By SNIA | Jul 31, 2012
Some analysts and press have predicted that solid state drives (SSD) will take over the mass storage role traditionally filled by hard disk drives (HDD) for computer applications. But despite these optimistic predictions, the adoption rate of full computers with SSD rather than HDD is very slow. This is because many computer users need a fair amount of digital storage, which can be expensive using Flash memory alone.
The difference in price per GB of Flash memory vs. hard disk drives does not appear to be closing any time soon, yet higher resolution content in computers may drive storage demand even higher for many users. As a consequence, we project that the percentage of computers that only contain SSD will remain much less than those with HDD for years to come.
However, there is a golden opportunity to use Flash memory to increase the performance of computers that still contain HDD. While the storage capacity of hard disk drives has increased considerably over the years, the write and read data rates have increased much more slowly. Currently the performance of HDDs is considerably less than DRAM and as a consequence there may be an opportunity for a new caching (and buffering) layer in today’s computers with a memory/storage technology that can fill this performance gap. Flash memory appears to fit the bill of such an intermediate caching and buffering technology, and unlike DRAM, it is nonvolatile as well. Computer users would love to get the performance of Flash memory and the low storage costs of HDDs together. Combining Flash memory with HDDs in computer architectures could provide a way to fill this user need and drive the use of much more Flash memory in computers than as simply an HDD replacement.
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