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How do you recognize a military SSD? After 30 years of contact with MIL electronics customers and designers I find that easy. So I thought I'd try to compile a simple list of military SSD companies.
here's why I failed
Did SSD ads become obsolete because of the memory shortages in 2017?
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recently in the SSD news archives
February 2018 Gen-Z specification 1.0 released for futuristic memory fabric designers.
January 2018 Foremay launched its new "Immortal" brand of radiation hardened military SSDs.
December 2017 Diablo Technologies ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy.
November 2017 IntelliProp demonstrated a memory controller for the emerging Gen-Z memory fabric.
October 2017 Infinidat announced a $95 million funding round round.
September 2017 Toshiba announced the winner of the $18 billion beauty pageant to find a suitable buyer for its memory and SSD business.
August 2017 Western Digital agreed to acquire Tegile which had pioneered innovative "utility" based customer pricing models in the hybrid storage array market.
July 2017 Viking shipped 50TB planar MLC 3.5" SAS SSDs based on a controller platform designed by rackmount SSD maker Nimbus.
June 2017 Toshiba began sampling the world's first 64 layer QLC (x4) nand flash memory. The 768Gb chips were the highest density nvms available.
May 2017 Micron enters the rackmount SSD market.
April 2017 IP-Maker released NVMe FPGA IP to enable use of enterprise performance SSDs in low wattage "no CPU" embedded systems.
March 2017 Excelero - emerged from stealth.

Everspin began sampling an NVMe PCIe SSD based on its ST-MRAM.

Intel began sampling an NVMe PCIe SSD based on Micron's 3DXpoint memory.
February 2017 Tachyum emerged from stealth mode
news archive 2000 to 2017

Flexxon SSDs for indistrial medical and automotive applications - overview image
IMA (Industrial, Medical & Automotive)
XTREME series SSDs - from Flexxon

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Zsolt Kerekes - (editor linkedin)

animal brands in SSD
The SSD market isn't scared of mice.

But mice aren't the only animals you can find in SSD brands.

There are many other examples of animal brands in SSD as you can see in this collected article.

And before the SSD market became the most important factor in the storage market there were also many animals to be found in other types of storage too.
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Editor's note:- I currently talk to more than 600 makers of SSDs and another 100 or so companies which are closely enmeshed around the SSD ecosphere.

Most of these SSD companies (but by no means all) are profiled here on the mouse site.

I still learn about new SSD companies every week, including many in stealth mode. If you're interested in the growing big picture of the SSD market canvass - StorageSearch will help you along the way.

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introducing Memory Defined Software

yes seriously - these words are in the right order.

A new market for software which is strongly typed to
new physical memory platforms and nvm-inside processors
while unbound from the tyranny of memory virtualizable by storage.

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - February 14, 2018
The existence of a market which provides independent software support for solid state storage, SSDs and tiered memory for enterprise use has a relatively short history (of only about 7 to 10 years) compared to SSDs themselves. A tremendous amount has been accomplished in that time (as you can see in the SSD news archives) as the computing industry transitioned from initially shoe-horning SSDs into storage software models which had originally been written for hard drives, then optimizing system software related code to detect and bypass hardcoded rotating drive delay assumption workarounds which had been buried in every type of application software and then finally creating a new foundation of software primitives (NVMe) which began with the assumption that storage could be solid state.

So far, so good - and there have been some very talented companies which have revisited storage software assumptions from inside the drive, outside in the array, in the interfaces, in the associated stacks below, above, around and from every angle so that today you can realistically expect to get operational characteristics from solid state storage assets which are considerably better than whatever came before. And although there is still work to be done the storage industry can congratulate itself for collectively having done a good job despite at the start thrashing around in a shambolic state of disarray because the usual suspects didn't see the SSD avalanche coming down the hill.

And it's because of the ubiquity of solid state storage assets in the enterprise and the promise shown by early generations of memory fabrics that the next phase of revolution in software is now underway - which is how we get to memory defined software.

