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"the ratio of - raw to usable capacity - inside a flash SSD can be twice as big in some vendor designs"
from - flash SSD capacity - the iceberg syndrome
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partial list of SSD companies

There are 300+ manufacturers of SSDs profiled on StorageSearch.com. I've listed some of these below.

ACARD Technology, Active Media Products, A-DATA, Addonics Technologies, ADLINK Technology, Advanced Media, Afaya, Aitech Defense Systems, Altec ComputerSysteme, AMP, Ampex , Angelbird, Anobit, Apple, Apacer, APRO, Asine, Astute Networks, ATP Electronics, Attorn, Avere Systems, Axxana, Barun Electronics, BiTMICRO, Buffalo Technology, Cactus Technologies, CoreSolidStorage, Corsair, Curtis, Curtiss-Wright, Dane-Elec Memory, DataDirect Networks, Dataram, DDRdrive, Delkin Devices, Density Dynamics, Dolphin, DTS, Dynamic Solutions Int'l, EasyCo, EDGE Tech, Emphase, Eonsil, Extreme Engineering Solutions, FlashSoft, Foremay, Fortasa Memory Systems, Fujitsu, Fuji Xerox, Fusion-io, GalaxyStor, General Micro Systems, GIGA-BYTE Technology, Global Unichip, Greenliant Systems, G.Skill , G-Technology, GridIron Systems, Hagiwara Sys-Com, Hitachi, HP, Huawei Symantec , Hynix Semiconductor, IBM, Imation , InnoDisk, Intel, ioSafe , IO Turbine, Kaminario, KingFast, KingSpec , Kingston Technology, Kove, Lauron Technologies, Lexar Media, Lite-On , LSI, Macrotron Systems, MagicRAM, Marvell , MemoCom, Memoright, Micron Technology, Microsemi, Micross Components, Mushkin, Myung, Netlist, Network Appliance, NextIO, Nimble Storage, Nimbus Data Systems, NVELO, OCZ, Oracle , OWC, Panasonic, Pangaea Media, Patriot Memory, Phison Electronics, Phoenix International, PhotoFast, Pillar Data Systems, Plextor, Pliant Technology, PMC-Sierra, PNY Technologies, PQI, Pretec Electronics, Princeton Technology, pureSilicon, RAID, Real Ram Disk, Red Rock Technologies, Renice Technology , RunCore, Samsung, SANRAD, SandForce, SanDisk, Sans Digital, SeaChange International, Seagate, SEEK Systems, SGI, Sharkoon, Shining Technology, Silicon Power , Silicon Storage Technology, SMART Modular Technologies, Solid Access Technologies, Solidata International Technologies , Solid Data Systems, SolidFire, Soliware, Stealth.Com, STEC, Storspeed, Strontium , Sun Microsystems, Superior Data Solutions , Super Talent Technology, Swissbit, Taejin Infotech, Targa Systems, TCS, TDK, Team Group, Texas Memory Systems, Third I/O, Toshiba, Transcend Information, Trident Space & Defense, Unigen, Vanguard Rugged Storage, Verbatim, Viking Modular Solutions, Virident Systems, Violin Memory, ViON, Virtium Technology, WD Solid State Storage, WhipTail Technologies, White Electronic Designs, Wintec, Walton Chaintech, XLC Disk, XtremIO

For more SSD related companies - see SSD controllers, rackmount SSDs, auto tiering SSDs, iSCSI SSDs, SSD software, SSD analysts, SSD market history and acquired, gone-away and renamed storage companies.
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SSD news - this is not an RSS feed

SMART sets new competitive level in STEC-class enterprise SSDs

Editor:- February 22, 2012 - when you've got a memory business which also designs SSDs that creates hard to reconcile business tensions.

Success in the memory market comes from caution and long term planning to enable survival in the inevitable feast and famine memory business cycles.

Success in the SSD market comes from...

Well it's too early to say definititively what it comes from - but investing in your own IP and understanding a small set of focused customer application cases better than anyone else - is a good starting point (judging by those in the top 10 SSD companies list) and being prepared to do things which are different to the way that others are already doing them may be a good plan too - (as long as you are eventually proved right).

Several leading companies in the past, including STEC and OCZ, have found that the best thing to do if you're the SSD part of a memory business is to forget about those memories and do your own SSD thing.

The latest company to follow this route is SMART Storage Systems which has officially been spun out as a separate entity - it was announced today.

The SSD bit is the only bit of the company I've been interested in - and probably the same goes for most of you too. So you could say - what's changed? - apart from a few legal formalities.

