| leading the way to the
new storage frontier||...|
top SSD companies
what's the state of DWPD?
popular SSD articles
hold up times in 2.5" military SSDs
is remanence in
persistent memory a new security risk?
where are we
heading with memory intensive systems and software?
|is it realistic to talk
about memory IOPS?|
|Editor:- August 11, 2016 -
million IOPS on a single device is the title of a recent blog from Storage Switzerland which is a
briefing note about Crossbar
which operates in the conerging segments of the
alt nvm and
Among other things author - George Crump - says "Crossbar
believes that it can achieve 24 million IOPS on a single 4TB NV-DIMM without the
use of a RAM buffer or a capacitor." ...read
Editor's comments:- when startups enter new
emerging markets they are often tempted to make headline grabbing claims.
And I think the "24 million IOPS" (IOPs as in you
and I think about them) has to be interpreted in that context. (How can you
claim record breaking IOPS when all you've got is a memory IP - and that's just
part of a yet to be integrated technology set which together make IOPs.)
is not to decry the importance and validity of the
change in the SCM SSD DIMM wars market - which have consumed nearly
half of my working hours in the past year.
We saw similar wild
claims when the startup Fusion-io
was trying to get across how
PCIe SSDs would change
the enterprise storage market by reference to the nearest similar technology
when Fusion said in 2007 it would replace SANs. (Because SAN based SSD
accelerators were at that time the SSD market's dueling weapons of choice.)
back to Crossbar - there is a genuine problem for the industry (which I touched
on in an earlier post about Diablo's
DMX software) - which is - what are the most useful metrics to judge tiered
memory systems by?
As we've seen in the
SSD accelerated storage
pool market since 2009 - there's a wide spectrum of use cases and cost
considerations which have many viable business intersections.
need new "goodness" numbers for DIMM wars memories.
think using IOPS to characterize a memory product is less useful to describe why
people might want to look at it than wattage, raw capacity in a DIMM,
uncached raw R/W latency and price.
And - most important of all -
what software does it work with? And how well does the software behave?
Development Board - pics on Tom's Hardware|
|Editor:- August 12, 2016 - A year after Intel and Micron preannounced
their 3DXPoint / Optane bid for the
market (with the absence of any worthwhile technical details) we now know
that you might have to wait another year to buy any.|
But the companies
have released more preliminary tech data and this week have been showing
prototype development boards at FMS.
can see a useful article about this -
XPoint SSD Pictured - on Tom's
Among other things this says the new memories will
have an endurance rating of 25 DWPD.
speed will not be fast as (selectively) promised last year.
shouldn't come as any surprise to regular readers.
June 2016 I
recommended a video 3D
XPoint, reality, opportunity, competition by Yung Lee,
President & CEO - BeSang - who
correctly (as it turns out) reinterpreted the performance claims of 3D XPoint
and looked at the limitations, manufacturing costs and best likely application
roles for this new technology from a deep semiconductor perspective.
is Micron rebranding the memory to QuantX? - the 3rd name for the same memory
Well why did Microsoft skip ahead to Windows 10?
Branding SSD related
products is not as easy as you might think.
But it could be that by
the time anyone can see these new products in an online shopping basket the
original name will seem old.
persistent memory pose new new security risks?|
|Editor:- August 4, 2016 - 35 years ago I noticed
something curious about RAM which surprised me. But it wasn't important for my
work at the time. |
In a new blog on StorageSearch.com -
remanence in persistent memory a new risk factor? - I link together some
ideas which pinged across my path 3 times in as many decades. But I think these
have more relevance now in the new context of emerging persistent memory
|fast is good - more is
|Editor:- August 9, 2016 - In some ways Mangstor has some
quaint old fashioned ideas because its products are to be found in the
segment of raw enterprise performance and you'll find them listed along with
some others in my indicative article -
the fastest SSDs.
Speed was indeed the gateway which opened the access to the
enterprise SSD market back in the days of
although just as with cars - having long ago proved that
SSDs can run
faster than hard driven horses - the enterprise market has recently grown
more sophisticated in its analysis of
requirements - even to the extent that vendors are now offering pricing
schemes which are
far away from traditional cost for capacity ideas of rotating storage.
brings me back to Mangstor - a company I described last year as having "less
employees than cores in its SSD controllers."
