Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The SSD World Will End in 2024

So says the Non-Volatile Systems Lab at UC San Diego. The claim is, in order to achieve higher densities, flash manufacturers must sacrifice both read and write latencies. I haven't had time to explore this claim in any detail, but I thought it might be useful for you to know about it. Some highlights include:
  • They tested 45 different NAND flash chips from six vendors that ranged in size from 72 nm circuitry to the current 25nm technology.
  • They then took their test results and extrapolated them to the year 2024, when NAND flash development road maps show flash circuitry is expected to be only 6.5 nm in size. At that point, read/write latency is expected to increase by a factor of two or more.
  • They did not use specialized NAND flash controllers such as those used by Intel, OCZ or Fusion-io. Their results can be viewed as "optimistic" because they didn't include latency added through error correction or garbage collection algorithms.
  • Considering the diminishing returns on performance versus capacity, Grupp said, "it's not going to be viable to go past 6.5 nm ... 2024 is the end."

The technical paper entitled, The Bleak Future of NAND Flash Memory (PDF), was presented and published at the FAST'12 conference held in San Jose, CA on February 14—17, 2012.

Related post: Green Disk Sizing

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