Last week I spoke to SMART's president John Scaramuzzo and learned more about the company's new enterprise SSD controller - which is used in their new Optimus Ultra (a SAS SSD) launched today. The new controller has reliability characteristics above and beyond the industry standard products - from SandForce - which SMART also uses. SMART's new SSD design - like those from STEC - can guarantee an industry leading level of SSD write longevity - while using low cost consumer grade flash.

Some tier 1 storage customers have been sufficiently impressed to qualify the new SSD family in their systems. More about SMART, how their new SSD was developed and how I think this could affect rankings within the elite companies in the enterprise SSD grand famiglia next week.


GreenBytes launches its first pure SSD rack

Editor:- February 21, 2012 - GreenBytes announced imminent availability of its first pure SSD based storage array.

The Solidarity is a high availability iSCSI 3U rackmount SSD with real-time dedupe and compression with upto 13.5TB raw / 60TB effective capacity ($75K) and 120,000 4K IOPS performance.


WhipTail recruits CMO

Editor:- February 21, 2012 - WhipTail today announced that Maxwell K. Riggsbee Jr. has joined WhipTail as VP and chief marketing officer.

Editor's comments:- in the multi-faceted technology and user value proposition blender which is flavoring today's enterprise SSD market - marketing is the secret ingredient which can lift vendors above the heap with labels and signposts that potential customers can recognize.

Users have been working work hard to understand what enterprise SSDs can do for them - but vendors have to invest more effort too - to explain why their type of product is better in particular roles.


Who's who in SSD? - comeback for a flash SSD pioneer

Editor:- February 21, 2012 - BiTMICRO is the latest company to be featured on our home page - in the series - Who's who in SSD?

Forget whatever you know about their past - it's their future which could be much more interesting.


STT secures $36 million A round for OST-MRAM

Editor:- February 15, 2012 - Spin Transfer Technologies today announced it has secured $36 million in Series A funding - led by its parent company, Allied Minds and Invesco Asset Management - to accelerate development of STT's patented orthogonal spin transfer magneto resistive random access memory technology (OST-MRAM).

STT says "the company is poised to create the next generation of memory applications combining the non-volatility of flash with the read and write performance of DRAM and SRAM into one, seamless product."

See also:- VCs & SSDs, flash and other NVM, storage glue chips.


SanDisk acquires FlashSoft

Editor:- February 15, 2012 - SanDisk today announced it has acquired FlashSoft - one of the leading independent software vendors in the SSD ASAPs market.

SanDisk intends to sell FlashSoft's products as standalone software, as well as offer these software products in combination with SanDisk's growing portfolio of SAS, PCIe and SATA enterprise solutions.

Editor's comments:- I'm not surprised that someone has acquired FlashSoft - because they were an obvious target sitting so high in the Top SSD companies list.

This means that SanDisk now joins an impressive roster of enterprise SSD makers who have acquired auto acceleration / virtualization software companies in the past year. The only stumbling block is that acquiring enterprise SSD assets isn't the same as being able to do anything useful with them afterwards from the business point of view. Especially when they're software companies.

I still remain unconvinced that SanDisk has achieved as much as it should have done from its earlier acquisition of enterprise SSD controller maker Pliant.

(Although Pliant made SSDs - they had virtually no market share - so their main value to SDK was as a sounrce of enterprise controller IP.)

I don't think SanDisk understands the enterprise SSD market in the same way as the other companies with which it competes. It's not the same as marketing consumer products.


OCZ ships 16TB CloudServ auto caching PCIe SSD

Editor:- February 14, 2012 - OCZ today announced imminent shipments of new high capacity PCIe SSDs optimized for cloud apps.

The Z-Drive R4 CloudServ (which uses 16x SandForce 2581 SSD processors) has up to 16TB of storage capacity on a single full height card and is supported by auto-caching functionality (based on the acquisition of SANRAD's VXL) and OCZ's VCA 2.0 which together enable host migrations without loss of performance or interruption of service.


Tegile enters the SSD ASAP market

Editor:- February 14, 2012 - Tegile announced general availability of its Zebi hybrid storage arrays - which are rackmount SSD ASAPs with internal hard drives and integrated dedupe, compression and snapshot.


Virident and NEC publish new Oracle IOPS benchmark

Editor:- February 14, 2012 - Virident Systems recently published some benchmark results related to the Oracle application accelerator market.

The system was a single Intel Xeon family based (8x 10-core CPU) NEC Express5800/A1080a "GX" server - which had 8x 1.4TB FlashMAX PCIe SSDs installed - (11TB total) . The integrated solution delivered 1.2 million random IOPS and a bandwidth of 9.4 GB/s in real-world Oracle 8k block-size workloads.

