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updating 10 key SSD ideas in 2014

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - September 2, 2014
It's September already, and 8 months of another new year in SSD history already behind us, I started reflecting on what have been the defining characteristics of developments in the SSD market this year.

As we approach what is traditionally another busy quarter of search and business activity in the SSD market I realized - that simply too much has changed already since 2013 to make it safe for casual readers to coast along relying on the safe assumptions which they reset even a year ago. So this checklist is like an early version of an end of year market roundup.

So here's my list of about 10 key SSD ideas - each of which there has been associated with significant progress in 2014 for any of the following reasons:-
  • bringing into focus a new SSD idea which might become important
  • clarifying the progress (upwards or downwards) of previously alerted big SSD ideas

key SSD idea #1

in-situ SSD processing

This is about closing important gaps in the intelligence of message passing and the speed of data access between application processors and SSD controllers.

(SSD controllers which - in the vast majority of SSDs - come attached with their own offload processors or associated data movement engines.)

Traditionally SSDs have been designed to reduce the access times to data - but within the framework of commands, APIs and data structures which have been designed for applications agnostic data storage drives.

And in order to make SSDs easier to use - classic SSD controllers also perform a lot of house-keeping and data integrity related functions - in a way which is the apps processor doesn't need to know about (although it can collect stats related to endurance etc).

There is much evidence to support the idea that both applications performance and data storage efficiency can be greatly improved if the flash management and apps management processor are either the same CPU - or if they can talk to each other in a more effective way.

These improvements (which enable data handling responsibilities to be partitioned downwards to the flash or upwards to the apps host - depending on which has the best view of what is needed) have already been implemented by various SSD vendors in experimental or custom APIs.

These concepts - which first took root in large web scale server farms - have also delivered useful results in some industrial SSDs when scaled down to a single SSD.

A handful of SSD vendors have already done work in this area - notably Fusion-io (in whose non offloaded SSD controller architecture - the flash management and apps processors were the same processor).

But in 2015 and 2016 these concepts will become much more explicitly talked about.

Related SSD drive companies:- NxGn Data, LSI, Memblaze, InnoDisk

Related SSD array companies (who probably already do some degree of in-situ SSD processing) include:- Skyera, Violin

key SSD idea #2

re PCIe SSDs

This year - as part of a continuing trend - we've seen an upswing in the number of companies who offer PCIe compatible SSDs in form factors like M.2 and 2.5".

The barriers to market have been reduced by standards such as NVMe and SATA express - which by creating frameworks of software and hardware interchangeability - have minimized the risks for oems who incoprorate such SSDs into their storage and computing systems.

An important new factor for the PCIe SSD market this year was the materialization of product announcements centered around the core concept of using PCIe as an interconnection fabric between racks.

The key pioneers driving these efforts have been PLX and A3CUBE.

key SSD idea #3

random access memory doesn't have to be RAM

The idea of using flash as a new memory tier isn't new. And neither is the idea of using flash in DRAM memory slots. But in 2014 there were several developments which added weight to the usefulness of these ideas.
  • Applicable to any kind of standard flash SSD - SanDisk's ZetaScale software (described by as "one of the most significant SSD software products launched in 2014") is an API toolset which gives software designers the freedom to treat flash in a similar way to DRAM - thereby being able to rely on much higher capacities within any given monetary budget ceiling.

    Although the performance characteristics of such memory won't suit all applications - the ability to experiment and invest in a technology platform which promises to avoid lock-in to any particular SSD form factor - will encourage the development of new types of data repurposing platforms.
  • Those who may have been disappointed by the low aspirations of Diablo's 1st generation memory channel SSDs - were given a glimpse of something more akin to what they might have been wishing for - in the unveiling of an ambitious 2nd generation architecture which promised to go much further in 2015.

    The key ingredient here is a new software framework (Carbon2) with features like NanoCommit technology.

    The new software is being offered as part of developer packages which anticipate 2nd generation MCS hardware which will be fast flash DIMMs compatible with DDR4.
See also:- are you ready to rethink enterprise DRAM architecture?

key SSD idea #4

re micro tiering and micro clouds

One of the trends in computer architecture in recent years is that new software architectural concepts which deliver sustainable efficiency or management efficiencies have found it easier to get their benefits established and recognized at a large scale - as part of big web entities or cloud infrastructure.

But the lessons learned have been duly noted and reapplied to other use cases and are now finding their way into individual rack scale products too.

