Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Revenue for Persistent Memory Through 2030


We published some data after the 2020 Flash Memory Summit on Persistent Memory and Emerging Memory revenue.

Based on Plans for CXL/Serial Memory bus, and based on recent feedback from Server and Datacenter companies, and feedback from memory companies, we forecast a revenue stream that is less dependent on new or emerging memory technologies.

Intel will apply its technology to the new bus and that will lead to growth. But other hybrid memory/storage solutions will be enabled by CXL and are desired by Datacenter companies to address persistent memory needs.

We can elaborate on the details of what these new solutions will look like and which companies benefit most


Mark Webb

Friday, April 16, 2021

Quick Recap of Supply and Demand in Memory

  I want to re-iterate a couple axioms of how memory pricing works. Half the people will say that I am crazy/wrong and it is no longer cyclical. The other half will say “yes we know… stop preaching”. This is for the first half

1)     In perfect balance (never happens). Demand = Supply and inventory is 4-6 weeks (including both customer and supplier). Supply and Demand  bit growth are both 18%. All is well

2)     If people think there will be a shortage, they (Big companies) will buy at least an extra 2 weeks of inventory and they will do this in one quarter. This causes an actual shortage of say 10-20%.

3)     Now there is a real shortage, Spot price and eventually contract price go up. But end unit sales may not have increased much.

4)     People will be put on allocation and ship dates are pushed out. Small companies need to pay Spot price as Samsung wont even take their calls anymore.

5)     This goes on until people get their fear based inventory levels on target. Really fearful companies may even double order knowing they can cancel at last moment.

6)     This continues for a while. demand is adjusted, prices slow adoption and people are not worried anymore. We are have higher prices and extra inventory

7)     Then Cell phone or Datacenter shipments flatten for some small reason and the fear of a shortage disappears. Google procurement is told to cut inventories by 2 weeks or more to get back to target.

8)     There is now a demand drop of 10-20% due to inventory adjustments on top of the 0-5% due to real demand change. Prices Drops and there is no reason to hold inventory so customers cut another week or two off of inventory targets. Suppliers cut prices to ship what they have

9)     Real end customer demand is down 5% and memory supplier demand would drop 20% if not for massive price cuts.

10)  Wait for perceived shortage to appear again.
Actual demand surprise was 0-5% but the impact to memory markets was enormous. And this DOESN’T include supply effect. Guess what happens when you build a fab when that initial shortage happens????

I will wait for the comment “its not a cyclical market anymore, this time is different… you boomers just don’t get it” (OK the last part is just something my kids would say)

Mark Webb

What is the Future of Persistent Memory???


Next week, the Persistent Memory/Computational Storage Summit will be held. There will be some great topics and I will be on a panel on Wednesday 4/21 at 11:45 to Discuss the future of Persistent Memory. 

Micron recently announced that they will not pursue 3D Xpoint Memory and will instead focus on CXL. Since I had a projections for greatly INCREASED 3D XPoint Revenue BASED on CXL…. That was an interesting statement. We showed markets growing from $1B to $4B+ per year on 3D Xpoint.

Some Thoughts (we will discuss at Summit or offline)

1)     3D XPoint, in the form of Intel’s Optane, is BY FAR the leading persistent memory and emerging memory. Nothing is close.

a.      MRAM and ReRAM are used in SOCs but the densities are small (<1Gbit) and this is not really what most of us talk about when we discuss persistent memory (its like NOR)

b.      MRAM from Everspin is also selling in 1Gbit chips stand alone, but again this is much smaller than persistent memory for databases and servers.

c.      NVDIMMS (NAND+DRAM) also sell in low volumes with densities around 16-32GByte.

d.      3D XPoint has large density (128-256Gbits per chip) AND reasonable latency AND Non-volatility

Given this, Micron NOT pursuing 3D Xpoint seems to be a huge statement. Why?


2)     CXL is widely accepted as the next gen memory bus. While this could change, it is very important to have a widely accepted bus to keep focus and leverage from large companies.

3)     We assumed that persistent memory would be an emerging memory that is fast and non-volatile and lower cost than DRAM and is accessed with memory commands.


a.      What if we didn’t need ALL of those attributes but some trade offs instead?

b.      What if we had a large memory pool available on a CXL bus that was DRAM and NAND but could be shared and used only when needed. We get large memory availability at lower cost

c.      If the CXL bus allows sharing and re-optimization of memory, does that make up for any other tradeoff?

d.      The CXL bus is flexible and open so people could choose the memory and processor rather than being locked into an Intel architecture. Persistent memory and large scale memory doesnt need to be deeply tied to the memory controller


At this time, Intel still plans to use Optane/3D Xpoint on the CXL bus and offer solutions based on this. Intel is essentially going it alone on 3D Xpoint/Optane echnology. Intel will make Optane at Micron through the end of the year and use its New Mexico Fab as additional capacity with option to increase that capacity over time (we track the site and Intel capacity in our reports)

