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the Top 10 SSD OEMs - 2008 Q1 - 4th in this series

.. the top 10 SSD oems ... StorageSearch.com is proud to pre-announce the probable future winners in the solid state storage market.
click here for the most recent version of the Top SSD companies list

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Who are the top 10 most important SSD manufacturers - the companies which you absolutely have to look at if you've got got any new projects involving SSDs? A decade ago there was an easy answer. "All of them!" It wasn't till 1999 that our online SSD directory tipped over the 10 companies mark.

Today (March 2008) there are over 71 active listed SSD oems. Another 4 or so I know in stealth mode, another 10 I'm checking out as imminent maybes and I expect the total number of SSD oems to go north of 100 in 2008. The new storage gold rush is chasing an opportunity for storage systems companies that could eventually be worth 5 to 10 billion dollars a year.
Who's going to dominate this market? It's not that easy to predict. There's already a lot of traction (7 companies were non movers or changed rank by only 1 position in the top 10 this quarter). Stakes have been put in the ground claiming desirable application or technology territories. A handful of SSD pioneers have already exited the market, gone bust or been acquired.

Hoping to buck that trend SSD Pioneer EMC announced in mid January 2008 it was re-entering the SSD market after a 20 year absence. But they have a steep hill to climb. EMC failed to make it into this top 10 SSD list for Q108 - laying just outside at #11. We'll have to wait another 3 months to se if they do any better. (...Later:- July 2010 - EMC never made it into the top 10 SSD list. Their SSD products weren't good enough. For reasons - see rackmount SSDs, SSD ASAPs and PCIe SSDs.)
To go back to the question - which are the most important SSD oems to look at right now? There are 2 empirical ways to form such a list based on different market research approaches.

(1) - financial data - looks at revenue and shipping volumes. The problem with this approach in a market that's growing so fast - is that revenue data can be 3 to 6 months out of date when collected and may not sample any data at all from important new companies which have recently entered the market. This traditional approach will probably work fine from about the middle of 2009 onwards. And if you can afford to wait that long before choosing SSD partners / suppliers that's OK. But is it really? I think waiting that long is very risky. Many companies will be at a severe competitive disadvantage if their competitors are using SSD technology first. Faster SSD accelerated ecommerce sites, faster databases and new SSD powered business applications will mean that waiting too long to hit the SSD trail could be damaging to your competitiveness.
(2) - search volume data - is a near real-time and (nearly) reliable way to see which way things are heading in changing markets. I've got strong confidence in this approach having used it as an online publisher for over a decade to help me make predictions about emerging technologies and disruptions in the storage market. But search volume based market inferences only work if you have high volumes of search in the specific subject. That's why you're here... Because when it comes to SSDs STORAGEsearch.com has delivered millions of article views related to hard SSD content and our readership is growing fast. We've also been discussing the SSD market with nearly every SSD manufacturer (sometimes before they founded their companies) and with analysts and interested readers in a wide range of enterprises longer than any other publisher or analyst.
The Top 10 SSD OEMs

The listing below is based on storage search volume on this site. This metric samples strong follow up interest generated by browsing our SSD directories, following up news stories or articles and following links from ads. But it excludes the pageviews of product ads themselves. As we track every manufacturer in the market and any manufacturer can (and does) send us their content related to SSDs - this is a measure of how our readers have reacted to that content.
the Top 10 SSD OEMs - © StorageSearch.com
based on reader pageviews in 1st Quarter 2008
rank manufacturer SSD technology notes....................................................
1 BiTMICRO Networks Flash SSD Same as before.

In January 2008 - BiTMICRO said it will sample its highest capacity 2.5" flash SSD -the E-Disk Altima 832GB - in the 2nd quarter of 2008 - with volume production expected in Q3.
2 STEC Flash SSD Up 2 places since the last quarter.

In January 2008 - STEC announced it would be supplying its SSDs on an "exclusive" basis for use in EMC's Symmetrix DMX-4.

In February 2008 - STEC launched the the 32GB MACH4 - the fastest CF form factor SSD on the market. It's got low power consumption too - just 1W.

But business volume hadn't kept up with the dizzy pace of STEC's new SSD product announcements. In March 2008 - the company announced Q407 revenue had declined 28% compared to the year ago quarter.
3 Mtron Flash SSD Same as before.

In February 2008 - Mtron announced it would ship a 1.8" flash SSD aimed at notebooks with a maximum read speed of 120MB/s and write speed of 100MB/s - in April.
4 Memoright Flash SSD Up 1 place since the last quarter.

In January 2008 - Memoright announced availability of 64GB and 128GB versions of its 2.5" PATA / SATA flash SSDs.

In March 2008 - Memoright launched a faster family of 2.5" SATA flash SSD. The GT Series has upto 64GB capacity and 120MB/s sustained read/write.
5 SanDisk Flash SSD Down 3 places since the last quarter.

In January 2008 - SanDisk announced details of a new slimmed-down (5mm thick) 1.8" SATA flash SSD with upto 72GB capacity.

In February 2008 - SanDisk said it would soon ship storage products based on a 3-bits-per-cell MLC flash memory technology which had been codeveloped with Toshiba.
6 Samsung Flash SSD Same rank as last 2 quarters.

In January 2008 - Samsung announced it had developed a 128GB MLC flash SSD in 1.8" and 2.5" form factors that will ship in volume in the first half of 2008.
7 Adtron Flash SSD Same as before.

In February 2008 - Adtron was aquired by SMART Modular Technologies.
8 Texas Memory Systems RAM SSD
Flash SSD
Same as before.

In January 2008 - Texas Memory Systems announced new SSD IOPS records (audited by SPC). Its RamSan-400 SSD delivered 291,208 SPC-1 IOPS with a record average response time of less than 0.9 milliseconds.
9 Toshiba Flash SSD New entry to top 10.

In March 2008 - Toshiba launched 3 MLC flash SSD families with SATA interfaces and form factors including module, 1.8" and 2.5".
10 Violin Memory RAM SSD Down 1 place since the last quarter.

Violin didn't make any major product announcements in Q108.
How to interpret the rankings?

The most important thing is being included in the list rather than the position within it. Having said that there's a 4x difference in pageviews between companies at the top or bottom. The top 10 companies will vary from quarter to quarter and the rankings will change too. But there's a hard core of companies which are always in the the top 10. You'll be able to see who those are in future quarterly editions of this list and you'll also be able to see if any companies have moved sharply up or down.

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