3 companies which stand out for their different approaches in this respect are:-

key SSD idea #5

adaptive R/W (including DSP) data integrity management in flash

2 years ago - there were only 10 companies with adaptive R/W technologies in their SSD product lines.

It was important to know who they were at the time.

Because looking ahead from the perspective of 2012 they and their licensees or acquirers were going to be among the first vendors who could leverage the economics of next generation flash.

They did this by moving away from classical flash controller technologies - which relied on anonymous industry wide characterization statistics for key flash parameters - and moving towards an adaptive model - which was able to recognize and grade different qualities of individual flash blocks (even within the same SSD).

The new adaptive DSP technology was able to choose from a wide bandolero of timing and ECC techniques instead of being dependent on a single caliber flash manage bullet.

By the middle of 2014 - adaptive R/W had become a mainstream technology - deployed by most leading enterprise SSD systems (in applicable products) - so its strategic advantage as a competitive differentiator has diminished.

Instead it has become the new "standard technology" for handling all sub 20nm planar MLC flash devices.

But it would be wrong to think of it as a uniform technology. There are significant differences in the scope, granularity and associated controller and power footprints of the many different adaptive DSP flash IP sets used in the SSD market.

key SSD idea #6

3D nand flash

Although 3D nand flash SSDs have been shipping in the market - the current technology doesn't deliver enough efficiency and cost advantages to replace 2D in the short term. Many manufacturability and design problems remain to be solved before that is likely to happen in mainstream SSD markets.

On the other hand the raw endurance of 1st generation 3D flash seems to be 3x to 4x better than 2D at the same line geometries - according to early work done by an industrial SSD company FMJ Storage.

If these early impressions are confirmed in later volume production - this could open up the possibility of alternative markets for this type of flash.

See also:- flash memory news and articles

key SSD idea #7

valuing SSD companies

Acquisitions reported in 2014 seemed to indicate that SSD companies aren't worth as much as they before.

Although there are special factors which complicate any particular analysis - as I discussed in the cases of Seagate acquiring LSI's SSD business, and SanDisk acquiring Fusion-io - it's clear that from the viewpoint of the people who matter (those with the money) an SSD company with a rich set of IP and strong market recognition in 2014 isn't generally worth as much as you might have thought if you had extrapolated from SSD company values in 2013.

Why is that?

In one way it seems perverse - given that the overall market opportunity for SSDs is now generally assumed to be much larger than it was before.

I think the key factor at work here is evidence (as reported in financial reports of some leading SSD companies) that competition is much tougher than before (due to the growing number of competitors and also the rise in the quality of such competitors).

But another key risk factor (for any encumbent SSD vendor) is vulnerability to future technology shocks - which can disrupt their business prospects.

These technology shocks don't just stem from new startup SSD companies - but can also occur as a result of macro changes in the market as users change the way they use and deploy the same type of SSDs when using different software.

key SSD idea #8

SSD pricing and business models

How much should you pay for an enterprise SSD array?

And what exactly is it that you're getting?

Although SSD vendors had always been enthusiastic about what their products and technologies could do in the first decade of enterprise flash - the language with which they bundled their pricing offers did not show the same leaps of creative imagination which they were expecting their customers to make.

But in 2014 - a small number of SSD pricing pioneers designed new enticing pricing models for their flagship flash arrays which broke away from the formulas of the past.

Behind these new pricing models was the explicit recognition that there is always a high degree of uncertainty involved in such purchases for various technical and business reasons.

This was the subject of my previous home page blog - Exiting the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing - which describes why the change is happening now and names the companies who are leading this charge.

(Please scroll down this page to see the full text of the pricing article - which hasn't been moved from this page yet.)

key SSD idea #9

re rackmount SSDs

Surprisingly - given its already substantial size and gravitational business pull for SSD drive makers - there are still significant parts of the enterprise SSD market which remain uncharted and unsatisfied.

For investors and SSD startups the opportunities to grow business in under exploited high value user territories may be a source of comfort - given the potential upside.

However, for users who are still waiting for vendors to offer them the kind of products and services they really need - it's a source of frustration.

I described the reasons for these market voids in a recent article - Decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise.

key SSD idea #10

the importance of SSD software

One of the key ideas which permeates everything now in the SSD market is the importance of software to the SSD market.

In an article in January this year I said

"the SSD software market is getting ready for a world in which all enterprise data touches SSDs"

And elsewhere in the same article I also asserted

"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."

Apart from any confirmatory events in 2014 - when I think about to what might happen in the next few years - the overwhelming importance of SSD-centric software seems like a no brainer.