For more on what the future of persistent memory and Optane is, attend the Summit and contact us\

Mark Webb

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Micron to Abandon 3D Xpoint


Micron Abandons 3D XPoint and Plans to Sell Lehi Facility by End of Year

 Mark Webb: MKW Ventures Consulting

  •  Micron announced that they will immediately stop development on 3D XPoint. 
  • The market has not developed and the fab costs too much to keep going. 
  • Micron said they will sell Lehi facility by end of the year and have offers they are looking at.
  • Micron will supply wafer to Intel through CY 2021.
  • The Lehi Fab as tooled out is quite small. Rio Rancho site is even smaller as tooled out
  • The Lehi Fab is not a DRAM fab or a 3D NAND fab. This is part of Micron's problem

So Micron has given up on this Market and Intel states that they have not 

We will have updated on scenarios for the Lehi site and what Intel will do going forward. Contact us for more information

Mark Webb

Friday, November 20, 2020

What are Actual NAND Costs Today and in 2030?


In our FMS paper on NAND costs for all vendors and all technologies, we showed how NAND bit costs are being reduced as we go from 64L to 256L. We also showed that equipment companies and Fabs are improving efficiency much faster than we expected. We also showed that QLC will grow to over 50% of bits by 2025 and that this will lead to cost reduction.

As a result, ACTUAL NAND bit costs are on track to drop ~20% per year if we continue the increase in layers at this rate.

Details are at with multiple reports

Some data:


+ Each layer increase brings significant cost reduction
+ Costs are significantly reduced each year for each existing technology (efficiency)
+ QLC is modeled at 22-23% cheaper than TLC

Overall, this leads to Gbyte cost reduction (these costs include package, assembly, test) over the next 10 years:

Another presentation at the same FMS session, re-published as well, also had costs for each company and technology. While the technical analysis of the processing and teardowns is excellent, their cost numbers are obviously incorrect. If those costs were the actual costs, every NAND company would be running negative 10% gross margin. Their margins are bad… but not that bad. Our costs line up with and are calibrated to what actual ASPs are and what actual margins are. All the gory details are available for discussion.

Mark Webb


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Emerging Memory Revenue (MRAM, Optane, 3 XPoint, ReRAM, FE RAM)

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Emerging Memory Revenue (MRAM, Optane, 3 XPoint, ReRAM, FE RAM)

What is the Market for Emerging Memories in 2030?


We have a lot of requests to predict the Emerging Memory Market in 2025 and 2030. We provide an estimate and the reason why most other forecasts are way off.

At Flash Memory Summit, we presented details on Bits and Revenue for Optane 3D Xpoint in 2025. This presentation is available at our website  along with NAND Costs and other presentations.

But that wasnt good enough! People wanted a summary of ALL emerging technologies and data through 2030. When people make predictions, I like to say "did you predict this year? or last year?  or next year correctly? if you can't predict the past... give up on 2030. 

Emerging Memory as we define it is 3D Xpoint+ MRAM + ReRAM + Fe RAM + others. It is does not include NAND, DRAM, NOR, SRAM, EEPROM, etc. 

This is for stand alone memory only. Not embedded/SOC

Summary (Call us for more details and how you can monitor our progress)

Year        Optane/3D XPoint    MRAM         All New Memories (includes low density)

2020        1.1B                            80M                1.25B

2025        4.3B                            250M               4.75B

2030        9.7B                            610M                10.7B

The emerging Memory Market will grow to $10.7B in 2030. 90% of that is PCM/Optane

Why is MKW Ventures number different from other estimates???

1) Other estimates use CAGR. It turns out memory and storage revenue is not very "compound" ... it actually grows more linear than exponential after first couple years. This is why SSD and NAND sales are half of what people predicted back in 2013. BITS grow CAGR... Revenue does not due to cost and ASP reduction.... and the fact that customer can't print money.

2) Even for existing "new" technologies, they are not growing that fast. MRAM revenue is growing 10% per year right now... during a huge breakthrough period. We predict huge revenue increase for Optane simply because Intel is investing Billions in it and is driving new bus connections for it. Without Intel ... divide the numbers by 5-10 

3) New technologies are expected by others to take off quickly. If ReRAM or FeRAM take off. it will be in 4-5 years and it will not replace other markets. Optane is 5 years after production introduction and Micron sales are less than $10M per year other than Intel. It take a long time ... AFTER we agree the technology works

No technology or product has had 35% revenue CAGR for 10-15 years.... Obviously it won't happen with Emerging Memories either. 

I have details by technology and checkpoint to monitor... and details on why PCM/Optane will grow. Call for more info

Mark Webb