Solid State Drive

How Controllers Maximize SSD Life

Tempus FugitHow do controllers maximize the life of an SSD?  After all, MLC flash has a lifetime of only 10,000 erase/write cycles or fewer and that is a very small number compared to the write traffic an SSD is expected to see in a high-workload environment, especially in the enterprise.  Still, MLC is becoming the norm in the enterprise.

How do they do that?

This is where SSD architects really earn their pay.  There are eight basic techniques that The SSD Guy knows of to extend SSD life beyond Continue reading

IOPS Survey – Still Seeking Participants

Please Take the 5-Minute IOPS SurveyTom Coughlin and I are still seeking IT professional inputs for our 5-minute IOPS survey.

Please take a brief moment to share your thoughts on the importance of I/O in your system. It’s only 5 multiple-choice questions.

Click HERE and let us know what kind of storage performance you need. Even a hunch is good.

Many thanks!

 

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

SK Hynix Jumps into the SSD Market

Packaging for SK Hnix' New SATA III Self Encrypted DriveOnly four days after announcing the company’s acquisition of Link_A_Media SK Hynix has announced its entry into the Client SSD market.  The company’s new 2.5″ SATA III self-encrypting drive (SED) will ship in 128GB and 256 GB capacities and boasts serial read speeds of 510MB/s, writing at 470MB/s. Random 4kB performance is said to be 55k IOPS read and 85k IOPS write.  It’s interesting that the write performance is higher than the read performance – not many SSDs perform this way.

Although this drive is said to be a client SSD, it supports end-to-end data protection, a feature more common to enterprise SSDs.  More specifications are listed on SK Hynix’ SSD website.  The benchmarks on this website are of particular interest, since SK Hynix claims Continue reading

Link_A_Media’s Roaring SSD Debut

Tom's Hardware Best of Computex 2012 Award for Corsair Neutron Series SSDsIt’s tough to design an SSD controller, and even tougher to make one that can simply compete against the great ones that already ship in volume.  To make a truly better controller would seem to require an astonishing effort.  It appears that a company with a very odd name: Link_A_Media has done just that.

The company’s first commercial design win in Corsair‘s fourth-generation Neutron Series SSDs was announced at COMPUTEX on June 5th.  Corsair’s market focus is high-performance compute hardware aimed at gamers – the company only ships product that can out-perform its competition, and is able to take a higher price thanks to its solid reputation for speed.  Getting a first design win at Corsair is a real feather in Link_A_Media’s cap!

But then, today (June 7), Corsair won two Continue reading

Micron: SSD Over-Inventory at OEMs & Channel

Excess Inventory of SSDsDuring Micron Technology‘s quarterly earnings call an interesting tidbit was revealed: PC OEMs and Micron’s sales channel partners are carrying SSD inventory from panic buys they made in response to Thailand’s floods.

It seems that Micron’s OEMs and channel partners expected the HDD shortage that resulted from the floods to create new market opportunities for SSDs.  This is not an uncommon notion, and it was first discussed by The SSD Guy in a blog post early last November with another post added in January.  It seems that the messages of these posts didn’t reach those OEMs.

Micron mentioned this because Continue reading

Fast New Intel SSD: The 520

Intel's 520 Press PictureIntel has announced a new SSD for the Enthusiast/Gamer market.  Intel’s fastest drive to date, this SSD, formerly known as “Cherryville” but now called the 520, is the first Intel SSD to use a SandForce/LSI controller and is made using Intel’s own 25nm flash.

Intel worked with SandForce for  a year and a half to produce an SSD that met Intel’s rigorous standards, and made hundreds of changes to SandForce’s firmware.  Users of SandForce controllers can differentiate their SSDs through the addition of features in the SSD controller’s firmware.  Intel did this by tapping into its expertise in end-to-end data protection (something the company learned when working with Hitachi to introduce that company’s Intel-based enterprise SSDs) while harnessing Intel’s deep understanding of its own NAND flash and of the I/O needs of the PC.

End-to-end data protection is not a trivial feature: Continue reading

Victorinox’ Terabyte-in-Your-Pocket

Victorinox 1TB SSDAt The Consumer Electronics Show this week, Swiss army knife maker Victorinox introduced a one-terabyte SSD in a form factor similar to a fat Swiss army knife.  Yes, that is right – a terabyte of NAND flash in your pocket.  The company tells us that the device’s dimensions, including the connector, are a scant 52x18x10mm.

Some of the other features include the use of an eSATA connector (to allow the product to be plugged into either a SATA port or a USB socket), AES256 encryption (any army would like this), and a bi-stable LCD to tell how much free space remains on the device.

But let’s look at the difficulty of building a 1TB flash SSD in such a small space:

Continue reading

SandForce: The Cloud needs Different SSDs

SandForceOn Monday December 13 SandForce introduced SSD controllers designed specifically for cloud computing applications.

You might wonder what is so different about cloud applications that they need an SSD controller of their own.  SandForce makes some interesting points:

  1. Cloud applications need low latency
  2. Cloud computing centers, like client SSDs, need a lot of capacity at a very low price Continue reading