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Flash storage companies top solid-state headlines in 2015

Flash storage vendors had a big year in 2015. These five news stories paint a picture of where the flash industry is headed and what users can expect in their data centers.

Solid-state storage developments continued to make headlines in 2015, with flash storage companies presenting their ideas for the future of flash technology.

Prominent vendors, such as EMC and IBM, made major flash announcements this year, while startup Datrium Inc. came out of stealth with a server-side flash option and a new approach to storage. Pure Storage Inc. went public, giving competitive vendors insight into the direction of the firm.

To see which flash storage companies made the biggest splash over the past year, we took a look at the most-read stories on SearchSolidStateStorage in 2015.

The future direction of flash

Between server-side flash, memory channel flash and 3D NAND, flash storage companies have made major developments in recent years. EMC president Jeremy Burton discussed DSSD's unique flash product and how it compares with other technologies on the market. When startup Datrium came out of stealth, it came out swinging with low-cost server-side flash that allows users to "bring your own flash."

Two-dimensional NAND flash, once widely used, now has a number of replacement technologies lined up that promise improved performance, reliability and capacity.

Triple-level cell (TLC) 3D NAND shows up in the enterprise

Cost is always a prominent concern, and some flash storage companies -- such as Dell with its SC series -- took steps to address this with 3D TLC NAND. And the Kaminario K2 array used the density of 3D TLC NAND for low costs and higher reliability.

IBM upgrades FlashSystem with MLC flash design

By adding multi-level cell (MLC) flash to its FlashSystem product line, IBM hopes to improve system density, bandwidth and keep performance consistently high. MLC NAND chips are less expensive than the enterprise MLC chips previously used, and a popular recent choice for consumer-grade SSDs.

Flash and the 2015 EMC product launches

At EMC World 2015, flash was a central character in the company's product launch announcements. Following the move toward solid-state storage in the enterprise, EMC added a low-end, all-flash array to the VNXe line, and doubled the available capacity on its XtremIO platform. XtremIO was a big seller for EMC -- doubling 2014 revenue while most EMC products declined -- and was on pace to hit $1 billion in revenue.

Pure Storage IPO a good sign for flash

When Pure Storage went public, other flash storage companies saw it as a positive sign for the technology. Pure continued to lose money in its first quarter as a public company, but its year-over-year revenue growth of 167% to $131.4 million was a sign of health in the all-flash array market.

Next Steps

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