Let's backtrack briefly to hardware - because hardware always comes first. Insofar (by way of an apology in advance) that you can write all the software you like which pretends that you're running a new computer business game on a new computing platform - but you only start getting the benefits and the thrills by doing it on the new hardware. Just over a year ago on this home page I wrote a blog - after AFAs - what's the next box? (cloud adapted memory systems) which hinted at the kind of brew we should expect to see after the earlier pioneering percolators of NVDIMM wars had settled their territory disputes with alternative memories, tiered memory's place relative to tiered storage and PCIe's transition from unruly invader to settler in the territory of big memory fabrics which had upto not long before been dominated by fast versions of very old interfaces (IB and GbE). (And just to warn you that like previous land grabs - PCIe's position as a convenient gateway into big memory spaces - is no more sacrosanct that what came before - as Gen-Z may be a faster way to do things in future - although we have the lessons of Infiniband versus Ethernet to show that sometimes the new does not improve fast enough to displace what came before.)

You've had had plenty of warning that something is coming.

What do I mean by Memory Defined Software?

Simply this... Software which has been deliberately written to take advantage of the computational realities of memory with special characteristics in order to get behavior which was not possible before. The special characteristics may take many forms:-
  • nvm inside processors to enable instant reboot or context switches.
  • trusted persistent memory which is used an as application dependent fast look-up or code translation / computational acceleration / interpretive resource
  • memory which is bigger than traditional storage capacities - and which does not break when you hit it with zillions of memory intensive operations which require sub microsecond random read/modify/write/and move latencies.
  • memory with embedded in-memory processing capability (achieved by FPGA or ASIC).
At first some of the new memory defined software which is designed to run on new memory systems may resemble the functional characteristics of software which was developed to run on tiered memory systems which include SSDs and flash as RAM virtualization. But just as storage software evolved so that code written for flash environments could no longer run with acceptable performance on HDD arrays - so too the split between true memory defined software and software written for solid state storage installations will become quickly apparent. I think sooner rather than later - as the stimulus driving new memory code is coming from newer faster moving users who are more nimble in their adoption of new platforms which solve data dependent problems and doesn't carry the same decades long baggage and requirement for of backwards compatibility.

This is the first time you've seen me use the term "Memory Defined Software" in an article and it may feel not quite right at first as it juggles in your brain space for a relationship between SDS (Software Defined Storage) and the very similar sounding (but entirely different) Software Defined Memory. But people have been experimenting with software and architectures which are based around the Memory Defined Software concept for a while to solve embedded problems. In the next stage of the memoryfication of the enterprise I think it will become clearer that this is a new big market opportunity so I thought it's time to recognize it for what it is and give it its true name.

permalink for the above article

optimizing CPUs in the Post Modernist Era of Memory Systems

In-Datacenter Performance Analysis of a 92 TOPS Tensor Processing Unit ASIC (pdf) - a paper by Developers at Google (June 26, 2017)
Editor:- January 23, 2018 - recently published the Top SSD Companies in Q4 2017. One way to interpret the new #1 company (NGD Systems) is as a signal that the idea of in-situ SSD processing is close to moving into the mainstream. the article

more sightings of little nv data critters in the wild anticipated in 2018

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - January 18, 2018
little non volatile data crittersIn my many years reporting on the SSD market here on the mouse site solid state storage has been a cleansing catalyst of change and breaking down doability barriers which have enabled the leveraging and repurposing of data wherever it may be. So if there is an economic value buried somewhere in the data it can be discovered, mined and delivered in ways which were previously impossible or unviable.

Last year the SSD market looked like it was morphing into the memoryfication of everything (storage, software and processing).

As we're all aware from the noise on linkedin / twitter etc the loudest action has been centered around making systems faster and cheaper and bigger in capability - but at the other end of the arena - the new lower capacity non volatile memory technologies are creeping into application roles with capacities which are maybe 1,000x smaller than a single nand flash or DRAM memory chip.

What useful things can you do with such small nvms?