There is another
old fashioned business idea which we've seen has to be satisfied for any such
company to succeed for long in the market. They have to be able to answer this
question - posed by their ideal hypothetical customers...
like what your product does - but do you have an easy way we can use a lot of
them together - which preserves the essential character of
like - without crossing over into product territories which other vendors do
Many products which look like stars as solo SSDs fail such
Mangstor's answer to such a question can be seen in an
today - " the availability of its TITAN NVMe over Fabric (NVMf) Target
Software Storage Stack which tightly integrates NVMe SSDs with Remote Direct
Memory Access (RDMA) NICs and efficient use of x86 server capabilities to
deliver network storage performance with upto 10x higher bandwidth and
1/10th the latency compared to iSCSI and FC-based AFAs."
Mangstor also says - its NVMf arrays based on TITAN software scale to
petabytes of capacity and hundreds of GB/s as arrays are added with virtually no
increase in latency.
In case you didn't see this article earlier - the
value of low latency in enterprise SSD contexts was elegantly summarized in
the SSD Bookmarks by
|lowering cloud wattage
with low DWPD SATA SSDs|
|Editor:- August 4, 2016 - Although it's the
faster SSD products (like PCIe
SSDs and memory
channel SSDs) which capture the attention of readers - because they show
what is possible (and after a long enough interval we see pioneering
enterprise speeds becoming commonplace at lower
prices as we're now
seeing with M.2 SSDs)
nevertheless - when it comes to where most of the SSD slots are - the workhorse
of the SSD market - in arrays, webscale and cloud - is still the simple
Well, maybe not that simple - because since about
started to see subtle power optimized and mostly read oriented (low
DWPD) SATA SSD product
lines being introduced specifically for use in dense populations in the
big market for SSD
vendors and SATA SSDs
are a low risk choice for users because there are so many competing companies
and products that ensure continuous improvements in value and quality.
new addition to this crowded market is the -
XF1230 (pdf) - a 1.9TB capacity SSD which consumes less than 5W, is
rated at 0.67 DWPD -
will ship to channel partners next month.
|there was a flash memory
who said it's not really that hard
playing limerick sports
less time than reports
as all the words fit on a card
|Editor:- August 24, 2016 - In case you missed it
- there were a LOT of
in the Flash Memory Limerick competition organised by NVMdurance.|
draw winner - announced
at the Flash Memory Summit
- was Tom
Coughlin, President Coughlin Associates.
can read Tom's winning entry and many other fine examples from people in the
SSD industry who have invented many playful ways to link the ideas of
endurance, flash, SSDs and even business development themes in unique ways
that have never before been seen in
all the limericks
|Netlist awarded new patent for hybrid memory
Editor:- September 12, 2016 - Netlist today
the issuance of U.S. Patent No. 9,436,600 (the '600 patent) relating to a
multi-channel hybrid memory architecture that uses non-volatile memory to
protect critical data in the event of power loss.
Everspin files for IPO
Editor:- September 9, 2016 -
has filed for an IPO. Among other things in the
S-1 the company says:-
- Everspin has shipped over 60 million MRAM units in 8 years
The company also said - "Our 5 largest end customers
together accounted for 34% of our total revenue for the six months ended June
30, 2016, but none of these customers individually accounted for more than 10%
of our total revenue during the period."
- revenue has been at a run rate of about $25 million / year for a 2 year
flash and other SSD nvms
69,000 flash dies per U in Nimbus's ExaFlash
September 9, 2016 - Efficiency
of the internal design and architecture is one of the competitive marketing
differences between SSD boxes and drives. Because when customers see vastly
different size packages claiming to do the same thing. It's one of the
aspects which accounts for
In simpler times it was easy to estimate how many memory
chips were being used inside any SSD. Now it's difficult due to many different
flash memory generations
co-existing in the market and delivering similar roles (from a
DWPD angle) while using
dissimilar controller IP
it was useful to see in a recent
release (from Nimbus)
that 276,480 NAND dies are used to implement 4.5 petabytes of raw storage in a
4U system which was launched recently.
Later:- on seeing this
post - Thomas
Isakovich, CEO of Nimbus said this.
"Note as well that
the D-series (all ExaFlash arrays actually) has dual active-active controllers
built-in, so it is not a JBOF/JBOD. Makes the density of flash achievement all
the more incredible."
reducing logistics time and costs risks in the consumer SSD market
September 6, 2016 - The
consumer SSD market
is sensitive to cost and customers will go elsewhere if you can't ship products
to international markets on time. Every day in production and shipping adds to
Some of the business risks for vendors of customized SSDs
aimed at the consumer market are diiscussed in a new blog by Longsys -
reforming the retail
channel market for SSDs with SDP . Factors analyzed include:-
- quality (using different build processes)
Among other things the blog shows how Longsys (which is
headquartered in China) has evolved business processes and technologies to speed
up and simplify the international supply chain of custom SSDs.
