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2009 milestones from SSD Market History

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor

As the year opened I explained why I thought 2009 would be the Year of SSD Market Confusion. But what actually did happen?

2009 is the year in which search volume for PCIe SSDs surpassed that for any other SSD form factor - knocking 2.5" SSDs off the #1 slot.

It was also the year that flash SSDs reached the same storage density as hard drives in the same form factor - 1TB capacity in a standard 9.5mm high 2.5" SSD.
LSI SandForce SSD processors - click for more info
the awards winning silicon
accelerating world's leading SSDs
from Seagate

January 2009

PQI launched a 32GB ExpressCard SSD with 88MB/s read speed, and 48MB/s write.

Kingston Technology announced it will sell rebranded high speed SSDs supplied by Intel as Kingston's SSDNow E Series.

RunCore infringed copyright by publishing an article from on its website in full without permission, and without any attribution. (We quickly sorted out this misunderstanding - and later RunCore became a customer of ours.)

Verbatim said it will ship a 64GB ExpressCard SSD in February (price $299.99 ) with read speed upto 125MB/s, and write speed upto 30MB/s.

G-Technology launched the G-RAID mini SSD - a desktop RAID system for the Mac market - with internal 2.5" SSDs and eSATA, FireWire and USB interfaces.
SSD ad - click for more info disclosed that in the 1st 4 weeks of January pageviews for PCIe (PCI Express) SSDs had overtaken all other SSD form factors except 2.5" SSDs. The interest in PCIe SSDs has accelerated dramatically.

Toshiba announced it will start volume production of dual port SAS SLC flash SSDs in Q2 2009. The 2.5" SSDs will have 100GB capacity, and 25,000 read IOPS, and 20,000 write IOPS. One of the enabling factors for the high write IOPS is the use of a non-volatile cache - which was predicted in's article - the Flash SSD Performance Roadmap. This brings the number of oems who have announced SAS SSDs to 6.

Samsung announced details of a new 100GB 2.5" SLC flash SSD that will ship this quarter. For the 1st time Samsung disclosed IOPS data - 25k random read IOPS and 6k write IOPS. R/W throughput is 230MB/s and 180MB/s respectively.

SanDisk unveiled a new family of 1.8" and 2.5" MLC flash SSDs that will ship in mid 2009. Capacities (and anticipated MSRPs) are as follows:- 60GB ($149), 120GB ($249) and 240GB ($499). Anticipated sequential performance is quoted as:- 200MB/s read and 140MB/s write.

pureSilicon said it is sampling the highest density 2.5" SSD - with 1TB capacity in a 9.5mm high form factor. Sustained read / write performance is 240MB/s and 215MB/s respectively. The SATA SSD has latency under 100 µsec and is rated at 50,000 read IOPS, and 10,000 write IOPS. The company emerged from stealth mode in October 2008 as a military storage oem - but the new products could find a much bigger market in commercial servers. I asked if compression was involved in achieving the capacity - but was told - no. Internally it's got 128 pieces of 64Gb MLC NAND.

Texas Memory Systems announced that its SSD revenue in 2008 had grown 20% compared to 2007, and that it had also achieved record revenue in Q4 (the time when the Credit Crunch iceberg hit the Titanic world economy hard enough for even the 1st class passengers to take pause).

Nimbus Data Systems launched its DH200 - a 4 port 10GbE NAS - which supports upto 10TB of flash SSD storage.

RAID Inc - launched a 1U rackmount SSD - the Razor SSD - a 12 bay 4 port fibre-channel system using COTS 2.5" SAS SSDs in a RAID array.

The SSD market notched another kill when Fujitsu announced it will discontinue its HDD business this quarter. ...Later:- in February 2009 - it emerged the new owner will be Toshiba who plans to marry its flash SSD technology with Fujitsu's HDD IP to spawn new enterprise SSDs.

Apacer launched a miniature SLC flash SSD - the Mini SAFD 25M - which fits into 1/2 the footprint of a 2.5" SSD. Capacity ranges from 256MB to 16GB and R/W speed is 35MB/s and 25MB/s respectively. A shell is available for users who want to mount this in a 2.5" hard disk slot.
Lexar Media aid it is working on technologies that will enable it to deliver content enriched flash media. Collaborating with flash duplicator company Flashrite, Lexar will focus on enabling technology to secure content on flash media so that it cannot be inappropriately duplicated or altered.

CoreSolidStorage launched the world's lightest 2.5" SLC flash SSD. Weighing just 62g, the SATA compatible Ares has 64GB capacity and R/W speed 170MB/s and 135MB/s respectively.

February 2009

Steve Wozniak became Chief Scientist at Fusion-io.
flash SSD capacity - the iceberg syndrome
Have you ever wondered how the amount of flash inside a flash SSD compares to the capacity shown on the invoice?

What you see isn't always what you get.
nothing surprised the penguins - click to read  the article There can be huge variations in different designs as vendors leverage invisible internal capacity to tweak key performance and reliability parameters. the article
Seagate announced it had dismissed its patent suit against STEC.

Hitachi GST announced it is acquiring Fabrik, the parent company of G-Technology.

Astute Networks launched a SAS compatible SSD Storage Blade for use with Sun servers.
Trident Space & Defense launched the Triton FSE - a 2.5" flash SSD for rugged military and defense applications - which includes Fast/Secure Erase.

SanDisk announced that it will begin mass-production of the world's first 4-bits-per-cell (X4) flash memory. Using 43nm process technology, this breakthrough enables 64Gb memory in a single die - the highest capacity in the industry.
White Electronic Designs announced a new technology which automatically sanitizes a flash SSD to military standards - when the device is moved outside a specified operating zone - to prevent data falling into enemy hands.

Linkvast Technologies unveiled a family of 4 channel (32bit/32CE) and 8 channel (64bit/64CE) SATA flash SSD controllers that will ship in June, 2009. The controllers support all mainstream SLC & MLC flash memory devices. The external DRAM architecture enhances SSD performance and can reduce flash wear out. Package is 279-Balls 15mm x 15mm LBGA.

SalvationDATA announced it has developed a new technology for flash SSD data recovery. The company says its methodology will work with all commercial devices (excluding military and industrial SSDs which have inbuilt secure erase). The new tool is expected to launch in May 2009.

