Nov 22, 2011

Why hasn't flash storage replaced disks as the storage system of choice for server use?

Flash memory is so much faster than disk storage, and it is also much cheaper. Why hasn't it become a standard choice for use in servers? It seems to me that the hardware supply problems caused by flooding in Asia makes opens the door for greater use of NAND flash memory over the next year. Why haven't we already moved in that direction in a bigger way?


As you noted, flash memory is much faster than disc storage, up to a thousand times faster in fact.  This speed in combination with relatively low costs seems to be a winning proposition for use in storage in servers.  I think the reason we haven't seen flash memory in data centers in a huge way is simply a result of a lack of storage management software that utilizes it.  Once this paucity of software is corrected, flash will be brilliant for server-side cache use, and when automatically tiered within the SAN, can kind of act as a "Super Cache", with the software migrating the most used data or data that is highly I/O intensive, to flash.  I think it is coming, it is just a matter of time.   

Hi ncharles,

Things may very well be headed that way. However, such an adjustment may take time to filter into the market. I don't think it's something that would happen quickly or overnight. So I think it's worthwhile to keep your eye on the flash memory market and see if hardware suppliers move in the direction of using it more often.
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