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Capacitor hold up times in 2.5" military SSDs
should we set higher expectations for memory systems?
What were the big SSD ideas to learn and forget in 2015?
latency reasons for fading out DRAM in the virtual memory mix
placing 3D XPoint claims in context
Editor:- June 23, 2016 - If you've been trying to renconcile Intel / Micron competitive claims about 3D XPoint compared to flash and DRAM - it has been problematic due to absence of adequate hard data.

A new video - 3D XPoint, reality, opportunity, competition - by Sang Yung Lee, President & CEO - BeSang - places the known features of 3D XPoint into context, and looks at the limitations, manufacturing costs and best likely application roles for this new technology.

If you're interested in analyzing the impact of DIMM wars in your future plans - then the 12 minutes you spend listening to the narrative in this video will remove any mysteries of how the IM technologies could fit into the pattern of adoption and just as important - you'll see where 3D XPoint is unlikely to be the best fit technology too. the video
who's who in SSD? - Western Digital
Editor:- June 21, 2016 - I've recently updated the SSD profile for Western Digital - here on - to include a single unified list of the SSD companies it has acquired. (Including those done on WDC's behalf by HGST.)

Despite all those well known and admired SSD product technologies and brands which have gone into Western Digital's business recycler there still remain stark gaps in their enterprise SSD product line which would be difficult to fill organically.

"...not only were we the fastest-growing storage vendor named in IDC's report, but we cracked of the top 10 storage vendors (for revenue) globally not just for all-flash storage, but for ALL external enterprise storage."
Scott Dietzen, CEO - Pure Storage - in his recent blog - Reinforcing a generational shift in data center storage. (June 20, 2016)

See also:- terabyte talliers and storage market research

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"EMC's and every legacy array vendors problem is that cheap flash IOPS has destroyed the value of years of array controller optimizations for hard drives."
Robin Harris, StorageMojo, in his recent blog - EMC perfumes the pig - (June 10, 2016).

See also:- HDDs in an SSD world

Altera discusses FPGA offload in cohabiting memory arrays
Editor:- June 8, 2016 - a recent white paper from Altera - Stratix 10 MX Devices Solve the Memory Bandwidth Challenge (pdf) - discusses the role of more intelligent FPGA usage in next generation DRAM architecture.

Noting the design challenges from power budgets and bandwidth constraints on chip pins from legacy logic and memory approaches - Altera says its memory cohabiting FPGA architecture - HBM2 - unlocks new applications.

"One of the key functions for FPGA offload involves data extraction and comparison with in-memory data structures. For these access patterns, the increased bandwidth, channel count (from 4 interfaces to 64 channels), and increased open bank count (from 64 banks to 512 banks) have positive impacts on memory subsystem performance. The extra channel count and bank pool count allows more accesses to hit successfully on open DRAM banks. Because operations can avoid the bank activation penalty, this implementation increases performance." ... read the article (pdf)

what goes on inside AES encrypted SSDs?
storage security articles and news
SSD security
Editor:- May 24, 2016 - Securing SSDs with AES Disk Encryption - by C.C. Wu, VP - Innodisk - is a recent article published on Electronic Design.

Among other things in this article Wu cautions readers about the limitations of encrypted SSDs...

"As strong as the 256-bit AES encryption is on encrypted SSDs, it only protects data at rest, i.e., when the system is turned off. To protect data in flight, data-loss-prevention (DLP) techniques, use of secure communication protocols, and other measures must be taken." the article

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Compared to earlier phases in the SSD market more is changing.
the SSD Bookmarks - ver 2.0

For 13 years MRAM makers have been saying they will "soon" replace flash.
SSD's past phantom demons

What do want our memory systems to do for us?

And how do we want them to behave?

In the past all such efforts focused on making memory systems more reliable and compatible with past software.

An important emerging trend has been to demand much more from memory systems, and to offload data compute and other functions where ever it makes more sense from an energy and performance point of view to perform such functions inside the memory array.
there's more to upcoming SSD change than DIMM wars

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Until about the middle of 2015 - it was still generally agreed that if you used classical (non adaptive, non DSP) controllers then the endurance estimates you needed to take into account were still the figures supplied by the semiconductor memory makers.

Then a new company came along - whose founders had been researching a different way of characterising flash endurance for over a decade.
SSD endurance myths and legends

the most popular SSD articles on
popular SSD articles Editor:- June 1, 2016 - What were the most popular SSD articles here on the mouse site in May?

