this is the home page of
leading the way to the new storage frontier .....
memory channel storage
memory channel SSDs ...
pcie  SSDs - click to read article
PCIe SSDs ..
read the article on SSD ASAPs
image shows software factory - click to see storage software directory
SSD software ....
high availabaility SSD arrays

what do enterprise SSD users want?

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - - March 2012
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 enterprise?

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 crazy market.

Succesful enterprise SSD businesses are working hard and racing fast.

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.

But success in SSD generation X doesn't guarantee success in generation Y.

Looking 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.

Today's SSD market is much more complicated.

Here's a simple example of top level market market fragmentation.

Suppose you're designing a new rackmount SSD...

In 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:-
  • RAM rackmount SSDs
All those above are different market segments.

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, iSCSI, etc).

And that's just one part of the enterprise SSD market which users have to think about. I haven't even mentioned, above, subjects like Vendors don't need to know all the answers - because they can still sell SSDs easily anyway in this growth phase of the enterprise SSD market.

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.

But that's not a practical formula either.

Is the solution?
  • 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 questions.

As you can imagine - I get a lot of questions about the SSD market.

And these help me to understand what I should be writing about.

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 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.

Is 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
enterprise SSD stuff - more quick links
2.5" PCI express SSDs
3.5" SSDs
data integrity issues
fault tolerant SSDs
market size
MLC & enterprise flash
rackmount SSDs
RAM vs flash
software and SSDs

storage search banner

Megabyte's storage raft loaded with cheese is the image for this article
Megabyte's needs were easy to satisfy.
the Top SSD Companies
after AFAs - what's next?
what changed in 2015? / 16?
a winter's tale of SSD market influences
impacts of the enterprise SSD software event horizon
Decloaking hidden and missing segments in the analysis
of market opportunities for enterprise rackmount flash
Seagate Nytro PCIe SSD
PCIe SSDs for a wide range of deployments
Nytro flash accelerator cards
from Seagate
SSD ad - click for more info
SSD ad - click for more info
90% of the enterprise SSD companies which you know have no good reasons to survive.
market consolidation - why? how? when?

SSD ad - click for more info
"With the benefit of hindsight it's clear there were many reasons the software industry took so long to wake up to the idea of SSDs. That why we have the mess now."
Where are we now with SSD software?
"What are the main types of SSDs that we'll see in the future enterprise SSD market?...."
an introduction to enterprise SSD silos
"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."
the New Business Case for SSD ASAPs
"One petabyte of enterprise SSD could replace 10 to 50 petabytes of raw HDD storage in the enterprise - and still enable all the apps to run faster."
meet Ken and the SSD software event horizon
"All enterprise SSDs can be thought of as belonging in one of 2 categories:- Legacy and New Dynasty."
A new way of looking at the Enterprise SSD market
"In 2010 less than 1% of datacenter servers had any SSD acceleration built in or directly connected."
will the enterprise SSD market be big enough for all these companies [list] to grow?
"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."
comparing the SSD market today to earlier tech disruptions
SSD ad - click for more info
"If an SSD vendor can't give us these answers - clearly and simply in a few clicks (without signing up to their spam list) how do they think they are going to sell them?"
what do I need to know about any new rackmount SSD?