Are 5TB SSDs Around the Corner?

SSDs are superior to HDDs in a number of ways: they’re considerably faster, have no moving parts meaning that a mechanical failure is far less likely and are also quieter and cheaper to run. For all of their advantages, though, SSDs are simply not yet able to store the same amount of data as the largest HDDs. That may soon change, however.

Sage Microelectronics, a Chinese start up, has created a new a controller chip that, the company claims, will double the storage capacities of SSDs.

The chip utilises a SATA II interface to drive no fewer than ten SD, MM, or eMMC flash memory cards, each of which is capable of storing 512GBs of data. Whilst this means that the drive will not achieve the transfer speeds of the very fastest SSDs available, it’s still safe to say that they’ll be significantly faster than standard HDDs.

Of course, this creation will not address the main hurdle that SSDs face in their attempts to become the planet’s dominant form of storage media – their cost per GB – but it will go some way towards placating both private and commercial consumers who desire faster drives with high storage capacities.

Western Digital Announce Better-Than-Expected Quarterly Revenue

Hard drive manufacturers Western Digital Corporation have outperformed expectations having recently announced that their revenue rose by approximately £3 million more than had been forecast previously.

The company have attributed this growth to the fact that a large number of businesses have been upgrading their storage systems by updating their PCs, servers and data centres.

Western Digital’s main rivals, Seagate Technology PLC, also reported better-than-expected quarterly results on Monday which, coupled with the fact that WD’s chief executive Steve Milligan has been quoted as stating that the industry is stable in terms of supply and demand, would suggest that the HDD sector is still in rude health in spite of the growth in popularity of flash storage devices such as SSDs.

This, many including Fields Data Recovery would argue, is due to the fact that demand for HDDs will remain until the cost per GB of flash storage falls significantly. Equally relevant is the fact that the demand for online storage is growing with data centres needing to meet this demand by purchasing affordable, high-capacity storage media.

Yes, SSDs are almost certainly the storage media of the future but, for the moment, there’s plenty of life left in the HDD yet!

Want to Keep Your Data Private? Get a Self-Destructing SSD!

People are more concerned about keeping their data private than ever before and, considering that there are any number of institutions out there that would love the opportunity to rummage around our hard drives, rightfully so!

This growing concern has created a new gap in the data storage market; a gap which SecureDrive hope to address with their latest SSD which, whilst unexceptional in terms of performance, does have the rather unique ability to self-destruct when it receives a text message from its owner.

The drives – which SecureDrive have dubbed the Autothysis range, come in the by-now ubiquitous 2.5in form factor, can store either 64GB or 128GB of data and also utilise 256-bit AES CBC hardware level encryption – will, following their owner having sent a text message to a specified number, destroy the flash cells on which the data is stored not only rendering it unreadable but also unrecoverable.

Unsurprisingly, the drives aren’t cheap! Expect to pay £750 for the 64GB model and £850 for the 128GB model.

AMD Enter SSD Market

Semiconductor manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) have partnered with OCZ Storage Solutions to create new AMD Radeon-branded Solid State Drive (SSD) it has been revealed.

The AMD Radeon R7 is currently available to purchase in the US and is available in 120GB, 240GB or 480GB capacities. UK consumers will be able to purchase the drives from various online retailers from the end of August.

The 120GB model is expected to retail at £74.99 with the 240GB and 480GB models expected to cost £124.99 and £224.99 respectively.

It has been rumoured that AMD would be entering the SSD market for some time but their decision to produce a solid drive in conjunction with OCZ Storage Solutions (themselves part of the Toshiba group of companies) was only recently confirmed.

AMD’s SSD uses Toshiba’s A19 MLC NAND flash process and boats a write endurance of 30GBs per day. The drive is also able to write data at an impressive 530MBs per second and read data at 550MBs per second.

Roman Kyrychynskyi, AMD’s director of memory, appears certain that the drive will be a success noting that his employer’s Radeon brand is already ‘synonymous with quality and performance amongst PC gamers,’ going on to add that AMD will bring this reputation to the SSD market and that the company’s latest drive offers a perfect blend of ‘performance, reliability and affordability.’

HGST Create the World’s Fastest SSD

A subsidiary of Western Digital, HGST, have unveiled the world’s fastest SSD at this year’s Flash Memory Summit.

The drive utilises architecture not seen in any previous solid drives. A PCIe interface is used to deliver superior performance which, HGST have claimed, is unprecedented within the SSD sector. The drive is able to deliver three million random read I/Os per second (IOPS) of 512 bytes each, with a random read latency of 1.5 microseconds.

HGST’s chief technology officer Steve Campbell has claimed that the company’s latest SSD serves as proof of that fact that HGST ‘sets the pace of the rapidly developing storage industry.’

Campbell also noted that this super-fast SSD has come about because of years of research and the development of more advanced technologies which have been designed specifically to speed up enterprise applications.

The drive’s speed is not only attributable to its PCIe interface, though, but also improved volatile memory.

The volatile memory used within HGST’s SSD consists of what is known as Phase Change Memory and boasts a capacity of 1GB. Phase Change Memory is a high-density form of volatile memory that is significantly faster than the NAND flash memory that is currently used in the vast majority of SSDs available today.

Neither the price of the drive or a release date have been made available though reports indicate that it is likely to cos t in the region of £600 and is due to be released in the third quarter of 2014.

