this is the home page of  StorageSearch.com
leading the way to the new storage frontier .....
SSD news
SSD news ..
pcie  SSDs - click to read article
PCIe SSDs ..
miniature SSDs approx 1 inch and smaller
BGA SSDs ..
image shows megabyte waving the winners trophy - there are over 200 SSD oems - which ones matter? - click to read article
top SSD companies ..
SSD SoCs controllers
SSD controllers ..
military storage directory and news
military SSDs ..
image shows mouse building storage - click to see industrial SSDs article
industrial SSDs ..
image shows Megabye the mouse reading scroll - click to see the top 30 solid state drive articles
more SSD articles ...
..
thought leadership in the SSD market
from - what's in the chips?

to - how will SSDs change the future?

Since the 1990s our readers have been accelerating the growth of the SSD market and setting its direction and agenda.
..
.. .....
PBGA SSDs for rugged apps - click for more info
secure PBGA SLC SSDs
for extreme reliability in sensitive applications
from Mercury Systems
.....
what are the big storms in SSD right now?

The market is plowing through some heavy design issues with DIMM wars and a widening range of segmentation opportunities in all memories not to mention a new plot twist in DWPD with metascale advised, life-cycle fitted, virtually hardened flash endurance.

Many reference points in the memory storage framework which were long thought to be stable are now cracking apart like ice floes - while flurries of IP volcanoes are spawning new islands of cinder which may be too hot to safely reach for without a promise of cloud-hanging softly insulated boots, bridges and roadmaps.
..
which SSD companies matter?
..
The answer to that question has varied through past technology adoption phases in the SSD market. But the best way of finding out has remained constant.

Time's precious. And there are still far too many SSD companies to read about.

the top SSD companies in Q2 2016But you can save time and see the Top SSD Companies in Q2 2016.

This is the 37th quarterly article in this market defining series.
..

..
I think it's not too strong to say that the enterprise PCIe SSD market (as we once knew it) has exploded and fragmented into many different directions. (And some big bang PCIe SSD dreams have shrunk too.)
what's changed in enterprise PCIe SSD?

..
"If you've ever watched the movie Black Hawk Down... It's like the chopper scene..."
Surviving SSD sudden power loss

..
Reliability is more than just MTBF... and unlike Quality - it's not free.

The battle for storage reliability never stops.

It has to be fought - in every place where physics intrudes on data integrity.

It must be fought and won anew - in every technology generation and in every new product design.
storage reliability
high availability enterprise SSDs

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

..
The arguments about flash in enterprise SSD accelerators have changed.

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).

Then naughty MLC SSDs learned how to be good. (When strictly managed.)

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

..
The SSD market isn't a democracy. All SSDs are not created equal. Not even when they have exactly the same memory chips inside.
principles of bad block management

..
The play it again Sam syndrome.
Write IOPS and flash SSDs

..
Apple vs FBI shows it's not easy.
SSD data recovery stories

..
more SSD topics from A to Z
..
1" SSDs
1.8" SSDs
2.5" SSDs
3.5" SSDs
6 user value propositions for SSD adoption
7 different SSD roles for all enterprise needs
11 key design symmetries in SSD
108 PR agencies to tell your SSD story

About the publisher - founded 1991
(that's old - but still hoping to learn more)

Acquisitions in the SSD market
Adaptive R/W & DSP ECC in SSDs

Advertising SSDs

Analysts - SSD market
Animal brands in SSD
Articles and blogs - top 50
Architecture guide - storage
auto tuning, caching, tiering SSDs

Bad block management in flash SSDs
Banner ads for SSDs
Benchmarking SSDs

click to read the article - Big versus Small SSD  architecturesBig versus Small - SSD architecture

