If you want to read a short, interesting overview of the combined HDD/SSD storage battlefield, look no further than a new article on The Register’s Web site. The article, titled “Will the titans of storage decide to flash their bits?” is written by Chris Mellor. In the article, Mellor positions the three remaining HDD vendors (Toshiba, Seagate, and Western Digital—which Mellor labels the “tri-opoly) against Flash-based SSD vendors and SSD array vendors.
For the SSD Flash Davids, in addition to the HDD Golliaths who also offer SSDs, Mellor lists:
And for array SSD vendors, Mellor lists:
- Pure Storage
- Violin Memory
As noted in the article, these lists are not exhaustive. However, they do illustrate that there are a lot more SSD players than HDD players. There’s a reason for this fact, noted in the article:
“The flash industry is basically simple, with a two-layer model; flash fabs or foundries make chips which are incorporated into drives with controllers and firmware. It’s semi-conductor based with no complex electro-mechanical components at all; solid state.”
The article has some interesting conclusions:
- “One obvious conclusion is that drive suppliers need their own in-house controller operation. Five of the moves listed above involve that activity. None of the flash fab operators have bought drive controller companies, with the recent exception of Hynix which bought Link A Media Devices (LAMD) in June. This is a potential move by the other three flash foundry owners Samsung, Toshiba and Micron… If disk manufacturers are serious about getting into the flash drive business then they have to have their own controller operation.”
- “A second conclusion is that server flash drive suppliers need caching software to load, and sometimes share, hot data into the flash drives.”
- “If the direction of the industry is consolidation across the flash fab and flash drive sectors then it is even more important for the disk drive manufacturers to get into bed with flash foundry suppliers.”
I commend the entire article to your attention.