SSD Market Share Figures Revealed

Consumer market research company NPD have released their latest report on SSD sales worldwide and, as a result, Fields Data Recovery can officially reveal which companies enjoy the largest market shares within the US:

IBM currently possess a market share of 1.2 per cent – a 0.1 per cent fall compared to 2012 – and are ranked 10th as a result. In at nine were OCZ Storage Solutions whose overall market share fell by 5.8 per cent to just 1.7 per cent, the company having previously held 7.5 per cent of the market in 2012.

Seagate faired only lightly better than OCZ with a market share that was greater by little more than a few hundredths of a per cent. EMC made 2.8 per cent of all SSDs sold in the US in 2013 placing them sixth, whilst Kingston Technology was fifth with 2.9 per cent. Hewlett-Packard’s market share grew by 2.9 per cent over the 12 month period meaning that it enjoyed a market share of 5.2 per cent and was the fourth most popular manufacturer of SSDs last year.

Samsung took the bronze medal having made 19.3 per cent of all SSDs that were sold in the US last year meaning that the Korean company’s share grew by an impressive 14.9 per cent. Second place went to SanDisk whose 2012 market share of 8.7 per cent more than doubled to 20.9 per cent last year.

Intel once again took top spot with 31.6 per cent, but all may not be quite as rosy as it seems at first glance with their market share having fallen from 52.7 per cent in 2012.

Is an SSD Price War on the Horizon?

Good news for anyone that’s been considering upgrading to an SSD: several big-name manufacturers – including Intel, Kingston Technology, SanDisk, Micron Technology and Samsung – want to increase their market share, meaning that prices of their Solid State Drives are likely to fall.

These rumours began to emerge last week when it was leaked that Micron had decided to sell less NAND memory to rival companies in order to try and increase the sales of its own SSDs. Kingston then added fuel to the fire by announcing that it was upping it monthly shipment of SSDs to over 600,000. Interesting news as Kingston are, according to several reports, competing with both Samsung and SanDisk to be the dominant force in the SSD market.

Other reports have indicated that NAND manufacturers are trying to shrink NAND cells in order to cut the overall costs of SSDs.

Whilst all of the above would indicate that the costs of SSDs is likely to fall significantly in the near future, some other reports have indicated that there is currently a shortage of NAND flash memory and that this will inevitably lead to these drives becoming more expensive.

The general consensus does seem to be that SSDs will soon begin to fall in price but only time will tell if there’s any accuracy to such reports.

Just How Long do SSDs Last?

Solid State Dries are big news at the moment with many predicting that they’ll soon overtake HDDs as our go-to storage devices. Because the NAND cells present within these devices only have limited write-spans (meaning that they degrade to the point where they can no longer be used following data have been written to them a certain number of times), however, the lifespan of SSDs is determined by the regularity with which they are used.

This is a major concern for consumers who, understandably, don’t want to shell out for a new drive only to find that it’s going to need to be replaced within an unsatisfactory timeframe. Luckily, thanks to a new study conducted by Tech Report, we now have a much better idea of how long these drives are likely to last.

As part of their experiment, Tech Report continuously wrote data to six separate SSDs: a Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB, Intel 335 Series 240GB, Samsung 840 Series 250GB, Samsung 840 Pro 256GB, and two Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB drives.

Of these, the first Kingston drive failed after having 728TBs of data written to it, closely followed by Intel’s 335 series which ceased to function at 750TBs. Samsung’s 840 series failed just before hitting the one petabyte mark.

The three remaining drives all managed to have over one Petabyte of information written to their cells before becoming unusable, however, with the second Kingston drive enjoying a longer lifespan as a result of only compressible data being written to it.

So, in conclusion, whilst SSDs’ flash cells only last for a certain number of writes, they will generally outlast the specified number of writes stated by their respective manufacturers; good news for anyone looking to upgrade their data storage facilities.

Company Announce Smartphone Controlled SSD

It’s pretty fair to say that – following recent revelations concerning the NSA, Heartbleed etc. – that an awful lot of us are concerned about the security of our data. Step forward, Sosecure, a start-up company that think they’ve found the solution: a portable SSD that users can control via their smartphone.

All of the data that is stored on the drive is automatically encrypted with 256-bit AES with users needing to enter a PIN into a smartphone app before they are able to access the data held on the drive. Users can also utilise the app to instantly lock their drive or restore it to its factory settings (deleting all of the data contained within it in the process) remotely. One additional feature will even send an alert to any paired smartphone if the drive moves out of a pre-set range, so the user will be immediately alerted if they accidentally misplace their drive or if it is stolen.

Sosecure have also claimed that, thanks to their dedicated backup device, known as the ZTB Pod, users will be able to backup an entire 64GB device in less than four minutes.

The company, whose drive comes with storage capacities of 64GB and 128GB, are currently seeking funding in order to begin producing their creation via Kickstarter and hope to raise £131,000 before the 9th July.

The 64GB model is expected to retail for £220 with the 128GB model costing £278.

Is this an ingenious idea or is it certain to be a flop? Let us know your opinion by leaving a comment.

HDD Hardware Failure is Still the Most Common Cause of Data Loss

Mechanical failure is still the most common cause of data loss amongst UK businesses and private users according to a recent survey.

Two-thirds of those that responded to the survey reported that they had lost data as a result of mechanical problems with their HDD compared with 14% who had suffered data loss through human error and 10% who attributed their data loss to problems with software.

Of respondents that used SSDs, only 13% reported data loss, compared with 74% of those that used HDDs. In comparison, 6% of RAID users reported data loss as did 5% of smartphone users.

Of those surveyed, 57% reported having lost personal data and 27% data concerning their businesses. Additionally, 11% of respondents reported that losing data had had both a substantial and adverse effect on their businesses.