HDD

Are HDDs Vibration Sensitive?

Brendan Gregg in Sun's Fishworks Lab shouting at an HDD arrayOne reason to use SSDs is that, with no moving parts, these devices are insensitive to shock and vibration.  HDDs, on the other hand, are sensitive enough to vibration that it can cause access delays.

How sensitive are they?  Well, I have seen some overblown claims from SSD makers that shock will cause HDD head crashes.  I am not sure that I believe such claims, but I certainly do believe that an HDD’s actuator (the read/write head mechanism) can be shaken away from its track, causing a Continue reading

Apple’s Fusion Drive – An SSD Cache for the Macintosh

Apple's Chart of Fusion Drive Performance for the new Mac MiniOn October 23 along with the highly-anticipated announcement of the iPad 4, Apple rolled out new Macintosh computers that for the first time in an Apple product pairs an SSD with a conventional HDD to get the best combination of capacity, speed, and price.  The company calls this its Fusion Drive, not to be confused with Fusion-io’s highly-regarded products.

The SSD Guy did not attend the announcement, and there is little on the Apple website.  I contacted Apple, and they don’t have very much detail to share at this time.  This is important to note, since Continue reading

For the Lack of a Fab…

SanDisk-Toshiba Yokkaichi Plant from WD 2007 IDEMA PresentationOne popular argument to explain why SSDs have not displaced the HDDs in all PCs is that there isn’t enough NAND flash production capacity to support this business and there never can be.

This argument has been posed as long ago as 2007 by WD CEO John Coyne at an IDEMA conference (the source of this post’s graphic), SanDisk’s Eli Harari at the Flash Memory Summit in 2008, and Seagate‘s CEO Steve Luczo in a Forbes interview as recently as last April.  These are captains of the industry.  Their arguments make people stand up and take notice.

It’s a really flawed argument.

It goes like this: Continue reading

Seagate Invests in DensBits

Seagate and DensBits Strategic AgreementSeagate today announced an investment and technology agreement with DensBits, an Israeli SSD controller company mentioned by The SSD Guy in another post.

According to the press release Seagate will use DensBits’ technology for “consumer and enterprise applications including 3 bits/cell (“TLC”) 1Xnm Flash-based consumer-grade SSD, and 2 bits/cell (“MLC”) 1Xnm Flash-based enterprise-grade SSD.”

A pattern is starting to emerge.  We understand that Seagate’s current Pulsar SSDs use chips from Link_A_Media (the subject of another recent post) which has only recently Continue reading

Toshiba Reveals Hybrid HDD Research

Hybrid HDD - An HDD with a NAND Flash CacheNikkei Electronics published an article on May 22 detailing a May 17 briefing by Toshiba president Norio Sasaki. Mr. Sasaki told of the company’s plans to introduce a hybrid HDD (HHDD) in September of this year that is aimed at the Ultrabook market. The article notes that Toshiba is the only company that produces both NAND flash and HDDs, now that Samsung sold its HDD business to Seagate.

The article also says that Toshiba: “aims to become one of the top three companies in the HDD market in terms of market share.” The SSD Guy is forced to wonder at this comment, since there are only three HDD manufacturers in existence today: Toshiba, Western Digital, and Seagate.

The Seagate Momentus XT, the only Continue reading

SSDs and RAID

RAID ConfigurationThe SSD Guy has been asked a number of questions lately about SSDs and RAID.  Most of these center around the difference in failure behaviors between SSDs and HDDs – HDDs fail randomly (if ever), while SSDs fail relatively predictably due to wear.

Oddly enough, SSD failures due to wear make them a little friendlier than HDDs.  The wear mechanism is managed by the controller in the SSD.  SSDs have spare blocks, and the controller manages those blocks, so the controller understands exactly how much wear the SSD has undergone and how much room is left before the SSD will start to have difficulties. Continue reading

Are HDDs Obsolete?

This looks like more fun than reading The SSD GuyAn article in the Storage Newsletter caught The SSD Guy’s eye when it ran in July.  The article consisted of a press release followed by an editorial comment:

While hard drives still have the cost advantage, it appears it’s becoming akin to sticking with a horse-drawn buggy in an age of automobiles by arguing that the upfront cost for a car is so much more than the cost of a horse. At some point, it just doesn’t make sense to ride a horse. How soon until the IT world gets there?

Continue reading

When will SSD Prices Drop Below HDD Prices?

From Objective Analysis Report: How PC NAND Will Undermine DRAMThe SSD Guy often hears people ask: “When will SSD prices drop below the prices of HDDs?”

This makes a lot of sense.  After all, NAND flash, which makes up the bulk of the cost of an SSD is renowned for its rapidly-falling prices.

The short answer to this question is: “Never!” Continue reading

An HDD Cache for an SSD?

University of TorontoA colleague – Isilon’s Rob Peglar – pointed out an interesting paper written by researchers at the University of Toronto in collaboration with Microsoft.  The paper makes a case for using an HDD to cache writes to an SSD to improve storage system performance.

“Wait a minute!” you say.  “An HDD as a cache for an SSD?  This can’t be possible!” Continue reading

Thai Flooding and SSDs

Thailand's FlagInSpectrum, a spot market trading firm, shares a viewpoint that the floods in Thailand could increase SSD consumption.

HDD makers have been severely impacted by this disaster, and are projecting lower unit shipments in the fourth quarter as a result. Continue reading

Contact

Jim Handy
Objective Analysis
SSD Market Research
+1 (408) 356-2549
Jim.Handy (at) Objective-Analysis.com

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