| leading the way to the
new storage frontier||...|
did we get into such a mess - with SSD software?
hidden preference segments in the enterprise
nice vs naughty -
the epic saga of flash wars in the enterprise
to EMC" - the dreams and illusions of AFA startups
|90% of the enterprise SSD
companies which you know have no good reasons to survive
|In the home page blog on StorageSearch.com I look at
drivers, mechanisms and routes towards consolidation in the enterprise SSD
systems market along with some other outrageous and dangerous ideas. The
"90% of the enterprise SSD companies which you
know have no good reasons to survive."
Before publication - I
discussed these ideas for about 3 months with strategically placed readers
(big users, VCs and vendors) and since the article was published you won't be
surprised when I tell you it has been the central core of many
private conversations since. ...read
5 years ago in SSD market history|
|In May 2010 - SandForce
announced a branding program for its SSD controllers - based around the concept
of - "SandForce Driven SSDs".
At the time SandForce was already the best known SSD controller
I discussed these issues in an article -
Imprinting the brain
of the SSD
How the market went from:- Who cares? - to - You care!
- about the identity of SSD controllers.
|Toshiba demonstrates 3.5"
|Editor:- May 18, 2015 - Toshiba today
demonstrations of a new hybrid drive which combines HDD and flash in a
3.5" form factor
with an Ethernet interface.|
comments:- for reasons which were obvious to systems architects 10 years
ago - and haven't changed today - you will always get better control of
performance and cost by designing a
hybrid storage array
with distinctly separate HDDs
and SSDs compared to combining both these functions in a single type of drive.
the dream of combining these functions in a single drive to add value to hard
drives does re-emerge in different guises from time to time.
only merit I can see to such a product - as the new hybrid from Toshiba - is
that if you have very simplistic and primitively designed systems
with using large arrays in a single type of applicaton - then combining both the
flash and magnetic storage in a single drive could simplify the
aspects of the design by spreading the risk and consequences of drive failures
in a homogenistic way which makes writing the software easier.
consumer market -
where we've seen most of the past market experiments with
- it doesn't matter if the product is withdrawn from the market after a year or
so - because the design costs only have to make sense for a brief window of
But in the enterprise market - the risks of
committing an array design to a drive type which is single sourced and hasn't
got an independently arguable credible future roadmap means that such system
implementations are rare.
|which market uses the
highest capacity PCIe SSDs?|
|Editor:- May 12, 2015 - Unlike the enterprise
market where nearly everyone uses technologies which are recognizably similar to
everyone else - we don't hear so much about advances in embedded
- because a technique which pushes the state of the art for one industrial
customer may be of no interest to nearly everyone else. |
hearing more stories in which increasing SSD capacity in confined rugged
spaces is the difference.
Yesterday it was a
customer story from Waitan about designing
and supplying high capacity PCIe SSD modules for use on a drilling platform.
That was an application where paying more for the SSD to fit the space was
cheaper than making more space for the SSD.
This morning I learned
(which is in the rugged industrial, space and defense markets) is working with
introduce high capacity HyperLink SSDs into their
If you've got something similar - particularly in the
mobile datacenter context - send me an email with the details.
|still the same positioning
for new generation of SanDisk inside Fusion ioMemory PCIe SSDs|
|Editor:- April 28, 2015 - Back in the summer of
2012 - at
which time the PCIe SSD
market was already well served by many strong (and soon to be acquired)
competitors (as you can see in
archived news page from September 2012) I came up with a short phrase to
summarize the positioning of Fusion-io's products (in ads here) which ran like
"the standard for enterprise PCIe SSDs by which all
others are judged:- ioDrives from Fusion-io".
About a year
later (in about
2013) when I was seeking for a way to refine that description - I updated
that summary to...
"(still) the standard for enterprise PCIe SSDs
by which all others are judged:- ioDrives from Fusion-io."
reason I mention that is to show how phrases which appear in ads can stick in
readers' minds years later and resurface in everyday conversations.
is something which (as I've got no formal qualifications in writing) I had never
really thought about until I heard a lecture on this very point by Professor
in an episode of his audio series "Building
Great Sentences" - a series which I dip into from time to time -
originally triggered by the hope that I might learn some useful tricks I
could apply to my scribbles on this site but a series which as I heard more
episodes sustained my interest more so because it took me to unexpected
panoramas of word writing virtuosity which have probably given me more
pleasure as a spectator than the haphazard impressionistic experiments
in recycling his word craft which I sometimes inflict on you .
can imagine my delight at seeing a recent
release from SanDisk
about a new generation of
Fusion ioMemory PCIe
SSDs which among other things included this statement by John Scaramuzzo,
senior VP and GM, Enterprise Storage Solutions, SanDisk.
technology fundamentally transformed expectations about data center performance
when it debuted 8 years ago and it remains the standard by which all other
PCIe products are judged.
