click to visit home page
leading the way to the new storage frontier
SSD costs explained
market research - storage & SSD
how fast can your SSD run backwards?
popular SSD articles on
decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise
SSD ad - click for more info
Western Digital acquires Skyera
Editor:- December 15, 2014 - Western Digital and HGST today announced the acquisition of Skyera.

Editor's comments:- This is a momentous acquisition for the enterprise SSD market.

I think the context in which to view this is as the embodiment of a new wisdom in the industry - that to succeed in the enterprise SSD market today - and to achieve the ultimate efficiencies at the manufacturing level - vendors have to think like systems companies.

And some of the biggest systems opportunities for efficient vendors nowadays - in which efficiencies translate into business opportunities are in hyperscale systems and internet infrastructure.

I've been discussing these trends in the past 18 months or so in these articles - which I think are relevant to today's acquisition announcement.
  • new directions in rackmount SSDs (May 24, 2013) - "One of the most potentially rewarding market challenges which SSD companies are grappling with right now is - how to make enterprise solid state storage attractive to users who aren't worried about their hard drive performance and don't even think they need SSDs... New SSD thinking inside the box will lead to better enterprise flash arrays."
  • meet Ken - and the enterprise SSD software event horizon (October 8, 2013) - "Why it's so easy to fall into a trap when answering these questions... How big will the SSD market will be when SSDs replace hard drives? When will it happen? and What will be the revenue of the SSD market at that time?"
  • Scary Skyera? (October 22, 2013) - "You may decide that my ratios (of enterprise SSD capacity needed to replace hard drives) are too timid - I said to Skyera's founder - if so - scare us!"
  • Seagate to acquire LSI's flash business (May 29, 2014 ) - "...even if Seagate focused only on the high volume potential of existing cloud infrastructure customers and big web entities (like Google and Baidu) - who need value based enterprise SSDs - but who are perfectly capable of designing their own software and APIs and firmware tweaks - then Seagate could... establish it as one of (several) leaders in the utility SSD segment of the cloud."
  • Skyera's new skyHawk FS (October 29, 2014) - "Re the mobile data center, new meanings to unified storage and joining storage gentlemen's clubs..."
"By 2016, hyperscale datacenters will house more than 50% of raw compute capacity and 70% of raw storage capacity worldwide..."
IDC Datacenter Predictions for 2015 (December 9, 2014)
click for more info
"2015 will be a critical period for NAND Flash manufacturers as they try to slow capacity expansion."
Sean Yang, Assistant VP - DRAMeXchange in his blog NAND Flash Industry Value Poised to Grow More than 10% in 2015 (December 4, 2014)
from the SSD history archive
Memblaze launches 14S PCIe SSDs

Skyera launches 136TB (raw) 1U SSD

Netlist asks court to recall ULLtraDIMMs
A3CUBE - first US customer shipments soon

Samsung mass produces 3TB 3D 10 DWPD PCIe SSDs

Seagate reports low take up of hybrid drives
Samsung ships 10nm SAS SSDs

Diablo unveils DDR-4 flash DIMM SSDs

SanDisk launches ZetaScale (enterprise flash memory tier software)

NxGn Data exits stealth with promise of in-situ SSD processing
SanDisk to buy Fusion-io

IBM is #1 in rackmount SSD revenue
Seagate agrees to acquire LSI's flash business for $450 million

Kaminario guarantees amplified usable capacity
SanDisk samples 4TB 2.5" SAS SSDs

Violin enters the SSD integrated server market
Samsung says its 2.5" NVMe PCIe SSD are 3x faster than 12Gbps SAS SSDs
A3CUBE unveils PCIe memory fabric for 10,000 node-class architectures

Marvell samples 5K IOPS smartphone SSD (eMMC 5.0)
IBM revamps TMS rackmount SSDs and launches memory channel SSD servers (with SanDisk / Diablo inside)

Half Micron's nand flash now used in SSDs

InnoDisk's (MO-276) nanoSSD in full scale production

Netlist says ULLtraDIMM SSDs infringe its patents

And prior to that...

what changed in SSD year 2013?
image shows software factory - click to see storage software directory
SSD software
services which sell SSDs
Editor:- November 14, 2014 - I recently learned about 2 interesting service products related to SSDs.

