The future of flash memory might not be so bleak after all, either

PC Perspective’s Allyn Malventano stopped in earlier this week and sent me a link to his take on the bleak future of SSDs and flash memory: http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Editorial/NAND-Flash-Memory-Future-Not-So-Bleak-After-All

He didn’t agree with me entirely–he argued that the problems outlined in the study in question are solvable.

Mr. Maltevano clearly knows more about flash memory than I know. Which is to be expected–following storage on an everyday basis is his job. I remembered reading about HP’s proposed replacement for flash memory, so I attacked the sky-is-falling-for-SSDs article from that perspective, and he demonstrated that the paper’s argument was even weaker than what I was saying.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t really care what memory technology my SSDs are based on in 5, 15, or 35 years. I just want them to be faster, cheaper, and more reliable than they were a generation earlier and follow the same path CPUs and DRAM have followed during my lifetime. Hard drives today better than the first drive I bought 20 years ago–at least they’re faster and cheaper, though whether their reliability has improved much is questionable–but they’ve proven they can’t keep pace with the rest of the system. SSDs have a shorter track record, but they’re certainly getting faster, cheaper, and more reliable all the time.

It is entirely possible that the distinction between primary and secondary storage will blur in coming years. That’s more likely to cause the death of SSDs than anything else, though it’s hard to call that death, per se. That’s more like continued integration–it’s like saying IDE controllers are dead. No they aren’t–the modern iteration of them is integrated into the motherboard chipset now, rather than being a separate plug-in card like it was in the days when PC/ATs ruled the world.

4 thoughts on “The future of flash memory might not be so bleak after all, either

  • February 25, 2012 at 12:22 am
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    Technical point – I thought disk controllers moved off the motherboard onto the drives themselves, becoming Integrated Drive Electronics.

    • February 26, 2012 at 7:20 pm
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      Al, sorry about destroying your name. You can imagine the creative spellings I see of mine, but I try not to do the same. I’ve corrected it.

      Steve, you’re correct that IDE moved most of the brains of the controller onto the drives themselves (compared to earlier technologies like MFM) but you still had to buy a card with a port on it and a chip in it. “Host adapter” would have been a more appropriate term. My point was that the circuitry we used to by separately and pay $40 for is now but a small part of another chip on the motherboard.

  • February 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm
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    Dave,

    (sp) on the last name 🙂
    (it’s ok, I get that a lot)

    Thanks for the mention!

    Al

  • February 26, 2012 at 10:04 pm
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    Dave, agreed. Same goes for sound cards, network cards, etc.

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