Also in this news story we learn that
over 250,000 of these accelerators have been deployed by over 7,000 customers.
And that having been re-engineered to use SanDisk memory - the new models
cost a lot less than the previous generation ioDrive2 product, and are 2x
faster at reads.
| hold up
capacitors in 2.5" MIL SSDs|
do you really need them?
Editor:- March 31, 2015 - I've been looking at
different aspects of power hold up schemes in mission critical non volatile
memory systems for over 30 years. |
But every time I revisit this vast
topic and compare fresh examples from the market - I learn something a
little bit new.
My new blog -
to three seconds - demonstrates the extreme range of hold up times
now in the market inside leading edge 2.5" military flash SSDs.
|OCZ's programmable power
envelope 2.5" hot swap NVMe SSDs|
May 20, 2015 - OCZ
today revealed more details about the new models shipping in its NVMe
compatible PCIe SSD family - which was first announced last
had already heard before these new models include 2.5" hot swappable
Today OCZ said this model - the
Z-Drive 6300 SFF
will be available with usable capacities of 800GB, 1.6TB and 3.2TB (in
this quarter) followed by 6.4TB (later this year).
performance is upto 2.9GB/s and 1.4GB/s respectively. Random R/W
700K IOPS and 120K IOPS. Latencies are 30µs (write) and 80µs (read).
options are 1 or 3 DWPD.
availability and reliability features
The new Z-Drive 6000 models
are dual ported so that 2 host systems can concurrently access the same SSD.
Additionally, the Z-Drive 6000 Series supports hot swapping of 2.5"
drives, pre-set power thresholds and temperature throttling to support many
types of enterprise ecosystems.
Editor's comments:- for various reasons to do with a
combination of standardization
efforts and changes
of ownership for nearly every major enterprise PCIe SSD company in the
market - you've had to wait 3 years since the idea of this kind of product was
first discussed seriously on
these pages and at
What has become clear to systems architects is that these
new products offer far more flexibility in their roles than merely performance
upgrades to high end SAS
SSDs and traditional storage arrays.
Among other things these new
types of products will enable lower cost mini SSD server clustering at
PCIe latencies which will spur growth in the SDS market. At the high end - they
could become the new building blocks inside the world's most powerful computer
Power consumption and heat in these NVMe SSDs?
know from talking to systems architects that the electrical power and thermal
footprints of 2.5" NVMe SSDs is a critical detail when considering the
design of dense storage arrays so I asked Scott Harlin,
OCZ for more information these factors. Here's what Scott said.
Zsolt you are correct the 2.5" drives can get a little toasty
packing in the higher densities into this form factor -- typical power
consumption of the Z-Drive 6000 series is 25W active and 9W idle. So we
included a few items to address these concerns:
1. - Temperature sensing and thermal throttling to maintain
consistent operating conditions even under adverse temperature variances
2. - User-selectable power envelopes, in 15W, 20W and 25W
settings, reduces wasted power when maximum performance is not required while
efficiently addressing temperature requirements in support of a variety of
3. - An innovative 'flow-through' case design enables more
airflow to critical components, keeping the device cool while reducing airflow
Editor's comments:- that user selectable power envelope- in graduated
steps - seems like a really useful design attribute. So I'll be watching out
for it in future arrayable SSD launches.
Coho adds all flash SSD nodes to its hybrid product mix
May 20, 2015 - Coho Data
it has closed $30 million in Series C funding, bringing its total funding to
nearly $67 million.
The round was led by March Capital Partners, with
additional participation from HP Ventures and Intel Capital as well as existing
investors Andreessen Horowitz and Ignition Partners.
Coho Data also
announced the general availability of its first all-flash storage node, the
2000f a 2U server based system which uses
2.5" NVMe SSDs
and conventional SATA
Coho says that using a judicious mix of its variously
(which includes micro-tiered
hybrid systems as
well as the new pure SSD nodes) "empowers customers to efficiently support
any application at any scale, all from a "single pane of glass"
management interface, and all at less than $0.10/GB usable per month."
