Flash, Flash, Flash, Flash…Oh, and Did We Mention Flash?

Steven Hill
Steven Hill
Summary Bullets:

  • Flash technology has proven itself in the role of the high-performance pinnacle of the storage stack, but a few companies are looking to redefine it to accommodate the growing number of large, in-memory applications.
  • Upcoming offerings from several vendors are looking to move flash even closer to the compute layer, and this has the potential to remap the traditional CPU/memory architecture in a server near you.

I’ve had the pleasure of attending a number of technology conferences recently, and aside from “hybrid cloud” the one message that crosses over all of them is the overwhelming interest in flash memory technology and how it can improve the performance and flexibility of your data center. We all know that flash isn’t really all that new, flash-based SSDs and memory cards have becoming the de facto storage platform for almost every portable device, but adopting flash for enterprise-level applications has taken a little longer as vendors scrambled to insure that it truly meets the reliability, performance, and cost structure expected for high performance, high duty cycle applications. The obvious first-case applications focused on storage vendors who found that the SSD technology and form-factor was a perfect match for use as a caching layer at the very top of the storage stack in the conventional NAS/SAN model. There were also a few forward-looking vendors like Fusion-IO and OCZ Technologies that chose to decouple flash from the storage bus and upgrade it directly to the PCIe bus. Continue reading “Flash, Flash, Flash, Flash…Oh, and Did We Mention Flash?”