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to - how will SSDs change the future?

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12 months of headlines (news archive)
September 2016 Everspin files for IPO to expand MRAM
August 2016 Seagate previews 60TB 3.5" SAS SSD

Nimbus demonstrates 4PB 4U HA AFA at FMS
July 2016 Diablo announces volume availability of its Memory1 128GB DDR4 DIMM
June 2016 Pure said its AFA revenue in Q1 2016 was more than leading HDD array brand
May 2016 efficiently coded memory architecture unveiled in systems by Symbolic IO

Encrip announces tri-state coded DRAM IP which can be used with any standard process
April 2016 Samsung began mass producing the industry's first 10nm class 8Gb DDR4 DRAM chips
March 2016 New funding for endurance stretching NVMdurance

Cadence and Mellanox demonstrate PCIe 4.0 interoperability at 16Gbps.
February 2016 It's not worth paying more for SLC reliability in PCIe SSDs says Google field study
January 2016 Quarch says many SSDs fail their first hot plug tests.
December 2015 NSF funds NxGn Data project to progress in-situ SSD processing
November 2015 Netlist allies with Samsung to codevelop flash-as-RAM DIMMs
October 2015 OCZ offers "Host Managed SSD Technology" in 2.5" SSDs
SSD market history

SSD articles by theme

1.0" SSDs
1.8" SSDs
2.5" SSDs
3.5" SSDs

3 things could've killed flash SSD market

1976 - 2016 - SSD history
2007 - SSD timeline
2008 - SSD timeline
2009 - SSD timeline
2010 - SSD timeline
2011 - SSD timeline
2012 - SSD timeline
2013 - SSD market changes
2014 - SSD market changes
2015 - SSD market changes

20K RPM HDDs - no-show

About the publisher - founded 1991

Adaptive R/W flash IP + DSP ECC
Acquired SSD companies
Acquired storage companies
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Analysts - SSD market
Analysts - storage market
Animal Brands in the storage market
Architecture - network storage
Archives - storage news
Articles - SSD
Astrology's role in enterprise SSD pricing
Automotive market - storage technologies
Auto tiering SSDs

Backup articles - tape / D2d / optical
Backup software
Bad block management in flash SSDs
Benchmarks - SSD - can your trust them?
Best / cheapest SSD?
Big market picture of SSDs
Bookmarks from SSD leaders - series 1
Bookmarks from SSD leaders - series 2
Boom-bust cycles in semiconductor memory
Boundaries Analysis in SSD Forecasting
Branding Strategies in the SSD market

Capacitor hold up in SSDs - is longer better?
CD, DVD and other optical storage drives
Chips - storage interface / processors
Chips - SSD on a chip & DOMs
Click rates - SSD banner ads
Cloud with SSDs inside
Consolidation trends in the AFA market
Consumer SSDs guide
Controller chips for SSDs
Cost of SSDs - why so much?
Custom SSDs - why do this business?

Dark matter - SSD customers we can't see
Data integrity in flash SSDs
Data recovery (all)
Data recovery for flash SSDs?
Decloaking hidden flash array segments

DIMM wars in the SSD market
Disaster Recovery - develop procedures
Disk to disk backup
Disk sanitizers
Duplicators - optical (DVD etc)
Duplicators - HDD / SSD
DuraClass and other strength metaphors
DWPD - examples from the market

Efficiency - comparing SSD designs
Encryption - impacts in notebook SSDs
Endurance - in flash SSDs
enterprise flash - the history
enterprise flash array market - segmentation
enterprise SSD story - plot complications
Enter the SSD market - 3 easy ways
Event horizon - impact of SSD software

see a longer A to Z list

How can a regular DWPD flash SSD play at being DRAM in a DIMM?
SSD aspects of Diablo's Memory1

"The winners in SSD software could be as important for data infrastructure as Microsoft was for PCs, or Oracle was for databases, or Google was for search."
all enterprise data will touch an SSD

image shows Megabyte's hot air balloon - click to read the article SSD power down architectures and acharacteristicsIf you've ever watched the movie Black Hawk Down...

It's like the chopper scene...
Surviving SSD sudden power loss

pcie  SSDs - click to read articleThe enterprise PCIe SSD market has exploded and fragmented into many different directions.

And some big bang PCIe SSD business dreams have shrunk too.
what's changed in enterprise PCIe SSD?

SSD jargon explained

Little words can have with big meanings in the world of SSDs.
SSD jargon explained


sugaring  flash for the enterprise First you learned about SLC (good flash).

Then you learned about MLC (naughty flash when it played in the enterprise - but good enough for the short attention span of consumers).

Now we're writing silly rhymes about endurance.
sugaring flash for the enterprise
(12 years of taste tests)

boom bust article
Why do semiconductor memory makers get into oversupply and lossy pricing?
an SSD view of memory boom-bust cycles

what were the big SSD, storage and memory architecture ideas which emerged and became clearer in 2016?