I think we will see not only new predictable generations of SSD software coming to market (which will be designed to work with currently known computer architecture models) but also entirely new data architectures and ecosystems whose very existence has been predicated on the assumption of a widely deployed SSD enhanced base infrastucture.

other key SSD ideas in 2014?

top SSD companies...

In the notes above I've focused on significant market wide SSD trends rather than significant SSD companies.

There are many significant SSD companies who have done noteworthy things in 2014 or who have had noteworthy things done to them.

For a summary of 2014 (so far) as seen from an SSD company list perspective - then as usual - the best place to look is the Top SSD Companies Series. In particular:-

Exiting the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - July 17, 2014
There was one of those big moons facing me for most of the 1 hour drive back from the theater last night - and my wife and I who both have science and engineering based backgrounds were speculating about the possible causes of this dramatic effect.

My contribution to this conversation about the big ghosty shimmering light in the sky was lacking in credibility however - as my brain receptors had filtered out optics on first contact in school when I already knew that my interest was electronics and not bendy glass stuff.

So the plausible scientific explanations in the car driving towards the big hanging moon on the horizon were mostly coming from my wife Janet - who had worked during one university summer vacation at an optoelectronics company (1975) - and whose final year project involved a laser cannon which was bigger than those you sometimes see in the Big Bang Theory - and more like the size of those in Pirates of the Caribbean. (Lasers were generally big in those days, had massive power packs and were kept in locked rooms with danger signs to deter terrorist students playing with them.)

But - no - she didn't know what made the moon look like that either.

And I realized almost as the words were leaving my lips that my theory about the moon's appearance was going to sound like a mash up between all the concepts I'd ever heard of that could bend light:- gravity? refraction? Hogwart spells? - It was all the same to me.

It was all part of that bendy glass stuff - which I was never interested in - and it reminds me now of failed school physics experiments.

Zsolt - How many colors do you say you see?

I'm color blind. Who needs that many colors? In a later part of my career I used to joke with advertisers of 24 bit color graphics accelerators for workstations - 8 bits is more than I need. - It's lucky your customers aren't all like me.

Anyway Janet and I both agreed that the best thing to do would be to look it up on the internet when we got home - which is what we did.

What was the explanation?

Don't ask me. I was none the wiser because the most interesting explanation which Janet found involved looking at some optical illusion diagrams which involved a load of shapes and colors - at which point I lost interest.

It was interesting that the moon on our journey back from the play looked like something out of a science fiction film hovering above the road in the direction we were driving.

Apparently it wasn't just the size - but the dramatic colors too.

I said the sci-fi idea would work better for me if I was seeing 2 moons.

That's another color analysis based value judgement I guess.

When we visited the National Gallery (in London) with Janet's sister once - they had a special exhibition of Italian paintings. I was through in 5 minutes and spent the next couple of hours reading a book in the tea shop - which is at the exit to the maze.

Your ancestors and mine didn't have the luxury being able to google pseudo scientific explanations of the lights they saw in the night sky - and that's why - over a period of thousands of years they came up with many fascinating stories which tried to explain what they were seeing and how it all tied together in a reassuring way which helped them understand the world they were living in.

Which brings us back to SSDs - and in particular - the subject of enterprise SSD pricing.

Although the many stories about the true nature of the stars, moon and other heavenly bodies in the night sky were created and developed over many thousands of years - the SSD market which has a much shorter history (spanning about 40 years) - has nevertheless managed to accrue an imaginative body of literature which includes truths, half truths, mysticism, misunderstandings. myths, legends - and in some cases - downright balderdash - when it comes to the subject of SSD costs, pricing and justifications.

As someone who has been involved with the enterprise SSD market since the 1980s - it's been interesting for me to observe how these stories grew. I've written more than a few myself. And over the years I've collected snippets from some of these SSD price anecdotes, cost justifications and switching model anecdotes in an my article which started out with the title Clarifying SSD Pricing.

If we use the astrology / astronomy comparison and relate this to enterprise SSD pricing - I think we can divide SSD history into these simple phases.
  • the Dark Sky phase of SSD pricing:- from the 1980s upto the late 1990s.

    In this period - as far as most people were concerned - the inherent beauty of the possibilities in the SSD market were as opaque and unknown to most people in the computer market as the brilliance of colors in a picture by Caravagio were to me when I raced through an exhibition of his paintings. (As I described above.)

    SSDs didn't need universal cost justifications. Because using SSDs was mostly a tactical project related design decision made when no other technical approach would satisfy the mission objective - (speed, reliability or both) - and when it was desirable to get the system working - despite the very high cost.
  • the pre-modern era of SSDs - from the late 1990s to 2002.