Well... in the right places - little nv data critters can do quite a lot. And that's a direction I'll be writing more about too in 2018.

little nv data critters already sighted / cited in January 2018

Enabling technologies for ultra low power data critters were mentioned in several stories in SSD news in January 2018.
  • eVaderis has taped out an "MRAM inside" MCU with 3Mb of distributed nvm to support IoT applications which are - "normally-off/instant-on microcontrollers with near zero latency boot".
  • FRAM - which didn't gain traction in the let's-kill-flash / alt-nvm markets - has some potential inheritors being developed. But apparently you can still buy old style FRAM and power the devices from energy harvested from mechanical vibration and converted by piezoelectric transducers.
  • Longsys said it's offering customizable eMMC (8mm x 10mm) for smart wearable devices.
See also:- SSD on a chip, PBGA SSD, 1 inch SSD
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trajectory of SSD market's onward rebound from memory shortages will be directed by existential questions

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - December 1, 2017
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Megabyte's December 2017 blog2017 was a year like no other in 40 years of SSD history. The trajectory of SSD market's onward rebound from memory shortages will be directed by existential questions.

For the first time since the modern era of SSDs (the no-turning-back years since 2003) the approximate number of SSDs shipped didn't rise substantially and instead remained essentially flat year on year.

The most obvious cause for SSD shipments flatlining seemed to be the much written about memory shortages. Memory chip shipments in 2017 were reported by market researchers to have been about the same or less than in 2016 due to worse than expected manufacturing yield problems associated with next generation memories. This was exacerbated by the impossibility of bringing new production capacity in place fast enough due to long lead times of production equipment and prohibitive investment risks.

While it's true that SSDs shipped in 2017 were on average bigger in capacity than in earlier years this was little consolation to those SSD vendors whose growth ambitions - if they didn't own wafer fabs - were shredded by circumstances seemingly outside anyone's control.

Stories from SSD companies coupled with rising memory and SSD prices gave credence to the notion that user demand for SSDs would have increased had supplies been available. Had user appetites for SSDs and memory been satisfied then prices would have fallen rather than risen and in that case the interpretation of shipment data would have led to a different market prognosis.

But don't expect business to pick up where it left off when the next memory boom bust correction kicks in. I think there are other factors already at work which point towards the shape of future SSD shipments being materially different in 2018 and 2019.

At the root of this are revisits to fundamental questions:-
  • what should memory systems should do?

    For example should in memory processing be part of the standard feature set?
  • what they should memory systems look like?

    In addition to the obvious form factor and interface issues which attached to DIMM wars and memory fabrics - another question is - should future memory arrays be optimized as storage systems which can emulate memory? or as memory systems which provide backwards emulation of legacy storage?
  • to what extent should new memory systems be compatible with past software investments?

    Or - given the market's recent willingness to engage with memory systems as the only way to advance affordable computer boundaries - should the market aim higher? Should the opportunities (of performance and cost) enabled by new memory system architectures change the shape of the very processors and software they are intended to work with?
You might say - why worry? As we've seen with the great solid state storage experiment it takes years to roll out new architectural dice and the winning patterns can't exert a backwards influence.

I would argue however that long before the truly revolutionary changes in memory systems architecture are stabilized we are already seeing new influences coming from pragmatic adaptations of currently shipping memory products (like NVDIMMs and SoC compatible nvms) which - with the right software - have the ability to change the ratios of other SSDs, memory and storage in the systems in which they appear.

These incremental technologies will change the patterns of use of memory in every kind of computing product.

Many SSD designers in the past decade have been nibbling away at issues of SSD efficiency - answering the crude question - what's the best way to use any given number of memory chips and if I can change the way they connect and the software. These improvements have typically accumulated in chunks from as small as 5% to as big as 50% in a single design feature (or patentable IP). As long ago as 2013 I hinted at the tremendous gap between where we had got to compared to what may be possible in my classic impacts of the SSD software event horizon. Recently heralded companies like Symbolic IO claim that they do can even better.

The new reality is that DRAM and flash are no longer the only defining memory types supported by useful software.

So called "emerging memories" - some of which had gotten to be teenagers before they quit their dark dens and emerged as data industry citizens - have this year been at the heart of claims by systems oriented memoryfication startups that they could change the world of storage and memory arrays arrays as much as SSDs changed the landscape before.

In April 2017 on this very home page - I asked the question - Are we there yet? - 23 years of SSD guides later... I concluded at that time the memory systems market and this publisher are still "under construction". Now with the benefit of hindsight it seems I was right.

Underlying the shaping of the SSD market's future I think we must anticipate bigger changes to come in the next few years.

