On Friday, January 15, Intel announced the discontinuation of certain of the company’s Optane SSDs for consumers PCs. Naturally this is making Optane users curious about the future of the entire product line. Is this a big move?
In a word: “No.” It’s a relatively small part of overall Optane shipments, and it is probably Continue reading “Intel Discontinues Optane Consumer SSDs. Is This Important?”
On Tuesday, January 14, Tom Coughlin and I were featured in a BrightTalk webinar hosted by the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA). A recording of this webinar has been posted so that you can view it at your convenience.
This webinar looks at emerging memories and where they now stand, giving a Continue reading “SNIA Webcast: Emerging Memories”
In this post The SSD Guy will discuss the SNIA Nonvolatile Memory (NVM) Programming Model, a framework to allow standard applications to take advantage of nonvolatile, or persistent, memory in any system that includes persistent memory,
This model is enormously important to the future of computing, yet few people even know that it exists. It’s a fundamental change to the way that application programs access storage that will have significant ramifications to computer architecture and performance over the long term.
Here’s why: The industry is moving towards larger-scale systems that mix persistent memory with standard DRAM into a single memory address space. Persistent memory has an advantage over volatile DRAM, since it maintains data after power is removed or lost. Because of this certain application programs will want to know which memory is volatile and which is persistent and to take advantage of whatever persistent memory the system might provide. I say “Larger-Scale” systems because small systems often combine Continue reading “What is SNIA’s Persistent Memory Programming Model?”
Those of you who enjoy listening to podcasts may want to hear Ray Lucchesi (Silverton Consulting) and Howard Marks (Deep Storage) interview The SSD Guy for their series “Greybeards on Storage.”
This interview is their 70th episode covering the world of storage. These guys do a fantastic job of probing this industry with great enthusiasm and insight.
This episode is a 42-minute compendium of the sights and goings-on at last August’s Flash Memory Summit along with a number of side trips into the world of SSDs and memory chips. It’s not strictly structured, and not strictly serious, but just three industry insiders having a lot of fun sharing their observations.
Some of the broad range of subjects that we Continue reading “Podcast: Flash Memory Summit”
According to confidential information disclosed to The SSD Guy, the US military has made several advancements in a novel approach to provide soldiers, sailors, and aviators with portable storage that cannot be lost or stolen.
Consider the difficulty faced by the armed forces: Confidential information is now a part of every enlisted person’s mission, yet that data, if stored on an external HDD, USB flash drive, or flash card, could fall into the hands of an adversary. How can the military prevent this from happening?
The solution is ingeniously simple. Iron in any form can be magnetized, and magnetization is the most common of all ways to store data bits: It’s used in tape and hard drives, which, combined, account for more than 90% of all data storage today.
The human body has plenty of iron, traveling though its veins in the blood stream.
The military’s approach is to magnetize the Continue reading “New Approach to Portable Storage”
Start-up NGD Systems (formerly NxGenData) has just announced the availability of an SSD with in situ processing – that is, the SSD can actually process data rather than simply store it. The new “Catalina 2” SSD is said to have the ability to run advanced applications directly on the drive.
NGD tells us that the SSD, which comes in both U.2 and AIC (PCIe add-in card) formats, is currently available for purchase.
If your memory is long enough you may recall that The SSD Guy wrote a post four years ago about something like this. At the 2013 Flash Memory Summit Micron Technology delivered a keynote detailing a research project in which they reprogrammed SSDs so that each SSD in a system could perform basic database management functions.
Although Micron demonstrated significant advantages of using of this approach, nobody, not even Micron, has followed through with a product until now.
NGD briefed me and explained that the data explosion expected with the Internet of Things will not Continue reading “NGD’s New “In-Situ Processing” SSD”
Yesterday SanDisk announced a new low-end family of SSDs that the company said would sell: “at a price point on par with HDDs. (Pricing comparison dependent upon capacity.)” The sub-headline states: “Z400s SSD Brings New Levels of Affordability to Replace Hard Drives…”
The release provided no actual prices to back up this claim.
So how does this work? Can you actually now buy a 1TB SSD for cheaper than a 1TB HDD? Not at all. Instead you have to look at things a little differently using a concept that I frequently explained five years ago when SSDs were pretty new – that very low capacity SSDs can be cheaper than HDDs.
This post’s graph plots this out. It’s a chart of HDD and SSD prices over a range of capacities. It’s on a log-log scale, but it works well on a standard linear chart as well. Note that prices are for 2010, and prices have come down significantly for both SSDs and HDDs since then. This means that the numbers on the X and Y axes need adjustment to bring them to today’s levels, but the shape of the curves would remain the same.
The red line represents SSD costs over the range of capacities, and the black line represents HDDs. Although HDDs are cheaper than SSDs Continue reading “SanDisk: SSD at HDD Prices”
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 “SanDisk: We’ll Upgrade Your PCs For You!”
For the past decade I have been asked when SSDs will overtake HDDs in the PC market- when will more PCs ship with an SSD than with an HDD?
My usual reply is: “Never!” I then go on to explain that two factors work against this ever happening. The first is the fact that SSD prices are unlikely to ever match HDD price per gigabyte, which is the subject of a few posts on The SSD Guy, the most recent appearing HERE. The second reason is that most PC buyers find SSDs unappealing when they are shopping for a new PC because of the price difference between an SSD and an HDD of the same capacity.
There are six Continue reading “Why Aren’t SSDs Popular in New PCs?”
A very unusual press release crossed my desk last week. London-based SecureDrives has introduced a 2.5″ self-encrypting SSD that takes security one very large step further by physically destroying the flash chips within the SSD by remote command.
The flash chips are actually fractured, as is shown in the accompanying photo, which SecureDrives sent me to illustrate. Click the thumbnail to enlarge.
SecureDrives calls its product the SDSRDD which is short for Secure Drive SSD, Remote Data Destruction.
My first concern was that the product used some sort of explosive. The company put me at ease by explaining that the fracture process uses a rapidly propagating shock wave via a patented technology. They said that the fracturing process creates no safety issues at all.
The destruction command is initiated through a GSM receiver internal to the SSD. When destruction is required (i.e. the drive is lost or stolen) the SSD’s rightful owner sends a user-defined message or phrase to the drive from any phone in the world. The drive flips the encryption key and then fractures the NAND flash and security processor. The drive then returns a confirmation message to the phone. The destruction process is executed in milliseconds.
Readers may recall a post that I published two years ago about an external SSD from Runcore that over-writes the data in the SSD via a GSM command. The Runcore product uses over-writing, which can take minutes to perform, rather than a self-encrypted drive which is effectively erased in a few milliseconds. The Runcore product also differes because it does not physically damage the flash, and, as an external drive, it cannot be incorporated into a notebook PC’s housing as can the SecureDrives product.
It seems that secure SSDs are getting increasingly sophisticated over time. I eagerly await hearing about the next imaginative step designers will take to make their SSDs more secure.