More follow up on the brief hints at the SandForce SF-2000 series SSD drive controller. More details are coming out about the expected range of performance of SSDs using the chip. Hopefully it will see some fast uptake by the bigger manufacturers of the PCIe based SSD drives, thus sending computer performance to a whole new level in terms of blistering fast read/write speeds to the mass storage device.
Future performance rates of PCIe based Flash Memory drives is going through the roof based on the torrid pace of development at SandForce. They make the leading flash memory controller for SSDs and PCIe based SSD drives. And the rate of change in each generation of shipping product is scaling up much faster than anyone is ready for. Sustained reads and writes for single SSDs using SF-2000 controllers is quoted at around 500MB/s. As one person noted on a forum recently Flash Memory at this rate is getting close the PC-133 DRAM speeds (and I still have a Apple Titanium Laptop that uses PC-133). Truly the hard drive has been eclipsed, hello Solid State Disk.
Whenever you have a refinement in a technologically sophisticated product there are always side effects. With silicon chips, some side effects were very beneficial (as sizes shrink, speeds can increase). However with Flash memory chips, multi-level memory cells are starting to suffer from the point of diminishing returns. Smaller sizes mean more fragile, more susceptible to wearing out. So the next evolution is to build in some extra circuitry and insurance to prevent the failures from ruining your day, so let’s take a look at Error Correcting Codes (ECC):
In the market for data center hardware, competitive advantages and outright monopolies do not exist for very long. Someone can reverse engineer or clone your product sooner or later. In the case of the Fibre Channel SSD, that was just a matter of time once everyone saw there was a hug potential market for these things. Enter Hitachi:
Now you’re talking real data center type pricing. What do you get for your high dollar, high margin PCIe card anyways? Maybe just a little more speed, check it out.
Many, many companies are making many announcements in the product category of PCI Express SSD drives. This once rare and expensive product is now being developed into a bigger market with standards organizations being formed and a flurry of new products being announced recently. What does this all mean for you? Hopefully it means the prices will come down, but first let’s take a look at a new product from OCZ.
When a group of cutthroat competitors decide to collaborate it can only mean one thing, there’s a lot of money to be made. Intel is forming up a group to set standards for PCIe based SSD products for Enterprise and Data Center computing. To me this is a dead giveaway we will see a flood off products real soon all with similar throughput specs and storage capacities. Say goodbye SATA hello PCI Express.
Some announcements last week from a company named Angelbird and the old stalwart Iomega. SSDs are the storage technology du jour and everyone wants to differentiate their offerings especially as more and more flash chips become more and more alike in speed and performance (3 manufacturers now are all neck in neck in terms of feature size). I’m really interested in PCI Express based SSD cards as they bypass the SATA disk drive interface on the motherboard. Which should give you better performance in the long run. So what to Angelbird and Iomega have on tap?
The market for SSDs is expanding and a few notable players are starting the leverage their consumer products by re-engineering proven designs as enterprise level hardware. Micron is moving the old RealSSD C300 into the RealSSD P300 and hoping to reap a big, high margin enterprise windfall.
I remember coming to work each morning reading about new product announcements at regular intervals for desktop computers. Those days were rather heady, faster and faster CPUs, GPUs, Bigger HDDs. Now CPUs are speed limited, and HDDs are space limited. How are we to keep up the torrid pace of change?