DTS announced availability of the fastest 3.5" SATA SSD - the Platinum HDD 2009 model. Internally it has a 1GB RAM SSD which operates as a non volatile RAM cache for an internal flash SSD (320GB to 512GB). Aimed at server acceleration applications performance is 25,000 R/W IOPS, read speed is 250MB/s, and write speed is upto 240MB/s. DTS says the huge nv cache also attenuates writes (opposite of write amplification) - thereby reducing flash wear by x10 to x400 compared to conventional flash SSDs.

Viking Modular Solutions launched the ArxCis-NV - an SSD based backup for RAID controller cache. When the external logic power rail drops - internal Supercapacitors sustain power inside the module long enough (typically 10 to 15 seconds) to save the cache contents to an SLC SSD.

Network Appliance announced 2 strands in its solid state storage acceleration strategy:- support for the RamSan-500 flash SSD array (from Texas Memory Systems' ) via NetApp's V-Series storage controller and also a new Performance Acceleration Module which provides a read cache (16GB to 80GB) implemented by PCI Express DRAM cards.

Hyperstone launched a controller chip for oems designing industrial grade CF compatible SSDs. The F4 provides safe power-fail handling, proven error detection and correction and static wear leveling. Data transfer rate to the attached flash memory array (16 chips) is upto 80MB/s. Sustained R/W via the CF interface is upto 50MB/s and 40MB/s respectively. Alternatively oems can add a SATA bridge, or RAID controller for other markets.

WhipTail Technologies announced details of its iSCSI compatible 2U rackmount RAID protected SSDs. Available with 1.5TB (price approx $60,000) or 3TB capacities the systems internally use COTS flash SSDs managed by EasyCo's MFT technology which significantly improves write IOPS and endurance.

SMART Modular Technologies announced new 3.5" parallel SCSI SSDs with upto 128GB and faster secure erase for industrial, defense, and other embedded applications that require extremely rugged storage devices and legacy interfaces.

Coraid added SSDs to the drives supported in its AoE compatible RAID systems.
custom SSDs
custom SSDs Few questions in the SSD market have simple answers.

Do custom SSDs cost have to cost more?

See my new blog - some thoughts about SSD customization.

March 2009

STEC announced that its revenue in 2008 had grown 20% year on year to $227.4 million.

EMC announced it has qualified higher capacity 400GB flash SSDs for use in its storage systems.

Western Digital entered the SSD market by acquiring SiliconSystems for $65 million in a cash transaction.

OCZ Technology Group unveiled a PCIe SSD at CeBIT. The Z Drive uses MLC flash and has 1TB capacity.

4DS announced additional funding as part of a multi-million dollar equity investment to port its RRAM technology to existing semiconductor fabs.

LSI announced better support for flash SSDs in the latest update to its MegaRAID SAS adapters. LSI calls this new feature SSD Guard - which can anticipate some types of flash SSD failures in RAID 0 configurations and starts rebuilding data on a spare unit.

Texas Memory Systems unveiled a PCIe SSD that will ship in Q2 2009. The RamSan-20 has 450GB of RAID protected SLC flash with 80 microseconds latency. R/W bandwidth is 700MB/s and 500MB/s respectively. Sustained IOPS are:- 120,000 random read, and 50,000 random write. Endurance is rated at 12 years (assuming 25% continuous writes). List price is about $18,000.

Hagiwara Sys-Com extended its range of 1" SSDs - with the launch of the CFast Storage Card which will ship in Q2. These industrial grade SSDs are form factor compatible with CF cards, but have a SATA interface. Capacities range from 2GB to 16GB. See also:- CFast - Evolution (pdf)

Pillar Data Systems launched the Axiom SSD Brick, a storage module with upto 12 Intel SSDs which is compatible with Pillar's distributed RAID systems. Pillar's application aware QoS software dynamically chooses storage types (SSD, FC-HDD, or SATA-HDD) and tunes performance to satisfy quality of service priorities based on user selections for each type of application. launched a new series - the SSD Bookmarks - in which SSD thought leaders suggest articles and links which cast light on their own patch of the SSD jungle.

Fusion-io announced an oem deal with HP whose new PCIe based StorageWorks IO Accelerator for for HP BladeSystem c-Class servers is based on Fusion's ioMemory SSD technology. A low level formatting tool for the HP SSD enables users to choose what level of over-provisioning is used - as a performance tweaking option.

A-DATA launched a 512GB 2.5" flash SSD at CeBIT. The dual interface (USB and SATA) compatible SSD has R/W speeds upto 230MB/s and 160MB/s and is aimed at notebooks.
Surviving SSD sudden power loss
Why should you care what happens in an SSD when the power goes down?

This important design feature - which barely rates a mention in most SSD datasheets and press releases - has a strong impact on SSD data integrity and operational reliability.

This article will help you understand why some SSDs which (work perfectly well in one type of application) might fail in others... even when the changes in the operational environment appear to be negligible.
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
Datalight announced a new tree-based file system for embedded flash devices which boosts sequential and random write speeds as much as 5x faster on Microsoft Windows Mobile than the default file system.

Pretec Electronics is sampling a 128GB ExpressCard SSD for the notebook market with 38/30MB/s R/W speeds and hardware encryption. Volume shipments are expected next month.

Solid Access Technologies said it has broken the $10,000 price barrier for a high performance rackmount RAM SSD. It's offering a 2U 16GB FC or SAS connected USSD 200 model for just $9,900.

Sun Microsystems launched its new Sun Flash Analyzer - a free Java tool to help users determine how much their (Solaris, Windows and Linux) servers could benefit from SSD acceleration. The company also launched a try before you buy marketing promotion for its servers which have Sun branded 2.5" SLC flash SSDs pre-integrated. The 32GB SATA SSDs have sequential R/W upto 250MB/s and 170MB/s respectively. Random R/W IOPS are upto 35,000 and 3,300 respectively (4k blocks). Endurance is 3 years - assuming max write speed and 100% write duty cycle.

Dell announced SSD options for its iSCSI compatible EqualLogic PS6000 storage arrays. Pricing starts at $25,000. This brings the number of rackmount SSD oems to 34. That number is expected to reach 300 in 2010.

