Sunday, December 9, 2018

NVMe SSD Capacity Growth through 2025

At the NVMe Developer Days Conference last week, there were multiple presentations on applications, reference designs, NVMe over Fabric solutions and examples. At the end, I presented unit and EB growth numbers for 2018 through 2025 for NVMe Devices.


  • NVMe Client SSD Capacity will grow at 48% CAGR through 2025 (growth declines over time with saturation)
  • NVMe Enterprise/Datacenter Capacity will grow at 57% CAGR through 2025 (No saturation)

These numbers are based on attach rates, EB growth, shift from SATA/SAS to NVMe over time. 

  • What is needed to support this growth?: multiple solutions from multiple vendors at multiple segment levels for NVMe. This will bring price drops needed. This has already started in 2018 and is expected to continue
  • What is limiting this?: Enterprise storage is a slow, conservative business. 15K HDDs continue to sell by the millions despite being an inferior solution to SSDs in performance applications.  

Call for more information on how NVMe is transforming the future of storage

Mark Webb

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Optane DIMMs: What is it, how fast, how much?

You got questions? We got Answers. A while back, Intel announced more about Optane DIMMS for data center. Vague information on when customers can get it ("select customers some time in 2018, volume sometime in 2019"). No information on speed or endurance. Densities are 128GB-512GB DIMMS. Fortunately we at MKW Ventures have models for what it is and how it works and how much it costs. Updates below with lots of additional information available.

While you can't buy it today and we don't know when you can buy it, Intel committed that you can test it out in the cloud sometime soon.

Questions from My January Blog and some answers based on a our model
  • What is in a Optane DIMM? its up to 10 XPoint packages+ smaller controller, power unit and buffers. It has 20% overprovisioning on the DIMM plus about 10% overprovisioning on the chip itself
  • How fast will an Optane DIMM be? Intel says it works at DDR4 speed we assume this is 2133-2666+ MT/S. Latency is between DRAM and NAND (we can discuss the actual latency)
  • What will the price be? Servers with Optane DIMMS will be very expensive. Standard case will be 192GB of RDRAM plus 1TB of Optane DIMMS. In this case, the price just for the DRAM and Optane will be >$7500 
  • What is the optimal DRAM DIMM to Optane DIMM ratio in a server configuration? Intel initial configuration is 1:5. Still need lots of DRAM as >90% of operations access the DRAM, not the Optane.
  • How many applications will have been optimized for persistent memory by end of 2018? lots are in development now. But Optane will be in less than 10% of servers being sold in December 2018
More ... questions from May 30th presentation

  • What is endurance of Optane DIMM: Intel said they will last as long as system. We have modeled actual cycles possible and how it is managed to meet the criteria Intel committed to
  • Is it really DDR4 compatible: on size and electrical and thermal.... the answer is "sort of". We have the details but it depends on the motherboard.
  • Why do I still need DRAM in large amount on my server? correct ratio of Optane to DRAM is 5:1 to 10:1. We have models why this is
Intel won't provide the info on Availability, latency, cost, price, % of systems that will have optane DIMMs. Fortunately we will provide that to you and we can discuss in person at Flash Memory Summit in August

Mark Webb

Relative Memory Costs for Today's SSDs and DIMMs

UPDATED: What are the relative costs for the memory types in new SSDs and DIMMs? We have the estimates below!

We updated 3D XPoint and Optane costs with actual cost today vs what is should cost if it was mature and running in high volume.

Fast NAND is what we estimate for a Z-NAND type product. Other companies are working on similar Fast NAND products
Actual values, assumptions, prices and how these will change dramatically over the next two years is available as well


Mark Webb

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

HDD Trends and Impacts

 Multiple reports are coming out from industry analysts (Trendfocus, IDC, IHS, Gartner) on the HDD market for past year. Some interesting numbers on Units, Density, Cost, and Markets:

  • HDD Units relatively flat in 400Mu unit range for past 2 years (down from 2010 peak ~600M Units) . Less PCs sold and SSD encroachment in notebooks reduced TAM. 
  • HDD Capacity increasing 15% per year or more
  • HDD Mission critical (10K+15K) units down 25% from peak in 2012, Revenue down 50%
  • HDD Mission critical  (10K+15K) capacity is flat for past 2 years
  • HDD PC Capacity is relatively flat for past few years. CE and Enterprise Capacity is up.
  • HDD Cost and price per TB is down 12%+ per year. 500GB HDDs sell for less than $30 to PC OEMs

Lots more data available and how this affects the NAND/SSD market over the next few years

Some thoughts:

  • 10K and 15K market should be dead. SSDs are better and lower price per IOP... but its a slow death (Even though HDD makers 
    • SSDs should be this entire market with 25M units or more per year
    • SATA/PCIe will take this over in next 3-5 years
  • HDD Nearline market is growing rapidly with little impact from SSDs expected. >6TBs per drive at a cost well below $30/TB and costs dropping 10-15% per year. The date explosions is driving this market for storage
  • Now that NAND shortage is over, we expect SSDs resume steady penetration into PC market. Most PCs still ship with HDDs today. 
  • We are still several years away from SSD units outselling HDD Units . 10+ years from SSD capacity outselling SSD capacity

Mark Webb

Friday, February 2, 2018

Relative Costs for NAND, ZNAND, Optane Memory

What are the relative costs for the memory types in these new SSDs? We have the estimates below!


  • These are costs, not prices. Margins vary
  • These are approximate costs in 2018 for the memory in key products
  • All are relative to HDD costs

HDD is of course the cost leader... everything else falls into a spectrum of costs. Some products are more mature than others and that affects their cost today

Actual values, assumptions, prices and how these will change dramatically over the next two years is available as well

Mark Webb

Friday, January 26, 2018

How much will Persistent Memory Options Cost in 2019?

