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SSD history
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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." ...read the article
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"When calculating cost v performance, its clear that flash is not the luxury technology that some people believe it to be. Rather it is actually the most cost effective option for performance-critical applications. Quite simply flash will save you money."
Satoko Omata, Senior Journalist - Data&StorageAsean - in her recent blog (May 5, 2016) - Dead or alive: is there a future for legacy storage?

Related articles here on the mouse site:-

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Mays of yore in SSD market history
13 years ago - May 2003 - Imperial Technology launched WhatsHot SSD - a hotspot analysis and tuning tool for fast rackmount SSD accelerators.

9 years ago - May 2007 - MOSAID announced its HLNAND flash technology which could sustain 800MB/s.

6 years ago - May 2010 - SandForce announced the first branding program for SSD controllers.

3 years ago - May 2013 - Micron began sampling a new hot swappable 2.5" PCIe SSD with 1.4TB MLC capacity and 750K R IOPS.

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"If you've recently been on the acquired side of an acquisition send me your best advice. I'd love some words of wisdom for myself and to be able to share with my team."
Marilyn Becker, Director, HR Systems at SanDisk in her new blog (May 10, 2016) about waiting to be acquired by Western Digital - ...read the article.

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what do today's prototype kits tell us about IoT's future?
Editor:- May 9, 2016 - Companies in the industrial SSD market have been saying in recent years that IoT is a market which could provide a business boost for size and power constrained storage technologies. But when new systems go to market their design origins can be almost unrecognizable.

An interesting preview of raw technology ingredients in the future mix is - 10 DIY Development Boards for IoT Prototyping written by Janakiram MSV, Founder Janakiram & Associates - published in the New Stack.

Janakiram's blog includes prices and capabilities for a range of prototyping boards.

It was also interesting for me to see the breadth of Janakiram's other blogs about changes in computing based around the convergence of cloud, big data architecture and IoT. ...read the article

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Get your limericks in for the Flash Memory Summit
Editor:- May 5, 2016 - It's not often I mention competitions in these pages but here's a rare exception.

NVMdurance today announced a Flash Memory Limerick competition. The winner will be announced at the Flash Memory Summit. Rules can be seen here.

Editor's comments:- when I saw the linkedin post about this by Aisling Foley at Aisling Foley Marketing - I couldn't stop myself thinking...

life steps imageAha! - now I know more about NVMdurance's technology and the 5 stage life cycle budget (pdf) it uses to dress the flash in a fashion which is age appropriate - how can I get that in?

The sages of flash now agree
That if you fall out of a tree
To increase your chances
Grab hold at five branches
And swing around judiciously

Editor again - I still can't decide whether "grab hold of" is better than "grab hold at".

One sounds more natural while the other sounds forced but more accurately paints the picture. But I'm not going to agonize over it any longer. And just to be clear. I myself don't enter competitions. So your field is clear (of mice anyway).

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a new series about super fast computing
Editor:- April 28, 2016 - The interaction of design flows between memory, SSDcentric architecture, processors, storage and their impacts on what data based applications can accomplish and realistically strive towards (in the directions of cost, performance and newly viable ways of repurposing data) have been one of the perennial themes in SSD history in the modern era.

My attention was drawn to a new series - What's Missing in Supercomputing? - in the pages of the Next Platform which will look at technical challenges related to the timeline of exaflop-capable systems.

NextPlatform.com's co-editor Nicole Hemsoth says the new series will cover the 4 challenges in technical deep dives with key stakeholders.

I look forward to reading it. ...read the article

One of the documents linked in that article -PathForward Meeting update (pdf) by the Exascale Initiative comments on the memory and storage challenge in these words...

"Memory and storage architectures must enable applications to access/store information at high capacities and with low latencies to support anticipated computational rates."

See also:- the Fastest SSDs

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"NVMdurance has already turned down 5 acquisition attempts."
Pearse Coyle, CEO - NVMdurance in the blog - Memories will be made of this - published in SiliconRepublic - April 19, 2016.


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"Storage doesn't just provide capacity..."
Jason Doyle, IBM in his recent linkedin blog - Think Storage First, Not Servers April 15, 2016.

Editor's comments:- I told Jason I agree with him about the relative importance and nature of storage not being commonly enough appreciated.

Like mass and energy in physics - server CPUs and SSD storage head counts are interchangeable in black box observations of apps and data.

This is a market paradigm with market disrupting effects which I called attention to in 2003 and is what I nowadays refer to as the "SSD-CPU equivalence" driver of SSD market adoption.

More recently (in 2015) the list of user value propositions for adopting SSDcentric infrasture grew to 6 core ideas with the addition of replacing swathes of enterprise DRAM with cheaper, higher density flash and other (long time emerging) alt nvms.

This DIMM wars phenomenon in some aspects looks like a new DRAM-flash equivalence proposition for latency filtered tiers within complex DRAM installations.

