In the era of big data, individuals, enterprises, the internet, and countries have increased demand for data storage. The market size of global memory chips is about USD 80 billion and demand for flash memory chips in China is over USD 10 billion. SSD is going through rapid growth at an alarming rate. Moreover, the intention of mergers and acquisitions, investment, and cooperation in the storage business recently is to exploit the huge potentialities of SSD in the field of big data storage.
On the afternoon of Nov 3rd, longsys, the domestic largest manufacturer of the memory module, and Marvell, an international manufacturer of control chip, launched strategic cooperation between longsys and Marvell and SSD new products launch，whose theme was "Core Storage FORESEE the future” to discuss the prospective market of SSD. On-site participants were full on that day, implying that all the people paid close attention to SSD.
1、Marvell high quality+local power of longsys, create high-performance and well-regarded SSD
longsys has specialized in storage for sixteen years with products ranging from mobile storage USB Flash Drives and micro SD to embedded eMMC, SDD, and Wi-Fi storage while cooperative partners ranging from PC manufacturers to users in various industries. At the same time, longsys has accumulated rich experience in designing storage control firmware and product programs and longsys keeps improving its production chain related to the flash resource, controller, package test, module solution, and localized service.
Having twenty years of technology accumulation in the field of controller chip of hard disk, Marvell takes up 70% share of HDD controller and ranks first in SSD controller world, occupying absolute advantage in technology and market. Marvell is undoubtedly a leading professional and international enterprises.
The cooperation between longsys and Marvell is the combination between localized service, cost-effectiveness and multi-applied products of longsys and lead-edge technology, high quality and enterprise influence of Marvell, aiming at creating high-quality, high-performance, well-regarded, safe, and reliable SSD products.
2、Marvell releases firmware +longsys deep development, focus on customization and industrial application of SSD
In the storage market, the core technology of chips is in the hand of international large manufacturers. Supply of NAND Flash is monopolized by several large enterprises such as Samsung, Toshiba, Micron, SK Hynix, and Intel. SSD is one of the products deliberately planned by several original manufacturers. How does longsys face the competition from original manufacturers and improve its competitive power?
Zhong Mengchen, product manager of longsys, said, "We are now focusing on SSD which is also in the business range of original flash manufacturers but we can always find our market eventually. For example, the storage capacity of SSD produced by original flash manufacturers is at least 128GB; however, many industrial clients need small capacities such as 64GB and 32GB, quantity demanded is not so big and they even require customization and fast delivery. Flash manufacturers are not willing to touch this partial market. We are also communicating some detailed customization with some internet enterprises now. Flash manufacturers can not meet these market requirements on some special products.”
Zhong Mengchen also expressed that Marvell released longsys with source code to let longsys develop its own firmware. Apart from constructing high-quality, high-performance, safe, and reliable SSD products, it is convenient for longsys to offer products that suit the market, satisfy the demand for customization, and maximize the application of SSD.
Mick Chen, marketing director in SSD business division of Marvell expressed as well that the reason why Marvell cooperated with longsys was that longsys had made much accumulation and laid a good foundation in the market and moreover longsys was a company that paid much attention to thinking, got close to clients and supported them. In general, longsys had the capability of independent research and development. All these made longsys a good choice as a cooperative partner.
Zhong Mengchen said,” some of our industrial clients want thorough customization openness but the openness has certain limitation. We can provide clients some interfaces for them to get the access to data below and operate at the bottom layer. These can be realized by virtue of technologies possessed by longsys and the controller of Marvell. For example, we can customize some private functions and make some additional applications that they want.”
Zhong Mengchen, product manager of longsys
3、With Marvell controller support,longsys is walking the forefront of the SSD market from SATA to PCIe
Market popularity of SSD SATAIII is basically realized now. In the future, the SSD interface is to develop from SATAIII to PCIe interface.
Mike Chen makes an analysis from three aspects of the development of SSD to PCIe.
In the first place, it is about the impetus of market requirements. Users’ requirement for speed is improving unceasingly.
In the next place, the PCIe ecological chain has gradually formed. CPU on Intel Skylake platform adds PCIe NVMe channel and other manufacturers of ecological chain will also enhance support for PCIe interface.
Last but not least, from the aspect of price, there is a huge difference between the prices of SSD PCIe and SSD SATA. SSD PCIe mutually launched by Marvell and longsys is close to the cost of SATA. The advantage in price is the largest driving force for transferring to PCIe.
Well, will SATA SSD get fully replaced by PCIe SSD? It depends on the manufacturers’ support for SATA. As long as the SATA interface exists, SATA SSD exists. However, it is easy for the SATA interface to get velocity saturation. Any system pursuing efficiency will switch to PCIe soon.
4、With the advantage in technological innovation, longsys launched 2D TLC SSD based on DRAM-less structure first without any fear of price war
In the trend of the rapid growth of SSD, more and more enterprises will come in while users in the commercial market care more about price so it is easy for product competition to get into a price war.
Regarding this market phenomenon, Li Zhixiong, general manager of Longsys quoted what a tech star in Taiwan said that one of the most obvious expressions of high-tech products was low cost. Everything was becoming much cheaper. It was important to lower the cost when enterprises were dealing with high-tech products.
Actually, it is unnecessary to worry about the low cost because it is the exactly low cost that makes SSD become more popular. Laptops equipped with SSD in the market now take up 25% and the figure will reach 40% to 50% in 2016. Especially two-in-one laptops and ultrabooks all adopt SSD.
How to face low cost? Li Zhixiong made an analysis.
First, the latest 28nm technology possessed by Marvell has the advantage in technology.
Next, Marvell DRAM-less NVMe SSD controller optimizes the cost. Because of less of one Dram chip, packaging becomes much easier and the PCB board is not complicated anymore so that cost is naturally lowered.
Last, Marvell adopts LDPC technology. Traditional BCH has limited ECC capability. LDPC goes through loop iteration to eliminate more errors. This technology has been utilized in the communication field for several decades and it transfers to NAND Flash application gradually. Our TLC SSD benefits from the support from 28nm advanced technology possessed by Marvell and it has a lower cost comparing with MLC SSD.
5、Marvell cooperates with longsys in the security market and plans to stride forward data center market with huge potential
Now the country is advancing the construction of information safety. Besides, there is a huge demand for the storage of BAT internet cloud data and center storage of server data. Thus, SSD will be a key application. Zhong Mengchen expressed that the government and army had some requirements on data security because they wanted to put an end to conditions such as data loss and leakage. Marvell released the bottom interface of SSD main-controller to longsys so longsys could develop firmware algorithms and protocols suitable for national and governmental security projects on this basis (longsys is the national fixed unit for the production of commercial encryption products) to get rid of risk in backdoor software and improve the security of data. In addition, regarding the SSD assembly house in Suzhou, the right of supervision on production could be given appropriately according to the requirement of clients and other related institutions.
Moreover, Marvell has a rich experience and favorable reputation in the enterprise-level data center market, which is of help to the fast growth of longsys. The enterprise-level data center market is also one of the strategic investment directions for longsys.