Weekly Global Tech News, January 28, 2019

This is a guest post from Mike Montemorra, who is a technology guru with long and successful career in computer industry. Mike keeps an eye on the latest developments in computer and storage technology and publishes his observations weekly. Below is his brief summary of what was important in the past week.


What did we learn last week?

Hi Folks,

Are you staying warm and cozy this winter?  It’s been cool and blustery here in Colorado but we are enjoying the beautiful Rocky Mountain scenery!  Spring will be here soon enough, so enjoy the season!   Here are some interesting tech highlights from the week:

BackBlaze does the storage industry a service by publishing their ongoing HDD reliability metrics for over 750PB of online storage.  Here’s their latest for CY18.   Like it or not, this is one example of how HDD’s perform in RAID environments with their kind of backup workloads.

Some wishful predictions by WDC for CY19.  They predictably see edge computing and RISC-V coming of age in CY19 along with the first production shipments of energy assisted writing (MAMR and/or HAMR) for enterprise HDD’s.  All these predictions sound good in January… we will have to revisit again sometime early CQ4 to see how accurate this was.

Our friends at Objective Analysis and Coughlin Associates have finished their multipart technology update (thememoryguy.com) with this nice discussion about when and where emerging technologies (like ReRam and MRAM) begin to displace current memory architectures.  Their timelines assume the path of least resistance is scaling of existing tech and that emerging tech only arrives when scaling becomes difficult or cost prohibitive.

To add to this, both foundries and independent IC manufacturers are beginning to incorporate embedded NVM into some of their newer designs.   These new designs will fuel emerging IoT systems incoming years.RISC-V remains an emerging technology that should allow for rapid adoption and integration of new IoT instances as this article attests.  CY19 is the year when RISC-V begins to make its mark and its open source nature should begin to differentiate it from alternatives that are captive or supplier unique.

This new CMOS image sensor is going to spur memory demand as 20MP cameras begin to move into even more of the smartphone market.  Bring it on!

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Weekly Global Tech News, January 21, 2019

This is a guest post from Mike Montemorra, who is a technology guru with long and successful career in computer industry. Mike keeps an eye on the latest developments in computer and storage technology and publishes his observations weekly. Below is his brief summary of what was important in the past week.


What did we learn last week?

This week, we will focus on solid state memories as there have been a few interesting developments relating to new technologies such as eMRAM and racetrack memory.    Also, 5G will begin to jell in CY19 and really take off in CY20… can’t wait!   Hope you enjoy these bits from the week’s news.

WDC is not yet a huge force in NVMe enterprise SSD’s, but that may soon change with these products.  All they need to do is further increase capacities which they might do if they simply use 96L QLC.

MRAM at ever increasing densities began shipping in some volume late last year.  This has been a long time coming for Everspin, but their eMRAM technology is also available inside your next TSMC or Global Foundries design (for a price).

Here’s an interesting discussion on how AI will affect semiconductor and system design in the coming years.   As AI gets closer to influencing our daily lives, it makes sense to understand where the pundits see things moving.

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Weekly Global Tech News, January 14, 2019

This is a guest post from Mike Montemorra, who is a technology guru with long and successful career in computer industry. Mike keeps an eye on the latest developments in computer and storage technology and publishes his observations weekly. Below is his brief summary of what was important in the past week.


What did we learn last week?

Hi everyone and Happy New Year to all!

This year has good things in store for all of us in the storage end of the business, of that I am sure, so let’s get going!

In case you haven’t seen this already, this is a very well written summarization of current HDD HAMR vs MAMR technologies.

The ‘winner’, of course, will be the company that makes the most money or can recoup some or all of their copious investments.    WD made its announcement that 16TB MAMR drives were ‘sampling’ at CES this week. I will be more impressed when they announce customer design wins and release some reliability data.

… and conventional HDD’s are still being announced with the recent Toshiba MG08 16TB drive.  I suppose we all knew that 16TB was inevitable given the 9D helium platform they have.  Others will probably follow suit since this is the path off least resistance toward higher capacity without ‘energy assist’ (MAMR or HAMR) products which will probably ramp up more slowly to provide a solid reli base for customer confidence.

The GreyBeards are at it again with a year-end CY18 summary report.  It’s interesting and probably predictive of trends for CY19.

… and Storage Newsletter has their predictions for CY19 as well (part 1 and part 2).  They say object storage is dead and composable infrastructure is emerging (what would be really interesting is compostable storage, but that may not be in the cards!)

Here’s an interesting paper on how STT-MRAM might evolve in coming years.

The first step in further increases in speed for these STT junctions is precise control of higher order spin waves.  There are potentially other uses besides memory for these kinds of spintronic devices.

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Weekly Global Tech News, January 7, 2019

This is a guest post from Mike Montemorra, who is a technology guru with long and successful career in computer industry. Mike keeps an eye on the latest developments in computer and storage technology and publishes his observations weekly. Below is his brief summary of what was important in the past week.


What did we learn last week?

Happy New Year 2019!  Let’s hope for good things to come for all of us as the storage industry works its way out of a supply glut while 5G and IoT emerge to generate more data! The second half of CY19 should once again be heady times again for the business, so buckle up as we swoop downward into the bottom of the cycle and start heading back upwards!

MAMR vs HAMR ‘rock ’em, sock ’em at 16TB and beyond… who will win or will both technologies see production?  Which will be the most flexible and reliable?  and most critically for the bottom line, which technology will be the most profitable?  Only time will tell…

I guess that, in retrospect, we should have seen the memory glut coming as data storage is always a cyclical business, but if you look at the future of storage in the coming years, the long term view is good (until the next cycle sets in, of course).  …and Korea, Inc is still investing at the bleeding edge (read DDR5 and MRAM)!


Here’s a good review of enterprise SSD products from various manufacturers.  Note the conspicuous lack of key HDD &SSD players WDC and STX in this particular SSD mix which is intended to span the range of enterprise market offerings.  Note also the (relatively) high power consumption levels and the wide range of DWPD specs…


A little more 5G hype for your new year.  …but seriously, I do believe that CY19 is going to see both the emergence of 5G and its rapid adoption (at least at the high end of the market), spawning a new chip boom late in the year.  Just look at the SnapDragon 855 processor that will be used in many ‘5G capable’ phones this year.  This article reviews the key capabilities of that 7nm chip.  

CES is next week!!   Here’s what should be big. https://techcrunch.com/2018/12/31/what-to-expect-from-ces-2019/


Of course, I couldn’t complete this week’s message without a few words about New Horizon’s latest accomplishment. They captured a bunch of data, but have paused because New Horizon is currently behind the sun… It is a testament to the laws of physics and the accuracy of our interactive orbital calculations that we can get this close to the object without smacking it!

NASA ‘ 2014 MU69  aka ‘Ultima Thule’.

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Weekly Global Tech News, December 31, 2018

This is a guest post from Mike Montemorra, who is a technology guru with long and successful career in computer industry. Mike keeps an eye on the latest developments in computer and storage technology and publishes his observations weekly. Below is his brief summary of what was important in the past week.


What did we learn last week?

To add to my comments from last week, when we emerge from the current solid state memory glut next year, what will the storage landscape look like for client, cloud and enterprise?  I suspect we will begin to see the emergence of memory-centric compute as 5G begins rollout.  I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts!

Is HAMR really ready now for real-life workloads?  Seagate and NetApp say yes.  Results from this upcoming integration step will finally tell the tale of HAMR.  If successful, look for lots of chest beating from STX…  (link)

Tom Coughlin has assembled a pretty comprehensive review of the storage landscape in this series.  I found it be be quite insightful.   In part 1, he comments about solid state memory pricing and elaborates on how the industry will achieve this in part 2.  Finally in part 3, he speculates on how all the data that is generated will be managed.  It’s getting interesting out there, folks!

Source: Coughlin Associates.  Note generationally that cost per bit reduces.

High speed AFA’s with huge capacities should proliferate in CY19, partly due to lower flash pricing.  The cost vs performance tradeoff will suddenly appeal to more customers, spelling good times ahead for AFA makers as they continue to expand their market presence.

Here’s a good review of the big data landscape in CY18.  A lot has happened this year… the data universe has dramatically expanded as have ways to deal with all this information.  For example, AWS revenues are $27B and growing at a 46% CAGR!  Others are growing even faster, but AWS illustrates what a monster cloud data management really is.    It looks like CY19-CY20 will see some of the other companies noted in this article explode to the forefront as efficient solutions begin to appear.

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Weekly Global Tech News, December 24, 2018

This is a guest post from Mike Montemorra, who is a technology guru with long and successful career in computer industry. Mike keeps an eye on the latest developments in computer and storage technology and publishes his observations weekly. Below is his brief summary of what was important in the past week.


What did we learn last week?

The year might be coming to an end shortly, but advances in technology that will make a difference in coming years do not slow down!  Despite the current oversupply situation in memory, it is important to note that these businesses have and always will be cyclical.  So what will drive the next big boom (in memory and otherwise)?  I think the upcoming buildout of 5G capable infrastructure and associated IoT products will start to take hold in 2HCY19.  The associated edge/fog compute buildouts should begin late CY19 as well, so hang on, but product mix on the other end of this glut may change!    Those of you with alternative views, please comment!

This quarter does not look good for HDD demand in almost all segments per TrendFocus.  Is this simply digestion of inventories or a portent of further HDD demand softening?  Combine this with flash oversupply (read: pricing reductions) in coming quarters and we may see further share loss for HDD in memory…

HDD demand forecast per Coughlin Associates:

The good news is there is still demand, but it is declining Y/Y primarily due to lack of meaningful areal density growth.  HDD demand will continue to decline but it will remain a good business for years.

So where is the memory market going in CY19?  Jim handy usually has a pretty good idea based on history and his divining of industry dynamics.  The outlook is not pretty and you will want to listen to his prognostication. 

 Source:  Jim Handy, Objective Analysis

… and to underscore all this, Digitimes says the 1HCY19 downturn will indeed be severe.   What is going to be interesting is whether we see some growth in 2HCY19 due to ramp ups for 5G and IoT infrastructure expected in CY20.

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The New Christmas Song…

Folks, to better reflect the latest tech trends… this is a new Christmas song!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you!

Algorithms are comin’ to town!

By Andrei Khurshudov (sort of)

***

You better watch out

You better not cry

You cannot escape 

Pervasive AI

Algorithms are comin’ to town!

 

They are making a list

And searching it twice

They’re gonna compute 

Who’s naughty or nice

Algorithms are comin’ to town!

 

     They track you when you’re sleeping

     They sense when you’re awake

     They know what you will buy and eat

     So HIDE for goodness’ sake!

 

You better watch out

You better not cry

Turn off your laptop

I’m telling you why

Algorithms are comin’ to town!

 

     They log your shopping habits

     Predict where you will go

     They read emails that you receive

     And know what you don’t know

 

You better watch out

You better not cry

You better not pout

I’m telling you why

Algorithms are comin’ to town!

You better watch out

You better not cry

You cannot escape 

Pervasive AI

Algorithms are comin’ to town

***

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