- price fluctuations in flash between the time that SSDs are ordered and when
they are ready
SDP branded SSDs - the factory production process has been reduced from 15 days
(for a typical 2.5" SATA SSD) to a single day. ...read the article
comments:- this is an interesting business case study which tells you a lot
about the internal logistics of the SSD market.
Judge rolls back EMC dedupe verdict aimed at Pure
September 1, 2016 - Pure Storage
that an earlier court decision in favor of EMC related to
has been set aside because an earlier patent by
Sun may have been
Pure says that - "Based on that view, the judge
granted Pure's request for a new jury trial that would specifically look at
whether the earlier Sun patent should make the EMC deduplication patent invalid.
Also, because the court's ruling eliminates any finding that Pure has infringed
a valid patent, it dismissed EMC's request for a permanent injunction. EMC needs
to prevail on validity before any damage award could be reinstated."
floppy drive dependent legacy assets get operational life
extension from a new flash drive
Editor:- September 1, 2016 -
it has launched a floppy
drive emulator -
(pdf) - which provides electronic emulation at the host interface level
for a wide range of historic legacy floppy drives (3.5", 5.25" and 8").
The replaceable media "floppy" is implemented by a 3.5"
cassette which looks similar to a floppy but in which the storage media is
implemented by industrial CompactFlash card technology.
comment:- Strange as it sounds there are still expensive legacy systems in
which the embedded computers and software rely on the integration of floppy
drives for their operation. This is something I've been told by James Hilken,
Sales Director of SSDL and others in the
EOL SSD support
In such systems the availability of field replaceable
peripherals saves users a tremendous amount of cost and operational disruption
for their connected assets.
patent in China for NVMdurance's flash software
August 31, 2016 - NVMdurance
announced it has been
granted a patent in China related to its endurance optimization software.
are several aspects to the company's multi-stage lifecycle endurance
the memory characterization and design phase its Pathfinder software
sets of viable flash register values, using a custom-built suite of
Then in production, controllers which
use its Navigator firmware choose which of these predetermined sets to use for
each stage of life to ensure that the flash lasts as long as possible.
a new faster host for the mouse site?
August 31, 2016 - When you see this note it means that StorageSearch.com has moved to a
new web hosting company. It should mean that pages load faster. Editorial
writing speeds however are still constrained by the same old brain as before.
new MIL-STD-461E/F EMI filtered NAS JBOD SSD from V&G
August 24, 2016 - I found it interesting to see the level of detail available
in the datasheet for a new rugged 8TB NAS JBOD SSD box (8.66 in (L) x 7.61 in
(W) x 4.65 in (H)) from V&G
because often such vital info is missing unless you sign up to get it. Among
other things - the
(pdf) has these features and options:-
AES encryption utilizing NIST, CSE, and FIPS140-2 certified encryption chips.
Encryption keys can be loaded over ethernet or stored on the system's
controller. The controller has a TPM security device for secure storage of the
The RVAS3400 supports zeroization (SSD erase) procedures,
meeting both DOD NISPOM 5220.22 and NSA/CSS 9-12 specifications.
time to erase using ATA Secure Erase is approximately 5 seconds, using NSA Erase
it is approximately 16 minutes, and using DOD Erase it is approximately 48
minutes. (Erase times do not vary based on the amount of storage.)
- Internal holdup:- 100ms @ 70W.
- Integrated support for MIL-STD-704 28 VDC.
the business of SSD
- Weight:- less than 12 lbs.
new industrial secure eUSB 3.0 10-pin SSDs from Virtium
August 22, 2016 - Virtium
new models of eUSB 3.0 10-pin models in its TuffDrive SSD range which offers
much faster speed than eUSB 2.0 at about half the power consumption.
range from 2GB to 256GB, while drawing less than 1W. Size is 36.9mm x 26.6 mm.
also:- USB SSDs,
Plexistor demonstrates low latency memory fabric on commodity
Editor:- August 19, 2016 - If you don't want to be tied
to any particular proprietary big memory hardware - but do need memory fabric -
what kind of performance can you expect using
recently demonstrated it can handle millions of remote writes per second at
latencies as low as a few microseconds in a benchmark on Mellanox
infrastructure over 100GbE using Plexistor's persistent memory over fabric
Benchmarks performed on a Mellanox infrastructure over 100GbE
using Plexistor's PMoF Brick demonstrated record performance: more than 1.6
million random 4KB IOPS at less than 6µs with throughput of 7GB/sec.
where memory goes - compression follows
August 19, 2016 - Cache memory compression techniques and a survey of why and
where they can be useful featured in a
news story here
in April 2015
and was part of the rethinking RAM
in an SSD context industry trend which is sweeping across computer
But where can we find examples of such techniques being
A recent case is a
of software from A3Cube
- which relates to their RAM over FABRIC system. Among other things -
Fortissimo Foundation 2.6 now includes In-Memory compressed IO caching.
we're #1 in enterprise SSDs - says Samsung
August 11, 2016 - which SSD company is the market share leader in enterprise
SSDs? (Drives not racks.)
claimed the #1 crown in a recent
which quotes various percentages (32% to 45%) from 3
market research companies
which relate to the first quarter of 2016.