    During this period - there were several pioneering companies in the enterprise SSD market who had figured out economic justifcations for users (with the right kind of application profiles) to deploy SSD accelerators as a much cheaper option to the other alternatives they had using the arguments of SSD-CPU equivalence.

    The problem for vendors in that phase of the market was that - as far as most of their potential customers were concerned - SSDs were like the twinkling objects in someone else's sky - maybe on another planet or at best in the other hemisphere.

    That presented many challenges of education. And even when customers were won around to the arguments - there was a lack of automation support for implementing SSD acceleration solutions. A serious inhibitor to revenue growth was the number of hot spot tuning engineers employed by SSD companies - and the willingness of customers to let SSD suppliers from small companies delve deeply into their live computing infrastructure and twiddle with the data addresses and apps.

    And another serious problem for vendors in that period was that most users did have other viable alternatives which were easier for them to understand - even if they did cost more.
  • the modern era of SSDs started in 2003.

    That was the year when not only did SSD stars become visible to a larger population of people - but the first scientific theories about SSD pricing were published and analyzed - relating the SSD CPU equivalence concept to a market impact - rather than merely a project by project impact assessment.

    It didn't make the earlier business development problems go away - but it meant that SSD companies and the founders of future SSD companies who understood the market models - realized that if they invested enough resources into fixing SSD adoption inhibitors - there would be a big enough market in the future to make such investments pay off.

    There was also an optimistic mood starting in the industry from 2003 onwards that "the market advance of SSDs as a significant well known core market within the computer industry had become a historical inevitability - and the only serious technology which could displace an SSD from its market role was another SSD."

    That was markedly different from earlier phases in SSD market history - in which an enterprise user might buy an SSD accelerator to solve an urgent performance problem - but then for a similar project a few years later might find that due to advances in processor speed, server RAM limits or speedups in hard disk array interfaces - they could get by without SSDs (and in the meantime the original SSD product line had terminated and the pool of alternate SSD suppliers was tiny and hard to find.)

    The new dynamic - once an SSD customer - always an SSD customer - meant that SSD vendors didn't simply have to keep finding customers who had never used SSDs before. If they kept improving their products - those same customers would be still be receptive to them. And for new entrants in the SSD market - the growing population of SSD savvy user sites - meant they could significantly shorten their business development lead times.
  • 2008 to 2013 - the clear sky era of enterprise flash.

    In 2008 - even users who weren't going to buy an SSD until many years later - couldn't fail to notice the twinkling market efforts emanating from an SSD ecosystem which numbered 100 SSD companies listed on by the end of 2008.

    But as the visible SSD universe expanded into the start of the SSD market bubble in 2010 - the market moved into a new phase of multiple interpretations, explanations and misinformation about the economic cost benefits of enterprise flash - which was compounded by these problems.

    Many SSD vendors themselves were clueless about the real economic benefits of their products - because they didn't know enough about the user application experience - and the diversity of user businesses and risk profiles for projects.

    This spawned many techno babble justifications for SSDs - which sounded plausible - because they included SSD performance jargon and because they came out of the mouths and blogs of technical enterprise SSD marketers.

    But many of these in my view were sadly about as useless (in the context of being usable business ideas which you could extrapolate good decisions from) as if NASA had taken my knowledge of optical physics (which I mentioned above in my big moon story) - and if NASA had used my knowledge of optics to design experiments for the next generation of deep space probes.

    OK - on that basis (being the lowest bidder) I might have got away with that for about 10 years till the space probe reached its destination - but if NASA had also relied on my equally scant knowledge of microwave communications - let's just say that they would have realized they had a communications problem while they were still on the ground.

    Which goes to show that someone can be an expert at one subject - while being clueless at many other things at the same time.
How does that relate to enterprise flash pricing and the affordability of SSDs?

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

As evidence for that - I'm going to mention 3 companies at the end of this article - whose recent activities - while different in detail - were swirling around in my head this week.

Inadvertently - these companies and their pricing ideas were looking for a way to be related to each other in a blog - by a means which was more memorable than some read-and-forget comments tagged onto the end of an SSD news story or blog.

Before I give you that list - here are the some of the market assumptions which underlie this new trend.

Most competent SSD marketers will admit to some of these realities:-
  • They don't really understand all the technology in their products. (Only 3 people in the company understand the technology. And less than half of what they say is understood by anyone else. And that's a high comprehension score compared to the lawyers who file the patents. Which is fortunate - because the competitors will get to read the gibberish they write later.)