BOM issues SSDs
Branding Strategies in the SSD market

see more...A to Z list

..
headlines from the SSD news archive

part of 40 years of SSD history
February 2015 FalconStor enters the enterprise SSD software platform market
March 2015 Toshiba samples 48-layer 3D nand
April 2015 A3CUBE publishes an infographic showing the shape of R/W in remote shared NVMe memory fabric
May 2015 Researchers at Oak Ridge National Lab publish survey of data compression techniques and applications in cache and main memory
June 2015 Altera introduces adaptive flash controller IP leveraging technology from NVMdurance into its FPGA product line
July 2015 interest in Micron surges based on rumor that Tsinghua Unigroup might buy it
August 2015 DIMM wars heat up with Memory1 (flash as RAM) from Diablo and 3D XPoint (alt nvm) from Intel and Micron
September 2015 Mangstor gets series B funding for fastest NVMe flash
October 2015 OCZ offers "Host Managed SSD Technology" in 2.5" SSDs
November 2015 Netlist allies with Samsung to codevelop flash-as-RAM DIMMs
December 2015 NSF funds NxGn Data project to progress in-situ SSD processing
January 2016 Quarch says many SSDs fail their first hot plug tests.
February 2016 It's not worth paying more for SLC reliability in PCIe SSDs says Google field study
March 2016 New funding for endurance stretching NVMdurance

Cadence and Mellanox demonstrate PCIe 4.0 interoperability at 16Gbps.
April 2016 Samsung began mass producing the industry's first 10nm class 8Gb DDR4 DRAM chips.
May 2016 efficiently coded memory architecture unveiled in new systems by Symbolic IO

Encrip announces tri-state coded DRAM IP which can be used with any standard process
June 2016 Pure Storage said its AFA revenue in Q1 2016 was more than the leading HDD array brand
July 2016 see SSD news

..
"The phoney war phase of DIMM wars has now ended..."
SSD news - re volume shipments Memory1 (July 21, 2016)
..

some thoughts about SSD customization

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - StorageSearch.com - July 12, 2016

You don't have to look at many different SSD company web sites before you start asking yourself (as you see similar looking offerings:- consumer, industrial, enterprise, military, 2.5", mSATA, M.2, PCIe, USB yawn etc) how do these companies differentiate themselves and make money?

custom SSDsBefore you reply with the cynical rejoinder - that's why they don't - the surprising thing I've found from talking to people in the industry is that sometimes those very companies with the samey looking websites can sometimes have very substantial revenues in the SSD market. And when I talk to them about their business development models - the aspect which explains everything is the high proportion of business they get from custom SSDs compared to standard products.

From the customer perspective - if you've never gone down the customization route for your SSDs - the first thought which might come into your mind is this...

Customization? That means doing more. More up front engineering engagement. More up front set up costs. More risk. Less competitive alternatives. More qualification time. Must mean more cost right?

Instead - the counter intuitive view I'm going to offer is - that's not the way it goes. (Otherwise no one would do it.)

The simple reason is that when you ask yourself - what's an SSD? (The age old answer it's a virtual device with an infinite range of internal and external parameters) And when you look at the cost factors which go into making an SSD - the cost isn't simply determined by what goes in - but also what stays out.

Like good software a well designed custom SSD can greatly benefit from the analysis of expensive functions which can be reduced in scale or avoided.

In custom SSDs this means some circuits or processing steps can be removed entirely from the bill of materials due to knowing from the system environment that they aren't needed or that an equivalent function is being done elsewhere at the system level.

This is contrast to a "similar" standard SSD design - where it wouldn't be prudent for the product manager to weaken those operating requirements - because standard SSDs have to cater for a wide range of possible customer deployments (set by industry expectations). If the design of a standard SSD is weakened in one attribute it introduces the risk of alienating an entire customer segment for whom that feature is essential. Another way to think about it is that standard SSDs are simultaneously over engineered and under egnineered for many application roles.

The ideal objectives for customers of custom SSDs can be:-
  • to get something which is otherwise impossible from a standard product (such as fitting into a non standard space)
  • to get a better product at a similar price to a standard SSD (by changing the cost benefit budget assumptions of subsystems in the SSD)
  • to get equivalent functionality (in the target system) at a lower price than using a standard SSD
  • to reduce qualification costs over the lifetime of the system in which the custom SSD is used by reducing risk factors associated with unknown internal implementation changes, product line EOL and supplier churn.
And there are benefits for SSD vendors too.
  • customization creates business opportunities for well proven technologies which otherwise in a standard market context can only be realized by the lottery of low pricing and heavy investment in marketing.

