What are the Limitations

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2006-09-22 Print this article Print

of Flash?"> We could, for example, extend navigation systems to include current information that expands with time. Older cars could end up being like older people, that is, having a lot more knowledge to offset their decreased physical performance.

What are the limitations to what flash memory can do, at least as we know it now?
The limitations of flash memory are more focused on the cost effectiveness of the technology and not technical limitations. The real question is what are the storage limitations of disk drives, and this is an area that creates opportunity for flash memory solutions.
Today that disk drive limitation is a capacity play where disk drives cant effectively address lower-capacity applications. This translates to flash memory limitations to scale to the desire for high capacity storage where disk drives today are at a sweet spot. The bar keeps moving on to where the market dynamic will drive a flash solution versus a disk solution, and this will be an interesting race to follow. During the Flash Memory Summit, one flash memory panelist indicated that no consumer needs more than 48GB of storage, yet a disk drive panelist indicated that there is an insatiable appetite for storage capacity and the desire for increased storage for applications, such as video. Fatter flash chips offer PCs a better fit. Click here to read more. It will be interesting to see how the consumer views storage requirements and how this controversy shakes out. This will be an interesting follow-up for the next Flash Memory Summit. Everybody pretty much agrees, I believe, that flash is here to stay in the market for at least five years and no "exotic" memory types are expected to eclipse it. Do you believe it has staying power beyond that time frame, and why? In the technology world, we are always pushing the envelope on new enabling technologies with the expectation that these will eclipse current mainstream solutions. The bottom line is that typically the current mainstream technology has much longer life than anticipated by the technology community, because it is good enough to meet the needs of the marketplace. As we look at the emerging 4X flash technology or the perpendicular recording of disk drives currently shipping, both technologies were pipe dreams 5 years ago, yet are reality today. I believe we will continue to have successful new innovations and extended life-cycles of flash and disk drive technologies far beyond the timeframe of the next decade, and, although this is not as provocative as the thought of a new killer technology, I think the current technology has a rich future in addressing the needs of the marketplace. Can you tell me one or two things about flash that everybody should know—but probably doesnt know? With the heightened requirement for security and protecting information assets, flash memory today has many innovative security solutions for encryption and key management to address the next wave of flash applications, for both the consumer and the enterprise marketplace. Encapsulation techniques have been developed by some leading flash companies that allow the final product to withstand extreme temperature, shock and vibration—or even submersion in water —as we look at new applications that need industrial-strength quality specifications. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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