SiliconSystems announced that it has shipped over 4 million SiliconDrives integrated with the company's SiSMART technology. SiliconSystems also said it will ship faster versions of its 2.5" and 1.8" SiliconDrives in the next quarter - with R/W speeds up to 100MB/s and 80MB/s respectively, and (SLC) capacity upto 128GB.

Apacer launched the SAFD 254 range of SATA 2.5" SLC flash SSDs. Aimed at the industrial market, operating temperate is from -40°C to + 85°C. Capacity is from 8GB to 128GB. R/W speeds are 150MB/s and 130MB/s respectively. Internal S.M.A.R.T technology logs spare blocks and erase counts. ECC corrects upto 8 bit errors per 512 bytes. Power consumption is 400mA (active), 140mA (idle). Volume production starts in Q2 2009 - with antipicated prototype price of $900 for the 128GB model.

Dolphin launched the StorExpress a rackmount SLC flash SSD with upto 960GB capacity. The PCIe connected SSD has R/W throughput upto 2,700MB/s and 50 microsecond access latency. Dolphin quotes a figure of 270,000 IOPS but the initial datasheet doesn't break out IOPS figures for reads and writes. The StorExpress can be located upto 10m from the host bus using copper cable and 300m with optical fibre.

Winchester Systems said it will launch a range of rugged rackmount SSDs this month at FOSE . Among these is a 1U RAID 5 / 6 protected rugged SSD array - the RX-1300 FlashDisk - which houses 12x 2.5" SSDs. Interface options for the array include SAS, FC and PCIe.

Viking Modular Solutions launched the SATA Cube - a flash SSD which provides upto 256GB capacity in a small 30x32mm footprint. Sustained R/W speeds are 110MB/s and 79MB/s respectively. It's available as a BGA device or with a MicroSATA connector.

Fusion-io announced an enhanced version of its ioDrive - called the ioDrive Duo which will ship next month. Capacity has doubled to 640GB with 1.2TB planned for the 2nd half of 2009. Performance has been enhanced too. The ioDrive Duo can easily sustain 1.5 Gbytes/sec of read bandwidth. Read IOPS performance is 186,000 (4k packet size). Write IOPS reaches 167,000 (4k packet size).

Memoright said it will ship a new industrial grade 2.5" flash SSD range in May. The rSSD (upto 128GB capacity) is designed to operate from -40 to +85 degrees C and the company says its product testing processes satisfy MIL-STD-810F. R/W speeds are both upto 120MB/s.

Compellent announced it would demonstrate its tiered SSD technology at a user event in May 2009. The physical layer is based on STEC's ZeusIOPS SSDs. The soft part, something which Compellent calls policy driven Data Progression apparently " minimizes the number of SSDs required while providing the highest levels of performance for mission-critical applications."

PhotoFast launched a PCIe SSD for the Windows Vista / XP market - the G-Monster-PCIe Turbo Speed SSD. Capacity options include:- 256GB, 512GB and 1TB. Both MLC and SLC options are available. The flash array includes onboard RAID protection and has R/W speeds upto 750MB/s and 700MB/s respectively.

Pliant Technology announced it has received $15 million in Series C funding. This will be used as working capital to support volume production of its SAS compatible flash SSDs.

Mark Barrenechea, President & CEO of SGI, cited the parent article (to this one) - SSD market history in his blog - A Solid State of the Union. In which he said - among other things - "...given that we are now in the world of solid state (SSDs), you can run your data center at a higher temperature reducing the power consumption of Computer Room Air Conditioning units.
SSD ad - click for more info

April 2009 launched a new directory of merchant market SSD controller chip vendors.

SandForce unveiled its SF-1000 family of SSD Processors - aimed at oems building SATA flash SSDs. Its 2.5" SSD reference design kit is the fastest 2.5" SATA flash SSD on the market - with 250MB/s symmetric R/W throughput and 30,000 R/W IOPS.

Fusion-io was named the #1 company in's list of the the Top 10 SSD OEMs based on search volume in Q1 2009. This was the 1st time that the #1 slot has been held by a company which does not make traditional hard-disk form-factor SSDs. Also this month, Fusion-io announced it has closed $47.5 million in Series B funding and named a new CEO, David Bradford.

Super Talent Technology pre-announced its RAIDDrives SSD product line. This connects via PCIe and supports up to 2TB of RAID5 protected MLC flash storage. R/W performance is upto 1.2GB/s and 1.3GB/s respectively. More details are promised in June 2009.

Solidata announced it has appointed Melbourne based Solid State Central as its new exclusive distributor for the SSD market in Australia.
Intel said it is EOLing its Z-P230 SSD module which was aimed at the netbook market. 25 companies now make SSD chips, DOMs or SSD modules designed to fit into very small footprints.

Samsung will pay Spansion $70 million as part of a flash memory patent settlement. The companies have also exchanged rights in their patent portfolios in the form of licenses and covenants subject to a confidential settlement agreement.

Samsung claimed to be the 1st company to offer SSDs with hardware-based encryption in a misleading press release.

OCZ unveiled its 1st miniPCI-Express compatible SSDs. Aimed at notebooks OCZ miniPCI-E options include:- 16GB or 32GB capacity, and 2 interface options. SATA models - have R/W speeds 110MB/s and 51MB/s respectively . PATA models - have R/W speeds 45MB/s and 35MB/s respectively.
Texas Memory Systems announced the RamSan-620 - a 2U rackmount SLC Flash SSD with 2TB ($88,000 list price) to 5TB capacity and 2 to 8 FC or InfiniBand ports. Throughput is 3GB/s. R/W latency is 250µS and 80µS respectively. Transactional performance is 250,000 random IOPS. Power consumption is 325W. Multiple RamSan-620s can scale to higher capacities.

Solid Access Technologies' President, Tomas Havrda - shared his SSD Bookmarks with readers of

MAGMA and Dolphin jointly announced they have collaborated to develop an improved version of the latter's previously announced 2U StorExpress PCIe SSD product line, which will ship next month. Capacity options include 0.5TB (under $20K), 1TB and 2TB. It achieves 270K read and write IOPs (512 bytes to 4KB blocks) and up to 2.8GB/s of sustained bandwidth. Latency is less than 50µS. The StorExpress enclosure can be positioned 1,000 feet away from the host server using fiber.

