back to article Flash! Ah-ahh! Saviour of the universe? It'll save every one of us?

You can get a great picture of what's happening in the flash memory storage market by looking at the presentations from the recent Flash Memory summit here (warning, it's swimming in PDFs). Over 150 documents are listed here, with file names reflecting their date of publication and the last name of their author, but fortunately …

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Fantastic

That song is going to be stuck in my head all day....

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Re: Fantastic

I swear to god I have sang it in my head a few times already. I didn't even make it through the whole article.

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Joke

Re: Fantastic

Snap!

Reminds me of two olde incidents... once when a friend drove over a large puddle I went, 'Splash! Ah-ahh, it'll soak everyone of us'...

... and that a there was local flasher going around singing it as he exposed himself.

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Re: Fantastic

Seriously, I couldn't even come close to reading the article, nor could I read the title without the accompanying music. Kudos to the headline writer for doing almost too good of a job.

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Silver badge

Why do 'portable PCs' still have spinning disks?

A small SSD can store everything but your video collection. If you are going on a long flight, you can copy ten films from your big NAS disks to an SDHC card. Hybrid and dual made some sense a few years ago and there may be a few niche applications now but those are going to get eaten by cheap rugged flash.

If Seagate are looking for market for their spinning disks, the obvious device is a full height 5¼" with ethernet and USB ports. If you do not want your own NAS, such disks will be needed for the NSA cloud storage facility.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why do 'portable PCs' still have spinning disks?

Maybe it's because SSDs don't store as much as HDDs and a lot of people use their laptops for work. They might need to store a lot of data on them because they're traveling around and don't have sufficient network access to download those large files.

Oh, and HDDs are still significantly cheaper per GB than SSDs so the laptop you get from work will probably still have an HDD. Ironically it's all the crapware that IT departments install that constantly thrashes the drive and causes the machine to slow down in the first place. That plus the fact they'll only give you 4GB of RAM, and a copy of Windows 7, itself needlessly bloated.

Personally I have one of those laptops from work, which I wiped and replaced with a fairly minimal Linux install. Added another 4 GB (which work paid for) and other than booting (a rare thing) and firing up the occasional application, the HDD is rarely touched. 0% swap usage. An SSD would make sod all difference, so I'm not likely to pay for one out of my own pocket (work won't do it).

Of course, if it was your own laptop and you were only using it for browsing and email then an SSD might make sense. Although you'd be better booting from an SD card/USB stick into RAM and not even bothering with a drive. Save some weight and some money.

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Why?

Would anyone buy a hybrid? Its a more expensive hard drive, or a crappyier flash. Neither one thing nor the other. It only sort of makes sense in a laptop where only 1 fits, but there are good reasons for 100% flash there anyway.

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Silver badge

Hybrid really isn't the way to go.

What you want is an OS that understands about heirarchical storage and moves stuff between fast flash and slower but more copious disk depending on usage. It has a much better idea of what is or isn't needed than any hybrid, and the user can independently size each part of the storage subsystem depending on their needs.

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Silver badge

Re: Hybrid really isn't the way to go.

That is exactly what is wanted, but given there are no signs of any of the big OS vendors rolling this out in the next few years you will see punters option for hybrid as the "best" compromise between speed, capacity, and cost for those with either low budgets and/or big data files.

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Best upgrade...

...that I ever made was to replace my 3 year old laptop hard drive with a Crucial 256Gb SSD. The words sh1t and shovel come to mind.

I think that in 3 to 5 years SSD will replace disks on NAS as well in terms of affordability, however, rapid access is not as important on a NAS as it is on a laptop / desktop of course.

My biggest worry with spinning disks on a hard drive is reliability and file errors and every few months having to do a scandisk /f and crossing my fingers hoping for the best.

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Bronze badge

Re: Best upgrade...

"I think that in 3 to 5 years SSD will replace disks on NAS as well in terms of affordability, however, rapid access is not as important on a NAS as it is on a laptop / desktop of course.

My biggest worry with spinning disks on a hard drive is reliability and file errors and every few months having to do a scandisk /f and crossing my fingers hoping for the best."

If Zuckerberg has his way then I agree - he is looking for low power, low rewrite, low speed (for flash) CHEAP storage for pictures of cats from more than a few hours ago...

That's basically the function 90% of my NAS space needs.

I can then just drop 2 bits of rust (or "proper" SSDs) in for the last few percent, which is actually being changed by people

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Re: Best upgrade...

"My biggest worry with spinning disks on a hard drive is reliability and file errors and every few months having to do a scandisk /f and crossing my fingers hoping for the best."

My biggest worry with SSDs is reliability. When flash dies, it goes down HARD, with zero chance to get data off. Pray that your customer has a recent backup.

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Silver badge

Re: Best upgrade...

I sincerely hope you are not using scandisk as that would imply you are using a Win9x / FAT32 system!

I am guessing you mean chkdsk? And if so you should be running it with /r option to search for any bad sectors.

But if your data actually matters to you, then in addition to a backup copy you would be using a RAID system and making sure it was scrubbed regularly to (hopefully) find and fix bad sectors while the other disk(s) are still good at that location.

By default Debian Linux systems using the MD RAID system do a scrub on the 1st Sunday of each month, but if your machine is not on 24/7 then you may want to run it manually or more frequently.

I have no idea if Windows has a scrub option for its software RAID, anyone able to comment?

Better still, use ZFS for its checksums and, again, make sure you have it scrubbed periodically so badness is detected and possibly corrected (or at least the disk failed out) before you get in to a state of being unable to rebuild the RAID parity as multiple blocks have failed across all of the storage.

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Silver badge

SSD problemd

The biggest challenge for SSD is that spinning disks are still better in most applications. Spinners are cheap, capacious and reliable. Why has SSD not been able to follow Moore's law and get cheap ?

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