Here are some early incoming answers...
"As 3D NAND gets designed into all upcoming products we see everybody trying to manipulate and characterize the flash at a low level in ways that they did not all need to do before, partly because LDPC is required just to meet the specified endurance. This is delaying roll-out for many because they either do not have the required flash skills or they (other than our customers) do not have access to a tool for automatically characterizing the flash and generating the LLR tables."

Pearse Coyle, CEO - NVMdurance
"SSD capacities exceeding HDD capacities are now shipping in volume this year in the enterprise."

Greg Wong, President - Forward Insights
"The integration of the PMEM/DAX driver into the Linux kernel allowing us to expose persistent memory as a block device so it can tie into existing block and filesystem infrastructure....

And also the NVMe over Fabrics standard and OS support. Allowing us to present NVMe over RDMA to enable a new level of performance for remote block storage."

Stephen Bates, Senior Technical Director - Microsemi
"Storage Class Memory... As storage class memories are emerging, the memory hierarchy will be changed. NOR-based NVDIMMs, such as 3D Super-NOR and 3D XPoint, will replace DRAM and SSD at the same time.

Also, software-based NVDIMM-P, such as HybriDIMM, will come to the storage class memory market. Storage class memories mingles fast-but-expensive volatile, and slow-but-inexpensive non-volatile memories together. As a result, it will significantly boost system performance at low cost and create huge market opportunities."

Sang-Yun Lee, President & CEO - BeSang
"The most significant ideas we at Virtium see and are directing our resources toward center on taking SSD security, reliability, durability, and manageability to a much higher level, to meet the needs of increasingly connected industrial embedded environments. These ideas are now being realized through drives self-encryption capabilities, advanced remote-monitoring software, dramatically reduced power requirements, and the development of SSDs specifically for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)."

Scott Phillips, VP Marketing, Virtium Solid State Storage and Memory
"From Mangstor's perspective, we are heavily invested in NVMe over Fabric (NVMf) technology for which our NX-Series Storage Arrays are based.

With the ratification of the NVMf specification this past June, flash devices such as SSDs and storage arrays can now communicate over RDMA networks (such as RoCE or InfiniBand), delivering the same high performance, low latency benefits as local attached NVMe.

Storage arrays based on NVMf, such as our award-winning NX6320, avoid the lower level SCSI transport layer, which results in faster data throughput and accelerated data access making NVMf solutions ideal for compute-intensive HPC and database applications."

Scott Harlin, Director of MarComms - Mangstor
"I think definitely it is NVMe. We have seen the demand has increased unbelievably this year. Most customers told us that NVMe were their first choice of new systems design since it combines ruggedness of traditional SATA and the high speed of PCIe."

Manager at a rugged SSD company
"Nvme and soon 3D Xpoint are affordable, solve low queue depth and write performance issues and will make performance claims from the usual suspects irrelevant... Removing the interface bottleneck was the giant step here."

Guido Meijers, System Engineer at Greenpower (Pharmaceuticals)

Mike Amidi, CEO - Xitore
"From our experience in 2016 we have seen 2 major things.

First is the combination of storage with the hypervisor (like our eEVOS). Without which customers would need to use 2 suppliers (storage and hypervisor) which would make support a nightmare sometimes.

The other is NV-DIMM techology, we have customers and partners implementing it with our product. It provides best of both worlds - RAM speed with extreme I/O and data still remains in case of server crash."

Tvrtko Fritz, CEO at euroNAS GmbH
"For Hyperstone, the biggest idea and industry trend that we pushed and participated in is the implementation of page-based-FTL running on DRAM-less controller architectures. This approach improves random write performance, increases endurance while maintaining power-fail robustness at the same time. As this architecture also reduces system cost it is also adopted in consumer markets.

We also see a significant adoption of USB 3.0 in industrial/embedded markets. Certainly, the most hyped topics, at the FMS for instance, were 3D NAND and NVMe but for both we do not yet see any sufficiently mature products or any massive adoption in our markets"

Susan Heidrich, Sales & Marketing Manager - Hyperstone
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what were the big SSD, storage and memory architecture ideas which emerged and became clearer in 2016?

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - - September 29, 2016
In popular fiction about time travel it has often been said that the paradox you want to seriously avoid is meeting yourself coming forwards while you are actually traveling back.

In writing about the computer market this is something which happens to me a lot - as I look back on detailed technology and market predictions from the past and compare them to what happened. There's nothing too mysterious about this swinging back and forth in content time. It's just something which happens when I randomly dip into past pages I've written on the web over 2 decades to remind myself - what was all that about?