Brian Garrett, VP at ESG Lab - the company which did the testing for NEC and Virident said - "Our evaluations of (the products in this system) have revealed that they can eliminate the performance issues common to real-world workloads and deliver extremely high levels of sustained and predictable performance for mixed-application workloads. Virident has addressed the challenges associated with many first-generation PCIe flash devices with the multi-dimensional performance capabilities of its FlashMAX SCM. Most notably, the Virident solution delivers extremely high levels of performance for reads, writes, and a mix of reads and writes."

Editor's comments:- the PCIe SSD market has become the incubator and market proving ground for nearly all the major new advances in high performance SSD architecture and associated memory management. And from time to time all the leading vendors publish new benchmarks to demonstrate just what you can achieve with their products. Although I've warned before about placing too much reliance on any single set of benchmark results - it's interesting to see who is doing how many IOPS with whom and in what context.


NEVEX CacheWorks supports RamSan flash

Editor:- February 8, 2012 - NEVEX today announced that its CacheWorks for Windows Server has been tested and optimized for performance with the new generation of flash SSDs from Texas Memory Systems - in particular the RamSan-70 (a PCIe SSD) and the RamSan-810 (a 1U rackmount SSD).

Dan Scheel, President of TMS said - "By combining our high-bandwidth, low-latency enterprise data storage systems with NEVEX's application optimisation cache software, we provide I/O acceleration for virtualised applications that blows the others out of the water."

Editor's comments:- In 2010 I wrote about the sometimes confusing brand stretch of "RamSan" - as even back then 70% of the SSDs that TMS sold were flash rather RAM - and PCIe was a sizable chunk of the product line mix too.

This software support from NEVEX fills a key functional gap (SSD ASAP) in the TMS route to market. Unlike some other PCIe SSD companies (Fusion-io, OCZ, STEC and Micron) which have acquired SSD software companies in the past year - TMS is still focusing its design efforts on hardware and controller chips - while also grooming itself to look as good as possible for a suitable acquirer.


Kaminario's systems today are mostly flash

Editor:- February 7, 2012 - Here's an update on the long running RAM versus flash transition in enterprise SSD accelerators.

It's about 20 months since Kaminario entered the SSD market as a new name in the RAM SSD market - and just 6 months since the company also started offering flash - as a hybrid or pure alternative - based on PCIe SSDs from Fusion-io.

Yesterday I asked Kaminario's VP of marketing - Gareth Taube how's the flash thing going? And can you tell me and my readers what proportion of recent system shipments are flash rather than RAM.

He told me - "I would say we are running about 45% all flash arrays, 45% Hybrids (but the hybrids are mostly Flash with 10% DRAM) and about 10% all DRAM. At least that is the way it has been running in the last 2 quarters."


Intel's fastest SSD uses SandForce inside

Editor:- February 6, 2012 - Intel today announced it has used SandForce controllers for the first time in its new (and fastest) SATA 3 2.5" SSD - the Intel SSD 520 - which (with upto 80K R/W IOPS peak - 4KB) is aimed at gaming, CAD and graphics content creation markets. Price- based on 1,000-unit quantities is - 60GB for $149, 120GB at $229, 180GB at $369, 240GB at $509 and 480GB at $999.

"We worked closely with Intel to leverage their deep understanding of the NAND flash, ultimately providing a unique and optimized solution for client computing applications with the LSI SandForce Flash Storage Processor," said Michael Raam, VP and GM of LSI's Flash Components Division.


Rambus aims at replacement technology for flash SSDs

Editor:- February 6, 2012 -Rambus today announced it has acquired Unity Semiconductor for an aggregate of $35 million in cash.

As part of this acquisition, the Unity team members have joined Rambus to continue developing innovations and solutions for next-generation non-volatile memory.

With 9 years of development history, Unity's memory technology, CMOx, has been designed to accelerate the commercialization of the Terabit generation of non-volatile memories. Unity expects that devices using CMOx cell technology will (one day) achieve higher density, faster performance, lower manufacturing costs and greater data reliability than NAND Flash.

"At Rambus, we are creating disruptive technologies to enable future electronic products," said Sharon Holt, senior VP and GMof the Semiconductor Business Group at Rambus. "With the addition of Unity, we can develop non-volatile memory solutions that will advance semiconductor scaling beyond the limits of today's NAND technology. This will enable new memory architectures that help meet ever-increasing consumer demands."

Editor's comments:- Unity's CMOx - is one of the many alternative non volatile memory technologies which have been camping outside the gates of the flash SSD castle for the past 10 years or more - saying in effect to the flash insiders - please surrender (or preferably give up the ghost) - because we'd like to take your place.

