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News from the SSD front

While I firmly believe we at BnS spend too much time on inside
baseball I must admit it's entertaining to talk about stock prices and off the
wall technologies that may never actually make it to a data center near
you.  Since I just couldn't face writing
the umpteenth installment in the never ending archive saga this afternoon we'll
go back to the SSD market where STEC has hit a billion dollar market cap
while startups are bragging about 500,000 IOPS and the storage equivalent of
power too cheap to meter.

Since everyone in the storage industry, especially old
George down the page, seems obsessed with the Data Domain bidding war the fact
that STEC's stock hit $23 a share giving them a market cap of over a billion
dollars or half a Data Domain should peak some folks attention as well. Even
considering that STEC's ZEUS IOPS drives lead the performance race and have won
design wins from EMC, HP, Compellent and pretty much everyone else that will
let you put a handful of SSDs in a disk array their 208 P/E is well into
nosebleed territory. After all DD closed today at a little over $32 (so the
market thinks EMC will hold up their paddle one more time) for a P/E of 107.

While ZEUS IOPS are impressively fast the single level cell
flash technology they use makes them just a bit pricy with 36GB drives going
for around $9000 on the street where Intel's X25-E, used by Pillar and
Equallogic who do wide striping across SSDs so they can get by with the slower
but still SLC flash, goes for under a thousand for 64GB. MLC flash is even
cheaper but has significant limitations on write cycles and write performance
making it suitable for laptops and USB keys but not production disk arrays even
in the midrange let alone the Syms and USP-Vs of the world.

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