2017 - adding new notes to the music of memory tiering

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - November 14, 2017
I think that developments in the SSD and memory systems markets in 2017 will have as profound an effect on the future of the data systems market and the direction of its architecture and software as the adoption of flash SSDs in enterprise storage had on the design of hard disk arrays and the design of server motherboards.

Although many of the influences to this new fork in the road had been nurturing for several years before this for example:-
  • competing software solutions for memory tiering
  • the availability of 3 to 5 nvm alternatives to flash, and
  • mainstream market acceptance of solid state storage at the heart of enterprise storage engineering
it was the accidental convergence or crashing together of alt nvms as usable modules (in DIMMs, M.2 SSD and PCIe SSD form factors) in the same year as the statistically inevitable but accidental and unpredicted market force - the shortage of flash (with its attendant price hikes which had the effect of making alt-nvms look 2 -3 years better and more competitive than they had been in the all the years before) - which made the lasting difference. From here on thinking about the internal make up and external presentation of memory systems would be materially different.

new notes in the memory systems songbookAfter 2017 - memoryfication solutions (tiering at the board, box and cloud level) will no longer be restricted to the same old tunes restricted by the paucity of melodies obtainable from DRAM, flash and the intervening interface dynamics.

Designers can now count on a new set of notes and arrangements to provide data harmonies which were hitherto extravagant to realize with the two old mainstay memory technologies with their well understood limitations of space, power consumption and raw latency. (Although many pioneering attempts at breaking these memory opera barriers came with a supporting cast of batteries and extra cooling technologies hidden behind the stage curtain.)

While no one can guarantee that MRAM, ReRAM or 3DX / Optane will all continue to be available and competitive in multiple future generations - the continued future existence of any one particular alternative to flash and DRAM is less significant than the balance of probability that there are enough technologies out there (and coming in the works) to make it worthwhile for software and hardware designers to apply their minds to enriching the vocabulary of their architecture song books.

If I can use another analogy - 19th century chemists made great strides in their anticipation of all possible elements when they constructed the periodic table. For over a decade the SSD market (and its SSD product atoms) has been both enabled but also limited by the combination of building blocks which designers could construct with 2 distinct memory types - subject to the constraints of the atomic forces (price, wattage and ratios of capacity and latency between DRAM, flash and all rotating storage) which set the boundaries of which architectural permutations of components were viable at any point in time.

Looking ahead - the availability of new memories in the mix and the willingness of designers to leverage their features to create virtualizable benefits could be as significant to the datasystems market as the advent of additive technologies (3D printing) to the creation of new materials with characteristics which weren't imaginable with traditional elements and compounds.

Hmm... it looks like you're seriously interested in SSDs. So please bookmark this page and come back again soon.

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SSD news
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The convenience of DWPD as a way of selecting SSDs for application roles meant it quickly gained widespread adoption in enterprise, cloud and embedded markets but DWPD has limitations too.
what's the state of DWPD?
There's a genuine problem for the SCM (storage class memory) industry. How to describe performance.
is it realistic to talk about memory IOPS?
controllernomics - is that even a real word?
The semiconductor memory business has toggled between under supply and over supply since the 1970s.
an SSD view of past, present and future boom bust cycles in the memory market
As you may have guessed I talk to a lot of companies which design SSDs and SSD controllers.

I also talk to people who design processors.
optimizing CPUs in the Post Modernist Era
Is more always better?
The ups and downs of capacitor hold up in 2.5" MIL flash SSDs
Some of the winners and losers from the memory shortages in 2017 were easy to spot. But there have been new opportunities created too.
miscellaneous consequences of the 2017 memory shortages

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Despite many revolutionary changes in memory systems design and SSD adoption in the past decade we are still not at the stage where it's possible to predict and plot the next decade as merely an incremental set of refinements of what we've got now.
Are we there yet? - 2017 and 40 years of SSDs

For me - the SSD companies which made me sit up and take notice because of the promise of better prospects for the SSD market implied by something new they did in 2016 were these...
4 shining companies which made me stop and think

Data recovery from DRAM?
I thought everyone knew that

I said to a leading NVDIMM company... This may be a stupid question but... have you thought of supporting a RAMdisk emulation in your new "flash tiered as RAM" solution?
what could we learn?

the dividing line between storage and memory is more fluid than ever before
where are we heading with memory intensive systems?

