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re frequent flash flier comparisons with EMC
Editor:- January 28, 2015 - There's a new blog on which tells you what I really think about all those frequent flash systems "startups" who regularly and proudly can't seem to stop comparing their "superior" new products to systems from EMC.

There was a time when such comparisons were useful.

What do such claims tell us today?

If you are one of those offenders you may not like what I say. the article

from the SSD news archive
Western Digital acquires Skyera

Kaminario gets another $53 million funding

Netlist revalidates core patent related to ULLtraDIMM's
Steve Wozniak joins Primary Data

Foremay readies 8TB 2.5" military SSDs
Netlist asks court to shut down SanDisk's ULLtraDIMM

Memblaze launches new 14S latency PCIe SSDs in Europe
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?

more volatility inevitable in enterprise SSD markets
Editor:- January 21, 2015 - "SDS (software defined storage) is a good example of an illusory market idea for comfortably bringing technologies together which due to its many incompatible incarnations which will probably rip many business plans apart."

That's one of the things I say in my new blog - what kind of SSD world 2015? - on

I'm not saying that SDS isn't important...

In the very same blog I point out that (due to their inherent flexibility) an installed base of server based SSD storage systems will be among the few types of enterprise flash products being marketed today which will still be reusable when many other so called "all flash arrays" (which have been designed only for backwards looking compatibilities) get sidelined and orphaned by future generations of SSD everywhere software.

We're still a long way from having stable and enduring reference platforms for the enterprise SSD age - which means more change is inevitable. the article

image shows software factory - click to see storage software directory
SSD software

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
12 key SSD ideas in 2014

hybrid DIMMs
hybrid DIMMs

"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
image shows megabyte waving the winners trophy - there are over 200 SSD oems - which ones matter? - click to read article
top SSD companies ..
pcie  SSDs - click to read article
PCIe SSDs ..
SSD myths - write endurance

SSD news

Top SSD Companies in Q3 2014
what changed in SSD year 2014?
articles image
Western Digital invests in Skyera's MRAM supplier

Editor:- January 26, 2015 - Western Digital's investment unit was among the investors in a $29 million series B funding round in Everspin Technologies announced today.

Phill LoPresti President and CEO of Everspin said "With a leading worldwide foundry and storage customer participating in Everspin's Series B investment round, the entire industry spectrum is acknowledging ST-MRAM as the leading contender to drive beyond the limits of current mainstream memory."

Editor's comments:- Everspin's MRAM is one tier of the non volatile caching technology used in Skyera's rackmount SSD systems.

Western Digital recently bought Skyera - and my guess is that this investment in Everspin is to take out some of the risk of future availability of these memory parts at a time when an assured supply at higher volume may soon be needed.

So you want x3 (TLC) and 3D?

Editor:- January 23, 2015 - Even if you already thought that adaptive R/W and DSP was an essential way for getting usable SSDs out of smaller 2D nand flash - then there are even more reasons for using this technology on the journey into 3D.

That's the conclusion you'll come away with after seeing DensBits's paper (presented at the 2014 Flash Memory Summit) called the Necessity for a Memory Modem in 3D Memories (pdf)

Among other things in this paper:- DensBits says that the scope for inter-cell interference grows from 8 identifiable routes in 2D to 26 for each cell in 3D.
3d interference effects in nand cells
But memory modem technology (DensBits's branding for their collection of adaptive R/W DSP IPs) will (over and above everything it already does for 2D) intelligently decouple read operations according to the severity of read operations expected in the new 3D architectures - and even supports the notion of TLC (x3) within 3D. (Which "needs state of art decoder and signal processing".)

Their conclusion? - Memory Modem technology is required for 3D NAND scaling the article

PS - I know it's not new news - but I hadn't mentioned this article before and I think this type of technology will have a big impact on the SSD market in the next year or so as it weaves its way into SSDs made by the licensees.

Diablo appeals shipment injunction
says court was misled

Editor:- January 14, 2015 - Diablo Technologies today announced that it has appealed the court ruling (reported earlier this week - and initiated by Netlist) which had granted a preliminary injunction to halt Diablo's shipments of Memory Channel Storage based chipsets.

Diablo's appeal explains that the ruling is based on an erroneous interpretation of the contract and a failure to recognize the technology differences among the products involved.

Most importantly, however, the court did not find that Diablo MCS uses Netlist trade secrets.

Diablo says - to support the judgment, the order effectively rewrites the language in the contract signed by the parties in 2008: the additional words included in the order changed the terms of the contract significantly and imposed a new obligation that was not agreed between the parties. In other words, there was no violation by Diablo of the original contract. The court was misled about important technology distinctions:

The court relied on Netlist's representation that their HyperCloud and Diablo MCS "are used to perform the same function" which is not the case because the HyperCloud is DRAM (memory) and Diablo MCS is a block storage device (disk).

The court also relied on Netlist's representation that the products are competitive because they both "attach to the same memory channel."

Diablo also says "Netlist equates the 2 devices simply because they use the same location and i/o channel; extending that logic would equate all devices that reside in PCIe slots, which would be a similarly erroneous claim."

