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SSD news - November 15 - 30, 2012

SSD market history
the Top SSD Companies
2012 SSD market highlights
OCZ's CEO says "we've got the train back on the track"

Editor:- November 30, 2012 - OCZ's CEO, Ralph Schmitt - said yesterday in an analyst discussion reported by Reuters that the company isn't looking to be acquired and he doesn't think it will have any difficulties getting more cash at a reasonable cost.

"customers want more" - says Whiptail's CEO

Editor:- November 29, 2012 - Whiptail today announced a new up-scale option for its Invicta (rackmount SSDs) which will be available in the next quarter. The so-called INFINITY option elevates the ceiling from 6 to 30 nodes and up to 360TB flash.

Dan Crain, Whiptail's CEO said - "One clear theme that we've heard from our customers is - we want more. What they are discovering is once they start moving their data and applications to Whiptail, their productivity increases so much that they want to bring all of their business critical apps to flash. It's like eating potato chips, you can't stop with just one."

Editor's comments:- Dan's quotable quip - connecting consumption of rackmount SSDs to potato chips - takes me back to my 2012 preview article - year of the enterprise SSD goldrush - into which I've now added similar affirmatory comments culled from other SSD news stories in the past year.

Virident ships FlashMAX II

Editor:- November 28, 2012 - Virident Systems today announced the general availability and shipping of its previously unveiled FlashMAX II - (fast enterprise PCIe SSDs) which support Linux, Windows, and VMware ESXi and VDI environments. Pricing starts at $6,000.

Results from SSD IOPS needs survey

Editor:- November 28, 2012 - How Many IOPS Do You Really Need? - is a new 80 page SSD market report ($5,000) by Objective Analysis and Coughlin Associates - which the authors say - "dissects the results of a months-long on-line survey of IT managers which collected their inputs on the IOPS, capacity, and latency needs for a number of key enterprise applications."

See also:- market research

"No-VC" Nimbus - story on Bloomberg

Editor:- November 28, 2012 - Why Nimbus Data's founder Thomas Isakovich didn't want VC stakeholders in his SSD company - having got frozen out from an earlier storage venture - is the topic in a recent article on Bloomberg - in which Tom also discusses the new way of growing a business - with real customers - via the web.

Enmotus demos its SSD ASAP technology

Editor:- November 27, 2012 - Enmotus is demonstrating its auto-tiering software - which it calls automated MicroTiering technology (pdf) - for the first time in public this week at the Server Design Summit.

5 years endurance was goal for OCZ's newest SATA SSD

Editor:- November 27, 2012 - OCZ's newly available, Barefoot 3 controller based, Vector SATA SSDs (550/530MB/s R/W throughput, 100K read IOPS) are rated for 20GB host writes per day for 5 years. The company said today - "Endurance was a major priority in the design."

"The development of the Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller architecture is a crowning achievement in our company's history, being our first controller silicon and firmware completely designed in-house from start to finish using all of the OCZ technology development teams," said Ralph Schmitt, CEO for OCZ Technology.

Editor's comments:- among other things - a key difference between OCZ's new controller and those from one time frenemmy SandForce / LSI is in the philosophy of RAM cache flash ratios.

With other things being equal - it's easier to achieve better endurance with more RAM cache. On the other hand - not needing an external RAM - also simplifies market access into smaller form factor SSDs. But as we know from the many complexities of SSD design architecture and IP - "other things being equal" - is a thing of the past.

update on BiTMICRO's Talino SSD controller

Editor:- November 27, 2012 - A year after BiTMICRO first unveiled its quad core Talino SSD controller architecture (which is intended for use in fast enterprise SSDs) the company is now revealing more details about the other part of its 2 tier architecture - the ISIP (Intelligent Storage Interconnect Platform).

"One of the innovative attributes of the Talino architecture is its 'building block' design. A single Talino ASIC can connect to as many as 60 ISIP chips, each connecting to up to 8 flash die," said Zophar Sante, VP of Marketing and Sales, BiTMICRO - "Multiple Talino ASICs can easily interconnect via a PCIe switch to create 1U, 2U and 3U complete storage systems with enormous capacities and blistering performance. These Talino based storage systems can use "off the shelf" front-end file systems that support FC, FCoE, iSCSI, NFS, CIFS, Ethernet and can also include volume management, virtualization and storage services software."

