The SSD caching market is expected to register a CAGR of 15.51% over the forecast period from 2020 to 2025. SSD caching is a cost-effective approach to accelerate application performance, rather than storing all data on flash storage. SSD caching enhances storage performance by keeping frequently accessed data immediately available. When the host issues the data request, the caching software will analyze SSD caches first to see if the data already exists. Additionally, caching software would use algorithms to predict the patterns of data access. SSD caching may occur in any device that uses SSD, such as personal computers, external storage arrays, and servers.
- This SSD caching feature of Intel’s SSDs is increasingly preferred by consumers since it made a PC that ran on a regular old hard drive load up the data at a relative speed to a pure SSD system. However, Intel’s Smart Response Technology can be enabled or disabled through the company’s rapid storage technology control panel, which gets installed along with the storage controller drivers. Additionally, this technology offers flexibility to have high capacity storage and faster access speeds of SSD, which ultimately results in better user experience. Servers and networks have shown high adoption interest to exploit these benefits of SSD caching.
- SSDs based on NAND flash memory is ideal for Big Data applications, because they offer ultra-fast storage performance, quickly providing an impressive return on investment (ROI). SSDs can be deployed as host cache, network cache, all-SSD storage arrays, or hybrid storage arrays with the SSD tier. According to Seagate Technology PLC, the volume of data created worldwide is expected to increase to 47 zettabytes and 163 zettabytes in 2020 and 2025, respectively, from 12 zettabytes in 2015. According to the NCTA (the Internet and Television Association), there will be around 50 billion connected devices by 2020, generating tens of zettabytes of data that must be managed and stored. Therefore, with the surge in Big Data, faster processing has become necessary, thereby creating opportunities for the growth of the market.
- For instance, there is an increase in the number of connected devices in China. In 2019, GSMA, the industry association of more than 750 operators with nearly 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem globally, reported that China, with 64% of the 1.5 billion global cellular connections, is the world’s most extensive Internet of Things (IoT) market. SSDs’ read performance is excellent compared to HDDs. SSD cache is valuable, especially for the systems mainly storing the fast accumulating write-once-read-many data (e.g., images, videos, and shared files). Moreover, 90% of network traffic in taobao.com (Alibaba Group), one of the largest e-commerce websites in China, is contributed by image browsing. The image data storage of the website increases by 200% each year. Similarly, videos stored in Facebook’s data centers grow by 239% per year.
- Amidst the coronavirus outbreak, there was increased use of internet connections, which indicates a higher utilization of private and public cloud services in the connected data center environment. This is also suggestive of growth potential across data center infrastructure to meet increased demand. The shortages and higher prices for memory and storage products to service the increase in data center demand are prevalent as of March 2020. With the electronics supply chain in China and South Korea starting to recover, amidst a decline in COVID-19 cases, the supply chain gap is expected to reduce. The SSD suppliers with factories, third-party assemblers, or source materials in Wuhan, witnessed an impact from the coronavirus outbreak. The factories were running at low utilization attributable to the slow return of laborers amidst the virus-based restrictions.
Key Market Trends
Enterprise Storage is Expected to Major Share
- Servers have generally been configured with banks of hard disk drives (HDD) or attached to storage area networks (SANs), which themselves are vast banks of hard drives. Enhancements to server technology created an I/O performance gap in the enterprise storage network. The application of SSD-based caching is to address the I/O performance gap by decreasing I/O latency and increasing IOPS performance. The server-based caching requires no upgrades to the storage arrays and no other appliance installation on critical networks’ data path. By servicing the large percentages of the I/O demand of essential servers at the network edge, SSD caching in servers effectively decreases the need for storage networks and arrays. This demand reduction enhances storage performance for other attached servers, and this may extend the useful life of existing storage infrastructure.
- The use of SSD caching in an enterprise environment is to store previously requested data, as it travels through the network, so it can be retrieved quickly when needed. Placing prior requested information in temporary storage reduces the demand on an enterprise’s bandwidth and accelerates access to the most current data. SSDs in enterprises store data persistently or cache data in non-volatile semiconductor memory temporarily. These SSDs generally use NAND flash memory and deliver higher performance and consume less power than spinning HDDs. As the demand for computing speed increases across numerous industries, the need for SSD caching is increasing. This resulted in multiple vendors entering the SSD cache market. This, in turn, led to a decrease in the prices of SSD caches.
- Current data-center applications across various enterprises tend to process an increasingly large volume of data sets. The caching effect of page cache is reduced by its limited capacity. Emerging flash-based SSD has latency and price advantages compared to hard disk and DRAM. Thus, SSD-based caching is widely deployed in data centers. According to the global cloud index, data center traffic witnessed increasing requirements for data storage. The high-traffic data center would further drive the demand for SSD caching, owing to its high-performance features. The acceleration of input/output operations per second (IOPs) and reduction of latency offered by SSD caching allow the data center and cloud computing environments to host more users and perform more transactions per second.