Enterprise DRAM has the same latency now (or worse) than in 2000. The CPU-DRAM-HDD oligopoly optimized DRAM for a different set of assumptions than we have today in the post modern SSD era.
latency loving reasons for fading out DRAM

click to see examples of SSD banner ads

In some ways the SSD market is like that lakeside village. It's not so long ago that no one even knew where it was.
Can you tell me the best way to get to SSD Street?

Self awareness in the SSD and memoryfication market fabric has spun new tunneling effects in business strategies which now have the potential to instantly hop across segments with infinite improbability.
one big market lesson in SSD year 2016


Many of the important and sometimes mysterious behavioral aspects of SSDs which predetermine their application limitations and usable market roles can only be understood when you look at how well the designer has dealt with managing the symmetries and asymmetries which are implicit in the underlying technologies which are contained within the SSD.
how fast can your SSD run backwards?

The enterprise SSD story...

why's the plot so complicated?

and was there ever a missed opportunity in the past to simplify it?
the elusive golden age of enterprise SSDs

Nowadays you can't expect to understand the worldwide SSD market and realistically predict the likely source and direction of strong influences without having some cognizance of the SSD market in China.
who's who in the SSD market in China?

Why do SSD revenue forecasts by enterprise vendors so often fail to anticipate crashes in demand from their existing customers?
meet Ken and the enterprise SSD software event horizon

the past (and future) of HDD vs SSD sophistry
How will the hard drive market fare...
in a solid state storage world?

Compared to EMC...

ours is better
can you take these AFA startups seriously?

Now we're seeing new trends in pricing flash arrays which don't even pretend that you can analyze and predict the benefits using technical models.
Exiting the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing

Reliability is an important factor in many applications which use SSDs. But can you trust an SSD brand just because it claims to be reliable in its ads?
the cultivation and nurturing of "reliability"
in a 2.5" embedded SSD brand

A couple of years ago - if you were a big company wanting to get into the SSD market by an acquisition or strategic investment then a budget somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion would have seemed like plenty.
VCs in SSDs and storage

Adaptive dynamic refresh to improve ECC and power consumption, tiered memory latencies and some other ideas.
Are you ready to rethink RAM?

90% of the enterprise SSD companies which you know have no good reasons to survive.
market consolidation - why? how? when?

With hundreds of patents already pending in this topic there's a high probability that the SSD vendor won't give you the details. It's enough to get the general idea.
Adaptive flash R/W and DSP ECC IP in SSDs

SSD Market - Easy Entry Route #1 - Buy a Company which Already Makes SSDs. (And here's a list of who bought whom.)
3 Easy Ways to Enter the SSD Market

"You'd think... someone should know all the answers by now. "
what do enterprise SSD users want?

We can't afford NOT to be in the SSD market...
Hostage to the fortunes of SSD

Why buy SSDs?
6 user value propositions for buying SSDs

"Play it again Sam - as time goes by..."
the Problem with Write IOPS - in flash SSDs

Why can't SSD's true believers agree upon a single coherent vision for the future of solid state storage? (They never did.)
the SSD Heresies.

The predictability and calm, careful approach to new technology adoption in industrial SSDs was for a long time regarded as a virtue compared to other brash markets.
say farewell to reassuringly boring industrial SSDs

If you spend a lot of your time analyzing the performance characteristics and limitations of flash SSDs - this article will help you to easily predict the characteristics of any new SSDs you encounter - by leveraging the knowledge you already have.
flash SSD performance characteristics and limitations

The memory chip count ceiling around which the SSD controller IP is optimized - predetermines the efficiency of achieving system-wide goals like cost, performance and reliability.
size matters in SSD controller architecture

A popular fad in selling flash SSDs is life assurance and health care claims as in - my flash SSD controller care scheme is 100x better (than all the rest).
razzle dazzling flash SSD cell care

These are the "Editor Proven" cheerleaders and editorial meetings fixers of the storage and SSD industry.
who's who in SSD and storage PR?