Commoditized components. This is a classic “Adam Smithian market evolution” said CTO and Inventor of Fusion-io’s solution, David Flynn. What used to be a single, vertically integrated provider becomes a layered market where some people build the components, others integrate them (with some bit of value added), and the market moves to include many players competing on many levels, resulting in price reductions. “I’m not saying this market transformation is going to happen by tomorrow,” said Flynn. “But, given the geometric growth of the performance gap between processors and storage, and the geometric decline in cost of NAND flash – leading to a ‘Moore’s Law Squared’ effect in the benefit to cost ratio – it is going to happen faster than people would think.”
Questionable life expectancy of SSD “NAND Flash, the underlying technology of today’s majority SSD products, has write wear-out limitations, with embedded processors, software and over provisioning of capacity, among other things,” said Zhu. SSD manufactures have addressed this limitation, however, this inevitably adds another link in the chain of the overall reliability of SSD-based systems that must be rigorously tested and certified. “The lack of standard measurement of the life expectancy of SSD is a major drawback,” Zhu warns.
SSD technology is nascent. HP and other industry leaders including Intel and Sun do not predict that SSD will replace hard drives in the enterprise. “Like any new technology, SSD is still at the testing stages so there are a number of factors and challenges that need to be addressed before it matures in the enterprise space,” said Zhu.
Not ideal for all. “SSD is not recommended for everyone, it is ideally suited for businesses that require high-performance, intensive I/O operations; are power sensitive; and/or are in a rugged environment,” said Zhu. HP expects SSD to be used as a premium performance tier in well balanced storage deployments.
More Expensive. “SSDs are a bit more expensive, have less capacity and a finite number of write cycles when compared to traditional spinning drives, but those drawbacks are quickly disappearing,” explains Charles Kaplan, chief technology strategist at Mazu Networks, now part of Riverbed, a wide area network (WAN) optimization solutions provider.
All things considered, CIOs are left guessing as to when precisely to make the jump. “In the enterprise, the benefits over traditional disk drives — speed, reliability, efficiency, lower power consumption — make SSDs a major disruptor in the storage space,” said Michael Cornwell, lead technologist for Flash Memory at Sun Microsystems. “However key players are only just beginning to recognize the market opportunity this technology has to offer.”