They aren't strictly new - as in "launched today" - but they are interesting examples of a new marketing differentiation trend in the SSD market - where some companies are making it easier to do business with them - by offering services which make it easier for more customers to buy their SSDs.

Tegile IntelliCare

The first of these is a new service offering from Tegile - called IntelliCare - which for me was much more interesting than the new entry level SSD box which they announced at the same time.

Tegile collects setup and configuration information from its user base which enables the company to learn the range of settings - such as the compression rate - or the ratio of SSD to HDD capacity - or the raw performance level - used for popular applications.

This crowd based data (via IntelliCare) can now be leveraged by any user who is setting up new systems to get a heuristically guided feel for the range of settings and efficiency expectations which might be realistic for them too.

I thought that for most users that was a great idea because it removes most of the burden of coming up with the right answer. And it will provide confidence to user admins and save time in configuring new systems.

So the result will be to incrementally improve the user experience of all Tegile's customers - in a very direct way they can relate too - instead of indirectly - as for example when enterprise flash array vendors collect statistics about endurance in their boxes - which (by informing the designers how their flash care schemes are working across the spectrum of real-life apps) mainly benefits users who buy the next generation of products based on that crowd intelligence.

As a business development tool for Tegile - it will probably help customer loyalty (from one system refresh cycle to the next) as well as demonstrably reducing the risk of overspend for new customers too.

SanDisk STAR

The SanDisk Tech Assisted Refresh program (STAR) - launched (September 2014) - simplifies the task for corporates of getting new notebook SSD technology sooner, more easily and at lower cost - into their population of legacy HDD based notebooks. Among other things - the upgrade program can be done on site. "Laptops never leave the premises" - which greatly simplifies security concerns and logistics.

The productivity benefits of using SSDs in the workplace have been known a long time.

In September 2009 - Intel chose that as the main theme for their SSD bookmarks (educational series) - because Intel said it would give readers an overview of the "benefits experienced by the enterprise after deploying notebooks with solid state drives."

SanDisk recently produced a whitepaper about these benefits to support their STAR program - TCO for an SSD-enabled PC (pdf)

However you arrive at justifying a similar conclusion (SSDs enhance enterprise notebook user productivity) the point about the new services program is that it cuts out the messy bits of getting to the end result. And not only does that make it easier to sell more SSDs - but it makes user organizations more willing to buy.

services which deter you buying SSDs

On the other hand - the intention of a new service offering can also be to deter you from buying competitive SSDs.

This SSD deterrent effect is discussed in a recent story concerning Apple on ZDNet which says that a new version of Apple's OS X won't boot dependably if you have an independently sourced (non-Apple) SSD as the boot device.

You might say - what's the surprise? - given that Apple has been making it clear for years it doesn't like users having 3rd party unbranded hardware inside its products. Just be thankful that Apple doesn't also insist which power utility you should use to supply the electrons for their power supplies.

innovation after years of stagnation?

The New Data Services - a new blog by Andy Warfield , cofounder and CTO - Coho Data makes this observation...

"Here's the sad thing. Data services in the storage industry haven't changed an awful lot in the (past) 20 years."

Andy goes on to say - however - that he's excited by new signs of data services innovation in the cloud.

pcie  SSDs - click to read article

"We have shipped almost 0.5 million units of NV(DIMM) over the past 5 years...