While this "market surge" aspect is new - its technology is rooted in classical ideas about virtualizing RAM with mixed memory and storage types with the new market twist simply being the credibility of semiconductor memory roadmaps having sufficiently distinct cost/density characteristics combined with the confidence of existing massive SSD installed infrastructures to make it worthwhile supporting multiple memory chip types with investments in software.


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Here's an example of memory to SSD business disconnect.

A crash in memory prices would be a good thing for fab independent SSD companies because lower memory costs would help them open up new markets.
an SSD guide to semiconductor memory boom-bust cycles

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SSD news

Pure's CEO says his legacy systems competitors are 2-3 years behind in flash/cloud centric software

Editor:- May 26, 2016 - Pure Storage reported that revenue for its recent quarter was approx $140 million, up 89% from the year ago period.

In his blog which recaps business highlights CEO - Scott Dietzen - comments on the nature of the competition he sees from legacy storage companies.

He says - "In our view, refurbished mechanical disk-era designs from the last century cannot fulfill the needs of the modern data center: solid-state flash memory and cloud demand a holistic rethink. Yet the majority of FlashArray’s and all of FlashBlade’s competition comes from pre-cloud disk-centric retrofits..." ...read 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."

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 haven't spoken with Symbolic IO but my first impression is that the company is in line with at least 3 strategic trends that you've been reading about on StorageSearch.com 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


Toshiba launches fast M.2 SSD for notebooks

Editor:- May 19, 2016 - May 24, 2016 - Toshiba today launched its fastest yet SSD for the consumer upgrade market in the US. The OCZ RD400 is an M.2 form factor NVMe PCIe SSD with 0.3 DWPD endurance and sequential R/W of 2,200 / 620MB/s (for the entry level 128GB model).

image shows Megabyte doing the data round up - click to see SAN storage area networks directory
SAN
AccelStor adds 16G FC to 1U AFA range

Editor:- May 19, 2016 - AccelStor today announced its has added dual port 16Gbps FC connectivity to its NeoSapphire 1U rackmount SSD product line which was previously available with InfiniBand or 10GbE iSCSI.


enterprise PCIe SSD shipments grew 16% Q-Q

Editor:- May 18, 2016 - TrendFocus today announced publication of its Q1 2016 nand/SSD quarterly market report.

TrendFocus says the enterprise SSD market saw growth in all segments - SATA, SAS, and PCIe.
Trendfocus  reports SSD market Q1 2016 shipments
For enterprise SATA SSDs, unit growth compared to the previous quarter was 5%, while SAS and PCIe saw higher growth at 6.7% and 16.3%, respectively.

Editor's comments:- In Q1 2016 SSD shipments reported by TrendFocus were 30 million units. Compare this to Q1 2014 for which period TrendFocus reported 15 million units. This shows SSD shipments over all markets have doubled in 2 years.

See also:- storage market research


IBM says 90nm PCM can work with 3 bits per cell

Editor:- May 17, 2016 - IBM today announced that its researchers have demonstrated reliable operation of 3 bits per cell PCM in a low capacity test rig using 90nm CMOS technology.

Editor's comments:- in the flash memory market each doubling capacity transition in a single cell (first from SLC to MLC, then from MLC to TLC) enabled new market adoption due to the lower cost of packing in more data in similar physical size cells.

Knowing that TPCM is possible will be encouraging to researchers but with the miniscule amounts of capacity which are currently viable such future applications will be limited to architectural niches in rare space constrained chips (such as state machine registers for fast reboot in embedded processors) rather than general purpose memory or storage.

Perspective:- 5 years ago in June 2011 - NVSL demonstrated the world's first PCIe SSD using PCM as the memory type in the array.


AMD enters M.2 SSD market

Editor:- May 16, 2016 - AMD is now offering a range of branded M.2 SSDs for the consumer market. A blog on CIO.com discusses the details here.


DIMM wars at battery scale - FLC from Marvell

Editor:- May 12, 2016 - When thinking about SSD / SCM DIMM wars - most of the buzz in the past year has been focused on the impacts of replacing DRAM with flash at the enterprise server and cloud levels. But the same concepts can be applied (albeit with different efficiency gains) at the implementation level of battery powered embedded devices and wearables.

In a recent blog - How Marvell FLC Redefines Main Memory - by Hunglin Hsu, VP - Marvell provides authoritative examples of the replacement ratios possible in a phone design.
Marvell FLC - embedded flash as RAM
A strategic lesson to guide future designers is that even while getting a 50% power consumption reduction (due to flash as RAM) it is also feasible to increase application performance at the same time because the software can work with a larger memory capacity (due to the lower cost of flash bytes).

