TRENDFOCUS just recently published its CQ4 ’15 report, which included details for all SSD types and interfaces shipped in the final quarter of 2015. One thing that continues to be clear is the staying power of SAS SSDs. SAS SSDs have continued to show growth virtually every quarter throughout 2014 and 2015. There are multiple factors that will continue to help drive growth with this technology. First, SAS as a protocol has been an interface of choice for network storage system companies since 2004. This interface replaced the legacy Parallel SCSI with an industry roadmap supporting ongoing performance improvements – from 3Gbit/sec to 6Gbit/sec, and currently at 12Gbit/sec. Beyond 12Gbit/sec, the industry (through the SCSI Trade Association) has put forth a roadmap to go to 24Gbit/sec, and even showing a path to 48Gbit/sec. Second, pricing is always a driver (or inhibitor) of driving volume. For SAS SSDs, the move to lower endurance levels has shown that the industry and market can accommodate lower endurance levels, dropping from 25 DWPD (Drive Writes Per Day) to 10 DWPD, then 5 DWPD, and some roadmaps now showing 1 DWPD (and even sub-1 DWPD). With these moves to lower endurance levels comes lower pricing! As we all know, lower pricing, most of the time, leads to increased volumes.
As the network storage system companies that are driving volumes for this technology are offered a clear roadmap at ever lower pricing, the industry has no plans to move away from SAS SSDs anytime in the near future. Noting this, we should see SAS SSD volumes to continue to grow in the coming years, above and beyond the half million units we saw shipped in CQ4 ’15.