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SSD Innovations

FI-NFL-SSDI-0410 April 2010

The unprecedented cost reductions of NAND flash memories in the last few years have driven 35mm film and 1.4 floppy disk to extinction. These first generation storage systems such as SD cards and USB flash drives are primarily removable, low capacity, low cost storage for consumer media.

The next frontier for NAND flash memory is as a hard disk drive replacement or an additional tier in the storage hierarchy. The traditional focus on performance in computing and storage farms now encompasses power savings and green technologies. The main reason is not only due to environmental concerns but also to reduce the Total Cost of Ownership that is heavily impacted by electricity and cooling costs.

The priorities for solid state storage in the computing environment are dramatically different from those for consumer applications resulting in a new approach in the design of the system architecture. These varying requirements are driven by the different workload and environmental conditions. To satisfy these conditions, the type of memory used SLC versus MLC and system level management of wear leveling, garbage collection, FTL, ECC and security are key design considerations.

SSD Innovations focuses on innovative solutions from major industry players such as FusionIO, Intel, Pliant, Sandforce, SanDisk and STEC for improving the performance, endurance and reliability of SSDs. An exploration of the evolution of application requirements in computing applications, performance limitations of flash-based storage systems, trends and industry innovations is provided.
In addition, innovative SSD architectures incorporating new memory technologies, external power supply and linked chain architectures are investigated as future SSD development directions.

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