May 2009

Dolphin's CEO, Tim Miller shared his SSD Bookmarks with readers of

Ramtron cited the auto market crash as a significant factor in the 26% decline in sales of its F-RAM memory in Q1 2009.

JEDEC published a new standard for 1.8" Slim SSDs. MO-297 defines the dimensions, layout and connector position for 54mm x 39mm SSDs with a standard SATA connector.

AGIGA Tech started sampling its new AGIGARAM non-volatile system technology which delivers densities between 4 megabytes (32 megabits) and 2 gigabytes (16 gigabits) and peak transfer rates equivalent to DRAMs.

STEC confirmed rumors that its Zeus-IOPS SSDs have indeed been oemed by IBM in several popular servers and storage systems. And STEC said it expects sales of its ZeusIOPS (2.5" and 3.5") flash SSDs in the 1st half of 2009 to reach $65 million.

DDRdrive emerged from stealth mode and launched the DDRdrive X1 - a PCIe compatible RAM SSD with onboard flash backup. Load / restore time is 60S. Performance is over 200K IOPS (512B). R/W throughput is 215MB/s and 155MB/s respectively. Capacity is 4GB. OS compatibility:- Microsoft Windows (various). Price is $1,495.

Walton Chaintech launched its APOGEE Mars SSD for the "hardcore gamers market". Includes 512MB mobile SDRAM buffer, capacity upto 250GB, R/W speeds upto 250MB/s and 180MB/s respectively.

Patriot Memory launched its Torqx line of SATA compatible 2.5" flash SSDs with 64GB, 128GB and 256GB capacities. The new models include 64MB of DRAM cache and deliver upto up to 260MB/s read, 180MB/s write speeds. OS support includes:- WindowsXP, Vista, Linux, and Mac OS X.

Super Talent announced new firmware for its UltraDrive ME series 2.5" SSDs. This includes what the company calls a "Performance Refresh Tool" to fix performance degradation problems in its earlier generation of SSDs. Although some commentators on the web have attributed such problems to fragmentation - that's completely incorrect! Since the access time for random reads in a well designed SSD is nearly identical for all locations - the real problem in Super Talent's SSDs (and some models from Intel) was due to badly designed products which were rushed to market too soon without adequate testing. For a deeper look at these issues see Can you trust flash SSD specs & benchmarks? - published nearly a year ago - which first alerted buyers to these problems. See also:- SSD controllers and IP.
What's the best way to design a flash SSD?
and other questions which divide SSD opinion

More than 10 key areas of fundamental disagreement within the SSD industry are discussed in an article here on called the the SSD Heresies.
click to read the article - the SSD Heresies ... Why can't SSD's true believers agree upon a single coherent vision for the future of solid state storage? the article
Toshiba announced it is offering 512GB SSDs as an option in notebooks for the Japanese market. The new, Toshiba-developed 512GB SSD employs a 2-bit-per-cell MLC flash memory - which gives 4x the capacity of SLC flash used in industrial and enterprise SSDs for the same silicon wafer footprint. One of the failures of the SSD market in 2008 was the low performance of SSDs integrated in notebooks. Toshiba's new notebook seems to address that market failure . The company says its new SSD controller boosts data throughput figures of 230MB/s reads and 180MB/s writes.

Skymedi launched a SATA SSD controller aimed at the notebook market. It supports R/W speeds up to 180MB/s and 150MB/s respectively and upto 512GB capacity. That brings the number of companies listed on our merchant market SSD controller and IP page up to 17.

TDK launched a range of 2.5" industrial temperature SATA SSDs (SLC and MLC) with upto 64GB capacity and R/W speeds of 95MB/s and 55MB/s respectively. Other features include 15-bit/sector ECC, 128-bit AES encryption and SMART. The new SSDs include internal UPS and an auto-recovery function that automatically recovers data when read disturbance errors occur. The company also launched a range of 1.8" SSDs.

OCZ launched its fastest 2.5" consumer SATA SSDs - the Summit Series - with 200MB/s sustained write and 250GB capacity.

Unity Semiconductor exited stealth mode and stated its aim to have the lowest manufacturing cost per bit in the non volatile memory industry with a new breakthrough technology called CMOx. The company said it will ship 64Gb devices in volume in 2011.

Swissbit launched an industrial 2.5" PATA/SATA SLC flash SSD product line with 45MB/s R/W performance and 2GB to 32GB capacity.

PhotoFast launched its G-Monster 1.8" SATA SSD with internal 64MB DRAM cache and upto 128GB capacity. It supports R/W speeds upto 230MB/s and 160MB/s respectively. The company says - what's important in this type of notebook product is not just sequential R/W throughput for large blocks - but also write performance for small random blocks. It claims its 12MB/s (for 4KB blocks) is best in class.

White Electronic Designs introduced a surface mount miniature PATA SLC SSD (22mm x 27mm PBGA) with 1, 2 and 4GB densities for use in high reliability embedded defense applications such as aircraft, communications and missiles.

MemoCom emerged on the international scene. The company announced it would show a comprehensive range of SSDs from 1" upto 3.5" at Computex 2009 in June.

Silicon Power launched a key ring form factor dual interface eSATA/USB MLC flash SSD. Capacity is 64GB, R/W speeds are:- 90MB/s and 50MB/s for eSATA, dropping down to 30MB/s and 20MB/s for USB.

ASMedia Technology became an executive member of the SSD Alliance .

June 2009

Avnet became a distributor for White Electronic Designs

PhotoFast showed a faster version 2 prototype of its G-Monster PCIe SSD at Computex. Read performance is claimed to be 1,500MB/s.

Numonyx announced a technology agreement with Samsung Electronics to develop common specifications for Phase Change Memory (PCM) products.

SMART Modular Technologies disclosed it had used Marvell's SSD controller in SMART's new XceedIOPS PCIe SSD which offers upto 400GB capacity and 140,000 random IOPS performance.

SanDisk started shipping its 2nd generation of miniature PATA compatible SSD modules for the netbook market. Performance is 9,000 vRPM and capacities range from 8 to 64GB. SanDisk says it has improved the non volatile cache to prevent "stalling" or "shuddering" which was a problem in 1st generation netbook SSDs.

