Wednesday, June 18, 2014

eMMC/ eMCP - Samsung lose, Hynix gain $1.7Bil

The market of embedded flash controller grew from $6 to 9.5 Billion between 2012 to 2013 (see the article below). 

The article does not elaborate on the large increase of market share by Hynix and Toshiba. Hynix gain market share from 6.3% to 22.5% while Toshiba from 18.7% to 22.5%.

2013 Rank
2012 Share
2013 Share
SK Hynix

Wondering what is the cause for Hynix $1.68 Billion growth? It will be interesting to compare to the market share of the overall Flash NAND memory market shares. Is Apple behind Hynix growth?

Interesting to see today news that Quarterly Profits of Samsung Electronics Forecast to Drop
IT & Mobile Division, which accounted for over 60 percent of the electronics giant’s sales and business profits last year. The division’s smartphone and tablet PC shipments are estimated to have declined significantly in the current quarter. “According to our forecast, smartphone and tablet PC shipments have fallen at least 10 percent and approximately 20 percent from the preceding quarter, respectively,” said research analyst Song Myung-sup at HI Investment & Securities”

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Janine Love
6/16/2014 05:15 PM EDT 

Recently, Gartner released a report, "Market Share Analysis: eMMC and eMCP Vendors by Revenue, Worldwide, 2013." The top ranked vendor for eMMC and eMCP market was Samsung Electronics, with 35.6% of worldwide revenue (around $3.317 billion). The top four vendors, Samsung, Toshiba, SK Hynix, and SanDisk, claimed 95.4% revenue share in 2013, up from 90% the previous year. Sales of eMCPs saw higher growth in 2013 than eMMCs. In the report, Gartner attributes this to the increased support of eMCPs by application vendors for low-cost smartphones.

Table: Vendor revenue for eMMCs and eMCPs, worldwide, 2012-2013 (millions of dollars).

Officially known as JESD84-B50: Embedded MultiMediaCard (e.MMC), Electrical Standard (5.0), eMMC memory is a JEDEC standard that is currently in version 5.0. As JEDEC defines it, eMMC is an embedded non-volatile memory system that includes flash memory as well as a flash memory controller. The aim of the standard is to simplify the application interface design and free up the host processor from some of the low-level flash memory management tasks. About two years ago, we saw the introduction of embedded multi-chip package (eMCP) memory, which is eMMC memory with an additional DRAM module, developed for low-cost smartphones in an effort to speed time to market.

Figure: Position of different mobile memory systems in relation to cost and speed.
(Source: Gartner)

Gartner's principal analyst, Brady Wang, compiled the report. He found it surprising that sales of eMCPs saw higher growth in 2013. He also noted that TLC (also known as 3-bits-per-cell) NAND solutions for both eMMC and eMCP will see high adoption in 2014, both in smartphones and tablets. This will address the market demands for high levels of storage space while lowering costs.
eMMC and eMCP memory includes controllers. Some vendors are using their in-house controllers to gain a competitive advantage. 

Wang says: Some NAND flash vendors, including SNKD, Toshiba and Samsung, still use in-house controllers. Since the geometry of NAND flash moves fast and also the configurations of NAND flash chips between vendors are slightly different, it's important to have a close relationship between controller vendors and chip vendors. That's one advantage of in-house controllers. The other advantage is the cost.

Despite the success stories, challenges remain for mobile memory, and Wang identifies speed and performance as the top ones, as mobile memory is challenged to meet the demands of high-performance processors. As a result, he expects universal flash storage (UFS) memory to see its initial adoption in the second half of 2014, but only in very high-end, flagship products to start.
The advantages of UFS memory (as compared to eMMC/eMCP memory) are better performance, higher capacity, better bandwidth, better IOPS, and optimized performance for multithreaded applications, according to Wang. UFS uses a serial interface (eMMC is a parallel interface) and asynchronous I/O (eMMC is synchronous I/O), enabling it to efficiently move data between the host processor and mass storage.

Wang notes that currently the cost and power consumption of UFS is higher than eMMC, so this will constrain its adoption. However, with the introduction of multi-core architectures that require high-performance memory, UFS is well positioned. “Although the power consumption of UFS is higher than eMMC, its energy efficiency is better,” says Wang. He expects to see UFS in high-end smartphones, tablets, and ultrabooks. eMMC will still be the best choice for mid-to-low cost mobile applications. Wang also points to SATA SSDs as competition for UFS in ultrabook applications. Finally, he notes that UFS is not backward compatible with eMMC, which will slow its adoption in applications where eMMC is already used.