"It is important that the facts of the case are well understood; it should also be stressed that the court did not determine that Diablo uses Netlist trade secrets," stated Riccardo Badalone, CEO and co-founder of Diablo Technologies. "We offer an innovative storage device that gives customers great performance advantages, but with this injunction, the court is putting our company and our customers at risk. With this appeal, we expect to reverse this decision and get back to work."

Editor's comments:- are Netlist's products functionally different to those using Diablo's architecture?

Yes! The differences are so great that the 2 products are listed in different directories here on
  • Memory Channel Storage SSDs - which encompasses low latency, fast flash SSDs which plug into DIMM sockets and transfer data via interfaces which were originally designed for DRAM.
  • hybrid DIMMs, NV DIMMs, flash backed DRAM DIMMs - which includes DRAM modules which automatically save their contents when electrical power drops to an integrated non volatile memory from which the data is reloaded after normal power is restored.
The fact that standards organizations and some vendors have historically used the term "flash DIMM" in the context of both types of products - has contributed to industry confusion.

But the term - flash DIMM - is a description of the physical form factor - and tells you nothing about the operation and functionality of the device from a data architecture point of view.

The differences are vast and immediately obvious to anyone who's technical. But I was wondering how would I explain the gulf of difference to someone who doesn't know anything about computer design.

My analogy goes like this... Suppose someone offered you the choice of 2 types of backpack when you started a balloon ride.

One is a parachute, the other is a jetpack.

They both perform different functions - although - until you activate their functions they both might look the same.

OK I know you need a higher skillset to operate the jetpack.

And you also need a much more developed SSD software support ecosystem to deploy memory channel SSDs too.

California Court halts sales of ULLtraDIMM SSDs

Editor:- January 13, 2015 - Netlist today announced that the US District Court for the Northern District of California has granted Netlist's motion for a preliminary injunction against Diablo Technologies for controller chips used by SanDisk in its high-speed ULLtraDIMM SSD product line.

Under the court's order, Diablo and SanDisk are prohibited from manufacturing and selling the controller chipset used by SanDisk in the ULLtraDIMM and as a result, from further sale or distribution of the ULLtraDIMM itself.

Judge Gonzalez Rogers - also rejected SanDisk's motion for reconsideration, asking that it be allowed to sell existing inventory of the enjoined products.

The court advanced the trial date to March 9, 2015, for Netlist's claims upon which the motion was decided, including claims against Diablo for trade secret misappropriation, breach of contract, and other causes of action related to the components supplied by Diablo for the ULLtraDIMM.

The court's order specifically identifies the ULLtraDIMM as well as the eXFlash modules from IBM, although the injunction affects all modules containing Diablo components.

Editor's comments:- the possibility of such a injunction has been discussed in these pages before. At the heart of the dispute are whether an earlier design collaboration between Netlist and Diablo included the rights for both companies to use a critical interface design in the DIMM bus facing part of Diablo's memory channel storage design. A patent ruling on December 29, 2014 upheld Netlist's patents related to this.

The court case related to the injunction stems from Netlist's argument that if Diablo did not have the right to use the interface technology - then it follows that any design - such as the ULLtraDIMM SSD - which relies on such internal technology - should only be disallowed - pending any future agreement about licensing such a technology. (Which it may not choose to do.)

Netlist wants to create a low latency memory channel SSD product line of its own.

And even though Netlist is more than a year behind the productization of this integrated technology (compared to the first generation ULLtraDIMM designed Diablo and SMART Storage - which was acquired by SanDisk) the case from Netlist is that the market must wait for its own design or any designs for which it grants licenses.

From the Diablo side - its argument has been that they thought they had an agreement which allowed them to use the DIMM interface technology (in whose implementation they participated) in products which were different to Netlist's flash backed DIMMs.

At stake is a future market for server based accelerators which could be worth a low double digit percentage of the entire enterprise PCIe SSD market.

It's inconceivable that a small company like Netlist or Diablo would be able to satisfy such demands on their own - especially given the fact that neither has any core IP related to enterprise flash.

But future licensing partners (or wouldbe acquirers) need to be satisfied that the core technology they're using - is patent troll proof.

Greenliant enters enterprise PCIe SSD market

Editor:- January 12, 2015 - Greenliant Systems - has entered the entry level enterprise NVME PCIe SSD market - with the launch of its new G7100 (pdf) series MLC gen 2 x4 PCIe SSDs - upto 2.75 TB raw capacity, Full Height, Half Length form factor, 130K / 60K R/W IOPS, and endurance of upto 10 DWPD for 5 years.

Internally Greenliant's new PCIe SSD has a RAID protected array of miniature NANDrive SSDs which use the company's own controllers.

"Leveraging our in-depth flash memory knowledge and volume-proven NAND controller expertise, Greenliant is addressing the industry's increasing need for higher reliability, higher performance and larger capacity flash-based storage solutions," said Bing Yeh, CEO of Greenliant Systems.

Editor's comments:- ever since the company was founded - in 2010 - Greenliant's focus has been on the industrial and embedded SSD market. So it's surprising to see this new product aimed at the "enterprise" market. However it's part of an emerging trend in the market.

SanDisk spins off NexGen

Editor:- January 8, 2015 - SanDisk today clarified that "Hybrid systems incorporating hard-disk drives are not part of SanDisk's strategic focus."

This strategy direction statement by Sumit Sadana, executive VP and chief strategy officer, SanDisk was part of an announcement today that SanDisk has completed the spin-out of Fusion-io's ioControl (hybrid SSD systems) business as a separate company called NexGen Storage.

SanDisk has agreed to be a supplier of PCIe flash storage technology to NexGen but will not maintain an ownership interest.

NexGen will be led by John Spiers who was co-founder and CEO of the original NexGen company before its acquisition by Fusion-io in April 2013 (for $119 million).

Editor's comments:- In retrospect Fusion-io's acquisition of NexGen was a mistake.

Fusion didn't have enough cash or people resources to invest in bootstrapping 2 entirely new systems businesses (one in the fast SSD rackmount market, and the other (based on NexGen) in the hybrid SSD appliance market) at a time when both markets were already becoming much more specialized and differentiated.

Can NexGen succeed as a standalone company?

Hundreds of other companies are also competing in the hybrid market - so you can ask them. Most likely NexGen will get acquired again.

Toshiba shows early version of BGA PCIe SSD

Editor:- January 7, 2015 - Toshiba announced it will showcase a prototype of the world's first PCIe single package SSD - with up to 256GB in a single BGA package at CES this week. The NVMe compatible device fits into 16mm x 20mm x 1.65mm and weighs under 1g. See also:- BGA SSDs, PCIe SSDs

InnoDisk's ServerDOM wins excellence award

Editor:- January 7, 2015 - InnoDisk today announced it has received the 2015 Taiwan Excellence Award for its ServerDOM (SATA SSD) which can be used as a boot drive in 1U servers.
Innodisk boot DOM SSD
Internal storage space for enterprise servers is a precious resource. InnoDisk's ServerDOM (20mm x 31mm x 7mm) fits onto the SATA connector of modern enterprise servers (from which it draws power). A 2nd failover drive can be snugly fitted - as shown above - if needed for HA applications.

Samsung mass producing gen 3 PCIe SSDs for notebooks

Editor:- January 7, 2015 - 19 months after launching its first M.2 PCIe gen 2 SSDs aimed at the notebook market (the XP941 (pdf) in June 2013) - Samsung said it is now mass producing the follow-up SM951 - which supports gen 3 PCIe.

Samsung says - "For ultra-slim notebooks and workstations the SM951 can read and write sequentially at 2,150MB/s and 1,550 MB/s respectively..."

The SM951 is the first SSD to adopt L1.2 low power standby mode (the PCIe SSD equivalent of the power saving devsleep mode in SATA SSDs) . When hibernating in L1.2 mode, the SM951's power consumption is less than 2mW.

Cactus SSDs helped over 100,000 drivers avoid getting lost

Editor:- January 6, 2015 - Cactus Technologies today disclosed it has shipped over 100,000 units of its 210 Series (32GB MLC) - 2.5" PATA SSDs - to a German automotive OEM company for use in their infotainment (integrated audio entertainment and GPS navigation) systems.

OCZ unveils new controller

Editor:- January 5, 2015 - OCZ said it would showcase its new JetExpress SSD controller this week at CES.

JetExpress will be the heart and soul of OCZ's future product line. JetExpress silicon is native SATA and PCIe/NVMe and will support multiple form factors including M.2, 2.5-inch SATA, and SFF-8639 which enables PCI Express speeds in a compact 2.5-inch form factor.

Web-Feet sizes 2015 industrial SSD market

Editor:- January 4, 2015 - Help is available if you're trying to grapple with estimating the size and likely shape of the industrial SSD market.

Web-Feet Research today anounced it has released a report ($5,550) which includes forecasts for Industrial Markets and Applications.

What's in it? Among other things - the report's author Alan Niebel says... "Within each of the 6 commercial sub-markets: Networking/Telecom, Connected Home, Automotive, Industrial, Medical, and Avionics/Aerospace/Military the forecast of SSDs, Embedded Flash Drives (EFD), and Flash Cards are quantified for over 40 end-use applications. This forecast provides a separate breakout for SSDs by form factor including modules and another section for EFDs and Flash Cards by form factor for units and average capacity and revenue. Geographic splits are also included."

WD demos 3.5" PCIe hybrid HDD

Editor:- January 2, 2015 - "WD is committed to working with the industry to push the boundaries of what you might expect from a traditional hard drive," said Matt Rutledge, senior VP , Storage Technology, WD recently as the company previewed the demonstration of a prototype 3.5" SATAe hybrid drive.

WD's 4TB 3.5" hybrid hard drive includes upto 128GB flash cache and looks like a single volume to the application.

what's up and upcoming at

Editor:- January 1, 2015 - SSD readership and article downloads on increased 10% and 20% respectively in December 2014 compared to the year ago period. While it's nice for me that both are up - it's better that stickiness is up more.
In January 2000 - Memorex entered the CompactFlash market with a range of cards offering upto 128MB capacity - which was priced at $399.95
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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