2010 solid state drive forces and trends

(Editor's Note: I asked Jim Bagley, senior analyst for Storage Strategies NOW to predict the SSD market for 2010. Here are his predictions.)

Happy New Year is more than a greeting in the solid state drive business. Many products that have been in the 'promised' stage are going to hatch during the next quarter or two.

Expect major manufacturers to deliver Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) multi-level cell (MLC) drives with enterprise guarantees. In a major trend shift, MLC will become deployed in enterprise-rated devices, displacing the single-level cell (SLC) dominance in this category.

Expect new file management strategies to assimilate SSDs into storage arrays in a transparent, efficient and predictable implementation. EMC's long-awaited release of its FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering) system, and Sun's SSD savvy ZFS are examples.

Expect SSDs to become integral to all major storage providers' throughput strategies. We have discussed network attached storage (NAS) appliance and RAID controller vendors Avere Systems, Atrato and storage area network (SAN) vendors Whiptail Technologies and Adaptec with various approaches to SSD and hybrid appliances.

At the SAN level, an SSD control strategy will become a requirement rather than a 'check the box' option.

Expect the cost per gigabyte to continue to drop as SLC and MLC at 34nm wafers come online. Client devices will approach $5 per gigabyte and enterprise-class devices should hit $10 per gigabyte for volume end user purchases by year end.

(If you want to receive The SSD Flash each month, e-mail me at dconnor@ssg-now.com)

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