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the Top SSD Companies in Q2 2018

which grabbed the attention of SSD readers of StorageSearch.com

45th quarterly edition

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - StorageSearch.com
Since this series began 11 years ago it has helped millions of readers in the SSD ecosystem confidently identify emerging market patterns and significant new companies.

I have found it to be incredibly useful in my work as an editor too. In fact that's how the list really started - when I began to share some of the internal data I was seeing in my web logs. But all good things come to an end and after 26 years doing this kind of stuff my active role as a publisher, analyst, blogger and editor in the storage market will cease entirely in 2019. I've got a lot of questions to answer related to the many inquiries I've already had from companies interested in buying StorageSearch.com.

So I'm keeping this edition short.

That brevity includes the number of companies in the list too - which has crunched back to the size it was at the start of the series. Why? Well one reason is that memoryfication companies are more important to the future of the SSD and memory markets than pure play SSD companies. At the outset of this series I correctly predicted that the SSD market would grow from tens of companies to many hundreds. And that's the original list expanded from 10 to about 25.

When it comes to companies which are pivotal to the next stages in the future of the SSD and memory systems markets I would say there are less than 40 companies today which are doing interesting things. And just as the HDD and RAID systems markets of the 1990s and early 2000s eventually gave to the SSD fabric infrastructures and ecosystems of today - so too will the SSD and storage markets migrate in the next decade to become various types of specialized memory systems which I think will emulate storage as a backwards compatible legacy software notion while being primarly focused on new applications and markets created by intelligently applied memory.

Although that next phase of market and technology evolution began 4 years ago - progress has been slow. But the SSD market has been the main incubator and is a good enough sampling basis to capture who those companies are. As you can see from some of my older articles about the interplay of processor design with memory - the future market will be impacted also by new types of processors and accelerators which don't look much like old style storage or memory or CPUs. Anyway - enough of looking of ahead. Let's look back again to this list. You can still find deep coverage and analysis of the important ideas which were permeating in the news archives duing this quarter here:- April, May, and June 2018.

the Top 10 SSD Companies - Q2 2018

based on StorageSearch.com reader interest in this period)
1 NGD Systems - same as before. Best known for shipping SSDs with in-situ processing / computational storage.
2 Seagate - Best known as one of the 2 leading hard drive manufacturers which successfully crossed the chasm to SSD market prominence - in Seagate's case (so far) without owning memory fabs.
3 Pure Storage - Best known for marketing AFAs as lower cost enterprise storage systems compared to traditional HDD arrays. (User value proposition #5 - StorageSearch.com SSD adoption models 2010).
4 Micron - Best known for being one of the world's largest manufacturers of memory and history of collaboration with Intel on architectural roadmaps. (Including its recent ailing venture on 3DXPoint.)
5 Foremay - Best known for military SSDs.
6 Nimbus - Best known for shipping dense multi-petabyte AFAs and licensing technology for high density 100TB SAS SSDs.
7 Toshiba - Best known as leading manufacturer of flash memory and recent spin-off from its parent company of the same name.
8 Western Digital - Best known as one of the 2 leading hard drive manufacturers which successfully crossed the chasm to SSD market prominence - in Western Digital's case having acquired a bigger pot of SSD companies than any other vendor in the market. And unlike Seagate - owning some significant flash memory assets.
9 BiTMICRO - Best known as one of the few pioneers of flash SSDs from the 1990s - which has survived without being acquired - and which has been active in both military and enterprise embedded markets.
10 Violin - Best known for being a pioneer of fast AFAs using its own big controller architecture. Also once known for its big market ambitions which led it into banruptcy. The reconstructed Violin - under new ownership - sounds better rooted in marketing segment reality.

hey - where are the other companies?

Sorry as I explained above - this list is shrinking back to its original size. The simple reason is we don't need such long lists any more for the pure play SSD and AFA markets because they have now settled into more slowly changing patterns - which are evolutionary rather than revolutionary. And you can get lists of more such companies ranked by revenue from many market research sources.

Looking ahead - if I wasn't busily involved in discussions to sell StorageSearch.com and retire - I'd be thinking about creating a new series which tracks companies which are integrating memory and computing into the same devices. I've been writing a lot about these new trends in the past 4 years and before I finish writing about SSDs for good - I'll create a resource page which gives you a simple top level view of the various technologies and companies involved in computational storage / processing in memory (or SSD) etc and the problems for which these next generation intelligent memory architectures are a best fit.

related reading

Can you trust SSD market data?

are we ready for infinitely faster RAM?

a guide to semiconductor memory boom-bust cycles - with an SSD bias

Decloaking hidden and missing market opportunities for enterprise flash


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If you could go back in time and take with you - in the custom DeLorean pickup - a factory full of modern memory chips and SSDs (along with backwards compatible adapters) what real impact would that have? Now - how about if you could come back to 2018 from the future? This thought experiment and analysis explains why we're seeing daringly different new memory accelerators which don't even look like memories.
are we ready for infinitely faster RAM? (and what would it be worth)
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