    For example a low performance SATA SSD is an expensive product to promote in today's competitive market. But if the vendor has added security features, optimized battery life, RFID tracking, and tweaked environmental factors (conformal coating, ambient temperature range etc) as a custom build for a medical equipment company - then they might anticipate a long term supply relationship for a successful partner.
  • The willingness to offer customization and professional design engineering support opens doors to valuable customers who are leaders in their own vertical markets but whose unit volumes are too small to be of interest to high volume standard SSD vendors.
  • customers are stickier (if they're satisfied) are also likely to talk to their suppliers about new projects at an earlier stage than they would if they were merely considering standard SSDs.
In the right context customization can be a win win for customers and vendors.

Even in applications where standard products can do the job (and standard product samples were used to prototype and market test the system concept) customization can often deliver lower cost.

..
SSD ad - click for more info

..

where are we heading with memory intensive systems and software?

there's more to upcoming change in SSD than DIMM wars

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - StorageSearch.com - June 17, 2016

 directory of SSD market analystsThe SSD market is moving into a new phase at the core of which is changed thinking about the role of memory and storage and software.

In past such transitions (for example the RAM SSD to flash SSD transition in enterprise SSDs followed by years of successively different types of flash) it was much easier to predict what problems needed to be solved to enable such memory adoptions in different markets - because they were all about how do you make reliable enough systems out of new, higher density memories which have intrinsically poorer data reliability than the devices which they will replace?

And once SSD architects understood flash well enough - the direction of successor challenges was predictable...

Another denser type of flash.

These presented detailed problems for controller designers and memory makers - but didn't change the inevitable laws of memory succession.

The background business principles for adopting such products were also clear and had remained the same for 10 years.

what's different now?

What we've got in the market now is a new melting pot - which I alluded to in last year's article - the SSD Bookmarks - why we need to begin thinking again.

At its simplest - the factors now at play are these:-
  • When all storage is made from memories the dividing line between storage and memory is much more fluid than it has been before.

    If you have enough flash memory chips you can build an SSD.

    And if you start with that very same flash SSD - you can make it behave like core memory - DRAM - which is an entirely different type of memory than that used inside the SSD.

    Interesting questions are:- How much memory can we replace with such an SSD? Where does it work best? What are the limits?

    You could say - using an analogy from thermodynamics - that storage has lower data entropy than memory - because you can do more with raw memory than with raw storage. The heat pumps which change the roles of one memory package to another are coming from the software market.

    And just as flash SSDs needed characteristics like endurance and DWPD to help us understand their limitations perhaps virtual RAM needs entirely new latency spectrum based specifications too...
  • There are more type of memory entering the storage / memory mix than ever before.

    It's not just flash (which itself has got more dimensions of choice than before) but alternative nvms too.
  • What do want our memory systems to do for us? And how do we want them to behave?

    In the past all such efforts focused on making memory systems more reliable and compatible with past software.

    An important emerging trend has been to demand much more from memory systems, and to offload data compute and other functions where ever it makes more sense from an energy and performance point of view to perform such functions inside the memory array.
Who are the companies leading these changes?

Which are the products and technologies which can be regarded as iconic in their classes?

From the marketing point of view one of the loudest technology categories which falls within the above market changes has been the SSD SCM DIMM wars market. If you click on that link you'll see a long list of companies which have made promises in that direction (Micron, Intel, Diablo and many more).

But that's only part of the story of the rewriting of the memory plot.

In the past 3 years there have also been growing developments in the area of making memory systems more capable, more manageable by software and more flexible.

Here are some of the companies and strands of thinking involved.

in-situ processing

NxGn - in-situ processing in flash SSDs.

Altera - DRAM coresident FPGA architecture to enable CPU offload of IO and compute.

Radian Memory - providing offload functions in flash SSDs

software managed memory

Plexistor - manages the convergence of memory and storage in big systems from a software approach it calls Software Defined Memory.