With over 3,000 to choose from it's hard knowing where to begin.

So I've updated the list of the Top 50 in May 2016.
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SSD news

Diablo invites ISVs to play with Memory1 at new experience center

Editor:- June 28, 2016 - Diablo Technologies today announced the opening of its ISV Development and Customer Experience Center at the company’s Silicon Valley office in San Jose, California. This will be the main hub for hands-on demonstrations and customer engagement activities related to Diablo's Memory Channel Storage and Memory1 (DIMM wars) products.

Virtium offers encryption in all its industrial SSD form factors

image shows mouse building storage - click to see industrial SSDs article
industrial SSDs
Editor:- June 28, 2016 - Virtium today announced self-encrypting drive features as options throughout all the form factors in its StorFly range of industrial SSDs.

"These support multiple SATA form factors, including 2.5", 1.8", Slim SATA, mSATA, M.2, and CFast. Additionally, they support all 3 StorFly reliability classes – CE (MLC), XE (industrial-grade MLC) and PE (SLC)" said Scott Phillips, VP of marketing at Virtium.

Virtium says many industrial-system makers and their customers continue to push functionality closer and closer to the network edge and the end-customer. This puts systems and the data they hold at risk of hacking and data theft. Virtium's new SEDs provide security for data at rest without sacrificing industrial features.

Mangstor has P2P in NVMe-based PCIe SSDs

Editor:- June 22, 2016 - Mangstor announced that its MX-Series family of NVMe-based PCIe SSDs now features higher capacity 5.4TB usable models (FHHL) as well as Peer-to-Peer (P2P) capabilities which provide low latency access to an extremely large storage pool of non-volatile memory, bypassing host resources.

pcie  SSDs - click to read article
The new models have been shown this week at the ISC High Performance Conference in Germany.

""Our innovative ability to separate data control from the data path optimizes I/O, reduces latency spikes and system bottlenecks, and delivers accelerated performance" said Paul Prince, CTO for Mangstor

can memory do more?

Editor:- June 17, 2016 - in a new blog on - I ask - where are we heading with memory intensive systems and software?

All the marketing noise coming from the DIMM wars market (flash as RAM and Optane etc) obscures some important underlying strategic and philosophical questions about the future of SSD.

When all storage is memory - are there still design techniques which can push the boundaries of what we assume memory can do?

Can we think of software as a heat pump to manage the entropy of memory arrays? (Nature of the memory - not just the heat of its data.)

Should we be asking more from memory systems? the blog

QLogic to be acquired

Editor:- June 15, 2016 - QLogic today announced it has agreed to be acquired by Cavium in a transaction worth approximately $1.36 billion.

Editor's comments:- Cavium describes itself as a "provider of highly integrated semiconductor processors that enable intelligent networking, communications, storage, video and security applications."

Micron's Inotera deal put on ice

Editor:- June 10, 2016 - Micron has announced that it will not be completing the acquisition of Inotera in mid July as previously anticipated.

Instead - "Micron expects to provide an update toward the latter part of calendar 2016."

Editor's comments:- the DRAM market is not what it used to be.

The demand for DRAM is expected by market researchers to shrink dramatically in the next 5 years due to retiring and retiering enterprise DRAM (SCM DIMM wars having been one of the big SSD ideas of 2015).

And this year we've seen companies like Marvell showing that the flash as DRAM substitution concept might work effectively at cell phone scale too.

I had doubts about interpreting the Inotera acquisition as a RAM deal when it was announced in December 2015. Here's what I said then.

"Why does Micron want more RAM capacity? A semi-serious interpretation might be - it's a poison pill. Who would want to buy a RAM company? Except Micron which knows RAM. Another interpretation is that - by paying a premium price for Inotera - Micron is saying it is worth more too. We've seen this kind of huff and bluff many times before in the storage market. It doesn't always follow that the valuations are sustained. On the other hand - it may be nothing to do with RAM at all. It can be viewed as a convenient way of buying more semiconductor wafer fab capacity in readiness for a market in which the SSD ecosystem will be able to consume more memory than all the chip companies currently make."

The longer the delay the more likely that the terms of the deal will have to be rethought.

A blog on Seeking Alpha about this delay by financial blogger Electric Phred says "Inotera's CFO Peter Shen has resigned."