20x more than the total shipments from all of our competitors combined."
Chuck Hong, CEO Netlist
earnings conference call (November 11, 2014)

hybrid DIMMs
hybrid DIMMs

I said to Skyera's CEO - it looks as if Skyera is putting a lot of effort into joining something which looks a lot like an old fashioned English gentleman's club (think- Forsyte Saga or Sherlock Holmes). But we know that the current members of the club are so old they will die soon anyway. So is it worth it?
re Skyera's skyHawk etc - the interview October 29, 2014


Industrial SSD designers have refocused and chosen the viable reality of excellence in selected niches above the less feasible goal of having the best technology roadmap for all applications
11 key SSD ideas in 2014

"Don't place too much credence in what SSD companies tell you about the present or the future of the SSD market."
Survivor's Guide to Enterprise SSDs
Rackmount SSDs click for news and directory
rackmount SSDs ..
military storage directory and news
military SSDs ..
pcie  SSDs - click to read article
PCIe SSDs ..

SSD news

Top SSD Companies in Q3 2014
what changed in SSD year 2014?
hot SSD news
12 key SSD ideas which changed in 2014

Editor:- December 18, 2014 - my earlier article - 10 things which changed in SSD year 2014? - is now up to 12.

new blog reveals how Violin leverages faster writes within MLC

Editor:- December 15, 2014 - One of the core principles used in adaptive R/W DSP controllers in MLC SSDs is that the less charge you write to a cell - the less time it takes and the less stress on the flash. From the system perspective - the result is a faster SSD with lower power consumption and better reliability.

Shortening the write pulse means you aren't guaranteed to easily read back the same data which you wrote. Hence the need for adaptive DSP based ECC - in which the strength of the ECC used depends on the health of the memory. And a range of different techniques can be deployed for different parts of the same memory chip in the SSD.

I discussed the enterprise market impact of heavyweight adaptive R/W DSP techniques on a company by company basis in the 2012 Q2 edition of the Top SSD Companies- and as expected - we saw consequences of having or not having these technologies in the later competitiveness and acquisition of several key companies.

Another much simpler variation of these schemes (from the controller point of view) - which we've seen used in the industrial SSD market as industrial eMMC- is to redesignate MLC memory blocks as virtual SLC blocks - in order to get faster speeds and better endurance without resorting to adaptive DSP.

A new blog from Violin - Understanding Flash - Unpredictable Write Performance - explains the thinking behind an MLC write scheme which delivers similar speedup results to the industrial schemes above.

Like them it doesn't require adaptive ECC.

Unlike them it conserves the total raw capacity and gets the speedup in a fractional tier in the memory pool by grouping data into sets according to how much charge is required to perform subsequent writes.

As the article says - "It's kind of complicated… but potentially we now have the option to program certain MLC pages using a faster operation, with the trade-off that other pages will be affected as a result." the article

See also:- Asymmetries in SSD design

coming soon... SSD Year 2015

Editor:- December 10, 2014 - This is a time of year when readers are looking for predictions about the 2015 SSD market. My predictions and insights are already integrated in my articles so I won't repeat them here. But you may find these links interesting:-

Marvell takes a big step into skinny controllers for PCIe SSDs

Editor:- December 9, 2014 - 3 of the most significant differentiating factors in flash SSD controller architecture are:- In the past year or so - we've seen a few companies - whose controller products have long been distinctly at one end of each of the above categories - introduce new designs which can operate in the other. This is a competitive response to the realization that any single architecture is better suited for some applications rather than others and no single design set is best for all markets.

For example - the SandForce SF-3700 - launched last year - added big controller features as an option to its legacy minimalist small architecture configuration mode. And before that - the intrinsically skinny (cache) SF family added support for optional external DRAM cache.

This week Marvell - whose controllers have always until now been firmly in the regular RAM flash cache category - announced it now has IP which enables it to play a significant part in skinny RAM flash cache designs with 2 new controllers:-
  • Marvell's 88NV1140 - aimed at NVMe PCIe Gen3x1 SSDs - can work with 15/16nm TLC and 3D NAND and needing no external DRAM - will simplify the design of smaller form factors including the capability of BGA PCIe SSDs.
  • Marvell's 88NV1120 - aimed at the embedded SATA SSD market which supports DevSlp - won't by itself create new markets - but will - due to its small footprint and memory support - lower the cost barriers for greater adoption of small SATA SSDs in traditional embedded markets.

the Top SSD Companies in Q3 2014

Editor:- December 9, 2014 - recently published the 30th quarterly edition of the Top SSD Companies - based on market metrics in Q3 2014 .

