The Storage Developer Conference in September gave a rare glimpse into two very different directions that SSD architectures are pursuing. While some of the conference’s presentations touted SSDs with increasing processing power (Eideticom, NGD, Samsung, and ScaleFlux) other presentations advocated moving processing power out of the SSD and into the host server (Alibaba, CNEX, and Western Digital).
Why would either of these make sense?
A standard SSD has a very high internal bandwidth that encounters a bottleneck as data is forced through a narrower interface. It’s easy to see that an SSD with 20+ NAND chips, each with an 8-bit interface, could access all 160 bits simultaneously. Since there’s already a processor inside the SSD, why not open it to external programming so that it can perform certain tasks within the SSD itself and harness all of that bandwidth?
Example tasks would include Continue reading “SSDs Need Controllers with More, NO! Less Power”
Kaminario recently decided to adopt a “software-centric” business model, rather than sell all-flash arrays as the company has done since its inception. The company says that this will allow it “to streamline operations, while focusing its resources on continued software innovation,” acknowledging that the change: “represents a strategic business model shift for Kaminario.”
Hardware support for existing and future Kaminario customers will be provided by Tech Data, which Kaminario’s release tells us is the world-leading end-to-end distributor of technology products, services, and solutions.
Jay Kramer of Network Storage Advisors, a friend of The SSD Guy recently provided me with some valuable insights on Kaminario’s restructuring and has allowed me to share them here. Jay is a recognized technology consultant specializing in the network storage industry.
Here’s what Jay has to say Continue reading “Kaminario Adopts Software-Only Business Model”
Those who have been reading posts on The SSD Guy blog for some time have often heard me explain that SSD prices will not fall below HDD prices anytime soon. Last week Western Digital shared a roadmap that shows that we can expect for there to be a sizeable price gap between the two technologies at least through 2028.
Let me stop for a moment to point out that Western Digital Corp, or WDC, no longer has any reason to take sides in the HDD vs. SSD battle now that the company has acquired SanDisk, a leading SSD maker. Even before that, WDC’s HGST business has been the market leader in SAS SSDs for a number of years. WDC doesn’t take sides in arguments about SSDs vs. HDDs. Instead the company stands ready to sell whichever one the customer finally decides to use.
This post’s graphic comes from a chart that WDC used on October 11 when introducing its new MAMR head technology, which the company expects to propel HDD capacities up, and HDD price per terabyte down, for a number of years. To create this chart WDC’s HDD team joined forces with the SanDisk flash team to project both HDD and NAND price per terabyte for the next 11 years. The most important conclusion is that Continue reading “WDC: No SSD/HDD Crossover”
The SSD Guy was recently asked whether HDDs would continue, at least through 2019, to remain preferable to SSDs as cost-effective high-capacity storage. The answer was “Yes”.
Longtime readers will note that I steadfastly maintain that HDD and SSD gigabyte prices are unlikely to cross for a very long time. Historically, a gigabyte of NAND flash has cost between ten to twenty times as much as a gigabyte of HDD. Let’s look at where Objective Analysis expects things to go by 2019.
Our current projections call for NAND price per gigabyte to reach 4.4 cents in 2019. I would expect for HDD to still be 1/10th to 1/20th of that price. Most likely 1/10th, since we expect for NAND flash to be in a significant oversupply at that time and will be selling at cost.
If HDD prices continue to hover around $50, then a 2019 HDD price of 0.44 to 0.22 cents per gigabyte (1/10th to 1/20th of the price of NAND flash) would imply an average HDD capacity of 11-23TB.
A couple of weeks ago, on December 2, 2015, Western Digital’s HGST introduced its Continue reading “Is an HDD/SSD Price Crossover Coming Soon?”
The following post is an excerpt of an article Objective Analysis submitted to the Pund-IT Weekly Review for 11 March, 2015.
With a webcast in the style of the big system makers like EMC and Oracle, SanDisk announced its InfiniFlash flash appliance. InfiniFlash is a box that crams a whopping 500 terabytes into only 3U of rack space.
How big is 500 terabytes? It’s more bytes than SanDisk’s entire flash output for 2001.
SanDisk boasts that InfiniFlash is a “category-defining product”, and pointed to the fact that IDC, who provided support for the roll-out, created a new “Big Data Flash” storage product category for this device.
The system boasts performance of one million random-read IOPS, which is impressive, but doesn’t give much indication of how it performs in standard enterprise dataflow, which is generally assumed to consist of a 70/30 split of reads and writes. (I should mention here that Objective Analysis published a survey of users’ IOPS and latency needs which can be purchased on our website.)
Price is a major focus for this product. SanDisk says that it will sell systems bundled with software at less than Continue reading “SanDisk Rolls Out InfiniFlash”
The following is excerpted from an Objective Analysis Alert e-mailed to our clients on 24 June, 2013:
Western Digital Corporation (WDC) and sTec, Incorporated announced today an agreement for sTec to be acquired by WDC for $340 million in cash. The HGST subsidiary will assume control of sTec and will continue to support existing sTec products and customers, while also remaining a part of its joint development program with Intel Corp. HGST’s current line of SSDs uses an Intel controller architecture combined with an SAS interface, end-to-end data protection, and other features key to the enterprise SSD marketplace.
Although sTec was a glorious first mover in the SSD business with EMC’s Continue reading “Western Digital to Acquire sTec”
On 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 “Apple’s Fusion Drive – An SSD Cache for the Macintosh”
Now that we have seen announcements of hybrid drives from Western Digital and Seagate, Toshiba arrives with a formal announcement of the product that was on display at last month’s Flash Memory Summit. Two 2.5″ Toshiba hybrid drives are starting to sample at 750GB and 1TB capacities. Both have 8GB NAND caches, 6Gb/s SATA 3 interfaces, and 5,400RPM spindle speeds. They are both built using 32nm SLC NAND, Toshiba’s “generation before last” technology, preceding the 24nm and 19nm nodes shipping in high volume today.
More importantly, both are 9.5mm in height, a thickness that renders them difficult to incorporate into the 18mm maximum thickness of the smaller Ultrabooks – a notebook form factor that Intel is heavily promoting.
How is this whole market Continue reading “Toshiba Announces its Hybrid Drive”
Western Digital Corporation on Monday announced that it is sampling its long-awaited hybrid HDD. WD claims that the 500GB 2.5″ device is the thinnest in the industry at 5mm. So far Seagate has been alone in this field with its Momentus XT Solid State Hybrid Drive. There are some significant differences between the two drives:
- Seagate uses SLC flash while WD uses MLC. There is more than a 10:1 price premium for SLC flash
- Seagate’s hybrid ships in 750GB and 500GB capacities while WD’s is 500GB
- Seagate’s device is 9.5mm thick, while WD’s is 5mm
The last point is extremely Continue reading “WD Introduces Hybrid HDD”
One 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 “For the Lack of a Fab…”