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Can Anyone Challenge STEC?

It's been about 18 months since STEC released their
astoundingly fast ZEUS iops flash SSD establishing what EMC dubbed the enterprise
flash drive (EFD) market.  Since then
just about every array vendor targeting the enterprise or high performance
midrange market has integrated the ZEUS iops into their arrays.  This begs the question where's the second

While many companies take MLC flash chips and turn them into
SATA SSDs for laptops and speed freak enthusiasts building systems that let
them kill zombies faster than their friends and neighbors no one else building
devices with SAS or Fibre Channel interfaces that turn in even half the
performance of a ZEUS iops.  Last month
STEC announced that an unnamed customer (I'm guessing it has a three letter
name and headquarters in the northeast) will buy $120 millon worth of ZEUS iops
which drove their stock up to $34.

You would think seeing STEC selling for a 300:1 P:E ratio
would have a Sand Hill Road VCs waving money at silicon valley engineers to
come up with a SAS SSD that turned in even half of the ZEUS iops' 16K write
IOPs.  This may change soon as Toshiba and
BitMicro have announced Fibre Channel interface SLC based devices and SandForce's
SF-1500 controller promises 30K IOPs if and when someone packages it up into a full
module with a SATA or SAS interface.

For products shipping in volume the closest anyone's come to
date are Intel and Samsung's SLC SSDs both of which have SATA interfaces only.
Intel's X25-E deliver's 3.3K IOPs almost a quarter the ZEUS iops' performance
and does it for a street price of around $700 for 64GB. Given that a 73GB ZEUS
iops could set you back $15,000 1/5th the performance for 1/20th

the price could be a good deal.

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