Fusion-io announced it will ship a consumer optimized version of of its enterprise PCIe SSD family in July. Priced at $895, the ioXtreme has 80GB MLC flash capacity and average throughput of 520MB/s. Supported OS's include:- Windows XP, Vista and Linux.

DTS won a best of show award at Interop Tokyo 2009 for its Platinum SSD. The company says it will ship a 2.5" version of this product - which delivers about 40,000 IOPS and 250MB/s R/W - later this month.

PhotoFast launched the fastest ExpressCard - initially for the Japanese market. R/W speeds are 180MB/s and 100MB/s respectively.

NextIO announced it would demonstrate a 12 slot PCIe flash SSD system, designed in collaboration with Marvell later this month. Each slot would be capable of over 200,000 IOPs and offer 400GB capacity.

Western Digital Solid State Storage announced it has begun shipping its new SiliconDrive III SSD product family which includes 2.5" SATA and PATA and 1.8" Micro SATA products with target read speeds up to 100MB/s and write speeds to 80MB/s in capacities up to 120GB. SiliconDrive III has been designed and optimized for high reliability in demanding 24x7 applications in the embedded systems, media appliance and data streaming markets. published a new article - giving an Overview of the Notebook SSD Market. This is a troubled and complex segment of the SSD market - which has earned a justifiably bad reputation. Nevertheless SSD vendors continue to throw products at the notebook market in many shapes and sizes - hoping that something will stick before their cash runs out.

Tower Semiconductor, announced it has taken an equity position (value approx $1.25 million) in Crocus Technologies, and announced it is porting Crocus's MRAM to its 200mm wafer fab.

Samsung started sampling a SATA mini-card SSD for use in the netbook marketplace. The 30mm x 51mm x 3.75mm miniature SSD weighs 8.5g and consumes 0.3W. Capacity options are - 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. R/W speeds are 200MB/s and 100MB/s respectively.

Corsair announced 128GB and 64GB versions of its 220MB/s R/W 2.5" SATA MLC flash SSD family with 128MB of cache memory. Online price for the 128GB model is approx $355.

Dataslide announced it was close to productizing its revolutionary hard drive technology. Why mention it here? If successful - the technology (which we first reported on 7 years ago) would deliver similar IOPS and throughput performance as a mid range PCIe SSD - but at the media cost of a hard drive.

Foremay announced one of the fastest 2.5" SLC flash SSDs in the market. The SATA compatible SC199 Cheetah V-Series has sustained R/W speeds of 260MB/s and /250MB/s respectively and 42,000 random IOPS. Capacity options range from 32GB to 256GB.
SSD ad - click for more info

July 2009

WhipTail Technologies announced a 6TB MLC version of its 2U flash SSD appliance.

Ramtron announced that its FRAM has been selected to store the virtual block-to-sector map in a new flash SSD design by SBS Science and Technology. The use of hybridizing memory technologies - for example using faster RAM-like non volatile memory in some parts of the SSD device and slower flash-like memory in the bulk storage arrays to accelerate performance inside SSD caches was predicted by several years ago in various articles including the Flash SSD Performance Roadmap. published the 9th quarterly edition of the Top 10 SSD OEMs - based on comparing search volume in Q2 2009 for 155 SSD oems. For the 1st time - the top 10 list included a company whose primary business is designing SSD controllers - SandForce - which was ranked #2. The #1 company, for the 2nd consecutive quarter was Fusion-io.

OCZ announced faster versions of its 2.5" SATA flash SSDs. By increasing the internal cache speed by 8% the Vertex Turbo now delivers read and write speeds clocking in at up to 270MB/s read and 210MB/s write. These are fast for consumer SSDs - but see the fastest SSDs list for much faster devices.

Foremay has recently announced the fastest 1.8" SLC flash SSD. The SATA compatible SC 199 Cheetah has sustained R/W speeds of 250MB/s and 220MB/s respectively. R/W IOPS are 6,000 and 5,200 respectively. Capacity options range from 16GB to 64GB. Endurance for the 16GB device is rated at 87 years assuming 50GB sequential writes per day.

Active Media launched its SaberTooth brand of SATA Mini PCIe MLC flash SSD cards as upgrades for Asus Eee PCs. R/W speeds are upto 155MB/s and 100MB/s respectively. The 64GB model costs $219.95.

STEC announced it had received $120 million order for its ZeusIOPS SSDs from a single enterprise storage customer for delivery in the 2nd 1/2 of 2009. This followed an earlier announcement that the company has partnered with a leading defense systems contractor to supply its MACH8 industrial SSDs for integration into a platform designed on behalf of the U.S. Military as part of a 12 month, $28 million supply contract.

Curtiss-Wright launched the VPX3-FSM a rugged 256GB encrypted SLC flash SSD in a 3U VPX form factor module. Aimed at integrators in the aerospace and defense markets, the conduction-cooled SSD can be configured to appear to the host as 4 separate 64GB SATA drives or as a single drive with hardware RAID0 support. It's rated at 160MB/s memory R/W when configured as RAID0, and 75MB/s per port in a JBOD configuration.

Fusion-io announced the results of TPC-H benchmark tests sponsored by, and running on, Dell servers, and audited by Performance Metrics, Inc. The tested system achieved 28,772 QphH on a 100GB database, at a cost of $1.47 per database transaction. (The typical 3 year cost of ownership for the whole system including software is quoted as $41,998.)

Intel announced a process shrink for its X25-M - SATA 2.5" MLC flash SSD. The new 34nm devices deliver upto 8,800 (4KB) write IOPS and up to 35,000 read IOPS. R/W speeds are 250MB/s and 70MB/s respectively. R/W latenciy is 65µS and 85µS. The 160GB model is priced at $440 (1,000 unit price point).

IDT announced it was working with Micron to develop a commercial PCIe flash SSD for the server market. Micron had previously tested market reaction by unveiling a prototype PCIe SSD (with 800MB/s R/W speeds) in November 2008

August 2009

STEC said it will ship 6Gb/s SAS flash SSDs in both 2.5" and 3.5" form factors in Q4. STEC's new ZeusIOPS SSDs will deliver 80,000 IOPS random read, 40,000 IOPS random write with transfer speeds of 550MB/s read and 300MB/s write. STEC also said it's sampling a faster version of its 3.5" FC compatible SSDs. STEC also announced a new policy of offering MLC flash in so called "enterprise class SSDs".

