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the Top SSD Companies - 2014 Q2

29th quarterly edition - based on search metrics in Q2 2014

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - July 28, 2014

In the 7 plus years that it has been running - the Top SSD Companies - researched and analysed by - has established a unique reputation within the SSD industry for detecting and predicting significant new business and technology transitions in the SSD market.

For more about the past successes of this list - and highlights from 28 past quarterly editions - go to the series overview page.

Here's the list of the Top SSD Companies ranked by analyzing the search volume of hundreds of thousands of SSD readers on in the 2nd quarter of 2014.
Top SSD Companies - ©

based on SSD search volume in the 2nd Quarter 2014

For more details about each company click on the compay name.

Fusion-io - click for more info

1 - Fusion-io

Same as before.

This is Fusion-io's 22nd straight quarter at the top of this list

It was a momemtous quarter for Fusion-io as aside from product and partner announcements (FIO shipped its long anticipated 20nm flash generation PCIe SSDs - the Atomic Series - and also announced that Dell was rebranding FIO's fast rackmount SSD IP set - the ION) the market learned that SanDisk had agreed to acquire Fusion-io.

IBM logo

2 - IBM

Same as before.

In this quarter a market report by IDC identified IBM as the #1 company (ranked by revenue in 2013) for rackmount SSDs with 25% market share.

click for more info about LSI

3 - LSI

Same as before.

No sooner had Avago Technologies closed its acquisition of LSI - when it announced that it had agreed to sell the flash controller and SSD parts of LSI's business to Seagate.

HGST logo

4 - HGST

Same as before.

In this quarter it was still evident that the various SSD acquisitions which HGST had made recently - were not integrated into a single coherent customer facing view of enterprise SSD offerings on HGST's web site. But that also made it easier for external analysts to see that the majority of interest in HGST's SSD product line in this period stemmed from the interfaces and form factors it had acquired from STEC - which generated more than 2x the search activity as the PCIe SSD product line it had acquired from Virident.

It's unlikely that we will get such clarity in future quarters - until some future time when HGST starts to disclose SSD revenue by form factor (which may not happen).

OCZ logo

5 - OCZ

Same as before.

In this quarter OCZ announced that its current SSD product lines were now all able to use flash memory chips from its relatively new owner - Toshiba.

OCZ also demonstrated its commitment to grow business from the European market - by launching a new German-language website.

SanDisk logo - click for more info

6 - SanDisk

Same as before.

In this quarter SanDisk conclusively demonstrated the scale of its ambitions in enterprise flash by agreeing to acquire acquire Fusion-io for approximately $1.1 billion.

Answering the question - What will SanDisk really get from Fusion-io? - my short answer was - "the ability to get more enterprise petabytes out from the same raw flash chips in - by shipping it through better architecture - is a more significant business factor in the flash memory market today than the ability to do another cell geometry shrink - or adding a few more layers of toppings on the 3D nand pizza."

For the much longer answer - see the SSD news archive for June 2014.

Also in this quarter SanDisk had announced it was shipping the industry's first 4TB 2.5" SAS SSD.

The noteworthy aspect of this being - not that SSDs could deliver storage densities on a par with hard drives (because that threshold event happend at the 1TB level in 2009 in the context of a military market SSD). Rather for me - the 4TB SAS SSD (which was an incremental progression from an earlier 2TB model in the same product family) demonstrated that there was an appetite in the enterprise storage market for very high capacity SSDs which could fit into standard arrays - as high capacity, fast native storage devices rather than simply as components in an acceleration or caching tier of storage.

Violin Memory logo - click for more info

7 - Violin Memory

Up 1 place from previous quarter.

In this quarter Violin launched a new SSD rack which included a much richer set of legacy storage management software functions than previously available in its product line. In particular - the new 7000 system enables users to schedule and run multiple concurrent remote data replication jobs.

Violin also explained to that the earlier - 6000 series - would remain a strategic product for users who preferred to use their own storage software.

Skyera logo - click for more info

8 - Skyera

Down 1 place from previous quarter.

In this quarter privately owned Skyera announced that its skyHawk racmkount SSD was shipping in volume and that sales revenue was about 7x larger than the year before.

This could be seen as a counter to detracting comments from some quarters that while Skyera's technology might be interesting that Skyera wasn't a major force force in the market.

A3CUBE logo

9 - A3CUBE

Up 5 places from previous quarter.

This is the highest ranking yet for A3CUBE - which shows that the SSD industry is interested in learning more about a new network model which has at its core PCIe fabric connectivity.

Seagate logo - click for  more info

10 - Seagate

Up 9 places from previous quarter.

In this quarter Seagate provided the most convincing answer yet to a question which observers of the SSD market had been asking for the past 5 - 6 years - namely:- where is Seagate's technology to meet the needs of the enterprise SSD market going to come from?

The answer being the announcement that Seagate was buying the SSD controller and SSD business of LSI.

Pure Storage logo - click for more info

11 - Pure Storage

Down 2 places from previous quarter.