If it wasn't so serious - billions of dollars have been sunk in the "kill-flash" camp sites - you might think you were watching a scene from Spamalot.

The flash technologists look down on the besieging efforts and effectively say "I fart in your general direction".

The castle walls keep getting stronger and the flash people inside the castle - who were supposed to be dead years ago - are counting their riches and having the world's best chefs and food flown in daily by chopper - which the wouldbe flash terminators can only throw stones at.

I've been observing and making judgements on nv memory technologies ever since the first such technologies appeared appeared in silicon. It's much longer than you think - and predates flash itself.

I wrote an article about this - last year called 3 things that could have killed flash SSDs.

Does the intervention of Rambus change things?

Well it's good news for CMOx - because this technology gets another lease on life and a leg up to access markets more easily if the comparisons ever look competitive.

But as all the other wannabe nvRAM developers know - to their cost - when you're chasing a fast moving quarry like flash - which keeps changing and reinventing itself - it's hard hanging on the tail lights year after year.


EMC gets around to PCIe SSD launch

Editor:- February 6, 2012 - EMC today launched its new PCIe SSD based product line - which as widely reported last month - leverages hardware designed by LSI.

As you'd expect - EMC say they plan to do a lot of things to support this with their wrap around software protection (high availability, data integrity, reliability, and disaster recovery) and auto tiering / SSD ASAP. And in the future they're going to do things even faster. Nothing to get excited about then - unless you are a supplier to EMC.

EMC would like to suggest that it was the first company to offer flash SSDs in an enterprise storage array Their press release said - "VFCache is the latest in a line of enterprise flash innovation firsts, beginning in 2008 when EMC was the first to integrate flash drives into an enterprise storage array."

That's an idiosyncratic reinterpretation of SSD history. In the interests of accuracy I would rewrite that to say - "EMC was the 1st company to ship lonely flash drives in an EMC branded enterprise storage array (which consisted mostly of hard drives)."

losers from this?

I guess you can count STEC as a loser - because having been EMC's original flash SSD supplier (in other form factors) they may have had some hopes that their late-to-market new PCIe SSD might get its tires kicked.

I'm only saying this - because otherwise I'll get a load of emails asking what I think - but in my view it would be a mistake to count Fusion-io as a loser in this.

FIO is the company which did most to establish PCIe SSDs as a recognized and disruptive force in the enterprise market - and a year ago upset EMC by disclosing it had shipped significantly more of its fast ioDrive flash SSD capacity into the enterprise than EMC had done with its slower STEC kind - despite EMC having had the prior advantage of a legacy tied customer base.

I heard recently from someone who is no longer with the company - that as you might expect for a fledgling company developing oem opportunities - many years ago Fusion-io offered its PCIe SSDs as an oem platform to EMC. Apparently EMC evaluated the ioDrive and poked around the issue for months - but EMC was - at that time - "clueless" about the potential of the SSD market couldn't understand what to do with it.


SSD talk with the founder and CEO of Nimbus

Editor:- February 2, 2012 - I had an interesting discussion about the enterprise SSD market yesterday with Thomas Isakovich, CEO and founder of Nimbus Data Systems which recently launched its first high availability SAN SSDs. ...read the article


SSD rack FAQs you shouldn't have to struggle to answer

Editor:- February 1, 2012 - what do you need to know about any new rackmount SSD? - is a new article published today on our home page.


StorageSearch.com's readership grew 28%

Editor:- February 1, 2012 - I was pleased to see that the readership here on StorageSearch.com grew 28% in January compared to a year ago.

Now you may think that's not so great when the SSD market is growing so fast. But I'm more interested in quality than quantity. In the quantitive SSD bucket - there are thousands of other sites and blogs talking about SSDs so there's a lot of competition out there for your precious time.

One good thing about this mass of other "out there" SSD content though is it means I can spend more of my time on SSD thought leadership issues. Because like most of you - I'm seriously interested in thinking about and helping to steer the SSD market's direction - so it gets to somewhere better, faster while minimizing the bumps.

If you want to read SSD RSS feeds masquerading as SSD headline news - such as for example - the 45th company which has launched a 2.5" SSD which uses brand X's controller (unless it's Intel), or a consumer SSD maker's Nth annual SSD firmware recall, or some throwback enterprise SSD marketer gushing about their rackmount SSD being so much faster than a room full of 15K whirligigs - all very important things no doubt for the companies involved - then you can read about those elsewhere.

