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We interview leading innovators at Storage Visions 2014 and CES 2014

By Paul Alcorn on Jan 28, 2014 at 01:12 pm CST

After covering both Storage Visions and CES 2014 I have had a bit of time to reflect on the technology and subjects we covered at both shows. I was lucky enough to speak with industry leaders in both enterprise and client applications both shows, and today I bring you a roundup of our conversations. Feel free to click the links for greater insight into each topic.

We interview leading innovators at Storage Visions 2014 and CES 2014 |

SanDisk has made tremendous headway with their SAS Optimus line of SSDs, which are shockingly close to price parity with the high performance SAS HDD segment. SanDisk is also working closely with their partners to usher in the next era of business class SSDs. The burgeoning corporate market is ripe for the picking, and the increased TCO advantage outlined by Tarun Loomba from SanDisk is sure to come into consideration for just about every CIO in the planning stages of new procurement and system upgrades. The looming retirement of Windows XP is a huge factor in the corporate space, and migration to a newer operating system often requires new hardware. With their focus on business-class SSDs, SanDisk is striking while the iron is hot.

Moving to cutting edge architectures, we had a great chat with both Diablo and SanDisk about the continuing joint development of the ULLtraDIMM initiative. This exciting technology is at the forefront of new flash architectures that deliver tremendous performance by utilizing the memory bus, as outlined in great depth by Riccardo Badalone from Diablo. We also had a chance to speak with John Scaramuzzo from SanDisk on the emerging possibility of an all-flash datacenter. The emergence of the ULLtraDIMM has allowed flash to even begin encroaching upon RAM, and John gives us a synopsis of the varying levels of flash deployment. It is interesting to watch the maturation of this technology, and other industry heavyweights such as Intel in this interview from Flash Memory Summit 2013, are also touting memory bus architectures as a natural and viable progression for flash technology.

Samsung's has a massive presence in the SSD market, and their TLC technology has made it into the consumer and enterprise realms. We discussed these trends with Ryan Smith from Samsung in this informative interview. We also had the pleasure of speaking with Michael Abary from Samsung on the future of SSD technology.

We also discussed the Tecal ES3000 PCIe SSD with Mohammed Moshref from Huawei. Huawei's innovative design provides a high-powered PCIe SSD solution from a company that many don't associate with storage products. This view is sure to change, Huawei's explosive growth and expansion into the US market is reaping dividends as they expand their presence. Look to TweakTown for a pending product evaluation of the Tecal ES3000.

We were lucky enough to set down with leading all-flash array innovators, Vaughn Stewart from Pure Storage and Radoslav Danilak from Skyera. These two companies provide solutions that deliver an all-flash SAN architecture, but have somewhat different approaches. The key takeaway is these devices are providing more features that provide the same functionality as disk-based storage systems, and this is sure to continue with the expansive application of flash into the datacenter.

Another interesting technology rising in prominence, from a component standpoint, is MRAM. We discussed this in detail with Phillip LoPresti from Everpsin. It's inspiring to observe the impressive progress from Everspin, their nimble design and fabrication processes has provided them the advantage of being the only company with commercially available MRAM. Considering the billions of dollars invested by the industry heavyweights into this promising technology, the innovation from Everspin is nothing short of spectacular.

Switching gears from the fastest memory on the planet, we move to one of the slowest. Tape is the backbone of the datacenter, and its continuing use for bulk data storage defies all the naysayers over the past few years. Amazingly, as Randy Martineau from Oracle explains, tape continues to advance with increased performance and density on tap for current future product generations. This was one of my favorite interviews merely because I learned so much about tape storage from Randy. While I am well-versed on the newest technology, I test it for a living, visiting with Randy on some of the deeper details of tape storage was very educational.

We also had a series of interviews that focused on media management systems. Tasia Smith from Axel, Ben Masek from Sony, and an entertaining interview with Jeffrey Stansfield from Advantage Video Systems all informed us on their varying approaches to media management. Paul Evans from Daystrom also stopped by the booth to brief us on their collaboration with MESS.

We couldn't have wrapped up Storage Visions without speaking to Tom Coughlin, the man behind the scenes of everything at Storage Visions 2014. Tom is a busy man with Coughlin and Associates, his consulting firm. He also runs several industry trade shows, such as Storage Visions, Creative Storage, and Flash Memory Summit. Tom Coughlin also writes for Forbes and somehow finds time to publish books as well. As always, we thank Tom and his team for having us out to the show, and we look forward to Flash Memory Summit in August.

After Storage Visions we had marathon meetings with several other storage companies, but alas, many are under NDA. Therefore, we cannot discuss all of the conversations and some of the deeper insight into coming products this year. For our CES 2014 coverage it would be nearly impossible to link all of the articles from TweakTown, so a few of the better-received articles follow.

We managed to see working LSI SandForce technology in the form of the S3700, and Marvell also dropped a surprise with a curve ball no one seen coming, the new PCIe Altaplus controller.

Kingston and Crucial/Micron both had DDR4 on display, and I even managed to get a great scoop on a heavily-shrouded next generation Intel server running an impressive 384 GB of DRAM. While flash is becoming the go-to storage medium for many mobile devices and applications, the HDD manufacturers aren't taking this lying down. I managed to break the story on Seagate's reference Android 500GB tablet.

Its always great to meet with the movers and shakers of the storage industry and to provide our readers the most in-depth coverage possible. There is also a great deal of personal interest to myself, a self-proclaimed storage geek, to keep my fingers on the pulse of the storage industry. We have some great events scheduled for the remainder of the year, and as much I hate getting out of the lab, it is always great to widen the view from Between the Racks.

Please Note: This blog is not edited by TweakTown staff, and may not represent the thoughts or opinions of TweakTown or its editors.

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