In this quarter Pure Storage announced it had raised another $225 million in funding - bringing the total in all rounds to $470 million.

Cisco logo

12 - Cisco / WhipTail

Down 2 places from previous quarter.

Cisco - whose Invicta SSD product line is based on the acquisition of WhipTail last year - didn't make any significant SSD product announcements in this quarter.

But you can get an idea of how Cisco is presenting this technology to its customers in this presentation which was published in April 2014.

Virtium logo - click for more info

13 - Virtium

Up 10 places since last quarter.

In 2014 - those with an interest in industrial and embedded SSDs have been learning from various vendors in different ways - that the industrial market is growing more complex and segmented.

In a way that's similar to what has been happening in the enterprise SSD market too - but the marketing signals that technologies are so different - are sometimes harder to recognize in the industrial market - when users are faced with a sea of similar looking products from many suppliers.

In this quarter Virtium announced that it was offering upto 4 years of no requalifications to customers who designed in their SLC based StorFly SATA SSDs. Virtium also announced that its CEO - Phu Hoang - had won the EY Entrepreneur Of The YearT 2014 Award in the Enterprise Solutions category in Orange County.

Nimbus logo click for more info

14 - Nimbus Data Systems

Down 3 places from previous quarter.

Nimbus didn't make any signficant product announcements in this quarter.

But Nimbus continued its long term campaign of publishing unflattering comparisons between its products and those of selected enterprise rivals by adding Pure Storage to its comparison directory in April 2014.

PLX logo - click for more info

15 - PLX Technology

This is PLX's first appearance in these lists.

PLX is an SSD ecosystems company rather than a pure play SSD company.

In this quarter (but several weeks before Avago Technologies announced it was acquiring PLX) the home page featured an article - an SSD conversation with PLX.

click to see more info about Microsemi's rugged SSDs

16 - Microsemi

This is Microsemi's first appearance in these lists.

In this quarter Microsemi announced it had secured multiple design-wins for its new Series 200 TRRUST-Stor (rugged self encrypting, 2.5" SATA SSD with 256GB SLC capacity and fast purge).

The company says a full hardware-based erase takes less than 8 seconds. Developed to endure harsh environments the new SSD - which has hardware-implemented AES 256 encryption - can withstand up to 3,000G shock and 30G rms of vibration.

Micron logo - click for more info

17 - Micron

Down 4 places.

In this quarter - Micron announced it was shipping new SATA SSDs for the enterprise. The M500DC SSDs - based on 20nm MLC NAND, and with capacities upto 800GB are rated at 1 to 3 DWPD for 5 years.

During an investor focused conference call in May 2014 - in reply to a question about the sourcing of raw enterprise SSD IP - Ivan Donaldson Director of Investor Relations at Micron said - "We don't feel like there is a requirement to use other people's IP or to go out and acquire things to do it. We have so far done that all in-house and it's been all of our own IP."

diablo logo - click for more onfo

18 - Diablo Technologies

Down 2 places.

In April 2014 - Diablo's flash SSD partner - SanDisk - revealed more details about the internal architecture of its ULLtraDIMM (memory channel SSD) at an event called Storage Field Day. Inside each flash DIMM are 2x SATA CloudSpeed SSDs which connect to the DDR3 interface via a Diablo designed bridge chip.

I found the revelation of a SATA pipe as a bottleneck buried inside these modules did much to explain the performance limitations and characteristics of these 1st generation DDR-3 compatible MCS SSDs. It also explained why you need to use multiple units to achieve performance on a par with high end PCIe SSDs.

Kaminario logo - clock for more info

19 - Kaminario

Down 4 places.

In May 2014 Kaminario launched its 5th generation of rackmount SSD.

I thought the significant thing about it was not the product itself - but the associated price guarantee "$2/GB usable capacity" which leveraged the efficiency factors arising from Kaminario's software into a business proposition.

Kaminario told me that the "average $2/GB usable cost includes data reduction with Kaminario's guaranteed effective capacity offering (meaning they will provide customers with incremental free hardware if their original capacity needs aren't met)."

And when I probed again - does it apply to channel sales and well as direct sales? - I got confirmation that indeed it does.

This was 1 of 3 new enterprise SSD cost models which I later grouped together in my article - Exiting the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing

Tegile logo - click for more info

20 - Tegile Systems

Same as before.

In this quarter Tegile launched 2 new systems products:- another hybrid array and the T3800 - which is a pure flash rackmount SSD without any hard drives.

In this quarter I reassessed my view of Tegile and the importance of what it was doing - as I described in my article - an SSD conversation with Tegile.

Samsung logo - click for more info

21 - Samsung

Down 1 place.

In May 2014 TrendFocus reported that Samsung was the #1 company in the SSD market based on SSD units shipped in Q1 2014 - with 32% of the market.

Intel logo click to see  info

22 - Intel

Down 5 places.

In June 2014 - Intel announced details of new NVMe compatible 2.5" PCIe SSDs - the P3700 Series - which will offer upto 2TB (20nm) capacity in a 15mm high hot-swap form factor.