Caringo gets patent for adaptive power conservation in SDS pools
May 19, 2015 -
it has obtained a US patent for adaptive power conservation in storage
clusters. The patented technology underpins its Darkive storage management
service which (since its
in 2010) actively manages the electrical power load of its server based
storage pools according to anticipated needs.
"The access patterns
and retention requirements for enterprise data have changed considerably over
the last few years to a store-everything, always accessible approach and storage
must adapt," said Adrian
J Herrera, Caringo VP of Marketing. "We developed Darkive to help
organizations of any size extract every bit and watt of value while keeping
their data searchable, accessible, and protected."
the big market impact
of SSD dark matter
53% of SDS users say that flash is less than 10% of their
Editor:- May 12, 2015 - What percentage of the capacity in
virtualized SDS environments is already flash?
An interesting picture
is given in a recently published survey
State of SDS (pdf) by DataCore - which
includes results from 477 IT professionals who are currently using or
evaluating SDS technology. Among the findings:-
- Less than 9% said that flash already acccounts for 40% or
more of their storage. And nearly half of all participants said that flash is
less than 10% of their storage capacity.
- Over 70% have flash in their budget in 2015.
- 16% of those who had used flash felt they hadn't got the apps
acceleration they expected.
comments:- You can interpret these results
different ways. I see it as showing that there's still a many times bigger
future market for enterprise flash compared to what has already been
- 19% said that storage failures had caused unforeseen outages.
cooling fans essential for high speed operation of Samsung's new
M.2 PCIe SSDs
Editor:- April 12, 2015 -
PCIe SSD - the SM951 - launched in
January - is the
subject a new
in the SSD Review.
Among other things it was interesting
to see how much the
of the SSD heated up when operating at high speed and heavy workloads and
the importance of accurately designed heat extraction if you plan to use this
SSD in such a way.
reviews of this product, M.2
considerations in SSDs (pdf),
Diablo's MCS supported by more slots in new Lenovo servers
May 6, 2015 - Diablo
that Lenovo's new 8U
X6 servers now support upto 32 eXFlash DIMMs (memory channel SSDs)
new power fail safe file system for tiny memory IoT
May 5, 2015 - Datalight
a preview version of
Edge, a power
fail-safe file system for FreeRTOS
which allows developers building IoT devices to reliably store and quickly
access data in embedded
SSDs. It requires as little as 4KB of RAM and 11KB of code size.
a file system which met the high reliability standard set by our (high
Nitro and could fit into tiny microcontroller based systems presented a
challenge and I love a challenge," said Jeremy Sherrill,
architect of file systems for Datalight. "Reliance Edge offers a rich set
of features in a highly efficient architecture."
Reliance Edge can
work with a broad array of storage mediaincluding NOR and NAND flash,
eMMC, SD/MMC, NVRAM,
USB storage, and
PATA) SSDs. Datalight
plans to release new pre-ported kits for other small-kernel OSes over the
How much 3D flash in 2015?
Editor:- May 5, 2015 -
that 3D will make up just 7% of NAND flash's average annual output for
who's who in ReRAM? - IHS article
Editor:- May 1,
2015 -Who's doing what re the commercialization of
- one of the seldomly heard from
NVM cousins - can be
learned in a new article -
Embedded ReRAM to 28nm - written by Peter Clarke
which appeared in IHSElectronics360.
other things re ReRAM - Peter Clarke says - "It has been the subject of
much research over the last decade because it had been predicted that NAND
flash memory would fail to scale beyond critical dimensions of 20nm."
article tells you which companies are still in this technology and discusses
current memory densities and controllers. ...read
12 years of "MRAM
will soon replace flash"
WD's enterprise SSD revenue up 67% yoy to $224 million / qtr
April 29, 2015 - When I do eventually get around to publishing my promised
$B/year enterprise SSD companies list - Western Digital will
be one of the many companies listed in it.
That point was neatly
clarified in an
conference call (transcript) yesterday - when Stephen
Milligan - President and CEO said WD's enterprise SSD revenue in the
recent quarter had grown to $224 million
Diablo resumes shipments of MCS following legal victories
April 27, 2015 - Diablo
has resumed business as usual in the shipment and development of its
channel storage technology following months of impediments related to
legal wrangles. Among other things the company today
that the US District Court for the Northern District of California has
ruled to completely dissolve a preliminary injunction enacted in
Violin warns users about "effective" capacity
April 22, 2015 - Violin
Memory says that "effective storage capacity is a terrible
measurement on which to make any firm plans (for buying flash storage arrays)"
in a new blog -
My Capacity? Effective, Usable and Raw Explained.
