Flash Standards Missing in

By David Morgenstern  |  Posted 2006-11-08 Print this article Print

Action"> Grimsrud also said the current state of flash standardization is troublesome for hardware companies that want to extend its use outside of consumer applications. He reported on Intels involvement with standards groups to fix the problem. "Right now, the use of flash is a nightmare. Everyones flash behaves a bit differently. Even with flash from the same manufacturer, the next [generation of] flash behaves differently," he said.
According to Grimsrud, the development times for systems is longer than that of simple storage devices, such as the USB keys we all use. By the time a design is actually moved into production, the expected flash component may be superseded by a newer product with slightly different characteristics. He called this "design-time pre-association."
"By the time you come out with a compute platform, the flash that was available when the design was done is obsolete and not fully relevant any more. Theres good consistency among manufacturers, but its not like horseshoes," Grimsrud said. Intel is supporting the Open NAND Flash Interface Working Group, which aims to create a standard interface for flash components. This is different than a card standard; this is to improve the design and integration process for hardware and software components. Its the way the rest of the storage industry has operated for some 15 years. He said a draft standard was expected in the fall. Despite the near-term concerns, Grimsrud was upbeat on flash in the enterprise. He predicted a "new golden age of computing where flash is the next big thing." Again, its good to remind ourselves that this prediction was offered to a room of flash manufacturers and vendors. But as Lauffin said, the difference between impossible and possible (reality) is usually something on the order of four to five years. Yet, one thing that shouldnt happen in the flash market is the move to make some flash brand names generic in the way that Coke and Xerox are sometimes used to describe a cola beverage and paper copy, respectively. I was shocked to see that the Wikipedia appears to acknowledge some generic-ization of JumpDrive, meaning a USB flash drive. JumpDrive is a brand of Lexar Media. TechTargets Whatis.com also presents this term. Its an outrage. In all my years, I have never heard anyone, professional or user, use "jump drive" as a generic term. I have heard USB flash drive, thumb drive, keychain drive and key drive. But "jump drive?" Nope. Lets hope this brand-grab stops now. What do you think? Is flash coming to a RAID near you? And what should we call USB flash drives? Let us know here. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.

David Morgenstern is Executive Editor/Special Projects of eWEEK. Previously, he served as the news editor of Ziff Davis Internet and editor for Ziff Davis' Storage Supersite.

In 'the days,' he was an award-winning editor with the heralded MacWEEK newsweekly as well as eMediaweekly, a trade publication for managers of professional digital content creation.

David has also worked on the vendor side of the industry, including companies offering professional displays and color-calibration technology, and Internet video.

He can be reached here.


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