EMC logo - click for more info

23 - EMC

Down 2 places.

In this quarter EMC acquired a stealth mode rackmount SSD company DSSD.

RunCore SSDs click for more info

24 - RunCore

Down 3 places.

In this quarter RunCore didn't appear to do anything newsworthy in the SSD market.

It's not unusual for SSD companies to be important without the everyday thrill of news coverage. For an explanation see the article:- some thoughts about SSD customization

image is Foremay's logo - click to read profile

25 - Foremay

Down 1 place.

Foremay said it would present a paper on Secure Erase for Embedded SSDs - at the Flash Memory Summit (August 6, 2014).

See also:- fast purge SSDs

what about the companies which dropped out of the list?

2 newcomers to the Top SSD Companies List also means that 2 companies dropped out.

After publishing the list a reader - Cecilia Regolo - asked me what happened to one of them - Maxta?

My answer to that is Maxta (at #26), and Greenliant (at #27) are still hanging around in that unpublished region of the list from which companies often make reappearances.

The disappearance of Maxta seemed mysterious to a reader who had been at another leading enterprise SSD company (which is still in the list). When she asked me what I thought about that (July 31, 2014) - this is what I said.

"The enterprise software market – as it relates to SSDs – is much more complicated than most readers realized – even a year ago. I discussed the "software multiplication effect" of enterprise SSD segments in this recent article.

Personally I have a high regard for Maxta and Maxta's founder (Yoram Novick) whom I have talked to several times off the record as a sanity check for blue sky 5-7 year ahead SSD architecture and market model thinking. But there are so many vendors which compete in Maxta's space – and Maxta's space is just one segment in the software market. So even if they do well in that area – it's just a small part of what readers need to think about right now.

(The list) is an aggregate reader score – not mine."

And what about all those other (575+) SSD companies not named above?

The SSD market is now big enough to enable many SSD ecosystem companies to have very viable businesses - even when they aren't 1 of the top 25 or so SSD companies.

If you work at a company which isn't in the list yet - but would like to be - here's some simple advice.
  • get better
  • work harder
  • remember to let people know when you have exited stealth mode
More from me - as usual on the SSD news page etc.

Note:- Rankings above are based on analyzing the search activity of over 300,000 SSD readers on in the 3 months period ending June 31, 2014.

The rankings above are based on multiple types of search and browsing activity - and after filtering out unreliable and fake searches coming from robots and spam intended to subvert rankings for criminal or malicious reasons. Our rankings and tie breakers also use data from some other SSD related internet sources from time to time.

You can read more about the significance and track record of this methodology in predicting and observing SSD market intentions in earlier editions of this article.


storage search banner

the top 10 SSD oems

archived news from this quarter
April, May, June
industrial mSATA SSD
industrial grade mSATA SSDs
>2 million write cycles per logical block.
from Cactus Technologies

SSD news
SSD history
VCs in SSDs
market research
SSD endurance - the forever war
the Top SSD Companies - overview
key SSD ideas which changed in 2016
about the publisher - 23 years guiding the enterprise

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Many factors at play in enterprise SSD market behavior still don't appear as explicit assumptions in SSD product marketing plans.

On reason for these gaps in segmental understanding has been the continuing pace of disruptive innovation in enterprise SSD-land - which has meant there hasn't been a stable market template for vendors to follow from one seemingly chaotic year to the next as they encroach on new markets.

Smaller nuances of user behavior (which are easier to discern as patterns in a stable market) easily get lost under the noise created by headline technology changes and the market's apparent willingness to slaughter and discard once loved past industry leaders.
Decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise for rackmount SSDs












I think that 2014 will be seen as the start of a new phase of creativity in the enterprise SSD market on the subject of pricing and affordability.
Exiting the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing












Skyera is putting a lot of effort into joining a market which resembles an old fashioned English gentlemen's club.

But we know the founding members of that club are so old they will die soon anyway.

Is it worth it?
SSD news - skyHawk FS - October 29, 2014


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Every year I learn 2 new important new ideas about SSDs.

But every year I also have to remember to forget or discard 1 old idea which was vital to know before because it's no longer useful, valid or true
SSD lessons from 2013




Today - if you're in a big company in a traditional market - and hoping to do something equally big in the SSD market - then $1 billion may not be enough - but $5 billion may be too much.
VCs & SSDs


"The winners in SSD software could be as important for infrastructure as Microsoft was for PCs, or Oracle was for databases, or Google was for search."
get ready for a new world in which
all enterprise data touches SSDs


what if (and this is a big IF) both SSD types had the same flash controller management scheme and the same flash memory?.
memory channel SSDs versus PCIe SSDs - are these really different markets?


Can you trust SSD market data?
Heck no! - and here's why


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Acquisitions reported in 2014 seemed to indicate that SSD companies aren't worth as much as they were before.
key SSD ideas which emerged or clarified in 2014


Retiring and retiering enterprise DRAM...

What are the underlying reasons that will make it feasible for slower cheaper memory to replace most of the future DRAM market without applications noticing?
latency loving reasons for fading out DRAM

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