Because Violin goes on to say - "You simply cannot
know what the effective capacity of a storage system is until you put your data
on it. And you cannot guarantee that it will remain that way if your data is
going to change."
advises - "Never, ever buy a storage system based purely on the effective
capacity offered by the vendor and always consider whether the assumed
data reduction ratio is relevant to you. (Also, be very careful to read the
small print when a vendor offers a guarantee regarding data reduction ratios.)"
comments:- This is a direct retaliation aimed at competing vendors - who
using unfair tactics - such as the crowd sourced intelligence which enables them
to have a pretty darn good guess how "effective" will translate for
you (based on similar customers) are willing to take bets on
the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing.
It's the kind of
bet which is easier to finance when you've already proved it works and when
you're picky about which customers you offer it to. Which you can only do with
marketing analysis. Effective capacity promises are safer with effective
enterprise business veteran joins Kaminario's board
April 21, 2015 - Kaminario
announced that Jim
Dawson, a veteran of the storage industry, has been appointed to the
company's board of directors.
flash storage industry can be a small world, and I've had the privilege of
watching and admiring Kaminario from a unique perspective inside this ecosystem,"
said Dawson. "Businesses are in the midst of a transformative change in how
they structure their data centers..."
Dawson is a partner at Menlo
Ventures where he focuses on defining and executing successful sales
strategies in the enterprise technology space. Prior to that, Dawson was chief
sales officer and executive VP at
before that Dawson was VP of worldwide sales at
3PAR. He was also a
VP at Data General
responsible for the
storage business internationally.
Editor's comments:- normally I truncate the bio details in
news stories because you can see them for yourself in linkedin. But in this
instance I thought it worth leaving this in. Lest we forget DG and Clariion
were just as disruptive in their time as Fusion-io.
CoreRise ships new smaller BladeDrive PCIe SSD
April 20, 2015 - CoreRise
customer shipments of a new version of its BladeDrive family of gen 2 x8
PCIe SSDs - the E24
- which has a smaller form factor than the earlier E28. Its ASIC based
implementation supports upto 1.6TB capacity, 275K IOPS (4KB) and 2GB/s
throughput in half-height half-length. Software support includes Windows
Server, Linux and virtualization such as Xen, Hyper-v, as well as TRIM.
SanDisk comments on apparent customer drift away from its PCIe
SSDs and redesign in its SAS models
Editor:- April 16, 2015 - in a
results related conference call (transcript)
this week SanDisk's
President and CEO - Sanjay Mehrotra
- said that in the enterprise market it was seeing some of the business
which had traditionally been implemented by its customers using
PCIe SSDs was moving
towards arrays of SATA
other things the company also reported on delays in customer qualifications of
its SAS SSD products -
despite which SanDisk still expects to maintain its position as the 2nd
Editor's comments:- despite recent
some unique strengths SanDisk still has big holes in its enterprise SSD product
spectrum - among which
2.5" NVMe SSDs
is the most obvious example. Although SanDisk says
this gap will be
fixed in 2016 (pdf).
You should be careful not to misconstrue
SanDisk's statement about enterprise PCIe SSD replacement by SATA SSDs as a
trend for all customers and all types of PCIe SSDs.
are decided by infrastructure,
roadmap and risk assessment preferences and business economics.
the other hand the move towards inplementing arrays of SATA SSDs as
upgrades to displace PCIe SSDs can occur in the least expected places.
SanDisk's own first generation
- for example - have 2 embedded SATA SSDs inside.
A3CUBE shows shape of R/W in remote shared memory fabric
April 14, 2015 - There was a disproportionately high amount of reader interest
in A3CUBE in
A3CUBE was one of those rare companies which entered the
Top SSD Companies list
within a single quarter of exiting stealth mode or launching their first
product. At that time they hadn't shipped any production products so we had to
make some guesses about how the architecture would work with different R/W
any remote memory caching system there are always some types of R/W activities
which work better than others and now we can get an idea of the headroom in
A3CUBE's remote PCIe shared memory from a new slidedeck released by the company
Foundation - all NVMe solution some benchmarks) which is based on a 4 server
In this 13 slide presentation - the most
interesting for me was #12 - which shows random writes. A3CUBE says "This
test measures the performance of writing a file with accesses being made to
random locations within the file."
The throughput range is
typically 700MB/s to 8GB/s. The low end is more impressive than it first appears
- when you consider that it's a 4KB record changed within a remote 64KB file.