See also:- an SSD view of semiconductor memory boom-bust

Weka.IO has raised over $32 million for its SDS cloud cookbook

Editor:- June 8, 2016 - another new name unstealthing in the software defined storage market is Weka.IO, founded in 2014, which has announced the closing of Series B funding bringing its total capital raised to over $32 million.

Editor's comments:- In various slideshares by Weka.IO cofounder and CTO - Liran Zvibel - you can see how they're progressing with their big idea of enabling clouds and enterprises to have a single software based storage solution with good performance, efficiency and scalability.

There are interesting comments here about the latency impacts of garbage collection within the D software development environment.

Zvibel says an infrequent (few times an hour) latency of 10mS for GC can become an infinite wait if the kernel is stressed on memory.

The variability of DRAM latency took many years to be widely appreciated and is what created opportunities for PCM and flash as DRAM (Micron and Diablo in SCM DIMM wars) and also big PCIe RAM fabrics likes those from A3CUBE.

what was the spark of opportunity for Weka.IO?

Liran's slideshare (from 2014) - the future of the data center - includes this comment:- "IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, Dell and the like lost their ability to shape the future of data centers."

See also:- SSDs in the cloud, SSD software, towards enterprise storage systems consolidation

Micron samples 2TB 3D 2.5" PCIe NVMe SSDs for desktops

Editor:- May 31, 2016 - Micron today announced it is sampling new 2.5" PCIe NVMe SSDs based on 3D nand for the consumer market. The Micron 2100 with 2TB capacity is expected to be in [roduction in the summer.

Top SSD Companies - 36th quarterly edition

image shows megabyte waving the winners trophy - there are over 200 SSD oems - which ones matter? - click to read article
top SSD companies
Editor:- May 31, 2016 - Change continues in the SSD market with 3 companies having entered the Top SSD Companies List for the first time based on reader search activity in Q1 2016. They were:- I said to Richard Mataya, cofounder of NxGn - "This recognition took longer than I expected." the article

memory intensive data architecture emerges in a new family of latency roled boxes - unstealthed by Symbolic IO

Editor:- May 25, 2016 - 1 petabyte usable storage in 2U along with a flash backed RAM rich server family which uses patented CPU level aware cache-centric data reduction to deliver high compute performance are among the new offerings unveiled today by Symbolic IO which has emerged from stealth mode.

Founder & CEO, Symbolic IO - Brian Ignomirello, said - "This industry hasn't really innovated in more than 20 years, even the latest offerings based on flash have limitations that cannot be overcome. Our goal at Symbolic IO was to completely redefine and rethink the way computing architectures work. We've completely changed how binary is handled and reinvented the way it's processed, which goes way beyond the industry's current excitement for hyper-conversion."

the fastest SSDs - click to read article
.. the fastest SSDs
Giving a clue to performance Ignomirello said - "One of our early tests, allows us to run a full cable class content delivery network over 80+ nodes, while streaming 80+ full-featured movies simultaneously on one channel and requires less than 8% of the CPU capacity and we had plenty of headroom to run more. IRIS (Intensified RAM Intelligent Server) is 10,000 times faster than today's flash."

Editor's comments:- I hadn't spoken with Symbolic IO (when I wrote this) but my first impression was that the company is in line with at least 3 strategic trends that you've been reading about on in recent years:- Their company profile summarizes their capability like this...

"Symbolic IO is the first computational defined storage solution solely focused on advanced computational algorithmic compute engine, which materializes and dematerializes data effectively becoming the fastest, most dense, portable and secure, media and hardware agnostic storage solution."

For more about the company's background see this article - Symbolic IO Rewrites Rules For Storage on Information Week.

From the marketing point of view it's interesting to see that in its launch press release Symbolic IO positions itself in the DIMM Wars context in this way "IRIS... is 10 times faster than 3D XPoint."

Symbolic IO says the new systems will be start to become generally available in late Q4 2016.

From an enterprise segmentation viewpoint the IRIS systems will be proprietary. There is space for such approaches in the future market consolidation roadmap because not everyone needs the fastest performance. But many webscale SSD companies are already using data reduction techniques for their own utilizations and acceleration purposes.

The new thing - if there is a new thing - is that Symbolic IO will make available boxes which incorporate modern data architectures from a single source.

Although like all new systems companies they'll have to wade their way through the apps accreditation and compatibility lists before their revenues create any ripples - an adoption dampening factor I wrote about in my 2013 article Scary Skyera.

See also:- towards SSD everywhere software
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