The Opportunity: Experts estimate that 90% of the data residing in the world’s collective storage media was created in the last 2 years. “Big Data” is projected to grow at roughly 50% annually over the next ten years as the Cloud paradigm matures as the global standard for computing and storage. And most of this new data will be unstructured data – such as audio and video data that does not fit into well defined categories in established database programs. Faster storage layers are needed on top of workhorse Hard Disk Drive (HDD) based systems to allow timely access to and interpretation of this rapidly growing unstructured information by businesses and other large enterprises. Flash memory based Solid State Drives (SSDs) are now providing this faster storage layer. An additional benefit offered by SSDs is significantly lower power consumption than HDDs, an important consideration in energy hungry data centers.
Because the driver of SSD demand is the need for faster access to “hot” data by Cloud and Enterprise computing applications, it is natural that these applications are now migrating to SSDs with a PCIe interface, which offers twice the performance of the older SATA interface first offered by SSDs used primarily in consumer applications. However, the PCIe interface SSD suppliers who have emerged over the last several years, while taking advantage of the higher performance of the PCIe interface, failed to take this opportunity to innovate the internal SSD architecture itself, and followed the mindset of previous SATA SSD architectures, which themselves reflect the thinking that went into HDD architectures 30+ years ago.