Dealing with a Data Shortage

Thumbnail image of this post's first chartFor the past several years presenters at data-oriented conferences have quoted forecasts for data growth that taxed their vocabularies.  Exabytes gave way to Zettabytes, and then Yottabytes, and these were often charted out on standard linear charts like the one below, with the inevitable result that Continue reading “Dealing with a Data Shortage”

What is Write Amplification?

A 4x4 checkerboard of red, green, and white squaresFor a long time, The SSD Guy has been talking about Write Amplification without explaining what It is.  This post is intended to fix that.

Write amplification is an internal issue for NAND flash SSDs that arises from the way that NAND chips work.  It doesn’t exist in standard HDDs, nor did it exist in DRAM SSDs before we had NAND ones.  In a nutshell it’s the Continue reading “What is Write Amplification?”

Optane’s Legacy, Part III: Memory Expansion and Security

Photo of an Optane DIMM

A lot of folks believe that when Intel’s Optane is gone there will be nothing left but the story of its rise and fall.  That is far from the truth.  Optane has created a legacy of developments that will find use in computing for quite some time.

In this three-part series The SSD Guy blog reviews Optane’s lasting legacy to reveal six changes that it has brought to computing architecture in its short lifetime.

Each of the three parts covers two new developments:


This third and final post will cover Optane’s new approach to memory expansion and the new security Continue reading “Optane’s Legacy, Part III: Memory Expansion and Security”

Would WDC Really Merge with Kioxia?

Column Chart comparing WDC's and Kioxia's margins for the past 12 quartersEver since Toshiba decided to spin out its memory business in 2017, leading to the creation of Kioxia, there have been rumors of Western Digital (WDC) acquiring it, or of Kioxia acquiring WDC’s flash memory business.

There is a new spate of merger rumors in response to Elliott Management’s proposal last May that Continue reading “Would WDC Really Merge with Kioxia?”

Optane’s Legacy, Part II: Two-Speed Memory and Latency Handling

Photo of an Optane DIMM

A lot of folks believe that when Intel’s Optane is gone there will be nothing left but the story of its rise and fall.  That is far from the truth.  Optane has created a legacy of developments that will find use in computing for quite some time.

In this three-part series The SSD Guy blog reviews Optane’s lasting legacy to reveal six changes that it has brought to computing architecture in its short lifetime.

Each of the three parts covers two new developments:


This second post will cover Continue reading “Optane’s Legacy, Part II: Two-Speed Memory and Latency Handling”

Mardi Gras vs. SSD Garbage Collection

Silhouette of a hopping rabbitMardi Gras is a good time for The SSD Guy to bend your mind.  It’s the day before Ash Wednesday kicks off Lent, the penitential season leading up to Easter.

And it never seems to happen on the same date.

I will compare SSD garbage collection to the timing of the Lenten season and Easter.  There are surprising similarities.

Very few people understand Continue reading “Mardi Gras vs. SSD Garbage Collection”

Optane’s Legacy, Part I: New Programming Paradigm and Instructions

Photo of an Optane DIMMA lot of folks believe that when Intel’s Optane is gone there will be nothing left but the story of its rise and fall.  That is far from the truth.  Optane has created a legacy of developments that will find use in computing for quite some time.

In this three-part series The SSD Guy blog reviews Optane’s lasting legacy to reveal six changes that it has brought to computing architecture in its short lifetime.

Each of the three parts covers two new developments:


Intel’s Optane, the new memory/storage technology that was Continue reading “Optane’s Legacy, Part I: New Programming Paradigm and Instructions”

Supporting a Dynamic SATA Market

Just the four letters S, A, T, and ANobody seems to talk about SATA SSDs much anymore, even though there’s still a vibrant market.  NVMe is garnering all the attention.  Of course, that should come as no surprise.  While SATA is an extension of an interface designed around HDDs, NVMe was designed specifically for NAND flash.

Still, lots of Continue reading “Supporting a Dynamic SATA Market”

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”