Another Perspective on a WDC Split

Western Digital logo splitting int the WD logo and the SanDisk logoIn an earlier post I reacted to a letter that activist shareholder Elliott sent to Western Digital’s board asking for the company to be split into two parts, one for HDDs and the other for flash.  I wrote it before learning that the Elliott letter was posted on the web for public viewing.

I found Elliott’s proposal hard to rationalize.

Although the reasoning I shared in that post is Continue reading “Another Perspective on a WDC Split”

Smarter NAND for Better SSDs

NAND part of one of the diagrams below.Micron presented something really interesting during the company’s Investor Day Conference last week, but it didn’t seem to get any press coverage.  The company naturally repeated its plan to become a more important supplier of data center SSDs, but what The SSD Guy was most interested in were a few comments they gave for choosing to make vertically-integrated SSDs.  Micron now makes not only the NAND and the DRAM internal to its SSDs, but also the controller.

Why would a company Continue reading “Smarter NAND for Better SSDs”

WDC: To Split, or Not to Split?

Photo of log being split with an axeWestern Digital’s Board of Directors was recently sent a letter by activist shareholder Elliott asking for the company to be split into two parts: one for HDDs and one for flash.  The reason given was that the company’s SanDisk acquisition was not performing well.

Elliott currently holds a 6% stake in WDC.

According to an article in Reuter’s, Elliot’s letter said: Continue reading “WDC: To Split, or Not to Split?”

An SSD You Can’t Wear Out

Infinity symbol overlaid on a Nimbus ExaDrive DC SSD photoThere’s something really odd about Nimbus Data’s colossal 100 terabyte ExaDrive DC SSDs, and it’s not their sheer capacity (although that’s pretty remarkable by itself!)  The strange thing is that they can’t be worn out.  It’s physically impossible.

At first glance that may seem wrong-headed.  NAND flash wears out, and that was the cause of a lot of Continue reading “An SSD You Can’t Wear Out”

Using 176-Layer NAND for High-Capacity Data Center SSDs

Chart with a line that goes pretty flat from 1.5 to 2ms latency 0 to 350K IOPSMicron recently briefed The SSD Guy on its new 7450 SSD series, a range of high-capacity data center SSDs offered in an impressive number of capacities and form factors spanning M.2, U.3 and E1.S. The 7450 is a mainstream drive targeted at a wide variety of data center applications, including common, mixed, and random workloads.

The 7450 series is an evolution of Micron’s 7400 series which was first introduced at 96 layers and was based on Continue reading “Using 176-Layer NAND for High-Capacity Data Center SSDs”

Should WDC Acquire Kioxia?

Single star from the post's second chart.Over the past couple of months rumors asserted that Western Digital (WDC) was in talks to acquire joint venture partner Kioxia.  This is not the first time such rumors have emerged.  In November of 2020, when Kioxia was expected to make its initial public offering, WDC was rumored to be in such talks, and before that, in early 2017, when Toshiba first started to plan to spin off its NAND flash and SSD business, WDC was rumored to Continue reading “Should WDC Acquire Kioxia?”

Micron’s Tiny Little 2TB SSD

Photo of top of tiny m.2 SSDMicron has been moving very quickly for the past couple of years, and that has led to the company’s undisputed leadership in NAND flash layers and DRAM process nodes.  The first to ship 176-layer NAND flash chips a year ago, and now 176-layer QLC NAND, Micron packs a huge amount of storage into a single chip.  Since it uses a CUA (CMOS Under Array) architecture, the die size is perhaps Continue reading “Micron’s Tiny Little 2TB SSD”

Solidigm, SK hynix’ New SSD/Flash Subsidiary

Solidigm LogoWhile many of us, The SSD Guy included, were preparing for our New Year’s celebration, SK hynix, on December 30, closed the first phase of the company’s takeover of Intel’s NAND flash and SSD business, and created a new subsidiary that has been named Solidigm.

This is the first of two phases of the acquisition, which the companies agreed to in October 2020.  With this move, SK hynix has Continue reading “Solidigm, SK hynix’ New SSD/Flash Subsidiary”

Intel Discontinues Optane Consumer SSDs. Is This Important?

Intel Optane Memory M10 Press PhotoOn 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?”

Why Did Intel Sell its SSD Business?

Intel recently sold its NAND flash business, which was mainly producing SSDs, to SK hynix, a Korean competitor.  Some people have asked the SSD Guy why did Intel do this? The company had highly-regarded products that could command top prices.  Since Intel’s NAND flash fab is in Dalian, China, one person even asked if the divestiture could have been in response to the US-China trade war.

A better question is: “Why did Intel Continue reading “Why Did Intel Sell its SSD Business?”