You'd be surprised how many editors of other SSD magazines read the mouse site too. But we all have different goals and reader demographics. Here - since the 1990s - it's always been about leading the way to the new storage frontier. Thanks for your participation in helping to make the SSD market better.


new to SSD? - new report from Forward Insights

Editor:- January 31, 2012 - Forward Insights has recently published a new report - SSD Technology and Applications: A Primer (88 pages $1,499).

Author Gregory Wong says - "It's an ideal guide for novices interested in acquiring a basic understanding of SSD technology and applications as well as a handy reference for more experienced professionals."

Editor's comments:- Among other things (see contents pdf for more details) Greg says the report also provides an overview of the competitive landscape for SSDs. See also:- SSD market analysts.


Nimbus does that "no spof SSD" thing

Editor:- January 31, 2012 - Nimbus Data Systems today announced its entry into the high availability enterprise SSD market with the uveiling of the company's - E-Class systems - which are 2U rackmount SSDs with 10TB eMLC per U of usable capacity and no single point of failure. Unified interface support includes 10GbE, FC, and Infiniband.

Nimbus software (which supports upto 0.5 petabytes in a single SSD file system) automatically detects controller and path failures, providing non-disruptive failover. The E-Class also supports online software updates and online capacity expansion. It has RAID protection and hot-swappable flash, power, and cooling modules. Pricing starts at $150K approx for a 10TB dual configuration system.

Editor's comments:- Nimbus seemed incredulous at my immediate reaction to the preliminary info they sent me. I said I knew of competing shipping SSDs which were denser, faster and offered more HA features too. But that's not to understate the value of what the company does. Instead of being impressed by a bunch of me-too technical metricals I was rather more impressed to learn that Nimbus is still profitable. More about that later.


SSD link appears on EMC.com

Editor:- January 30, 2012 - EMC has launched an SSD link (effectively still "under construction") on its main home page.

I had no foreknowledge of this when I wrote last week about EMC's stealth mode SSD business - "When you start seeing a permament flash SSD link on EMC's home page - you'll know that the company is taking SSD more seriously."

I was asked recently if I thought that EMC would turn out to be (in the Christensen sense) - like Kodak (in photography) and Wang (in word processing) - yet another example of a company which - while being a leader in one type of technology - would fail to make a successful transition through to being leader in a a disruptive technology which would replace it. Digital electrronics replacing optical film - for Kodak, software and PCs replacing wordprocessors - in the case of Wang, and SSDs replacing HDD arrays - in the case of EMC.

The thought had occurred to me too - and it has given solace to many SSD company founders - who compete with EMC - because it has behaved like a company which is "clueless" from the SSD leadership perspective - despite having had the benefit of many intensive evaluations of leading enterprise SSDs.

Nevertheless - some of the same SSD companies which have enjoyed the ease with which they have grown their SSD petabyte market share at the expense of the SSD clueless EMC - would possibly change their tune if EMC would deign to acquire their companies or oem their products.

I told my inquirer that I hadn't quite written EMC off in the SSD market - because as long as they retained enough loot from their rotating storage empire they still had plenty of time to pursue a strategy which was a blend of home grown with oemed and acquired SSD technologies.

The name chosen for its new SSD launch is the same as that of another well established SSD brand - Lightning - from SanDisk. But that's just a confusing coincidence - because EMC's new PCIe SSD product will instead be based on LSI's WarpDrive.


HA enterprise SSD arrays

Editor:- January 26, 2012 - due to the growing number of oems in the high availability rackmount SSD market StorageSearch.com today published a new directory focusing on HA enterprise SSD arrays.

In my past 20 years of publishing enterprise buyers guides - I've developed an instrinct for judging when the market is ready for a new focused directory. Sometimes I've been too early - but with the momentum in the enterprise SSD market and the number of HA SSD vendors already dipping into double digits - I think this is exactly the right time for such a new directory.


will rental break through the indecision barrier for SSD ASAPs?

Editor:- January 26, 2012 - One of the business development obstacles facing enterprise SSD ASAP / caching vendors in the past few years has been that users have mostly thought of them as being HDD array accelerators.

And even if a user is interested right now - and even if they are happy with their try before you buy results - they often hold off making a purchase - because they think (after reading web sites like this one) that one day they'll be ripping out their rotating RAID systems and replacing them with SSDs - so it might be silly to buy an SSD cache appliance right now - if it only speeds up HDDs.

Now in reality - most users won't replace their entire HDD storage as quickly as they might like to think - and ASAPs do have a permanent role in the pure SSD datacenter too. Some vendors' marketing materials talk about that - while others are still harping on about hard disks and the "superiority" of SSD - even when their technology roadmap works just as well for SSD.