BiTMICRO says the Talino ASIC is very versatile. Interface controllers are built directly into the chip, with 8x 5Gb PCIe lanes, 2x 6Gb SAS ports and 2x 6Gb SATA ports.

"The technology we put into our Talino Architecture puts BiTMICRO far beyond what anyone else is doing with solid state storage," said Rey Bruce, CEO, BiTMICRO. "In terms of performance, scalability, and reliability, there's no other architecture that can match what Talino can deliver. And we will continue the innovation of Talino so it will remain cutting edge for years to come."

Editor's comments:- I've arranged to talk with Rey Bruce about the thinking behind this new SSD architecture and will publish an article about it soon.

SEC starts probing OCZ

Editor:- November 21, 2012 - OCZ announced it is being investigated by the SEC re financial reporting matters.

OCZ says - "SEC has informed the OCZ that this inquiry should not be construed as an indication that any violations of law have occurred or that the SEC has any negative opinion of any person, entity or security."

STEC eyes large market opportunity for small SSDs

Editor:- November 20, 2012 - STEC today published a new blog - why small format SSDs are better than traditional (2.5") in embedded designs. See also:- tiny SSDs

SSD company acquisitions in the modern era

Editor:- November 20, 2012 - sometimes the lists and directories I maintain on become unwieldy.

One such was a list of acquired, renamed and gone-away storage companies - which I started in 2000 to help readers re-establish contact with legacy suppliers which they might have lost contact with. That list grew to over 500 companies in 10 years - which is the point where I stopped updating it. (Nowadays other resources like Wikipedia and social media sites can help you track down gone-away storage companies.)

What about acquired SSD companies?

I compiled a short list of SSD company and IP acquisitions in the modern era to illustrate my (April 2009) article - 3 Easy Ways to Enter the SSD Market.

For various reasons I revisited the idea of doing an acquired SSD companies list. But I decided that rather than create an entirely new article I'd simply update the table in that earlier article (about entering the SSD market) - which now includes SSD company acquisitions from January 2000 upto the present day.

I don't plan to maintain the - SSD company acquisitions in the modern era list - beyond 500 companies - and will probably cap it when it hits 100 or so - but I might change my mind - if enough readers find it useful.

in memory database is even better with FIO's flash SSDs

Editor:- November 19, 2012 - McObject today announced that it has run benchmarks of its (intrinsically designed for) in-memory database systems software - with transaction logging enabled - on a number of different devices - and in particular Fusion-io's ioDrive SSDs.

Editor's comments:- In a paper published 3 years ago - In-Memory Database Systems: Myths & Facts - McObject said that fast flash SSDs used as the storage hot spot for traditional database software could never get performance as good as their own in-memory solution running in DRAM with legacy hard drive array bulk storage - and various remarks in that paper sent out a strong anti-SSD message which the company is in effect correcting today.

What McObject is now saying - is that by using a fast low latency SSD for the "performance draining" transaction log - you can get even greater speedups. There are other benefits too - which arise from the efficiency of their small footprint database - which means that a software product - which was originally designed for the DRAM-HDD world - is a good fit in the flash SSD world too - if you have the right scale of data and the right SSD.

SSD past, present and future

Editor:- November 16, 2012 - I was curious to see what Greg Schulz, StorageIO and Jim Handy, Objective Analysis might say in their iTunes compatible talk posted today - SSD past, present and future.

I'm glad I took the time to do so. In a little over 15 minutes they cover a lot of history, remind you that we're nearly 10 years past the time that Intel once proclaimed that flash would run out of steam. Then they discuss what might happen to controller IP designers if new nvm ever replaces flash in SSDs and - to my surprise also mention me and the mouse site. ...tune in and listen

Samsung makes fast phone 64GB SSDs on 10nm

Editor:- November 15, 2012 - Samsung today announced they've started production of 64GB eMMC SSDs which use 10nm flash geometry.

Aimed at the phone and tablet market - R/W IOPS performance is 5,000 and 2,000 respectively. R/W throughput is 260MB/s and 50MB/s.