For over 5 years - Fusion-io occupied the top #1 spot in this list as the SSD company which was most researched by our readers. That was inevitably going to change. And it did. But not in the way you might have expected.

The new #1 SSD company is Diablo Technologies - creator of the Memory Channel Storage platform.

7 years after the first year of SSD revolutions - is the enterprise SSD market about to reignite a new revolution in server centric SSD architecture?

Diablo's stellar rise in this list is one indicator that may well be what the market is thinking about. There are other signs in this market report too.

You could say - it's part of a conversation which goes...

What next - when PCIe SSDs are already everywhere? You need them. But you need more too. Signs of interesting times ahead in 2015. the article

Oh flash - how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways
170 ways for sure
maybe more
says new SSD market report from Web-Feet Research

Editor:- December 4, 2014 - In the past 5 years or so - many of you have heard me talking about "hidden segments in the enterprise", "defragmentation in the industrial market", "application speficic SSDs" etc.

My intention in such articles and in comments related to SSD news - has been to show you that there are a lot more uses for specialized flash SSDs then you might think if you started from market models which segment traditional devices such as hard drives, CPUs and DRAM and tried to migrate that thinking to SSDs.

That's because SSDs are not only creating new markets - but - being entirely artificial devices - you can adapt their characteristics (size, power, performance, reliability, cost) in any way choose to - if you can find enough customers with needs, budgets and risk profiles which make doing these design trims worthwhile from a business point of view.

You might ask - has anybody added these application segment up?

I saw a possible answer in an email this morning from Alan Niebel at Web-Feet Research.

Alan lists over 170 end-use applications for flash memory based devices in a new market report - Flash Memory Applications and Markets: 2012-2019 report, CS100FA-2014, (321 pages, $5.95K) - which also includes many forecasts and projections.

Also in this report - Web-Feet Research provides a density breakout by revenue, units, and Mbits for SLC NAND, 2-bits per cell NAND, 3-bits/cell and enterprise 2-bits/cell NAND, SPI NAND, Combo (MCP) NAND and 3D NAND; NOR, MLC NOR, serial NOR, Combo NOR and serial Combo NOR; and Phase Change Memory.

One thing you may be sure of is that the 170 figure is just a convenient starting point to think about the flash market in a way which makes sense in a single document. But don't be surprised if future editions talk about much bigger numbers.

If you think that paying around $5K for a market report sounds like a lot - just think of how much time it would take you to even make a list of these different flash products and applications. Sounds cheap when you look at it that way.

PS - and if you can't find a summary of this latest report on Alan's web site yet (I couldn't either) - then contact him by email.

See also:- market research, flash memory and nvm

DIGITIMES comments on consumer PCIe SSDs

Editor:- December 3, 2014 - On the theme of PCIe SSDs everywhere - a recent article in DIGITIMES speculates that over 40% of new notebooks next year may have PCIe SSDs inside - compared to under 10% today - due to lower prices (and standards based controllers).

See also:- consumer SSDs, SSD controllers

Kaminario gets another $53 million funding

Editor:- December 2, 2014 - Kaminario today announced it has closed an oversubscribed $53 million financing round, bringing total raised capital to $128 million. Kaminario says it will use the new investment to accelerate business growth.

Editor's comments:- Kaminario rose 3 places compared to the previous quarter - in the recently published Top SSD Companies in Q3 2014.

Memblaze uses PMC's NVMe controllers

Editor:- December 1, 2014 - PMC-Sierra today announced that Memblaze is utilizing PMC's Flashtec NVMe controllers in its next-generation PBlaze4 PCIe SSD accelerators.

Cypress merges with Spansion

Editor:- December 1, 2014 - Cypress Semiconductor and Spansion today announced a definitive agreement to merge in an all-stock, tax-free transaction valued at approximately $4 billion.

