Micron Predicts Flash Drives In The Data Center - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Hardware & Infrastructure

Micron Predicts Flash Drives In The Data Center

Company execs see NAND flash drives replacing some disk drives, which use more power, generate a lot more heat, are slower in accessing data, and have a higher failure rate.

Micron Technology believes it's only a matter of time before solid-state flash-memory drives used today for storage in digital cameras and MP3 players become an alternative to disk drives in the data center.

And the maker of semiconductor devices is not the only company at the Interop show in Las Vegas this week marketing new technology to replace the old. Microsoft on Tuesday said a dozen network equipment makers have joined the software maker in helping businesses gradually move off of their expensive PBX systems.

Micron is at Interop to market RLDRAM, or reduced latency DRAM, in any piece of hardware, whether in the network, a business, or the home, that touches digital video. Storing data on RLDRAM means faster access and video processing, the company said.

But in an interview with InformationWeek, Dean Klein, VP of market development for Micron, discussed the possibility of using NAND flash drives in the data center in place of disk drives, which use more power, generate a lot more heat, are slower in accessing data, and have a higher failure rate. "We just think the use of NAND in every area of storage makes lots of sense," he said. "And we think it makes lots of sense in the enterprise as well."

Startups and some very large data centers are experimenting with using flash drives for enterprise storage, said Klein, who declined to name any of the companies. He acknowledged, however, that the use of NAND flash in the data center would require architectural changes.

Technology, such as controllers and interconnects, currently used in joining many disk drives in large storage systems would have to be redesigned to make optimum use of flash memory's different properties. In addition, the price of flash drives would have to drop to a level where companies felt the higher cost was justified by its benefits.

Klein, however, predicted the migration would start with makers of network-attached storage devices. These manufacturers will offer flash-based alternatives to companies that need to increase storage capacity, but because of space constraints need smaller devices that generate less heat.

Micron, however, is not currently working with any hardware vendors in developing such products. "We're just making NAND flash at a low price, and educating people on how to use it," Klein said.

Nevertheless, the migration to flash memory has already started, first in rugged notebooks and ultra-portables. The number of notebooks using some form of flash memory for data storage is expected to soar from a negligible amount today to more than 50% in two years, according to market researcher iSuppli. Samsung Electronics, for example, introduced in March a 64-Gbyte solid-state flash drive as a hard-disk drive replacement.

Within the data center, disk drives are not expected to go away, Klein said. Instead, they will take on a narrower roll, such as for long-term storage of data that's accessed infrequently.

While Micron is pushing flash drives, Microsoft is very active in trying to replace PBX systems in the enterprise with hardware running Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator 2007, which are both in public beta. The software provides Internet telephony, presence, instance messaging, and video conferencing. Microsoft also offers Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 for email, calendaring and unified messaging.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
1 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
COVID-19: Using Data to Map Infections, Hospital Beds, and More
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  3/25/2020
Enterprise Guide to Robotic Process Automation
Cathleen Gagne, Managing Editor, InformationWeek,  3/23/2020
How Startup Innovation Can Help Enterprises Face COVID-19
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  3/24/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
IT Careers: Tech Drives Constant Change
Advances in information technology and management concepts mean that IT professionals must update their skill sets, even their career goals on an almost yearly basis. In this IT Trend Report, experts share advice on how IT pros can keep up with this every-changing job market. Read it today!
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll