More FlashDancing and STEC-pumping
Barry Whyte didn't say that IBM "dumped" Fusion-IO for STEC. They just chose to highlight STEC for SVC at the present.
Mr. Whyte's superficially plausible technical arguments don't totally pass the smell test however, because he neglects to even acknowledge the economic aspects of the decision for IBM.
There are certainly applications where SSD in a PCIe slot is the best approach, and there are profit-motivated scenarios where it makes more sense to pump STEC vs. Fusion-IO.
What Barry Whyte ignores is this: when IBM (or EMC, or Compellent, or anyone else) sells a STEC, they turn $20,000 in revenue at 50% gross margins. When they sell a Fusion-IO unit they turn $3,000 in revenue at 40% gross margins -- for the same SSD capacity.
But the decision storage vendors face is even bigger than that. For OEMs like IBM (and especially SAN players like EMC, Pillar Data, Compellent, etc.), the SSD game is all about OEM-profit-per-IOPS delivered to the application, and that's where STEC really shines.
Consider that in IBM's STEC benchmark, (SPC-1C/E), the revenue generated by the ZeusIOPS drives is $2-per-IOPS. In SPC-1, 84 STEC units delivered 300,000 IOPS -- about 3,500 IOPS per SSD. (FYI, these results actually show a HIGHER price-per-IOPS than HDD running the same benchmark!!!)
In STARK contrast, for IBM's Quicksilver test, 41 of the Fusion-IO drives delivered 1,000,000 IOPS. That's THREE TIMES as many IOPS from HALF AS MANY SSDs.
Now consider: that amounts to 24,000 IOPS for $3,000 (Fusion-IO) compared to 3,500 IOPS for $20,000 for STEC.
That's about $0.13 per IOPS (Fusion-IO) vs. $2.00 per IOPS (STEC).
Since these devices are both based on SLC Flash, it doesn't require a technical genius to figure out that there is about 100X higher OEM-profit-per-IOPS in selling STEC vs. Fusion-IO.
Now...if YOU were a Storage OEM trying to squeeze maximal profits out of the the SSD hype-cycle (at the very peak of customer confusion), where would YOU invest your BenchMARKETING budget?
It's that old simple rule again...FOLLOW THE MONEY. That's why EMC and IBM and virtually EVERY other SAN vendor is pumping STEC...for now.
That's also why STEC is doomed.
With the Intel/Micron joint-venture now focused on building it's own Fusion-IO clone instead of building a SAS SSD, with Samsung as the new "virtual" owner of Fusion-IO, with Sun's replacing the F5100 with the F20 PCIe card in Oracle's Exadata2, all of the NAND Flash silicon vendors have aligned themselves with the "Flash-on-the-motherboard" approach, because this is the only path to meaningful volume in the Enterprise Flash game.