In part Samsung may be reaping some benefits from the frenemy trend in the
enterprise storage systems market.
This is the change in supplier
relationships when SSD drive companies begin to sell complete rackmount SSD
systems as part of their product portfolios. While Samsung remains a component
company and not a systems company (and the risk assessment of its SSD oem
customers suggests that Samsung isn't a threat to their own business) this is
a good enough reason for many array vendors to prefer Samsung as a drive
Among other things in my
2015 big SSD
ideas roundup article I said this...
which once appeared safe...(list) are no longer safe assumptions when your
biggest supplier can become your biggest competitor. Or when your biggest
customer can become your competitor."
In detail the frenemy
concept is more complex - because when you look at the range of
in the SSD enterprise and the differences in
latency tiered products
and IPs needed to become a leader in each of those segments - an experience
supplier risk assessment can be finely grained - as in "this company has
systems products for webscale and cloud - but my market is traditional mid range
enterprise - which requires more services and software - so therefore such a
supplier is not an immediate threat to my business."
assessments have a short life in today's market however as everything will
change due to growing user sophistication and dissatisfaction - as I discussed
in my article -
of the enterprise SSD companies which you know have no good reasons to survive.
But for now - and not withstanding the
of inferring too much from SSD market data - and given the new trend for
tiered memory systems to change the
enterprise SSDs in server and storage systems - any company which has a leading
market share position in enterprise SSDs today has to be congratulated with
the warning that everything is still changing and the rate of
PS - the ability of past SSD shipment data to predict
long term future success is something which I called into question over 9 years
ago when I started publishing the
Top SSD Companies series.
- dear readers - still have the ability to change markets, surprise us all and
remind us that the SSD architecture idea stands out as
1 of the 3 main
disruptive changes in the computer business in the past 40 years.
SMART samples 32GB DDR4 hybrid DIMMs
9, 2016 - SMART Modular
imminent sampling of its 32GB DDR4 NVDIMM-N (hybrid DIMMs).
comments:- Having recently written my blog -
remanence in persistent memory a new risk factor? - I asked SMART - "Does
your IP offer the option to encrypt data backed up to the flash in the NVDIMM?"
who is Director Product Marketing at SMART told me - "Yes, it does have
the capability to do encryption, but it has not been enabled. We are in
discussions at the JEDEC
meetings as to how this is implemented with the NVDIMM specifications."
Nimbus re-emerges from stealth with 1PB / U raw HA SSD
August 9, 2016 - Nimbus
Data Systems has emerged from its self imposed exit into
mode with the
of a new range of Ethernet/FC/Infiniband attached rackmount SSDs based
on its new
OS with GA in Q4 2016.
Entry level products start in a 2U box with
50TB raw capacity for under $50K and for larger configurations Nimbus says its
ExaFlash offers an effective price point as low as
effective gigabyte (including all software and hardware).
density boxes in this product line - D-series models - will have 4.5 PB raw
capacity in 4U (12 PB effective).
- I haven't seen details - Nimbus says there is no data network between the
storage arrays themselves, guaranteeing that performance truly scales in
lock-step with capacity and with consistent latency.
video above shows the 4PB raw ExaFlash
Editor's comments:- if there are to be sustainable
roles in the future
enterprise SSD systems market for AFA vendors which previously sold arrays
of SAS/SATA SSDs - and who don't own their own semiconductor fabs - the only
viable ways to establish such platform brand identities are with SSD
software and architecture.
There's a huge gap between the technological
aspiration which Nimbus talks about and the weakness of its past marketing and
the kind of
funding which we've
seen competitors in this market burn through in the past with mixed results.
In the next few quarters I hope we'll hear more from Nimbus about its
business development plans and customer adoption.
roadmap to the
positioning of many flash array "startups"
|What happened before?
|seeking the inner SSD
|9 years ago - in
Violin Memory launched an assault on the high end RAM SSD acceleration market
with general availability of the highest density rackmount memory system.
|I think it's not too strong
to say that the enterprise PCIe SSD market (as we once knew it) has exploded and
fragmented into many different directions.|
|what's changed in enterprise