"This merger represents the combination of 2 smart, profitable, passionately entrepreneurial companies that are #1 in their respective memory markets and have successfully diversified into embedded processing," said T. J. Rodgers, Cypress's founding president and CEO. "Our combined company will be a leading provider of embedded MCUs and specialized memories."

Primary Data - one of the best known enterprise software companies in 2016-2017 - emerges from stealth

Editor:- November 19, 2014 - Primary Data - the most ambitious storage software startup I have ever encountered - today emerged from stealth mode - with 2 announcements.
  • 1st announcement

    The news that Steve Wozniak has joined the company as Chief Scientist.

    Wozniak who cofounded Apple in 1976 - elevated the general visibility of fledgling Fusion-io when he joined that company in the Chief Scientist role February 2009.

    The impact of this was assessed and captured in a 2011 blog by Woody Hutsell - who at that time was working at erstwhile enterprise SSD competitor - TMS. Woody wrote at that time (2011)...

    "I used Google trends data to see if there was an inflection point for Fusion-IO and I found it. The inflection point was their hiring of Steve Wozniak. What a brilliant publicity move... I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to create a similar event at TMS. I thought if we could hire "Elvis" we would have a chance."

    Today (in November 2014) Primary Data's cofounder - Rick White said...

    "With Woz on the team along with Lance and David, we now have the band back together, and I'm amped to be reunited at Primary Data."
  • 2nd announcement

    The unveiling of Primary Data's first product - a storage virtualization platform that will be able to virtualize, migrate, manage, coalesce and reprioritize vari-natured and variously siloed enterprise data - which has been trapped in legacy containers - into a single usable global dataspace.

    The company's press release says - "Just as server virtualization decoupled compute from the underlying server infrastructure, the Primary Data virtualization platform decouples application data from the underlying storage infrastructure to bring dynamic data mobility to the enterprise for the first time. Data virtualization gives applications, servers, and clients the ability to transparently access data while it is intelligently migrated between direct-attached, network-attached, private and public cloud storage across a single global dataspace to deliver unprecedented manageability, performance, and efficiency."
Editor's comments:- Primary Data - which was founded in May 2013 by the same people who created Fusion-io - and which has already received $63 million in funding - is in my view set on a course which could lead to it becoming one of the top 10 enterprise software companies in the next 5 years - and one of the top 5 storage software companies much sooner than that.

I had gained a good idea of what Primary Data might be doing from various conversations I had with the cofounders (Rick White and David David Flynn) during the past year - when I approached them to ask for feedback and a sanity check about some forward looking SSD articles I had written.

This is the kind of thing I do - with SSD market visionaries - when I know I'm thinking about a topic which is placed so far ahead in time that maybe only a handful of other people on the planet are thinking about it - and when I want to be sure that I haven't fallen off the edge (of possible realities). This is so as not to lead you - my readers - too far astray when you read these articles. Although I can't always guarantee that.

So when I spoke recently to David Flynn, cofounder and CTO - Primary Data) and Lance Smith CEO - Primary Data - about the company's exit from stealth and its product - I had already got there by fast forwarding from what I knew before.

Here's what you need to know now.
  • Primary Data isn't in the SSD market.

    Although having said that - its core technology is predicated on the general market availability of low cost flash acceleration in servers.

    So why write about them here?

    Well - in the same way that all enterprise data intersects SSDs - so too do some software products intersect more frequently with SSDs than others. Common examples being Oracle and VMware and various operating systems.

    If my guess is right - Primary Data - will join that elite set of software infrastructure products which are commonly encountered in the enterprise.
  • What's the availability of the product?

    Primary Data is testing an early version of the product in selected customer sites.

    These are organizations which have a huge amount of data which they would like to be able to leverage more conveniently. Example industries mentioned to me being :- semiconductor design, and oil exploration.

    When I asked - when will people be able to generally buy the product - I was told - the back end of of the 2nd half of 2015.
  • What problems does the product solve?