- Many companies across North America and Asia-Pacific started offering SSDs, which can be used as a caching solution. For instance, Samsung enterprise SSDs provide a comprehensive selection of enterprise data storage and caching options for nearly any application. Leveraging its extensive OEM expertise in data center SSDs, Samsung can provide low-latency, high-speed, and reliable data storage solutions to improve server performance and efficiency. According to the information from the Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, India has 50 million MSMEs. Additionally, in October 2019, Western Digital Corporation introduced an array of purpose-built storage solutions for small businesses and offices leveraging NAS environments. These solutions include the WD Red SSDs, which improve performance and caching abilities in the hybrid NAS environment.
North America is Expected to Hold a Significant Market Share
- Due to the growing adoption of advanced technologies, North America is expected to be a prominent market, such as cloud, IoT, Big Data, AI, and edge computing. The growing need for storage, due to the high adoption of such technologies, drives the market’s growth in the region. The presence of a well-established infrastructure that supports the faster implementation of advanced technologies made this region a key market. Enterprises in the region are increasing their spending on IT infrastructure to gain a competitive edge and expand their business productivity. Therefore, there has been a need for using SSD caching in IT infrastructure devices to save time, speed up data transfer, and achieve a high-performance level. The replacement rate of traditional hard disk drives with SSDs is high in the region.
- North America also has a strong foothold of vendors, which contributes to the growth of the market. Some of them include Intel Corporation, Western Digital Corporation, Micron Technology Inc., and Edge Tech Corporation. In April 2019, Micron Technology Inc. announced the launch of its new series of SSDs featuring the NVM Express (NVMe) protocol, bringing storage performance at higher capacities to the cloud and enterprise computing markets. The Micron 9300 series of NVMe SSDs helps companies with data-intensive applications access and process data faster, thus helping reduce the response time. It helps accelerate the growth of data centers to meet the present day’s growing data demands. It is optimized for low-latency and performance-critical workloads, like caching, database acceleration, and training/caching for AI, ML, and DL, among others.
- In the United States, cloud storage is expected to continue to grow, both by the desire to reduce latency by locating data closer to the consumer and due to the regulatory and corporate mandates demanding the data to be housed locally within different regions. Enterprises deploying advanced cloud infrastructures in the region need systems that can store, retrieve, process, and quickly analyze massive amounts of business-critical data. Driven by this need, many companies in the United States are transitioning primary storage from SATA-based SSDs to NVMe. The new NVMe SSDs offer caching features. The data center industry is witnessing rapid growth and focusing more on efficiency and maximum uptime. For instance, the rising demand for cognitive capabilities in the country led IBM Corporation to build four new cloud data centers in the country.
- The need for data centers in Canada is on the rise, despite the declining number of corporate-run data centers. The decisive shift toward cloud computing in the country is likely to ascend the data centers, in turn, creating opportunities for market growth over the forecast period. In North America, particularly in the United States, data storage moves from endpoints to the core and edge of networks. Furthermore, edge computing in the region has become increasingly critical, as more endpoints from autonomous cars to the internet of things (IoT) and millions of new streaming-enabled devices are being added across the web and on corporate and home networks. It is anticipated that the number of edge devices in production may reach billions, making controlling the costs more critical. Therefore, inexpensive storage with improved performance is vital, which, in turn, creates opportunities for the growth of the market.
The SSD caching market is quite competitive. In terms of market share, significant players currently dominate the market. The companies present in the market are continuously investing in Research and Development to gain product differentiation. Technological advancements in the market are also bringing sustainable competitive advantage to the companies, and the market is also witnessing multiple partnerships and mergers.
- May 2020 - Samsung developed a new SSD with support for the latest PCIe Gen. 4 standard and an E1.S form factor. The company’s new PM9A3 SSD uses Samsung’s sixth-generation 3-bit V-NAND technology and will be available in three form factors: E1.S, M.2, and U.2. The E1.S and U.2 versions of the SSD can reach peak sequential read and write speeds of up to 6,500 MB/s and 3,500 MB/s, respectively
- May 2020 - Intel Corporation announced a 144-layer 3D NAND, QLC SSD is on track to ship later this year. Intel will ship the Alder Stream Optane SSD in a single port form this year and dual-port form in 2021. Alder Stream uses second-generation 3D XPoint media, with four layers instead of gen 1’s two. It has a new controller ASIC with the latest firmware and the PCIe 4 link technology.
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