Texas Memory Systems launched the RamSan-6200 a 40U rackmount SSD with 100TB of SLC flash storage, 5 million IOPS performance and upto 60GB/s throughput - which uses approximately 6kW of power. It's a scaled up system that combines 20x RamSan-620s in a single datacenter rack and uses TMS' TeraWatch software to provide unified management and monitoring from a single GUI console.

PhotoFast disclosed details of its G-Monster Quad Drive SSD which includes 4x RAIDed CFast SSDs in a SATA compatible 100mm x 70mm x 9.5mm module.

Capacities are 8, 16 and 32GB. R/W speeds are 100MB/s and 50MB/s respectively.

Intel and Micron Technology today announced the development of a new 3-bit-per-cell MLC NAND technology, leveraging their 34nm geometry process. The new 32Gb chips, expected to ship in the 4th quarter, will typically be used in consumer storage devices such as flash cards and USB drives rather than SSDs until the reliability of the new technology can be proven.

SandForce announced the availability of the SF-1000 family Evaluation 2.5" SSD featuring 34nm flash from Micron.

Samsung Electronics announced it is targeting the PC gaming industry with its 256GB SSD. This seems to confirm the consumer-led focus of the company's business strategy. Earlier had said it doesn't think Samsung's SSD product marketing is good enough to achieve success in the enterprise server market.

SMART Modular Technologies announced a new range of rugged 2.5" 256GB SSDs for defense applications that will ship next month. Data declassification compliance is implemented by the company's EraSure technology. The models comply with MIL-STD-810F environmental specifications for operating shock, vibration, humidity and altitude, and each drive passes a demanding 8 hour, full-temperature range burn-in test prior to shipment.

KingFast announced its ZIF range of MLC SSDs available in 1.8", 2.5" and 3.5" sizes with access times of 0.1mS.

Skymedi wants to concentrate efforts on its flash controller business and spin off its multimedia processor division according to a report in DIGITIMES .

Dataram said it will launch an SSD accelerator at SNW in October. The product is currently being evaluated by key customers.

September 2009 revealed that in August 2008 reader pageviews for PCIe SSDs were approximately 6x the level of a year ago.

Violin Memory announced that Donald Basile has been named CEO. Dr. Basile (with over 20 years of leadership experience) had recently served as the CEO of Fusion-io.

Texas Memory Systems expanded its IP base with the acquisition of data management patents and source code from Incipient. TMS also published a new video explaining subtle operational features of its RamSan-20 PCIe SSD.

Tom's Hardware published a performance review of a dozen disk form factor (1.8" & 2.5") flash SSDs. Most exceeded 200MB/s R/W throughput.

Intel said it will deploy up to 10,000 SSD notebooks this year to its own employees following an internal review of the benefits.

2 new company profiles have been added to our our classic SSD manufacturers directory. These are:- China based KingFast, and California based MagicRAM. Also 2 new companies have been added to the SSD SoC directory bringing the total up to 21.

Adaptec announced a new platform for integrators building hybrid storage pools using SSDs. Its MaxIQ SSD Cache Performance Kit (which operates with upto 4x customized 32GB Intel SSDs) includes software that identifies frequently (hot) read data blocks and optimizes subsequent "reads" by moving "hot" data directly into the SSD cache for lower latencies and higher system performance.

Pliant Technology started sampling its Lightning family of 2.5" (150GB) and 3.5" (300GB) skinny flash SAS SSDs. The SLC drives deliver R/W rates upto 525/340MB/s and 160,000 IOPS (for a 90% R, 10% W mix). Pricing for a single EFD is expected to fall between $15/GB and $30/GB.

NextIO named DaWane Wanek as VP of world wide sales. Prior to joining NextIO, Wanek served at Dell, where he was a director of the Advanced Systems Group.

Avere Systems announced it has secured $15 million in Series A funding from Menlo Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners. Avere founders were members of the team that created Spinnaker Networks, an innovator in scalable grid storage solutions, acquired by NetApp in 2004 for $300 million.

More who oems whom - SSD news stories.
  • Samsung announced that HP was offering its SSDs as an option in ProLiant servers. published a new directory of Fast Purge flash SSDs to help designers in defense applications.

Foremay announced the SC199 Hi-Rel Series SLC flash SSDs in 1.8", 2.5" and 3.5" form factors which meet military standards MIL-STD-810G and MIL-STD-833G. Operational temperature options include -40°C to approx 100°C.

Dataram launched the XcelaSAN - a fast 2U rackmount flash SSD with 450,000 random IOPS performance (assuming 50/50 R/W and 4k blocks), and upto 8x 4Gbps FC ports - aimed at the SAN application acceleration market. Pricing starts at $65,000 for a unit with approx 360GB internal flash, of which 128GB is effectively used as a cache. Dataram's product includes proprietary software - which does away with the need for an SSD expert engineer to identify hotspots and relocate critical data. The company says the XcelaSAN will automatically learn and self optimize during the 1st few hours of operation.

Samsung announced it has begun producing 512Mb PRAM memory. PRAM combines the speed of RAM for processing functions with the non-volatile characteristics of flash memory for storage. This has been a Problematic (rather than a Perfect) RAM technology. Samsung originally announced a working prototype of the 512Mb PRAM 3 years earlier - in September 2006.

October 2009

Seagate disclosed it has started sampling its 1st SSD product to major oems.

Ampex announced first shipments of the TuffServ 480 SSD - a rugged iSCSI SSD for airborne applications. The TuffServ 480 provides 2TB of RAID protected hot swappable flash storage in a conduction cooled MIL-STD-810F certified compact package measuring 5.25" H x 7.25" W x 10" D.

Emulex expanded its InSpeed chip bridging technology to simplify the job of designing fast native SAS and Fibre-channel compatible flash SSDs. disclosed that search volumes for PCIe form factor SSDs in September 2009 had surpassed that for 2.5" SSDs for the 1st time.

Dane-Elec Memory announced it will start shipping a range of USB 3 compatible external SSDs with 250MB/s throughput in December. They use Intel's flash SSDs.

