This week Intel announced the Optane SSD DC P4800X Series, new enterprise SSDs based on the company’s 3D XPoint memory technology which Intel says is the first new memory technology to be introduced since 1989. The technology was introduced to fill a price/performance gap that might impede Intel’s sales of high-performance CPUs.
Intel was all aglow with the promise of performance, claiming that the newly-released SSDs offer: “Consistently amazing response time under load.”
Since the early 1990s Intel has realized that it needs for the platform’s performance to keep pace with the ongoing performance increases of its new processors. A slow platform will limit the performance of any processor, and if customers don’t see any benefit from purchasing a more expensive processor, then Intel will be unable to keep its processor prices high.
Recently NAND flash SSDs have helped Intel to improve the platform’s speed, as did the earlier migration of Continue reading
Yesterday IBM unveiled a sweeping update of its existing flash storage products. These updates cover a range of products, including IBM Storwize All Flash arrays: V7000F, V7000 Gen2+, and V5030F, the FlashSystem V9000, the IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC), and IBM’s Spectrum Virtualize Software.
The company referred to this effort as a part of a: “Drumbeat of flash storage announcements.” IBM has a stated goal of providing its clients with: “The right flash for the right performance at the right price.”
IBM’s representatives explained that the updates were made possible by the fact that the prices of flash components have been dropping at a rapid pace while reliability is on the rise. The SSD Guy couldn’t agree more.
Here’s what IBM announced:
Starting from the low end and moving up, the V5030F entry-level/midrange array is an Continue reading
In essence it’s because both the HDD industry and the semiconductor industry have set goals for themselves to achieve 30% average annual price reductions. If they are both on the same trajectory, and if there’s an order of magnitude difference between HDD and SSD prices today, then there will be an order of magnitude difference in the future as well.
The 30% average annual decline in SSD prices has a convenient name: Moore’s Law. Although there’s no physical, economic, or other restriction behind Moore’s Law (so it’s not really a law at all) it serves as a guide for the industry. Chip makers set their sights at doubling the number of transistors on a chip every couple of years, and this equates to average annual price decreases of 30%.
The HDD business also Continue reading
On Friday Toshiba revealed its restructuring plans aimed at returning the company to profitability and growth through management accountability.
Of special interest to The SSD Guy was the fact that the company will refocus its semiconductor and HDD businesses, currently called the “Semiconductor & Storage Products Company” partly by giving it a new name: “Storage & Electron Devices Company”. This division will focus on the semiconductor group’s good prospects and profitability while maintaining a focus on the fact that SSDs and HDDs share a business. In the not-too-distant past Toshiba has run these two businesses separately.
The group plans to be “A pillar of income with Memories as a core business”. To achieve this, Toshiba has stated that it will enhance its NAND cost competitiveness by accelerating development of BiCS (Toshiba’s 3D NAND technology) and by expanding the SSD business. There are three parts to this Continue reading
The SSD Guy was recently asked whether HDDs would continue, at least through 2019, to remain preferable to SSDs as cost-effective high-capacity storage. The answer was “Yes”.
Longtime readers will note that I steadfastly maintain that HDD and SSD gigabyte prices are unlikely to cross for a very long time. Historically, a gigabyte of NAND flash has cost between ten to twenty times as much as a gigabyte of HDD. Let’s look at where Objective Analysis expects things to go by 2019.
Our current projections call for NAND price per gigabyte to reach 4.4 cents in 2019. I would expect for HDD to still be 1/10th to 1/20th of that price. Most likely 1/10th, since we expect for NAND flash to be in a significant oversupply at that time and will be selling at cost.
If HDD prices continue to hover around $50, then a 2019 HDD price of 0.44 to 0.22 cents per gigabyte (1/10th to 1/20th of the price of NAND flash) would imply an average HDD capacity of 11-23TB.
A couple of weeks ago, on December 2, 2015, Western Digital’s HGST introduced its Continue reading
This replacement for the company’s Z-Drive 4000 series is a complete redesign with an obsession for performance. OCZ tells me that they moved from a 2-hop design to a 1-hop by using the PMC Princeton PCIe SSD controller, and have passed the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Labs’ compliance tests to NVMe 1.1B compliance.
But how does it perform? Well the 1-hop design helps reduce latency (which is just starting to overshadow IOPS in users’ minds) and the latency of this SSD is significantly lower than competing NVMe SSDs: between 25-30μs, figures that OCZ tells me are very consistent, a big plus for enterprise applications. As for IOPS, the device can perform under a 70/30 Read/Write load at 330K.
The 6000 series is provided in both standard MLC and eMLC for those who want the security of eMLC and are willing to sacrifice a little performance to sleep better at night.
This product is a good fit for the market needs, and shows how devoted OCZ and its parent Toshiba are to providing high performance in the SSD marketplace.
In a move that The SSD Guy wishes he had thought of for himself, SanDisk has begun to help corporations upgrade their fleets of notebook PCs by replacing their HDDs with SSDs.
SanDisk calls this program STAR for: “SanDisk Tech-Assisted Refresh”. According to the press release: “Through the STAR program, SanDisk relieves IT departments of having to manage all aspects of upgrading corporate laptops such as, endpoint inventory analysis, employee service scheduling, system upgrades, data migration, daily progress reporting, post-upgrade analysis and support.”
SanDisk points out that PCs slow down with disk utilization and software updates, lowering users’ productivity. Often faster storage can solve that problem.
This is not an altogether new Continue reading
Earlier this month Western Digital’s HGST division invited The SSD Guy to a launch of a number of products. On the HDD side there were:
- 6TB air HDD, HGST’s last air-filled enterprise HDD
- 8TB helium HDD, an incremental upgrade of last year’s 6TB helium HDD
- 10TB shingled helium HDD (pictured)
I view these as very solid evidence that HDD costs will continue to stay an order of magnitude cheaper than SSD costs, thwarting the price-per-gigabyte crossover that others have been predicting for years.
In fact, since my last post on the price crossover in 2011, very little has changed.
It’s safe to assume that the HDD industry will Continue reading
Seagate announced last week that the company had shipped a total of 10 million Solid State Hybrid Drives (SSHDs) over the lifetime of the product. This is far short of expectations by The SSD Guy and a number of other analysts and industry participants.
Why were our expectations higher? There were a few reasons:
- The hybrid drive can be viewed as an evolution of the DRAM cache already incorporated into nearly all HDDs today. Replacing or augmenting an expensive DRAM cache with a slower, cheaper NAND cache makes a lot of sense.
- An SSHD performs significantly better than Continue reading
SanDisk has just introduced the Ultra II SSD, an upgrade of the company’s original Ultra drive. The new device is being promoted as a 28 times faster HDD replacement that offers faster boot-up, longer battery life, and shock resistance, in an approach that appears to be a throwback to the early days of SSDs where the point was to sell the technology rather than the product. Although the press release shows sequential read & write bandwidth numbers of 550 and 500MB/s, neither the press release nor the online product literature even mention IOPS or other measures that are now commonly used to compare one SSD against the other.
SanDisk does tout the fact that this SSD uses Continue reading