Intel - down 1 place

See also:- The enterprise flash story... why is the plot so tangled?

9 - HGST - up 3 places

See also:- SAS SSDs, PCIe SSDs

10 - Kaminario - up 1 place

See also:- rackmount SSDs

11 - Samsung - up 3 places

See also:- consumer SSDs, M.2 SSDs

12 - Virtium - up 9 places

See also:- industrial SSDs

13 - V&G also formerly known as RunCore - up 3 places

See also:- the SSD push-me pull-yous of customization vs standardization

14 - Tegile Systems - up 6 places

See also:- Auto-tuning SSD Accelerated Pools of storage

15 - EMC - down 2 places

See also:- the Fastest SSDs

16 - OCZ - down 6 places

See also:- consumer SSDs

17 - NxGn - up 8 places

See also:- M.2 SSDs

18 - InnoDisk - down 1 place

See also:- industrial SSDs

19 - Marvell - up 8 places

See also:- SSD controllers, SSD glue chips

20 - Toshiba - down 2 places

See also:- SAS SSDs, flash memory

21 - BiTMICRO - down 6 places

See also:- rackmount SSDs, PCIe SSDs

22 - Nimbus Data Systems - up 1 place

See also:- rackmount SSDs

23 - Cactus Technologies - down 1 place

See also:- industrial SSDs

24 - Microsemi - down 16 places

See also:- RAM SSDs, SSD glue chips

25 - IBM - up 3 places

See also:- the fastest SSDs

Who were the SSD companies just outside this list?

The next 10 companies (listed in ranking order) were:-

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what were the big SSD memory architecture ideas in 2016?
SSD ad - click for more info
Creating the climate for DIMM wars

The DRAM market's new clothes had long been invisible.

But the SSD market was too preoccupied with lower hanging fruit in storage.

Now the secret is out and the effect of DIMM wars will brutal and swift and erode decades of collective wisdom about the shape of next generation memory.
latency loving reasons for fading out DRAM in the virtual memory slider mix
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the top 10 SSD oems

the Top SSD Companies
series overview - 2007 to 2016

LSI SandForce SSD processors - click for more info
the awards winning silicon
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from Seagate
SSD news
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market research
the Top SSD Companies - series overview
about the publisher - 24 years guiding the enterprise
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the enterprise SSD story why's the plot so complicated?
consolidation in enterprise flash arrays - why? when? analysis
SSD ad - click for more info

automatic flash characterization, NVMe over Fabrics, different approaches to Storage Class Memory...
what were the big SSD memory
architecture ideas in 2016?

my comment about Pure Storage

This is the culmination of many long term strategic trends...

This pivotal change in strategic market emphasis was one of the the big SSD ideas to assimilate in 2013.

In that article I said among other things...

"The importance of lessons learned at the rackmount SSD level - as a business development strategy for SSD drive vendors cannot be overstated in this phase of the market. Although many of these lessons can be learned indirectly by other means- the risk of being remote from the user experience of deploying large SSD arrays - places drive vendors at a disadvantage where what they do isn't seen to be unique - and their prime route to market is as a commodity."

in August 2016

Samsung claimed the #1 crown in enterprise SSD market share in a press release which quoted various percentages (32% to 45%) from market research reports which relate to Q1 2016.

How secure is that #1 ranking?
we're #1 in enterprise SSDs - says Samsung

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? the article

Samsung began mass producing the industry's first 10nm class 8Gb DDR4 DRAM chips.
SSD news - April 2016

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

SSD ad - click for more info

When all storage is made from memories the dividing line between storage and memory is much more fluid than it has been before. And the new philosopher's stone by which alchemy memory chip arrays are repurposed along this spectrum from one to the other - raising and lowering the data entropy - is software rather than controller chips.
where are we heading with memory intensive systems?

SSD ad - click for more info

Symbolic IO exited stealth mode and unveiled a new family of systems products which are memory intensive, use aggressive data compacting and are functionally distinct according to latency, processing and storage roles.
SSD news - May 2016

Pure Storage said its AFA revenue in Q1 2016 was more than the leading HDD array brand
SSD news - June 2016

SSD ad - click for more info

"We looked at where the large corporates failed to satisfy their clients, such as when low profits and inconvenience caused those big companies to be disinterested, we then approached the clients with customized solutions"
Kevin Wang, VP Sales - Longsys - talking about business growth tactics (Longsys makes 200 million memory devices each year) in the blog - Longsys taps into IoT market with custom-made solutions (June 14, 2016)

See also:- customization vs standardization - SSD push-me pull-yous (and other SSD ideas in 2015/16)

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"Do you think we should add a heater?"

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