Avere Systems unveiled its FXT Series of clusterable 2U rackmount hybrid NAS appliances. Each module contains upto 8x 3.5" SAS hard drives, 64GB DRAM and 1GB of nv RAM. The embedded Avere OS provides storage acceleration by dynamically tiering between the internal rotating and solid state storage. List pricing starts at $52,500.

Active Media Products launched its Aviator 312 line of bus powered fast USB 3.0 external SSDs with R/W speeds upto 240MB/s and 160MB/s respectively. Measuring less than 3" long and only 0.2" thin, the A312 is smaller than a credit card and is designed to fit in a pocket. Capacity options include:- 16GB ($89), 32GB ($119) and 64GB ($209).

Some of the technical folks at Texas Memory Systems have contributed to a new book called - Oracle Performance Tuning with SSDs - written by Oracle expert, Mike Ault. This is part of an august collection of Oracle tuning books published by Rampant Press.

Foremay entered the PCIe SSD market with its EC188 Dragon series - which is now sampling. Supporting both x8 and x16 slots - R/W performance is upto 1.5 GB/s and 1.3 GB/s respectively. Both MLC and SLC models are available. Capacities range from 128GB to 4TB. Sequential R/W IOPS is up to 90,000/80,000. Random R/W IOPS is up to 27,000/12,000. Features include power outage protection, dual PCIe configuration through a built-in PCIe RAID controller, and active garbage collection. OS support includes Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, Linux, and UNIX.

Storspeed emerged from stealth mode and unveiled the SP5000 Application-Aware cache. This is a NAS compatible SSD accelerator (base price $65,000 ) which uses a fat flash SSD environment integrated within a hybrid storage pool.

Foremay launched its EC188 Jaguar Series flash SSDs optimized for the Mac market. Form factors include 1.8", 2.5" and 3.5", interface types include SATA, micro SATA, SATA LIF, IDE and IDE ZIF/LIF. Capacties range from 64GB to 1TB and R/W speeds are upto 260/230MB/s.

WhipTail Technologies became the 1st SSD appliance company to market integrated in-line deduplication. WhipTail announced it will ship its newly renamed Racerunner (6TB) NAS SSDs with Exar's Hifn BitWackr deduplication and compression solution in Q4 2009. Racerunner has demonstrated deduplication performance in excess of 1Gbps.

Fusion-io published a case study showing how their ioDrive SSDs helped MySpace reduce server count, claim back 50% rack space while increasing application performance (compared to its legacy SAS RAID system) and massively decreasing electrical power. As a result of this initial project - MySpace plans to replace all remaining 1,770 2U servers with Fusion-io enabled servers as they reach their end-of-life.

Solidata unveiled its SS 2.5" SATA line of enterprise flash SSDs which use SSD controllers from SandForce. That contributes to its high R/W performance (280/270MB/s) and high R/W IOPS (50,000/35,000).

Intel joined the growing roster of SSD companies who have announced support for Trim functions. These benefit flash SSDs which don't have internal fast active garbage collection. The company recommends users install the firmware update and toolbox, and run the Trim function daily to ensure best performance.

Sun Microsystems launched 2 new SSD product lines. The F5100 Flash Array ($45,995 upwards) is a new 1U rackmount SSD - which has 16 SAS ports and provides upto 1.92TB capacity. R/W IOPS are upto 1.6M and 1.2M respectively (for a system populated with 80 SSD modules). The FlashFire F20 is a 96GB SLC flash PCIe SSD with 100k read and 84k write IOPS. R/W rates are upto 1092MB/s and 501MB/s respectively. The card also includes a SAS controller.

Samsung announced it has invested in Fusion-io. Quarter-over-quarter sales for Fusion-io products have nearly doubled since the company announced its first product, the ioDrive, in late 2007.

pureSilicon starts shipping its Renegade R2 Series 2.5" SATA SLC flash SSDs this month. Sequential R/W speeds are 255MB/s and 180MB/s respectively. IOPS performance is:- 18,000 IOPS random read: (4K) and 1,200 IOPS random write. Capacities upto 128GB in a low profile (9.5mm height) 2.5" form factor and -40°C to +85°C operating temperature.

Numonyx published an article in EDN - Phase-Change Technology Enters The Memory Market - which compares the cost, latency and endurance of PCM to SLC flash. Whereas the cost of PCM - based on silicon real-estate per GB is currently 20% more than SLC - the write latency is 1,000x lower. This may justify its use in some SSD designs.

Texas Memory Systems announced that its RamSan-620 - (2U 5TB SLC flash SSD, price $220,000 approx) - has achieved a record setting SPC-1 result. It produced 254,994.21 SPC-1 IOPS with average response time of 0.72mS and at a cost of only $1.13 per SPC-1 IOPS - which is better than any competing RAID or Flash solution.

SMART announced that it has been selected by Harris Corp to provide SSDs for use in its Mass Storage Unit program. The new MSU, which is part of a larger F/A-18 program, is the first of a new family of avionics file servers. Harris selected SMART's XceedSecure 2.5" SATA SLC flash SSD for the in-flight file server application. XceedSecure SSDs include EraSure technology, which provides secure erase features.

November 2009

Link_A_Media Devices secured $18 million series C funding.

SandForce announced that it has closed $21 million in Series C funding.

SanDisk announced that its 64GB (9,000 vRPM) pSSD module has been selected as a standard SSD option in Sony's VAIO X ultra-thin laptop.

Foremay announced that secure erase and fast purge options are now available for most models in its SC199 SSD product family.

Forward Insights published a new market report this month - SSDs: Enabling MLC Technology in the Enterprise (price is $6,499).

Unigen announced it will manufacture a new range of flash SSDs using SSD processors from SandForce. The 2.5" SSDs will be available with SATA or SAS interfaces.

Foremay announced it is shipping the world's fastest 2.5" SATA flash SSDs. The SC199 Cheetah Y-Series has R/W speeds up to 290/280 MB/s in 2.5" and 3.5" SATA form factors - which approaches the theoretical speed limit of the SATA-II protocol. It also delivers impressive R/W IOPS of up to 50,000/45,000 respectively.

Global Unichip announced mass-production of its ARM7-based GP5080 series PATA / SATA compatible SSD SoC platform for use in portable consumer products. There are 2 different models. GP5080 is optimized for cost sensitive applications by removing the need for external DRAM cache (skinny SSDs), while GP5086 supports DRAM cache for (regular SSD) applications needing extra extended lifetime (write attenuation).