Marvell - has a firmware and controller associated architecture called Final-Level Cache - which provides flash as DRAM functionality - which can deliver higher performance and lower electrical power.

new things in DRAM

Symbolic IO - has used data coding techniques embedded at CPU level to dynamically extract more usable capacity and performance from in all the memory types within its enterprise systems from DRAM upwards.

Encrip - has demonstrated a chip level IP which can be retrofitted to most conventional DRAM chip designs - to provide 3 levels of internal coding instead of 2 (binary). The IP can deliver more usable capacity and higher performance - or it can be used to save power by reducing the amount of raw DRAM needed in systems.

DRAM fabrics

No matter how much memory (of whatever type) you can place in a rack it's never enough for everyone. A3CUBE has been at the forefront of companies pioneering low latency DRAM fabrics based on PCIe connected servers.

related articles

DRAM's indeterminate latencies

what's RAM really? - RAM in an SSD context

DIMM wars in SSD servers - the Memory1 salvo

are you ready to rethink enterprise DRAM architecture?

a beginner's guide to semiconductor memory boom bust cycles

SSD ideas which changed in 2014 - first appearance of in-situ SSD processing

SSD ideas which changed in 2015 - retiring and retiering enterprise DRAM

PS - One of the things which makes me laugh when I see big systems companies pouring money into born again "flash" marketing messages is that the enterprise SSD centric market existed before most of them had any SSD product lines. And solid state storage and big memory thinking - "SSD" for short - isn't tied to any specific type of memory.

It's the interaction of memory, data architecture, processing and software and their changing economic costs and application opportunities which are at the heart of the market.

Flash has played a big part in making SSD architectures affordable to be sure. But there's more to SSD thinking than flash.

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

..


StorageSearch.com is published by ACSL founded in 1991.

© 1992 to 2016 all rights reserved.

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 learn about new SSD companies every day, 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.

Many SSD company CEOs read our site too - and say they value our thought leading SSD content - even when we say something that's not always comfortable to hear. I hope you'll find it it useful too.

Privacy policies.

We never compile email lists from this web site, not for our own use nor anyone else's, and we never ask you to log-in to read any of our own content on this web site. We don't do pop-ups or pop-unders nor blocker ads and we don't place cookies in your computer. We've been publishing on the web since 1996 and these have always been the principles we adhere to.

..
storage search banner
....
retiring and retiering enterprise DRAM
and other big SSD ideas in 2015
..
There's a growing consensus that DWPD should map into recognizable application zones and price bands.
what's the state of DWPD?
..
SSD ad - click for more info

..
There was a young lady called Prudence
Was worried 'bout flash's endurance...
a limerick and an apology

..
A non technical reader asked me to explain why high volume semiconductor memory makers get into the situation of oversupply and lossy pricing.
a guide to semiconductor memory boom-bust cycles

....
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" any more than you can trust SSD benchmarks to tell you which product is best?
heck no! - whatever gave you that silly idea?

....
How much flash is needed to replace all enterprise HDDs?

Will there be enough flash?

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

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

..
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

...
Capacitor hold up times in 2.5" military SSDs
exploring the extreme limits of design

...
Who's got all the answers to help understand how all the changes in the SSD market are coming together? The answer is - no one and everyone and you too.
the SSD Bookmarks

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

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

....
$$Ds
where does all the money go?

....
compared to EMC (LOL)
unraveling the unreal positioning of AFA startups

..
My long held view is that all the traditional ways of prediction can't help but understate the destination size of the SSD market.
The big market impact of SSD dark matter

..
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


..
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.

Now the secret is out and the effect of DIMM wars will brutal and swift and erode decades of collective wisdom about the shape of next generation memory.
latency loving reasons for fading out DRAM


..
Would users buy an SSD just because it has an animal in the logo or label? If so - what animal should it be?
animal brands in the SSD market


..
12 years ago (July 2004)

Adtron announced availability of the first 2.5" SATA flash SSD for the defence, aerospace, commercial aviation and industrial markets. Quantity pricing for the 16 GByte SSD was $11,200.


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



..
SSD ad - click for more info


..
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?


..
"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


..
"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 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


..
SSD market perspective