One of those prediction paradoxes occurred recently in connection with an SSD news story in August 2016 - which intersected with a prediction article published in 2010 - which I had illustrated at the time with this spoof press release.
Stealth mode startup wakes petabyte SSD appliance market

Editor:- October 17, 2016 - Exabyte SSD Appliance emerged from stealth mode and today announced a $400 million series C funding round and immediate availability of its new Paranoid S3B series - a 2U entry level Solid State Backup appliance with 1PB (uncompressed) capacity. ...Latency is 10 microseconds (for accesses to awake blocks) and 20 milli-seconds (for data accesses to blocks in sleep mode.) The scalable system can deliver 20PB of uncompressed (and RAID protected) nearline storage in a 40U cabinet - which can be realistically compressed to emulate 100PB of rotating hard disk storage using less than 5kW of electric power.
Although some of the detailed flash memory predictions in that article 6 years ago were embarrassingly pessimistic compared to what we expect to be seeing in the near term future - the purpose of that article - this way to the petabyte SSD - was to explore the user value propositions which would enable solid state storage to become an attractive proposition to buy for high capacity enterprise storage even if hard drive capacity cost less per physical bit. And to make my point I used the extreme market boundary condition that even if magnetic storage drives cost nothing to buy - they would still be displaced by SSD based storage in cost sensitive applications.

The arguments I used then are accepted as everyday reasons to buy such systems nowadays - but I can confirm at the time of publication they fired the imaginations of many movers and shakers in the market.

Since 2010 as I've written various stories about various SSD systems companies I have from time to time wondered which company is going to show such products first. Several years ago I thought a hot contender was Skyera. But a few weeks ago on a booth at FMS - Nimbus Data was showing boxes which looked very similar to this concept. Although the Nimbus boxes are much faster than I predicted - because SSD power management has evolved to be much faster at cold boot than the good-enough examples I used in my old article. A critical ingredient of the spoof story and today's reality is software.

The petabyte SSD was (I thought in 2010) an elegant wrap up and last bullet point in a set of predicted user value propositions for SSDs which I had been writing about since 2003. Upto that point (in 2010) my technology predictions had been pretty reliable at anticipating disruptive changes many years before any such products or companies made them happen. But the set of user value propositions wasn't as complete as I thought. And the market experience of virtualizing storage and memory and leveraging ideas from the early adopters in the enterprise PCIe SSD market - uncovered yet another big gap - tiered memory - and trading latency for density by adding more layers and a new core construct of persistent memory (with fast memory boot which doesn't rely on preloading from magnetic storage). This has been playing out in the SSDs news pages in the past 2 -3 years but still has a ways to go yet.

Which reminds me of the tentative title of this blog today (It really is today. I got up and started typing these words at about 4.30 am.)

It is traditional at this time of the year for me to start collecting together and reflecting on the big SSD ideas of the year.

You can see recent examples of these "big ideas" or annual round up blogs for various years here:- 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015...

This list could have been longer. I'm sorry to say these retrospective articles of mine about the enterprise market - which recycle old news to create new historical content - started in 1996 (and look even further back - to the 1980s.

So... in a long overdue break with tradition I'm going to change the format for my upcoming big SSD ideas of 2016 article.

During the next few months I'll be asking some of you to tell me what they think are the important ideas in their SSD related work in 2016. And I'll add the most interesting comments to a much longer versions of this article.

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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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"Nobody owns the memory channel SSD market space today and if it looked like an interesting idea 2-3 years ago - designers are even more receptive to looking at such products now."
news - re Xitore's NVDIMM-X
Where are we heading with memory intensive systems and software?
there's more to future change than NVDIMM wars
Is more always better?
The ups and downs of capacitor hold up in 2.5" flash SSDs
SSD ad - click for more info
Marketers have as much to do with the DWPD ratings you see on SSDs as engineers.
what's the state of DWPD?

is data remanence in persistent memory and NVDIMMs a new risk factor?
maybe the risk was there all the time with DRAM too

DRAM latencySetting the scene for DIMM wars

The DRAM market's new clothes had long been invisible.

But the SSD market was too preoccupied with lower hanging storage fruit.
latency loving reasons for fading out DRAM

Are you whiteboarding alternative server based SSD / SCM / SDS architectures? It's messy keeping track of those different options isn't it? Take a look at an easy to remember hex based shorthand which can aptly describe any SSD accelerated server blade.
what's in a number? - SSDserver rank

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

The sages of flash now agree
That if you fall out of a tree
To increase your chances
Grab hold at five branches
And swing around ju
life sliced endurance budgets and some limericks

How committed (really) are these companies
to the military SSD business?
a not so simple list of military SSD companies

Can you trust market reports and the handed down wisdom from analysts, bloggers and so-called industry experts?

heck no! - whatever gave you that silly idea?
here's why

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

These fast evolving critters haven't read what it says on your jungle bug spray.
the survivor's guide to enterprise SSDs

How will the hard drive market fare
in a solid state storage world?
a classic article

unraveling the unreal positioning of AFA startups
compared to EMC...

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

How much investment does it take to achieve something big in the SSD market?
over 100 SSD VC funding stories

In my role as Occasional SSD Agony Aunt - I've spoken to people about the "SSD acquisition problem" at both ends of the game. Here's what I've learned.
3 Easy Ways to Enter the SSD Market

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

"...Application-unaware design of memory controllers, and in particular memory scheduling algorithms, leads to uncontrolled interference of applications in the memory system"
Are you ready to rethink RAM?

"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

the SSD heresies
Why can't SSD's true believers agree on a single shared vision for the future of solid state storage?
the SSD Heresies