    They don't really know what all the other companies in the SSD market are doing. (Who's got time to read all that stuff? And how can you even be sure the market reports are writing about the things that matter? Just follow the trails on linkedin - even if only to get an early alert about your own job being advertised.)

    They can't predict exactly where the next few revolutions in SSD thinking will come from and which new ideas will need to be adopted, competitively countered or rejected.

    They don't understand everything they would ideally like to know about the current user experience of SSDs or the future user experience either.

    They do know that most enterprise SSD users will - given time and a fair wind - will come back to buy more SSDs.
Most competent SSD users will recognize some of these realities:-
  • Even if they can articulate their exact technical needs today - they know those needs will change.

    Just like the vendors - they don't understand all the technology either. And curiously they see a bigger range of different competing SSD solutions in the market than the vendors they talk to seem to be aware of. That prompts the question - just who are the experts in the SSD market?

    They know they can't believe everything about the past, present or future of the SSD market which the vendors are telling them.

    They know they can't believe everything they read in SSD blogs either. But which is the more risky decision strategy? Relying on so called expert analysis in blogs which offer simple diagnosis and prescriptions for the SSD hard drive headache in a way which sounds simple and understandable? Or working harder to become a better expert than the enterprise SSD bloggers out there - who - while being good writers - have mostly been parachuted into a country they couldn't find if you showed them a map.

    They know that they can't afford not to buy SSD somewhere. But the best places to start with SSD may not be the best places to continue investment. Many of the solutions which promise the smallest integration bumps today will lead to much bigger bumps in the future.

    They know if something goes wrong - it will be their problem.
Amidst all that uncertainty here are 3 companies which are intended to help get more business done. I've put them in the chronological date order of my learning about their new business models - a span of 2 months - so the only significance of this listing system - is that it will make it easier for me to add more names to the list when I do my end of year round up of 2014.

leading the way to exit the astrological age of enterprise SSD pricing

Tegile Systems - Agility pricing

Kaminario - guaranteed effective (virtual) capacity

Violin Memory - Pay as you grow (for Windows Flash Array)

Does this mean that rational and analytically based SSD price and competitive adoption models are obsolete?


All of the models I've presented in these pages since 2003 are still valid as explanations of the forces driving disruptive switching behavior and SSD market adoption. Though while many people still need to know this stuff - most of you don't.

This new era of simpler sounding virtualized SSD pricing models won't make the market any easier to understand.

But what it will do - is give users new choices about the kinds of risks they feel comfortable with taking on.

These new pricing preference models (and the new ones and the me-toos which will inevitably follow) will add more multipliers to pre-existing enterprise SSD segments.

By which I mean that not only will rackmount SSDs be differentiated by the internal technology architectures and compatibility roadmaps as they have been upto now - but 2 similar products from 2 vendors which have almost identical technology inside - and a similar cost to build - can now radiate different degrees of user attraction - depending on the pricing models by which they are monetized.

It will be interesting to see which ideas get copied most. And to see how much impact they make.

PS - Oh if you want to know what we saw at the theater last night - it was 2x one act plays - Miss Julie (Strindberg) followed by Black Comedy (Shaffer) at the Minerva in Chichester, England. They were really enjoyable. And I look forward to seeing more. (As you can see - I'm not really cut out to be a drama critic.)
In October 2005 - Texas Memory Systems and CCP Games revealed that the world's largest game universe was accelerated by a single 64GB RamSan SSD.

A record breaking 17,000+ concurrent users interacted together within the EVE Online (science fiction) game environment running on 150 IBM servers. The SSD resulted in a 40x improvement in performance.
SSD market history
Hmm... it looks like you're seriously interested in SSDs. So please bookmark this page and come back again soon.
About the publisher - 22 years guiding the enterprise market
the Top SSD Companies in Q2 2014
Editor:- August 28, 2014 - recently published the new 29th quarterly edition of the Top SSD Companies - based on metrics in Q2 2014. There are 2 first time appearances in this new edition. And some new updates. the article
SSD ad - click for more info
"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
One of the challenges for the enterprise SSD market when designing new products is to understand complex customer needs and decision criteria - which go beyond the traditional bullet points.