Editor's comments:- this shows that when Samsung see a huge enough market opportunity for a specific range of SSDs their engineers are clever enough to design and make it. See also:- tiny SSDs

Fusion-io's SSDs get energy saving award

Editor:- November 15, 2012 - As well as being fast - Fusion-io is now talking about being green - having won an award from Utah Business Magazine.

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re-imagining the enterprise SSD customer
by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - November 21, 2012

Here's one idea for SSD vendors to start thinking about as we head into 2013...

Whether or not they are aware of the details - all SSD companies will increasingly be judged by how snugly they fit into market segments or application silos - where the agenda and the lines drawn around what is regarded as a balanced set of product suitability criteria have been drawn by others.

That's a distinct difference to how the SSD market has worked before.

What used to happen is that users had fuzzy ideas of what SSDs were and the benefits they might get.

The conceptual spaces for new types of SSD products to occupy were lightly occupied and the fences were fluid.

So it was relatively easy to introduce a new product which changed the rules of what an SSD did, how it fitted into existing setups and how much it cost.

Now a significant proportion of SSD users realize that the "SSD" in their lives is not a single type of SSD.

They already see many distinctly different use cases for SSDs within the scope of what they do (this can vary from 7 completely different SSD product types in each of the main markets:- enterprise, industrial, consumer, military etc) and users are being bombarded with information - some of which is contradictory - from hundreds of vendors.

How are users dealing with this?

In the old days of the SSD world - the traditional sales process went something like this.

SSD vendor explains to customer - this is what an SSD is. This is how we do it. And these are the models we sell.

In the modern era of SSDs - the customer has received their education about what an SSD is - and what it can do - from many sources. So when they talk to a vendor - the customer says - don't tell me about SSDs. Tell me instead how you fit into my idea of the SSDs I'm looking for - and why I should buy from you - instead of all these others.

Some vendors mistakenly believe that if their new SSD is really different - but in a good way - then they can change the customer's mind about the architecture of what they need. But if said vendors don't invest in education via bloggers and articles on the web - they will be filtered out and never have that face to face customer conversation.

The SSD market is bigger than the list of companies in the VP of sales' head, and it's bigger than all the people who went to all the trade shows.

In many of the discussions I've had in the past year I've got the impression that sophisticated SSD users actually know a good deal more about what is happening in the SSD market and what their competitive choices really look like - than some of the marketing VPs of the SSD companies which are trying to sell to them.

The SSD market has now grown to a scale of size and complexity that vendors are judged and evaluated by what the mass of what other SSD companies - and their direct competitors are doing.

And not by how well the vendor's new product launched today performs compared to the old one they did 6 months before (or - it's so pathetic but some of them still do it - how the new SSD compares to hard drives).

And if you're reading this on your holiday... Now you can go back to watching some relaxing tv.

See also:- Decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise for rackmount SSDs
more SSD articles
the Survivor's Guide to Enterprise SSDs - a list of do's and don'ts

how fast can your SSD run backwards? - 11 key symmetries

SSD ASAPs news - news about Auto-tuning SSD Accelerated Pools of storage, auto-tiering, auto-caching and hybrid arrays

Strategic Transitions in SSD - roundup of recent disruptive changes in the SSD market

SSD buyers guide - includes summary of everything important that's happened in the SSD market in the past year - and has a top level list of SSD articles themed by markets, interfaces and form factors

Surviving SSD sudden power loss - the power management system is one of the most important parts of the SSD which governs reliability.

Where are we now with SSD software? - (And how did we get into this mess?)

what do enterprise SSD users want? - and why aren't vendors asking.

The big market impact of SSD dark matter - some of the very biggest direct customer opportunities for SSDs aren't the big name computer and storage oems.

adaptive R/W flash care management IP (including DSP) for SSDs - what is it? and who does it? This will be a disruptive transition.

enterprise SSDs - exploring the limits of the market in your head - is about enterprise SSD futurology.

Can you tell me the best way to SSD Street? - I'm like the Old Woman of the SSD Village who talks to everyone that passes through.

comparing the SSD market today to earlier tech disruptions - applying a sense of perspective to what's happening now with SSDs
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