    Typically enterprise data is "trapped" in silos - which relate to the applications or the brands of storage system the data was born in. Although it's theoretically possible to extricate this data for other purposes or to migrate it to storage which has different characteristics - the processes for doing this are risky and time consuming - due to interpendencies between applications and the metadata. As a result - data is less flexible and business opportunities for data reuse are restricted by the migration costs.

    Primary Data's platform will enable user organizations to manage their data more flexibly - by decoupling the data from its original physical origins (DAS, NAS, SAN, cloud etc) and placing it in a globally managed virtualized storage space - which eliminates the barriers of interdependence between data, and particular storage products and applications.
  • Impressions of the architecture.

    I knew from my earliest conversations with the founders that Primary Data's product is very ambitious in scope

    It has to be able to reach into and understand every type of popular enterprise storage system - and be capable of extracting the data and creating new customer value by understanding the relationships between data, applications and user policies.

    At the center of the product is a data hypervisor - which provides abtractions for every control characteristic you might want to attach to data.

    David Flynn told me that when you ingest data from one type of legacy storage and migrate it to another - the code which does the left hand side of the work doesn't need to know what the ultimate right hand side is going to be. These translation processes into and out from the hypervisor to supported real storage products are designed to be decoupled. I realized that will make it easier for Primary Data to add support for many additional storage classes and applications - while eliminating the risk that some migration sets might inherit different capabilities than others.

    Patents? Early in the life of the company - when I asked about likely timescales for getting any product to market - I learned that - as for many startups - an important milestone was getting patent applications filed. That's why one of the company's earliest hires was a full time patent person.
  • The big idea.

    Data in the enterprise today looks and behaves the way it does because all products (systems and applications) have inherited architecture and ways of managing data from decades of market evolution.

    If you were starting to design to design a data processing architecture today - which encompasses the big ideas about SSDs, the cloud, virtualizing servers and virtualizing storage - you would do things a different way. It would be more flexible and enable you to have more freedom about how to repurpose and prioritize data.

    Clearly it's unfeasible to throw away old applications and old infrastructure.

    What Primary Data's platform offers - is an architecture for transforming 20 to 30 years of inherited data market archeology into the scalable and flexible modern world.

    It's a bigger step than simply replacing hard drives with SSDs. But it's part of the same story.

Foremay says MIL designers can now have 8TB in a 2.5" secure, rugged SATA SSD

Editor:- November 19, 2014 - How much capacity do you need in a 2.5" SSD?

That depends on the economics of your application and what other alternatives you have. But 2.5" SATA is emerging as a safe roadmap form factor for high capacity embedded projects in the rugged / military market - and now those mission critical designers will be able to stretch their capacities further than most of you.

Jack Winters, CTO - Foremay said "When we asked our customers what we should do for the next step in SSDs, most replied with capacity, capacity and capacity."

That's why Foremay announced this week it is now offering 8TB as a variation in its encrypted, secure rugged SSD range.

Editor's comments:- I spoke to Foremay yesterday to clarify the availability versus "unveiling" status of the new 8TB SSDs.

Foremay said - We are accepting orders for small quantites now. Mass production is expected in Q1'2015

SMART Modular enters the M.2 SSD market

Editor:- November 11, 2014 - SMART Modular today announced it is sampling a new M.2 SATA SSD for enterprise applications with 32GB to 512GB capacity (19nm MLC) and R/W speeds upto 540Mbytes/sec and 320Mbytes/sec, respectively.

See also:- M.2 SSDs - mentions on, industrial SSDs

Diablo's biggest customer joins company as President

Editor:- November 10, 2014 - Alex Yost - formerly VP Strategy and Alliances in IBM's x86 server business - has joined Diablo Technologies as President.

Yost said he had seen the value of Diablo's products earlier this year when (at IBM) he was able to announce a system that delivered 99x faster analytics using Memory Channel Storage technology. And he now looks forward to delivering Diablo-based products to a wider market.

Editor's comments:- Just as the personality of SSDs is largely made up from the DNA of controller and associated software - so too the performance personality of modern servers is nowadays overwhelmingly dictated by their population of SSDs.