New segmentation models are needed because the enterprise SSD market is moving into uncharted territories and use cases where a considerable proportion of the customer needs which affect buying behavior are still formally unrecognized as being significant...
Decloaking hidden segments in the enterprise
"The user mood is changing from - can I afford to use SSDs? to a realization that - I can't afford not to."
where does all the money go?
If you're a systems designer it's useful to know that the longevity difference between "good enough" and the best endurance architecture schemes can still be 2x, 3x or 100x - even when using the same memory.
SSD endurance - the forever war - now in 3D
SSD ad - click for more info
"Once you've solved the problem of making SSDs reliable and fast - it's tempting to create an SSD instruction set which which focuses on application layer needs too - and not just those of dumb storage"
NxGn Data promises in-situ SSD processing (July 29, 2014)

how fast can your SSD run backwards?
11 Key Symmetries in SSD design

"Our past work showed that application-unaware design of memory controllers, and in particular memory scheduling algorithms, leads to uncontrolled interference of applications in the memory system.

"Such uncontrolled interference can lead to denial of service to some applications, low system performance, and an inability to satisfy performance requirements, which makes the system uncontrollable and unpredictable" - said Onur Mutlu, Assistant Professor Electrical and Computer Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University.
Are you ready to rethink RAM?
Today - if you're in a big company in a traditional market - and hoping to do something equally big in the SSD market - then $1 billion may not be enough - but $5 billion may be too much.
VCs & SSDs

The new economics of SSD storage took the CPU designers and OS software developers by surprise. Instead of weaving in SSD support into computer architecture over a 10 year period - based on an incremental technology roadmap - the SSD market has gate-crashed the server party - and the SSD roadmaps are changing too fast for the old style computer vendors to keep up.
the New Business Case for SSD ASAPs

How do I explain the significance of the SSD market to someone with no technical background?
historic perspectives - on the SSD market

"Bottlenecks in the pure SSD datacenter will be much more serious than in the HDD world - because responding slowly will be equivalent to transaction failure."
will SSDs end my bottlenecks?

Diablo unveils DDR-4 flash DIMM SSDs
Editor:- August 7, 2014 - Diablo yesterday announced details of a new 2nd generation memory channel SSD - low latency flash SSD accelerators in DDR-4 sockets - which will sample to oems in the first half of 2015.

"One petabyte of enterprise SSD could replace 10 to 50 petabytes of raw HDD storage in the enterprise - and still get all the apps running faster."
the enterprise SSD software event horizon

Adaptive flash care management & DSP IP in flash SSD controllers and firmware.
What is it? Who does it? and why?

Why can't SSD's true believers agree on a single shared vision?
the SSD Heresies

Who are the top SSD companies?... the companies which you absolutely have to look at if you've got any new projects involving SSDs?
the Top SSD Companies

Looking back at the last 5 years or so - since the start of the SSD market bubble - I realized - while writing this - that if I were to create a list of all the financial institutions who have directly contacted me with questions about the SSD market it would start to resemble - in length - something akin to my (seldom maintained because it's already far too long and unwieldy) list of SATA SSD companies.
who's who in SSD market research?
Ridgetop Research
(July 16, 2014)

"A critical test of whether you really understand the dynamics of a complex market like enterprise SSDs - is whether you can predict what rational buyers might do when offered new product options at the extreme limits of - for example - price."
Boundaries Analysis in SSD Market Forecasting

"A new generation of enterprise SSD rackmounts is breaking all the rules which previously constrained price, performance and reliability."
exciting new directions in rackmount SSDs

Usable versus Raw flash capacity - what you see isn't what you get.
SSD capacity - the iceberg syndrome

"...the SSD market will be bigger in revenue than the hard drive market ever was."
How will hard drives fare in an SSD world?

We are now at a stage in the development of the SSD market - where even the dogs in the street know this is going to be a multibillion dollar market. The days of the "SSD deniers" and "SSD market entry procrastinators" are behind us.
Analysts will look back on 2010 as - "Year 1 of the SSD Market Bubble." (December 2009)

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

DWPD (Diskful Writes Per Day) for 5 years - has become an established part of SSD jargon in the writings of enterprise SSD makers in recent years.
DWPD numbers for industry leading enterprise SSDs

One thing which hasn't changed since the early days of enterprise flash - is the concept of "naughty flash".

This is a new type of brash flash memory which sensible, cautious types point at while waving their fingers sternly and declaiming dire warning - that's never going to be reliable enough for the enterprise!

This has happened many times.
enterprise flash - a 10 year history

"I can tell you now - that any prescriptive guide which says - this is exactly what you need to do to buy the best notebook or server or military SSD is doomed to failure at the start - because users don't know they are asking the wrong questions."
the problem with SSD education (and comprehension) - July 2010