I recently attended the Persistent Memory Summit 2018. 

It was an outstanding conference and I was able to learn a lot on what some options for persistent memory configurations will be in 2019 and beyond. Spoiler Alert: Optane DIMMS are involved in both cheapest and most expensive options

 I converted it to customer cost for Storage/Memory components in the system for some typical options including a medium SSD and big HDD

If you disagree, please tell me the correct answer (hint: Facebook, Intel, Dreamworks... my email is below). 

I have specifics on why these options are probable, what the actual speeds are, and the costs for each components. Contact us for more info and system requirements estimates

Background Assumptions
  • DRAM is fastest, Optane is somewhat slower  but good enough. DRAM acts as cache for Optane DIMMS (Optane requires DRAM, it doesn't replace DRAM)
  • NVDIMM-N is DRAM speed... and DRAM density ... and more expensive than DRAM. But Persistent!
  • You still need to store stuff and HDD is about 50x cheaper than Optane, 10x cheaper than SSD
The Hypothetical Costs to a end user for some typical options

  • If you want TONS of addressable memory, Optane DIMMS might be the answer
  • If you want speed and persistence, NVDIMM-N might be the answer
  • If you want max speed and not persistence DRAM only might be the answer
  • If you are cheap: 64GB of DRAM plus an off brand SSD from Craigslist will do the trick
Just an opinion!

Mark Webb

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Persistent Memory Summit 2018

Persistent Memory Summit 2018

Today is the summit that brings together many of the people working in persistent memory to discuss the future, standards, and technologies.

There will be lots of discussions on standards, programming models, and changes to computing. But there are a few pragmatic questions we are getting answers to as well this week

1) Today's Technologies: NVDIMM-N is here today and is in use in many applications. How big is the market, who are the leaders, and how fast is it growing?

2) Tomorrow's Technologies: Intel has been talking about Optane DIMMs for a long time. But customers are still waiting for production DIMMs and the CPU to go with it. Are we on track for Sep 2018 availability

3) Software to take advantage of these technologies can be slow to come out. When are the leaders planning on being able to fully take advantage of large persistent memory. If I have 1-2TB of Memory... are we ready for it?

4) Overall Market... if we look at NVDIMMS from all technologies... when do we get to the bit shipments being same as DRAM DIMMS? density is 10x... so it should be quick!

Mark Webb

Sunday, January 7, 2018

SSD Growth Forecast in Compute Markets: Enterprise/Datacenter

Datacenter/Enterprise: SSDs provide 30% of units and  15% of capacity sold in 2017. 

Projections for ALL SSDs and applications from a number of outlets are 15-19% unit growth and 15-20% Revenue growth. We have all the details behind those numbers if you want them but some specifics on SSD/HDD ratio on Enterprise/Datacenter

SSD% of total Enterprise HDD+SSD unit sales finished 2017 just around 30%, climbing from 23% in 2016. For 2018 we predict continued growth to 36%.  Due to nearline and Cold storage HDD dominance, SSDs provide <15% of the new capacity sold in the enterprise today. 

Note: SSDs are less than 15% of NEW capacity sold. they are less than 10% of total capacity

By Application:

  • SSDs replace mission critical 10K/15K HDDs at a very fast rate as cost per IOPs is equivalent or better. SSDs should replace 90% of this market eventually
  • SSDs in server markets are growing steadily in PCIe and SATA applications
  • SSDs continue to make little impact in nearline and cold storage applications
  • TLC utilization will support SSD growth in all applications

Reasons for methodical increase:

  • SSD $/GB Pricing is still 10x HDD Pricing in most enteprise applications
  • SSD Prices are dropping but so are HDD prices. no crossover coming
  • Anything with $/IOPS Metric is moving to SSD. Anything with $/GB Metric (Nearline/Cold) is staying HDD
  • Enterprise customers are slow to move and change configurations. 10K/15K HDDs still sell even though there is limited rationale for using them over SSDs
For details on attach rates, SSD pricing, HDD pricing, and cost assumptions over the next 5 years, contact us!

From WDC presentation 90% of data is still HDD in 2022:

Side note: Optane (p4800x) and Fast NAND applications (Z-NAND and products from WDC/Hynix/Toshiba) will impact server NVMe SSDs sales for fastest applications. The Jury is still out on how much of a premium customers are willing to pay over NAND SSDs. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

SSD Growth Forecast in Compute Markets: Client Notebooks

SSD sales are growing and attach rate is increasing in all compute markets. The question is: How Fast? How Much?     

Projections for SSDs from a number of outlets are 15-19% unit growth and 15-20% Revenue growth. We have all the details behind those numbers if you want them but some specifics on attach rates. 

Client Notebook SSD attach rate finished 2017 just around 50%, climbing from 20% in 2014. For 2018 we predict continued steady growth fueled by SSD/NAND price drops. The average attach rate for 2018 will exceed 55%  ... growing to almost 70% by end of 2019..... if NAND Prices start to drop as expected. No tipping point is coming.... 

Reasons for methodical increase: 

  • SSD $/GB Pricing is still 8x HDD Pricing
  • SSD Prices are dropping but so are HDD prices. SSD $/GB multiplier is 3x HDD in 2021
  • Many people still want large capacity drives
  • SSD performance is better than HDD, but it is not required for any application
For details on attach rates, SSD pricing, HDD pricing, and cost assumptions over the next 5 years, contact us!

Side note: at this point, we dont see an impact of Optane SSDs or Memory on these numbers. Optane doesn't impact notebook market at this time. See Desktop report summary for impact on that market.

Mark Webb