This article originally
appeared in SSD news in
|in the SSD software golf challenge who's got
a similar handicap to Fusion-io?|
Editor:- October 2, 2012 - last
week I was asked by a reader (who didn't want to be named here) if I could
suggest any companies which have SSD software as powerful and far reaching as
that of Fusion-io.
I thought it would be much too simplistic to answer with a list of
names taken out of context - so instead I said there are several different
levels at which you can view and analyze this:-
- communicating intelligence between the API and raw flash level
- working between different storage systems and software components (caching,
tiering, virtualization, data protection etc)
After using a lot more words in my email than I've
used here - the end result was a reply to my reader with a list of companies
which you wouldn't be too surprised to see if you looked at the list of top
enterprise SSD companies and correlated that with who's acquired or developed
their own software. The list ran something like this:-
- working in different markets -
consumer? - you ask - I thought we were talking about Fusion-io?
mentioned a few years ago Fusion-io's software is applicable to
It's simply a commercial decision not to pursue that avenue in the current
unprofitable state of the consumer market. But in the long term it's one of the
reasons that the company is rated as being so valuable - because its technology
can span solid state storage from the level of Ultrabooks (with PCIe inside)
(acquired by SanDisk) -
have the makings of a serious industry platform.
- GridIron -
probably has the most sophisticated
SSD ASAP software in
the industry. (In my email I said - shame it's tied to their hardware -
an SSD HDD hybrid box. But this week - that has changed. See the notes below
for more about this.)
between the hardware layers to optimize the system within enterprise racks and
arrays - the ability to hop in with intelligence gained from another level to
tweak performance and reliability - is a genuine efficiency asset.
- SANRAD (acquired by
OCZ) is also a contender.
- Virident -
have several layers of intelligence in their PCIe SSD software. They don't like
to talk too much about the details. But it's one of the things which makes
their offering stronger than many others.
- Nimbus - started
out using a standard SSD controller in their 2.5" SAS arrays - but have
added some firmware level access points which they leverage from higher levels
And in the consumer software space I suggested:-
- Skyera - is
probably the hottest example of this. They dive in at many levels to increase
efficiency of the way they use flash.
The only real surprise in the list above to
regular readers - might be GridIron - which because they haven't been a true
pure SSD company (their main product is hybrid SSD and HDD boxes) don't get so
many mentions on these SSD pages.
- EasyCo - the very
first enterprise SSD software company which was bumped aside by the
technology wave - has found a new market opening selling their
and performance enhancing software to makers of cheap flash storage for phones
and consumer devices. It's no longer world beating IP - but it has its uses.
(And maybe attractive for future patent trolls.)
Anyway - I was reminded about the
above email exchange when I saw GridIron's
release in my email this morning regarding their
GT-1500 Data Accelerator Appliance - a 2U 12TB SSD ASAP - which can
accelerate upto 120TB of back end storage.
In one way this can be
regarded as an extrapolation of
- which was launched 3 years ago. But the difference is in the detail and
sophistication of the hotspot algorithms - which GridIron describe as "multi-zone
behavior profiling (pdf)"
GridIron have a new (to me)
marketing tagline - "Tier 0 Performance at Tier 2 Pricing" -
I don't like SSD
tiers myself - I prefer the idea of
application silos. But GridIron's summary of what they do is better than
Going back to the original question at the start of today's
Do I know any vendors whose SSD software can match or
Overall - the answer is - No. But in many important
areas the answer is - Yes.
In my ramblings today (remember this
started out as a much longer rambling email) you can see that the
SSD software market is
alive, healthy and just as competitive as the flash hardware business.
Apologies to all the other companies I could have named but left out. You'll get
your turn later.
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