Seemingly breaking through the user indecision barrier - Dataram today published a customer story about their "no long term commitment" - Acceleration on Demand - leasing program. It sounds like a good idea - but I don't know the exact terms and conditions involved.


Fusion-io's revenue nearly trebles, but...

Editor:- January 24, 2012 - Fusion-io today announced that revenue for its 2nd quarter ended December 31, 2011 was $84 million - which is 2.7x its revenue in the year ago period.

Editor's comments:- like many other SSD companies nowadays FIO lost money in the quarter and you can see the gory details by clicking on the links above and going to their web site.

I'm not a financial guy - but I have written an article below in which I share my thoughts about why loss making SSD companies like Fusion-io are still warming (rather than cooling) SSD interest in the VC investor climate. What follows includes pure speculation on my part which may be entirely wrong.

like the weather - VCs have changing climates

Because of their pedigree the founders of Intel had easy relatively acces to venture capital but they aimed to be profitable as soon as possible because the business culture of startups was very different in the late 1960s and early 70s than it is today. Intel's early success meant that some VCs were more receptive to the computer / semiconductor industry. But it still wasn't easy for the company which created the first mass market for PCs - Apple - when they went shopping for money in 1976 . And although the VC tech funding climate warmed up in the early 1980s - it was still tough on founders as you can see in this video about Compaq. But things were getting easier - and by the mid 1980s anyone with a good product, strong partner(s) and a business plan could get a couple of rounds of VC funding (including yours truly). It was getting almost too easy - so some VCs got picky in the mid to late 1980s with the JAW generation - Just Another Workstation.

dotcom lemmings

In the mid to late 1990s in the dotcom bubble (pdf) I saw investors seemingly lose their sense of perspective and ability to reason as they over funded too many nutty dotcom businesses which had no prospect whatsoever of being profitable - based on the wild notion that growth was worth getting if you got enough eyeballs on your site.

I was publishing a buyers guide to dot-in-dotcom compatible servers at the time - and I couldn't understand why people couldn't see that many of the startups which bought these servers and never even unpacked them - were flaky. Didn't people realize that while it was good to get visitors to your web site - it wasn't so clever if the true cost was $100 per click. I - on my part - didn't appreciate that in a bubble it's making money along the way which is the driving force for most investors - not actually arriving at the end. Following the dotcom bust at the end of the 1990s those VCs who still had money avoided most new digital investments - except Google - like the plague.

How about the SSD market?

2 years ago I said that we were starting an SSD Bubble. Nevertheless tangible benefits are being delivered to users along the way and at the end of the rainbow will be a huge market for SSDs. So there are bubble elements - but some chewy goodness too. How does this relate to the many companies in the enterprise SSD market today who are growing revenue - but not necessarily profitable - like Fusion-io?

My view about Fusion-io's rolling losses is that part of this is due to the continuing investment (in technology, sales and marketing) which any similar company has to make in a fast changing. fast growing tech market - but another factor in its profit equation may the high proportion of its business which goes to a small number of big customers. It's just a fact of life that when storage companies sell to server oems and super users they have to sell at a lower price than if they're selling to other types of customers - because there are competiutors out there who will also buy this business opportunity. But even in the dearth / absence of profit in such deals- the high sales volumes which result - speed up positive outcomes in other factors which can be healthy for future business development. It is to be hoped that at some point in the future - as the innovation curve flattens - and the technology creator's brand strengthens and the product becomes a sticky standard supported by compatible 3rd party partners - the margins in the product itself and in the channel mix may change for the better. (Licensing deals too are another possibility for extracting more profit from high volume oem customers.) There are no guarantees in any competive market but that's my way of trying to make long term sense of what's going on in some hot spots in the SSD market today.


Intel buys InfiniBand line from QLogic

Editor:- January 24, 2012 - Intel yesterday announced an agreement to acquire the InfiniBand 40Gbps (pdf) related product lines, IP and business assets of QLogic.

Editor's comments:- if you're not familiar with InfiniBand - it was originally proposed in 2000 as a standard for remote CPU R/W with small packet sizes and ultra low latency to support arrays of CPUs over many cards and racks. In the early days - InfiniBand evangelists and some storage analysts believed the standard would go into the commercial server mainstream.

Instead what happened was that fatter multi-core CPU chips, and faster GbE wiped out the volume market need for IB technology - because they could do the same job cheaper and incrementally for smaller clusters of CPUs. So the IB market nowadays is mainly a niche market for scientific research and high performance computing.