Adaptec released the results of 3rd party performance testing of its new MaxIQ SSD Cache Performance Solution in MySQL environments.

STEC disclosed that its biggest customer, EMC, hasn't sold as many of its SSDs as expected - and will carry inventory into 2010. If this was a surprise to anyone it's only because they didn't read my analysis (published April 1, 2009) which appeared in the 8th quarterly edition of the top 10 SSD oems and was repeated in my comments in STEC's profile page in which I explicitly warned about STEC's over reliance on partners like EMC who were adding very little added value to their SSD offerings - and underperforming in the rackmount SSD market.

A legal company called Brower Piven said it was considering a class action lawsuit against STEC regarding what it called "misleading statement(s) to investors" (earlier this year) regarding the state of design wins and oem potential business related to STEC's ZeusIOPS.

OCZ announced it will launch a new SAS SSD family based on SSD SoCs from SandForce which will probably be previewed at CES in January 2010.

NextIO entered the multi-million IOPS rackmount SSD market via an oem agreement which leverages multiple 225GB / 450GB PCIe SLC SSDs made by Texas Memory Systems. Available immediately, the 14 slot NextIO application acceleration appliance can be configured and reconfigured with any mix of servers and TMS SSD cards depending on system demands. Pricing for a basic configuration starts at $19,500, which includes implementation, training and onsite application or database tuning assistance.

PhotoFast unveiled a new range of 1.8" native PATA MLC regular flash SSDs with internal garbage collection -the G-monster-1.8" IDE V4. Capacity options include:- 32/64/128/256G. Internal cache is 64MB, R/W speeds are upto 128MB/s and 90MB/s respectively. PhotoFast says that its internal hardware garbage collection makes the SSD especially suited to traditional OS's which don't have TRIM such as XP. The drive rearranges itself when the laptop is in idle time. The benefits might not shine through in server style benchmarks (which assume 100% duty cycles) but for real life notebook usage it should work adequately.

Google opened its doors to developers who want to work with Chrome OS - a new operating system for web notebook products. In the opening video of the Chrome OS blog we learned that the architects of the new OS are "obsessed with speed". Therefore the new netbook OS is designed from the ground up to support only flash SSDs as the default mass storage.

Axxana announced it has secured $9 million Series B investment led by Carmel Ventures. The funds will be used to accelerate the adoption of The Phoenix System - a lossless data recovery system which sits on the SAN and records data into a rugged flash SSD-enabled, locally situated, data survival box. published a new directory of companies making PATA SSDs.

Fusion-io unveiled details of a very fast PCIe form factor, InfiniBand compatible, flash SSD designed for 2 undisclosed government customers. Each ioDrive Octal card, occupies 2 slots and delivers 800,000 IOPS (4k packet size), 6GB/s bandwidth and has upto 5TB maximum capacity (implemented by 8x ioMemory modules).

Symwave announced that its USB 3.0 controller has been designed into a new flash SSD by OCZ - which will be shown at CES in January 2010.

RunCore announced availability of its Pro IV Light mini-SATA 50mm PCI-e SSD - a regular flash SSD design and small form factor - which is designed to accelerate netbooks. Capacity options include:- 16GB (32MB cache), 32GB and 64GB (64MB cache) with smaller capacity drives for oems available on request. Sustained R/W speeds are 125MB/s and 80MB/s. Random R/W speeds (4K blocks) are 18MB/s read and 5 MB/s respectively. RunCore says it's compatible with all major OSes and installs easily via its USB slave port.

December 2009

Fusion-io announced that its ioMemory PCIe SSD technology has been adapted by IBM who will remarket these solutions (initially with upto 320GB capacity) as its High IOPS SSD PCIe Adapters for use in System x servers.

Symantec announced an upgrade to its Storage Foundation management software which enables it to automatically discover SSDs from leading vendors and optimize data placement on SSD devices transparently.

Micron announced it is sampling 6Gbps SATA MLC SSDs in 1.8" and 2.5" form factors. Micron's C300 SSD can achieve a read throughput speed of up to 355MB/s and a write throughput up to 215MB/s.

A-DATA announced volume shipments of its 2.5" XPG range SATA MLC SSDs optimized for use with Windows 7 TRIM. Models include:- SX95 (R/W = 230MB/s and 178MB/s) and S592 (R/W = 230MB/s and 170MB/s).

Seagate announced details of its Pulsar SSD - a 2.5" SATA SLC SSD with 200GB capacity. Sequential R/W rate is upto 240MB/s and 220MB/s respectively, R/W IOPS are 30,000 and 25,000 respectively. Aimed at the server market the BER is quoted as 1 sector per 10E16. Seagate says it has been sampling the new drive - its 1st SSD - since September 2009.

EMC published a report on its new fully automated storage tiering concept which the company says will simplify user operations needed to optimize storage allocation between hard drives and SSDs within the company's arrays. EMC says some of this functionality is now available on some models.

A-DATA announced it has joined the growing roster of SSD makers using SSD SoCs from SandForce. Products are now in the final testing stage and will be previewed at CES next month.

An academic group at Stanford University - the RAMCloud project - published a whitepaper Introducing the concept of RAMClouds (pdf) - which "argued for a new approach to datacenter storage called RAMCloud, where information is kept entirely in DRAM and large-scale systems are created by aggregating the main memories of thousands of commodity servers."
other SSD articles worth seeing
The Top 100 SSD Articles is based on reader popularity.

But if I had to suggest just 3 SSD articles - depending on who you are - it would be these.

for experienced enterprise SSD readers
  • where are we now with SSD software? - and how did we ever get into this mess? In the next few years the software for SSDs will have as much impact as hardware architecture did earlier. Don't expect this to be an orderly top-down process.
if you're new to the SSD market
  • the SSD Buyers Guide - will take you to groups of articles and directories which are organized by technology and market theme.
  • the Top 20 SSD Companies - whatever your interest in SSDs - these are the companies which are attracting the most interest amongst your peers.

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what happened next? - See - 2010 Q1 SSD market milestones to follow this narrative, or SSD news archive for archived news before and after this year.
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