Among other things Hunglin says - "With FLC, better performance can be achieved by reporting to the operating system a larger than physically implemented main memory. The operating system is thus less likely to kill background apps, which is why the fast app switching is possible. The FLC hardware does all the heavy lifting in the background and frees up the tasks of the operating system." ...read the article


E8 Storage gets funding for NVMe rackmounts

Editor:- May 10, 2016 - E8 Storage today announced a $12 million Series B financing round led by Accel, with participation from existing investors Magma Venture Partners and Vertex Ventures. The investment will help the company to launch its software-defined NVMe rackmount flash storage.

See also:- investments in SSDs, rackmount SSDs


SanDisk will be a WDC company Thursday

Editor:- May 10, 2016 - SanDisk today announced that the Ministry of Commerce of China has approved the acquisition of SanDisk by Western Digital. All necessary regulatory approvals for the acquisition have now been received and the transaction is expected to close on Thursday, May 12, 2016.

See also:- timeline of acquired SSD companies since 2000


Infinidat has shipped over 400PB

Editor:- May 10, 2016 - Infinidat today announced that in Q1 2016 shipments of its InfiniBox enterprise storage array increased by 300% compared to the year ago period and now amounts to 422 petabytes worldwide. One of Infinidat's Fortune 500 customers now has over 10PBs of InfiniBox storage spread across multiple sites.


thinking about latency?

Editor:- May 9, 2016 - "Little's Law is key to understanding why lower latency is good" says Woody Hutsell, Technologist, Evangelist - IBM in series 2, episode 4 - the SSD Bookmarks - published recently on StorageSearch.com ...read the article

Editor's comments:- you'll need to set aside some serious reading time when you follow up Woody's article suggestions.


EMC DSSD  - what's inside  the boxInside EMC's DSSD

Editor:- May 5, 2016 - An interesting glimpse inside the box of EMC's DSSD appears in a new article - Up Close And Personal on Tom's IT Pro.

In a comment about SSD controllers - the author Paul Alcorn says that the Flashtec NVMe1032 (from PMC acquired by Microsemi) which is used by EMC in this array also appears in SSDs by OCZ, Memblaze, Samsung and HGST. ...read the article


an SSD way of looking at hard drives

Editor:- May 4, 2016 - In a blog 4 years ago I posed the question - How will the hard drive market fare... in a solid state storage world? And nearly every significant thing that's happened in the computing and storage markets since then seems to confirm a pattern:- that the primary levers of progress in software and architecture have shifted towards an SSD-centric way of thinking.

Before the modern era of SSDs - anyone selling SSDs had to explain how to relate their characteristics to hard drives.

Now in an ironic twist of fate - it looks as though hard drive vendors may find it useful to characterize some aspects of HDDs in a way which can be easily related to value judgement numbers created for SSDs.

A recent article - when did HDDs get SSD-style DWPD ratings? - in The Register brings to our attention that hard drrives are now being specified with write limits and the author Chris Evans (who also blogs as Architecting IT ) conveniently provides readers with a list of HDD models along with their DWPD equivalent ratings. ...read the article

See also:- what's the state of DWPD in enterprise and military SSDs?


smoking data wipe-out video

smoking reniceEditor:- April 29, 2016 - Usually the last thing you want to see as an SSD designer is your hot new product going up in smoke - but autonomous self destruct of SSD data takes many forms and this is one of them.

A new video from Renice Technology shows a verification test rig for this functionality. Renice says it uses a specially designed electric circuit, which ensures that all NAND flash chips in the SSD will be burned through.

Editor's comments:- I've asked Renice if they've analyzed the composition of the smoke - but this kind of fast purge is aimed at military applications rather than civilian offices - so smoke fumes are the lesser of two evils (compared to data capture by a foe). I've asked Renice to say how much electrical energy is needed to complete the data burn and will post an update here when I know. ...watch the video


Revisiting Virtual Memory - read the book

Editor:- April 25, 2016 - One of the documents I've spent a great deal of time reading recently is Revisiting Virtual Memory (pdf) - a PhD thesis written by Arkaprava Basu a researcher at AMD.

My search for such a document began when I was looking for examples of raw DRAM cache performance data to cite in my blog - latency loving reasons for fading out DRAM in the virtual memory slider mix. It was about a month after publishing my blog that I came across Arkaprava's "book" which not only satisfied my original information gaps but also serves other educational needs too.

You can treat the first 1/3 or so as a modern refresher for DRAM architecture which also introduces the reader to several various philosophies related to DRAM system design (optimization for power consumption rather than latency for example) and the work includes detailed analysis of the relevance and efficiency of traditional cache techniques within the context of large in-memory based applications. ...read the book (pdf)


news bolts re consumer flash

Editor:- April 25, 2016 - Market researchers have long been telling us that the consumer market is the biggest user of flash. 3 of the biggest companies in that context have featured in news stories recently.
  • A report in etnews.com says it expects Samsung to resume supplies of flash to Apple after a 4 year break (a period when the companies' relationships were soured by expensive litigation about design isues relating to the phone market.)
  • SanDisk has launched a new external flash memory expander for users of Apple's iphones.