Some of the fastest SSD benchmarks have been recorded in IB environments. And at one time (before 2008) I thought that IB might be a significant and natural upward path for high performance SSDs. However, PCIe SSD systems also support remote array connections - so IB's role remains that of occupying the narrow turf of clustering hundreds to thousands more CPUs than Intel or others can pack into a single chip.

Another way to think about it is this. You can't have viable HPC without SSD. But you can have a healthy SSD market where HPC is a small niche.

There's no doubt that SSDs are an enabling technology which make it realistic for CPU designers to think about what they could do with hundreds of cores on a single chip and over 1,000 cores on a single server card. I discussed that blue sky concept with processor designers nearly 10 years ago. But does the mainstream market need such servers?

In the SSD data driven factories of the future - the answer is yes. But that could be another 5 years in the future - because there are still closely related standards to firm up - such as Hybrid Memory Cubes. And storage history shows that new standards take years to get into the market. In the meantime - if you're not in the HPC market - but still need very fast CPU performance - keep an eye on what the leading PCIe SSD makers do - and you won't go far wrong.


TCS ships 200GB fast erase MIL-STD-810 2.5" SSD

Editor:- January 24, 2012 - TCS today announced shipments of a rugged 200GB 2.5" SLC SSD which has has been verified by outside labs to meet MIL-STD-810 requirements for shock, vibration, temperature range, temperature shock, humidity and altitude.

The new Galatea SSD has 40K IOPS performance, includes 128-bit AES encryption and can fast erase the full drive in less than 15 seconds.

"Few solid-state drives combine the quality, data capacity and ruggedization features of Galatea," said Michael Bristol, senior VP and GM of TCS' Government Solutions Group. "It is ideal for a wide range of extreme industrial and defense applications, including oil and gas exploration, avionics and data logging in a variety of air, land and sea vehicles. Galatea combines superior access latency and power consumption performance with long-term reliability."

Editor's comments:- I hadn't heard of TCS before in the SSD market - and I feel uncomfortable when I see a significant new SSD product pop out from seemingly nowhere. But then I recognized one of the legacy products names - Triton and sure enough TCS is the new identity for Trident Space & Defense - which was acquired a year ago.

I googled "Galatea" - and I'd like to think it was named after one of the Harry Potter characters - who taught defence against the dark arts.

Later today:- - Charlie Cassidy who is Director of the Advanced Products Group at TCS contacted me to say - "I thought I would let you in on the "secret" of the Galatea name. No Harry Potter involved, we didn't even realize that connection. Our SSDs (Triton, Proteus, Galatea) are named after themoons of Neptune - paying homage to the Trident heritage."


Violin video re visibility advantages of home grown controllers

Editor:- January 23, 2012 - I commented recently that the top 10 SSD companies in Q4 2011 all had one thing in common (apart from the fact they make SSDs) - they all had their own proprietary SSD controller architecture which they could use to optimize products for some application markets (even if some of them also used other controllers too).

In a recent video - Violin's, CTO Software Jonathan Goldick talks about the benefits they get from having their own controller.

I like it because it also echoes themes I discussed last year in my big versus small SSD architecture article - and also because it's short - less than 250 seconds. ...watch Violin's SSD video
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Significant news in the past 6 months
January 2012

OCZ acquires SANRAD
Fusion-io shows 1 billion IOPS SSD system
Micron acquires PCIe SSD systems company Virtensy

December 2011

OCZ's revenue grew 90%
TMS launches no SPOF 1U SSD
SandForce controller enables more enterprise tweaks


November 2011

Virident ships 1.4 Million IOPS PCIe MLC SSD
RunCore is one of China's fastest growing tech companies
BiTMICRO unveils Big SSD Architecture - ASIC platform


October 2011

LSI buys SandForce (a top 5 SSD company)
new ORG - Hybrid Memory Cube Consortium
Kove sets new record for financial trading benchmark


September 2011

OCZ launches auto-tiering hybrid PCIe SSD
Microsemi packs secure SATA 75GB SLC SSD into PBGA
InnoDisk controller makes MLC SSDs last 7x longer than SLC


August 2011

Pure Storage gets $30 million C funding
SANRAD launches front loadable PCIe SSD
Fusion-io acquires SSD software company for $95 million.


earlier SSD news

2011 - SSD milestones
SSD market history - 1970s to 2011

click to see larger image for SSD ...
the SSD page since 1998
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Microsemi PBGA - SATA and PATA SSDs - click for more info
PBGA SSDs - for aerospace apps
from Microsemi

...
tier 1 - 1U rackmount SSD
no single point of failure
lowest latency, highest density 1U FC SLC SSD
the RamSan-720 - from Texas Memory Systems