And when your biggest customer joins your company - you must be doing something they like.

another reason to set your clock to Primary Data

Editor:- November 6, 2014 - Primary Data recently announced that Lance Smith (who had been President and COO of Fusion-io in the 14 months leading up to its acquisition by SanDisk - where he became Senior VP and GM of the ioMemory solutions division) has joined the stealth mode company - Primary Data as CEO.

"I'm delighted to join David Flynn and Rick White once again at Primary Data along with the team of visionary executives" said Lance Smith.

Editor's comments:- Primary Data will be exiting stealth mode on November 19 - and in the lead up to that they've had a countdown clock on their home page.

From the little I learned in various chats I've had with Dave and Rick since they started the new company - I think their new technology will trigger as big a disruptive change in the enterprise storage market as anything we've seen seen in the past 10 years - and will no doubt create new ecosystems and inspire new startups too.

That's why - I said this on linkedin.

""Less than 2 weeks left before the data access world as we think we know it changes again - unless someone knows how to pause that countdown clock."

now ready - Enmotus's FuzeDrive software

Editor:- November 4, 2014 - Micro-tiering within the server box - between the lowest possible latency persistent memory (such as flash backed DRAM DIMMs from Viking), then up a level to SATA SSDs and finally to hard drives - gives users materially different performance and cost characteristics to merely caching between those devices when they are used in a hybrid storage appliance.

That's the message behind the announcement today by Enmotus about the general availability of the company's FuzeDrive server (SSD software) for Windows and Linux - in which (unlike simple server based cache based solutions) - FuzeDrive treats the SSD as primary storage and so "all reads and writes to the hot data occur at full SSD speeds".

""Even SSDs are becoming bottlenecks in some cases" said Marshall Lee, CTO and co-founder of Enmotus. "As a result, newer classes of storage devices continue to appear that can take advantage of higher performance busses inside servers, NVDIMMs being a great example."

See also:- Why I Tired of "Tier Zero Storage" (in 2009)

StorageIOblog looks at Seagate's 12Gbs SAS SSD

Editor:- November 4, 2014 - StorageIOblog today published a lab review of Seagate's 1200 12Gbs SAS SSD which includes TPC-B (write intensive) benchmarks for a single drive with simulated workloads without using caching products.

The 2nd part of this article - enumerates the performance benefits of using the same Seagate 1200 SSD as a read cache for an array of SAS hard drives.

See also:- SSD caching appliances, SAS SSDs, testing SSDs

Micron samples auto-market endurance compliant mSATA SSDs

Editor:- November 4, 2014 - Ever since the first microprocessors and MOS memories were marketed in the early 1970s - it was realized that systems designers in mission critical embedded applications would need some kind of reassurance from the makers of such chips that their new devices would still be operating reliably at some time in the remote future.

These new semiconductor devices self evidently had no proven market track record.

Due to the undesirability (from an industrial chipmakers point of view) of waiting 7 to 10 elapsed years to collect the real-time reliability evidence which would convince industrial users it was safe to design these new products into their systems - by which time they would be EOL and long forgotten - the semiconductor industry evolved theoretical methods to satisfy customers in such markets much sooner.

These marketing techniques centered around accelerated life tests - which involved extreme temperature cycling - supported by physics based models which explained how the breakdown mechanisms in the new chips were accelerated at extreme temperatures - compared to their normal operational use.

I was reminded of those extrapolated life techniques today - because they are at the core of a document called - non-volatile memory program/erase endurance, data retention, and operating life test 2012 (pdf) - which is part of a set of standards for automotive electronics - from an ORG called the AEC.

This had been mentioned in a press release today from Micron - who is sampling a new automotive-grade SSD - the M500IT (pdf) (2.5" / mSATA - industrial grade SSD) - whose memory components and the SSD itself have been acceleration life tested according to the methods described along with the nostalgic sounding (to me) stress inducing checkerboard test data patterns which I remember having used in industrial control systems back in 1980.

Having said that - a good reality check I heard from a long term veteran of flash memory (the co-founder of FMJ) earlier this year - is that aesthetically plausible geometric R/W test patterns - such as those used to verify SSD controller compatibilities with new flash memories for example - aren't always the stressiest patterns which will break the memory.