Sonnet launches "Fusion PCIe Flash Drive"
and some notes
re the Fusion brand in storage
Editor:- April 13, 2015 - Last week
I raised the subject of the possible confusion which I thought could arise
from a company called Sonnet
Technologies having chosen the name Fusion for a new PCIe connected
In pursuance of that story I received some useful
clarifications about this
issue which I'm publishing as a correction / elucidation story below.
original post began like this...
Sonnet launches "Fusion PCIe
Editor:- April 7, 2015 - In a move which I think
will lead to inevitable confusion - Sonnet Technologies has
today launched a new consumer storage module called the "Fusion PCIe
Fusion PCIe Flash Drive leverages the latest advancements in PCIe SSD design and
Thunderbolt 2 technology, enabling Sonnet to offer a storage device that fits
neatly in the palm of your hand yet delivers the blazing-fast performance of a
multi-drive RAID storage system many times its size," said Robert Farnsworth,
Sonnet Technologies CEO. "We think this will become an indispensable
accessory for the creative professional."
Editor's comments:- Inside the box - is an
M.2 SSD. If it had
anything to do with Fusion-io
- the best known brand in the
PCIe SSD market - then
I think we would have heard about it before.
I often wonder what goes
through the minds of product marketers when they name new SSD products. Many of
the clever words have already gone as you can see in my
SSD brand name
Later corrections and clarifications
contacted Sonnet's CEO - Robert Farnsworth about this name confusion issue.
said - "Robert is there any connection between your new Fusion PCIe drive
and Fusion-io? I would be surprised if there was. Didn't you anticipate
confusion when naming this product?"
Robert told me - "Sonnet
Technologies has been using the Fusion name for our storage product since before
Fusion-io existed as a company. None of Fusion-io products carry the Fusion name
because Sonnet owns the trademark."
I got more of the
background history about the Fusion storage trademark issue from Greg LaPorte,
VP Sales and Marketing - Sonnet Technologies - whose detailed notes make
Greg said - "Sonnet was actually the first
to use, and trademark, Fusion' in association with storage back in 2005 and have
since used it for all Sonnet storage products. With respect to Fusion-io, yes,
Sonnet began using the trademark Fusion' for storage products before Canvas
Technologies became FusionMultiSystems in June of 2006 and well before they
named their first ioDrive in September 2007. Later they evolved to Fusion-io
for a company name but did not name their actual products with Fusion. They tend
to use "io" in the majority of their product names."
email also included this related story.
"When Apple came out
with the Fusion Drive, we brought this to their attention; Was Apple infringing
on a Sonnet trademark? Their answer was that Fusion is so commonly used for
product names, they felt it fell into the non-trademarkable category. We...
dont agree with that assessment but we have a good relationship with Apple."
One cache to bind them
April 2, 2015 - SanDisk
- which in the past 4 years has
companies listed in the Top
SSD Companies List (published by StorageSearch.com)
the availability of acceleration bundles which integrate 3 of the most recent.
Among other things these include:-
have built our enterprise flash business to offer the broadest range of storage
acceleration solutions to address customers' changing needs," said
VP and GM, Systems and Software Solutions, SanDisk. "The new
hardware-software bundles offer the best of both our hardware and software
portfolios in a single solution."
Editor's comments:- when
I first spoke to FlashSoft
in June 2011 -
they were already talking to many of the industry's leading fast SSD makers
about supporting their drives. And in my
2011 year end
summary (SSD software has started to become real and useful) - I said - "Think
of SSD software as being able to convert raw SSD gold into SSD jewelry. If
enough users like the style the end-result is worth a lot more than the scrap
But in the years immediately following there was a lot
of uncertainty for enterprise users who relied on any particular
SSD software solution
- as most such companies couldn't be relied on to continue support for your
favorite SSD if they were acquired by a competitor of that SSD. And in many
cases - the investment and roadmaps for the acquired caching products fizzled
The new FlashSoft bundles will appeal to some types of enterprise
users who like this style of roadmap continuity - where the personality of their
SSD (software and controllers) come from the same source.
On the other
hand - for oems and big users who want to differentiate their systems by using
COTS SSDs from any source and their own choice of software - this kind of
bundle will be seen as a strategic threat and will incline many of them to
look instead towards vendors who are seen as more "software agnostic"
- such as Seagate,
segmentations (and user preferences) in the enterprise SSD market.
What happened before? - See the
SSD news archive