Anyone with a digital camera or cell phone is probably using flash memory technology today, but so called "consumer flash" with its limited write cycles was never suitable to use for enterprise solid state disks. Most of us have probably had to replace the flash memory card in our camera after a few years (or often shorter) and thanks to US telco incentives the average cell phone here is replaced before its built-in flash memory becomes useless (wonder why your phone has been rebooting lately, maybe your flash memory is starting to go bad). But thanks to dramatically lower memory costs, new single bit flash technology, and new flash controllers, flash memory is increasingly becoming cost effective for solid state disk technology. Sun plans to use flash memory in a number of form factors, and the Sun Flash Storage
page lists a number of flash-ready Sun servers available soon with Enterprise Flash technology
. We will be talking a lot more in the coming months about exactly how we are going to use enterprise flash in our products, so stay tuned.
p.s., not to be outdone by my blog,
The Register posted this article today on SSD. Of course what they missed was that none of the vendors mentioned have
ZFS, which is what will really enable SSDs to supercharge your application performance.