    Editor's comments:- I was curious about the mention of both Lightning and USB connectors in SanDisk's iXpand Flash Drive (as from the headline I had anticipated a wireless connect) so I looked at the photo on the product page. The appearance of its ingeneous curling mechanical design reminds me somewhat of a child's party horm blower. See if you agree.

    If it becomes fashionable for phone users to start adding custom tail fins and bulges to their clutchable devices then maybe we can expect to see a new phone-compatible line of Duck tape too.



new digest of data noise reduction techniques in nvm

Editor:- April 22, 2016 - A recently published book - Channel Coding Methods for Non-Volatile Memories (145 pages, $130) cowritten by Lara Dolecek and Frederic Sala University of California, provides an overview of recent developments in coding for nvms, and, by presenting numerous potential research directions, may inspire other researchers to contribute to this timely and thriving discipline.

Editor's comments:- this appears to be focused on the DSP and ECC end of the Adaptive R/W flash care management & DSP IP revolution which during the last 4 years or so has been changing the way that new memory technologies with poor intrinsic data integrity (high noisiness - when viewed from a classical ECC data angle) can be upcycled to construct higher quality, more reliable solid state storage by adaptive and interventionist coding strategies.


pictures at an exhibition - Longsys (at IDF)

Editor:- April 21, 2016 - Longsys today posted pictures and news about some of its SSD products shown at the recent IDF in Shenzhen, China. Among other things these products included:-
  • FORESEE S400 series SSD - a dram-less (skinny) 2D TLC SSD
  • FORESEE P800 series SSD - an NVMe 1.2 HMB SSD family which is said to have identical pricing to SATA SSDs


Everspin promises Gb MRAM later this year

RAM image - click for RAM directory, articles and news
nvm news
Editor:- April 14, 2016 - Everspin Technologies recently announced it's shipping 256Mb ST-MRAM samples to global customers and plans to sample 1Gb products later this year.

Everspin says its 256Mb ST-MRAM product breaks the record for the highest density commercial MRAM currently available in the market.

Editor's comments:- One of the key questions with MRAM's viability has always been - how does its denisty scaling compare with flash? - given that it started behind the curve and can't afford to lose comparative ground - if it is to get anywhere.

6 years ago (in April 2010) Everspin was sampling a 16Mb MRAM.

Now - 6 years later - the sampling state of the art is 256Mb. That's 16x more density in 6 years. So you can judge this for yourself.


RAM image - click for RAM directory, articles and news
RAM news
Samsung ships 10nm DRAM

Editor:- April 2, 2016 - Samsung announced today that it has begun mass producing the industry's first 10nm class 8Gb DDR4 DRAM chips.

The new cell geometries will enable peak transfer rates which are about 30% faster than earlier 20nm DRAM.


RunCore brand completes transitions to V&G

SSD names article
branding strategies
in the SSD market
Editor:- April 2, 2016 - Last year the branding picture for RunCore was confusing because they were using different brand names for the company in different geographical regions - with upto 3 names being used concurrently on different web sites.

The situation has now clarified with the announcement that the definitive name from April 1 is V&G (which in English you can think of as "Vision and Goal" and in Chinese is Wei Gu.

V&G is in effect the new name for RunCore. The company's leadership is the same as before - the CEO is Jack Wu who founded RunCore in 2007. And the company says the SSD product lines are 100% technically identical - apart from the change in branding.
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"The need for reviving the SSD bookmarks series concept after a 5 year gap is because while we're all busily dodging tornadoes in Kansas to get to a consolidated market there's a lot of dust making it harder than ever to see what's what."
Zsolt Kerekes, editor - StorageSearch.com
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DRAM's indeterminate latencies
and the virtual memory mix slider
Editor:- March 2, 2016 - in a new blog on StorageSearch.com I cast an eye on the latency specific defects in DRAM system behavior which are among the many technology enablers of the emerging tiered memory / flash as RAM market.

We've been accustomed to think of DRAM as the simple predictable latency memory (compared to flash). But server motherboard memory system latency hasn't improved for over 10 years. Memory systems got bigger and bandwidth got faster but worst case latencies can sometimes be worse than they used to be - due to interference effects caused by complex data queuing patterns.

If you haven't noticed these problems - congratulations!

It means you might not notice (or care) when the virtual memory slider moves in the cheaper direction towards memories like flash. ...read the article
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SSD history - how did the market get here?

SSD #software\!/ - why's it such a mess?

Why buy SSDs? - 6 user value propositions

the enterprise story - could the plot have been simplified - and if so when?

The SSD Heresies - Why can't SSD's most ardent believers agree on a single shared vision for the future of solid state storage?
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