A Guide to the Different Varieties of Flash Technology

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MLC: Faster with Age

Fast now and even faster later: The case for MLC. In order to understand the difference between a commodity MLC SSD and enterprise MLC array, you must understand what happens when flash is used up to the limits of its datasheet. Unlike traditional HDDs that fail over time due to mechanical wear, flash memory has a limit to the number of times each cell can be written to. SSDs have only a small number of dies (areas where the cells reside) and are significantly impacted when they reach their write limit. Enterprise flash arrays, on the other hand, can have thousands of dies and can be protected through redundancy. Also unlike mechanical drives, which seem to get slower and slower as they age, flash actually gets faster as it wears.

Flash storage technology has become a part of our everyday lives. From the devices in our hands to the servers in data centers, flash memory has become a technology that touches everyone. Still, for all its prevalence, flash technology is only in the early stages of its evolution. There are many different types of flash and choosing the right one for a particular application is critical.

Where flash technology was once considered too expensive for large applications, it is reaching the economic tipping point. IT departments are making the shift from disk to flash, because as the cost of solid state storage goes down the economics of performance justify that shift. However, choosing the right flash solution is still a challenge. What is the right type of flash for your needs? Each variety of flash has its own set of nuances, pros and cons based on its configuration within the hardware and pre-destined performance when manufactured.

In this slideshow, Violin Memory discusses the differences in performance benefits of each flavor of flash starting from the fundamental properties of the chips themselves to the controller and configuration within the array. Learn why this all matters and what happens when different ingredients are blended together.


Related Topics : Fujitsu, Storage Virtualization, Desktop Virtualization, Virtual Tape Library, InfiniBand

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