A compendium of activities over the last week, including quarterly financials, new products from Samsung and Toshiba, sTec's big deal, and whether or not flash falls flat.
DRAM prices might be on the rise but NAND flash contract prices have remained more or less flat, according to the 1H'July numbers from the DRAMeXchange.
Analysts attribute the performance to weaker than anticipated replenishment demand. They expect the situation to continue, citing a "reserved" attitude by OEM customers toward quarter three of 2013 sales. Other factors that could swing prices one way or the other include back to school and the Chinese holiday. Overall, given a 6 percent to 7 percent increase in supply, the analysts still anticipate a 10 percent growth in consumption quarter over quarter for quarter three of 2013.
Stay tuned to the Memory Designline and find out whether they're right.
At Samsung's 2013 SSD Global Summit, the company announced the release of the 840 EVO SSD, an entry-level, consumer-targeted SSD with a SATA interface and a capacity of up to 1 TB. The drive leverages the company's 10-nm-class, 128-Gb NAND flash memory and delivers 520MB/s sequential write speed, twice that of the previous generation. In keeping with their new motto of "SSDs for everyone," Samsung also released the XS1715, an ultra-fast NVMe SSD for enterprise storage applications, available in densities of up to 1.6 TB. To guarantee top speed, the XS1715 leverages PCIe 3.0. Coupled with NVMe technology, it delivers random read performance of up to 740,000 IOPS, an order of magnitude better than its predecessor.
Meanwhile, Toshiba Corp. announced the fall launch of the EXCERIA PROTM1 and EXCERIATM1 cards, new additions to its EXCERIA memory card line, aimed at digital photography applications. The cards feature a UHS-II4-compliant controller, as specified by the SD Memory Card Standard Ver. 4.10. The EXCERIA PRO series, for example, boasts a data write speed of 240 MB/s2, allowing photographers to acquire still photos continuously. Plans call for the rollout to start in Japan in October and move out through selected markets.
While we're talking about markets, SanDisk Corp. reported revenues of $1.48 billion for quarter two of 2013, up 43 percent from the same quarter a year previously. Net income reached $262 million, up a factor of about 20 compared to the year-prior quarter. Analysts were expecting to see the company report double-digit growth, so the financial community should be happy. The company president and CEO pointed to growth in their embedded-solutions portfolio as an enterprise space as driving the results.
sTec Inc. scored a deal to provide multi-level cell (MLC) solid state drives (SSDs) to Fujitsu Ltd. The latter plans to include sTec's s842 SAS drives in its ETERNUS DX storage series, which is aimed at enterprise-class server message block (SMB) and distributed environments. The s842 promises throughput in excess of 530MB/s and 115,000 sustained random IOPS.
Speaking of solid-state drives, OCZ Technology Group Inc. reported revenues of $50 million to $55 million for quarter four of 2014 (ending May 31), down as much as 39 percent from the $81.8 million anticipated by analysts, according to Reuters. The company attributed the lackluster performance to a shortage of NAND flash. Indeed, the release mentions a $23 million shippable backlog that never made it out the door as a result of supply constraints. The company remains in austerity mode, trimming expenses as it works to return to break-even mode within this fiscal year.
Meanwhile, OCZ just released its ZD-XL SQL Accelerator, a flash-based PCIe solid state drive that delivers capacities as high as 1.6 TB. The accelerator architecture exposes its PCIe-based on-host flash as both local and cache volumes, and efficiently distributes random database workloads in parallel between its available flash to boost database performance by a factor of 25.
Partitioning the flash between local volumes and cache enables data files like tempDB to benefit from high flash performance while hot database data is cached to flash for immediate availability by SQL Server. “By deploying ZD-XL SQL Accelerator in our database servers, we reduced the run time of key SQL Server jobs from 2.5 hours to 45 minutes, without replacing our SAN,” said Lars Ketting, ICT, Cartal Rijsbergen Automotive.
Finally, University of Southampton scientists have developed a memory based on nanostructured-fused quartz that they claim can store up to 360 TB/disc of data to temperatures as high as 1000°C. The team uses a femtosecond laser to write multiple layers of self-assembled nanodots in the quartz. These structures modify the polarization of the pulse train as it propagates through the medium, allowing the resultant signal to be read out by optical microscope and polarizer.
It's an interesting bit of work that addresses an issue that tortures archivists -- how do you store data for the long-term? Not years, or decades, or even centuries, but millennia? Those of you who have had data, images, music, and video on 8-track/videotape/vinyl/floppy disks/reel-to-reel tapes/5-inch floppies will know what I mean. If the fundamental nature of what we do here is think about ways to store vast amounts of bits and bytes, how can we do that in a way that will persist for thousands of years?
Got any good ideas?