Monday, June 16, 2014

SSD Market Share/ SanDisk buys Fusion-io

A recent survey by Gartner (see below) shows Intel and Samsung leading in shipment of SSD storage for enterprise.

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 IBM officially biggest all-flash array shipper - analyst

Gartner AFA data hits the street
By Chris Mellor13 Jun 2014 

No, it isn’t the greatly anticipated all-flash array magic quadrant, but it's great Gartner analysis nonetheless. The number-crunchers at Gartner HWQ have produced a Market Share Analysis: SSDs and Solid-State Arrays, Worldwide, 2013. Yummy. Let’s see what’s inside.
The doc, available as a download from Pure Storage (guess who's done well in the analysis) after registering a few details. It looks at both SSDs and all-flash arrays, which Gartner calls Solid State Arrays (SSAs) and IBM comes out as the leading SSA shipper – with Pure Storage second.
SSAs are defined carefully: ”SSAs are scalable, dedicated, solutions based solely on solid-state semiconductor technology for data storage that cannot be configured with HDD technology at any time. As distinct from SSD-only racks within ECB storage arrays, an SSA must be a stand-alone product denoted with a specific name and model number, which typically (but not always) includes an operating system and data management software optimised for solid-state technology.”
To cut a long story short, Dell and HDS all-flash array products are excluded, as are all-flash versions of – for example – EMC VMAX and VNX, and NetApp FAS arrays.
The SSD category embraces PCIe flash cards and also includes “self-contained solid-state NAND dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs), which must be used in dedicated slots in servers. Mainstream PC SSDs being used in servers are counted in this category due to end consumption.”
We’ll graph the information here, and you can read the detailed numbers by downloading the doc. The SSD info starts with worldwide vendor revenues:
Click chart for larger version
Total SSD revenues in 2012 were $7.2 billion, and in 2013 had risen to $10.99 billion, a 53.1 per cent increase.
Samsung as top dog got most of that with Intel, growing less, at number 2. Look at Sandisk’s rocketing growth up into the no 3 slot, closely followed by Micron. Toshiba held its fifth place but didn’t grow much. WD grew, Fusion-io declined and now we’re in the tail-enders.
Now let’s look at the enterprise SSD market:

Intel is top dog, not second-placed Samsung. WD, with its HGST/Intel SSDs is in third place followed by SanDisk successfully exhibiting its enterprise supplier credentials. Then there’s Fusion-io, which declined 2012 - 2013, Google with its internal use - amazing - Micron is a, we think, in a disappointing sixth place, NetApp a, for it, strong seventh then LSI and Seagate. EMC does not appear at all.
Now for the SSA numbers.
Here are the vendor revenue market share numbers:

Click chart to make it larger.
And here the actual SSA revenues by vendor:

Click chart to make it larger
IBM has had a wildly successful 2013 year, solidly overtaking Violin Memory to claim a dominating number 1 slot. Pure Storage has rocketed to the number 2 position in 2013 while Violin Memory slumped from first place in 2013 to third in 2013, illustrating the new management team’s uphill task. EMC has sprung into fourth place from a standing start and NetApp is not far behind in the fifth slot. Then there’s Nimbus Data and tail-ender Cisco - a dismal showing for the networking behemoth in our view, with startup SolidFire very close behind.
The SSA market was sized by Gartner at $236.5m in 2012, and 182.1 per cent higher at $667.3m in 2013. IBM’s SSA revenues grew at 278.1 per cent, Pure's at a magnificent 642.3 per cent and no other vendor outpaced the market, meaning they lost share.
Now this is artificial, as EMC, Kaminario, SolidFire and HP had no presence in Gartner’s numbers in 2013, but we can assert that Violin Memory, NetApp, Nimbus and Cisco all lost share from 2012 to 2013. With EMC, Kaminario, SolidFire and HP now in the SAA market we might expect these losses to continue in 2014.
The Gartner analysis contains more data, segment metrics and so forth. It’s worth a download and read if you’re interested.
Main takeaway? Big Blue really is big in SSAs, Pure Storage is living up to its hype, and the SSA market is growing at a fast lick. NAND the story goes on