Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 14th Apr 2013 20:30 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems "In the past five years, flash memory has progressed from a promising accelerator, whose place in the data center was still uncertain, to an established enterprise component for storing performance-critical data. It's rise to prominence followed its proliferation in the consumer world and the volume economics that followed. With SSDs, flash arrived in a form optimized for compatibility - just replace a hard drive with an SSD for radically better performance. But the properties of the NAND flash memory used by SSDs differ significantly from those of the magnetic media in the hard drives they often displace. While SSDs have become more pervasive in a variety of uses, the industry has only just started to design storage systems that embrace the nuances of flash memory. As it escapes the confines of compatibility, significant improvements in performance, reliability, and cost are possible."
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RE[2]: Comment by TempleOS
by Neolander on Mon 15th Apr 2013 06:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by TempleOS"
Member since:

Also, even if Flash memory is faster than hard drives, it's nowhere near DDR RAM speeds. Swapping on an SSD or SD card remains pretty much as painful as swapping on an HDD, and I can't believe it's all the SSD interface's fault.

There is some cool research going on regarding NVRAM, such as STT MRAM* or memristors, but I don't think Flash memory will be able to go there.

* STT = Spin Transfer Torque. In short, the main issue regarding MRAM today is that we don't know how to flip the magnetization of a small magnet without affecting that of neighboring magnets, which limits storage density. STT research is about using spin-polarized ("magnetized") electrical currents flowing directly into the magnet in order to do that.

Edited 2013-04-15 06:13 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by TempleOS
by gilboa on Mon 15th Apr 2013 06:14 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by TempleOS"
gilboa Member since:

... Let alone the implications of having a complex firmware that handles garbage collection behind the OS' back.

In 40 years, we have learned all-there-is-to-know about magnetic drives - especially, how they fail.
We have yet to reach the same level of maturity when it comes to SSD's. (Let alone the fact the possibility of bricking all the members of the storage pool, all at once, due to a firmware bug).

SSD will replace HDDs - there's no doubt about it.
However, I tend to choose caution over innovation when it comes to data storage...

- Gilboa

Edited 2013-04-15 06:15 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Comment by TempleOS
by Flatland_Spider on Mon 15th Apr 2013 19:16 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by TempleOS"
Flatland_Spider Member since:

The SATA interface chip introduces lag. SATA wasn't designed for SSDs, so it's kind of a bottleneck when added to an SSD. A much more direct way to access the drive would help with the speed. The Fusion-IO stuff is a good example of the speeds that could be reached when SATA is eliminated.

The consensus is SSDs using NAND are a stop gap measure until NVRAM is commercially available in bulk. NAND becomes less efficient as it gets smaller, unlike transistors which become more efficient, and producers are already starting to see the affects of this. More NAND chips on few channels means reduced speed, and the smaller NAND cells wear out faster. It's a good first gen solid state disk product, but ultimately, there will be a better technology that will have a longer run than NAND.

Reply Parent Score: 2