PCIe chips from PLX - click for more info
switches for leading PCIe SSD designs
ExpressLane from PLX Technology

click to see more info
16TB bootable, auto accelerating virtualized PCIe SSDs
the Z-Drive R4 CloudServ
from OCZ

SMART Optimus SSD - click for more info
2.5" SAS flash SSDs - upto 1.6TB
Optimus - from SMART
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"Talking about SSDs is my favorite subject and I learn a lot from these conversations."
......from the article - Can you tell me the best way to get to SSD Street?
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RamSan-70 - very fast PCIe SSD from Texas Memory Systems
RamSan-70 very fast 900GB PCIe SLC flash SSD
from Texas Memory Systems

click here for more info about the Guardian SSD
highest integrity 2.5" military SATA SSDs
with SnapPurge and AES-256 encryption
TRRUST-STOR - from Microsemi

SandForce SSD processors - click for more info
the award winning silicon driving leading SSDs
up to 500MB/s & 60,000 IOPS
from SandForce
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"You can't just multiply last year's revenue figures by x100 to estimate the eventual size of the enterprise SSD market. But it's a good place to start..."
......from the article:- will the enterprise SSD market be big enough for all these companies [list] to grow?
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Virident FlashMAX.  - click for more info
Predictable, industry-leading PCIe SSD performance.
Scales across diverse workloads, data sets,
and sustains over time.
Learn more about - Virident FlashMAX

click for more info about WD SiliconEdge Blue SSDs
2.5" notebook SSDs
from Western Digital

Universal Solid State Disk USSD 200 from Solid Access Technologies with SAS, FC, SCSI or custom interfaces
fast rackmount RAM SSDs
10GbE, SAS, FC & SCSI interface options
from Solid Access Technologies

click for more info
value engineered PCIe SSD acceleration
from RunCore

Oceanspace enterprise SSD - click for more info
tier 1 FC SAN SLC SSD storage
Oceanspace Dorado2100
from Huawei Symantec

WD SiliconDrive N1x  for mission-critical applications mandating high performance, high reliability, and high endurance - click for more info
2.5" SLC embedded SiliconDrives
from Western Digital

Fusion-io fast SSDs - click for more info
world's fastest production PCIe SSD
from Fusion-io

SiliconDrive CF
SiliconDrive High Speed Type I CF
from Western Digital
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"I waste my time so readers don't have to waste theirs."
...Editor:- explaining to a reader what he does for a living. And why being the 49th SSD company in a particular form factor didn't rate a mention on StorageSearch.com's news page recently - even if it was widely reported on RSS fed pages.
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image shows industrial SSDs  from  BiTMICRO - click for more info
industrial grade SSDs
from the pioneers in SSD technology - BiTMICRO

7mm high 2.5" SATA 3 SSDs for Ultrabooks  - click for more info
7mm high SATA 3 SSDs for Ultrabooks
from RunCore
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..."Not every manufacturer takes product quality seriously. When an SSD manufacturer tries to downgrade Nand Flash to lower the price and impress consumers, they also pass on the risk of data loss to consumers."
...Email from Renice Technology - (September 2011) warning about buying SSDs from oems which don't test and qualify the quality and compatibility of their raw flash suppliers.
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small form factor SSDs from RunCore
small form factor SSDs
for phones and mobile devices
rSSD - from RunCore

2.5" SATA 3 enterprise SSDs from OCZ -
2.5" SATA 3 SSDs for enterprise apps
Deneva 2 C Series - from OCZ
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"...Guaranteed data availability is just as important as high performance."
... Jonathan Goldick, the new CTO Software at Violin Memory, explaining in his blog why he recently joined the company.
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Targa Series 4 - 2.5 inch SCSI flash disk
2.5" removable military SSDs
for airborne apps - GbE / SATA / USB
from Targa Systems

click for more info about the RamSan-630 SSD
RamSan-630 - 1 million IOPS
10TB FC / InfiniBand SLC flash SSD
from Texas Memory Systems
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"...My advice re SSDs for database acceleration has always been - try before you buy. That's because the performance model which you have in your head may not be the same performance model which is at work inside your system."
...Editor talking to a reader in mid August who asked about the interplay of enterprise software with SSDs in database apps.
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RunCore SSDs for military applications - click to see more info
military SSDs
-55C to +125C operation
from RunCore
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"...You like the idea - SSDs could make your apps go faster. Problem is - you're not in an industry where you can stuff raw low latency and high IOPS in one end of your business sausage machine and expect to see increased revenue and dollars streaming out the other end..."
...Editor:- in the need for auto tiering SSDs / SSD ASAPs
...
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. ...read the article
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SSD ad - click for more info

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