And what do SSD companies have to do in
the next few years to make it easier for wannabe SSD enterprise customers to
buy more of their products and be happy?
You'd think that someone
should know all the answers by now.
But they don't.
I talk to
many thought leaders in the enterprise SSD market - and even when they have a
clear idea of what they're doing and where their own roadmaps are going - they
don't have spare time to figure out questions like - how are all these
different parts of the future SSD jigsaw going to join up in the user
If users pay the invoice and buy repeat systems - that's
as good as it gets. The investors
are happy. Why worry about SSD climate change?
Many SSD gurus have said
to me recently - while catching their breath for the next sprint - it's a
Succesful enterprise SSD businesses are working hard and
The technologies which satisfied one SSD product
generation's needs rarely sustain their reliability and competitiveness edge
for more than a few years before needing to be reinvented.
success in SSD generation X doesn't guarantee success in generation Y.
back on the past 15 years or so of the enterprise SSD market you could say that
SSD marketers had it easy.
As long as each new product was faster,
denser, cheaper and
more reliable than
the one before - and came attached with the right interfaces - their job was
mostly done - because that satisfied the needs of the market.
SSD market is much more complicated.
Here's a simple example of top
level market market fragmentation.
the old days they were all fast and all were compatible with
FC SANs. Some were a shade
faster than others. Others a tad cheaper. But within the market there wasn't
the vast spectrum of capability you see today.
To compete viably
today rackmount SSDs have to be design optimized to compete in one of the
following top level market classifications:-
And you can furthermore divide each of the above
categories into 2 parts -
open vs proprietary
architecture - which have different comfort zone acceptability with different
customers. And then again - another division will be by interface (FC SAN,
that's just one part of the enterprise SSD market which users have to think
about. I haven't even mentioned, above, subjects like
But users do have to worry about all
these problems - because if
they get it wrong and invest in dead-end architecture - then a few years
down the road they'll have to rethink their solid state storage infrastructure
all over again.
A facile answer to the question - what do enterprise
SSD users want? - might be to say - give users some degree of certainty
in a wildly uncertain world.
better vendor communication about how they fit into the customer-centric
and application-specific SSD ecosystem?
(Efforts today in this
aspect are mostly laughable.)
It could be all those things - but it
could be more too. Because maybe those aren't even the most important
As you can imagine - I get a lot of questions about the SSD
And these help me to understand what I should be writing
And as my readers include people in the SSD industry who make
new products happen - that feedback process helps moves things in some
directions which might be better than others. But it's not enough. And we can
all do better.
So here's what I suggest.
During the next few
quarters StorageSearch.com will be opening up the conversation re - what do
enterprise SSD users want?
My aim will be to collect a coherent set of
questions to design surveys which will inform, prompt and guide the SSD
industry about what it can do better - as seen from your point of view.
this important? Does it really matter? Let me know what you think. Here are some more articles in the "SSD thought leadership"
series - which have appeared on the home page of StorageSearch.com
"You can't afford
to do this tuning manually. That's how it used to be done. By hot spot tuning
engineers. There are too few of them. They're expensive. And after they've left
- your apps might change and you'd have to start all over again."
"I expect we'll
see entirely new SSD enabled markets in the next few years - but it could be
2015 or later before it starts to be clear who the SSD equivalents of the Wintel
platform (leveraging the microprocessor) or Amazon and Apple (leveraging the
web) will be."