Dot Hill's messages today

Editor:- November 4, 2014 - I haven't mentioned Dot Hill on these news pages for a while - but a press release from the company today triggered a bunch of random reactions in my brain which almost - for me - drowned out the significance of the central idea of their new product announcement (a new SAN compatible hybrid storage box - and software).

2 of the distracting internal noises (in my head) were sparked by product names:-
  • "Dot Hill's entire line of storage systems (are) equipped with the latest generation AssuredSAN 4004 storage controllers."

    I'm sorry guys. I know numbers are just numbers. But for me the 4004 controller will always be that chip family from Intel which was the first rumble in the microprocessor revolution.
  • RealTier, RealCache, RealQuick, RealPool - and others in Dot Hill 's real-suffix list of product feature names - distracted me with the recollection that 3 years before sampling its first ever real PCIe SSD - the so-called RealSSD P320h (in June 2011) - Micron had demonstrated a less real (prototype / concept demonstrator) PCIe SSD - which never made it to market. So - for me - the word "Real" attached to an SSD related product - already has many associations.
These notes show that the names you give to SSD related products matter a lot - because the concepts which spring to mind when people read these words and numbers - depend on what else they have read before.

On the other hand - I congratulate Dot Hill for having planted these 2 messages in their press release text today.
  • The idea of a 37-month "bumper-to-bumper" warranty.
  • And this great customer quote...

    "This is absolutely the best product we've purchased in the last 25 years."

Samsung acquires Proximal

Editor:- November 3, 2014 - Samsung announced today it has acquired Proximal Data.

Editor's comments:- Why did Samsung need to acquire another SSD ASAP / caching company?

Samsung's earlier purchase - NVELO (acquired in December 2012) - operated in the consumer market - whereas Proximal's caching technology was designed to work with enterprise PCIe SSDs - a market in which Samsung is a relative newcomer - and in which Samsung stood out from other leading competitors in having no caching software it could call its own.
SSD market perspective

storage search banner

SSD news page image - click to  enlarge

Michelangelo was looking for David.
Megabyte was looking for the inner SSD.
SSD news icon on since 1998

Targa Series 4 - 2.5 inch SCSI flash disk
2.5" removable military SSDs
for airborne apps - GbE / SATA / USB
from Targa Systems

related guides

industrial mSATA SSD
industrial grade mSATA SSDs
from Cactus Technologies

related guides

click here for more info about the Guardian SSD
highest integrity 2.5" military SATA SSDs
with TRRUST-Purge and AES-256 encryption
TRRUST-STOR - from Microsemi

related guides

image of PCIe SSD from  CoreRise
high end enterprise PCIe SSD performance
without the high end price
Comay BladeDrive E28
from CoreRise
related guides

Innodisk rackmount SSD - click for more info
1U fast-enough reliable rackmount SSDs
industrial class embedded roadmap
InfiniBand or iSCSI connectivity
FlexiArrayTM - from InnoDisk

related guides

Virtium  SSDs - click for more info
industrial SATA SSDs
efficiently matched to embedded needs
StorFly – from Virtium

related guides

LSI SandForce SSD processors - click for more info
the awards winning silicon
driving world's leading SSDs
from Seagate

related guides

picture of Z drive 4500 PCIe SSD from OCZ
bootable integrated PCIe SSD based acceleration
with caching optimized for Windows WXL
the Z-Drive 4500 - from OCZ
a Toshiba group company
related guides

PCIe chips from PLX - click for more info
switches for leading PCIe SSD designs
ExpressLane from Avago Technologies / PLX

related guides

SSD jargon

Surviving SSD sudden power loss
Why should you care what happens in an SSD when the power goes down?

This important design feature has a strong impact on SSD data integrity and operational reliability.
image shows Megabyte's hot air balloon - click to read the article SSD power down architectures and acharacteristics If you thought endurance was the end of the SSD reliability story - think again. the article