Fusion-io commissioned me to create a video with David Flynn, Fusion-io co-founder and CTO, talking about their architecture and the benefits of high bandwidth NAND flash. Even though I’ve been researching flash for a couple of years, some of David’s comments surprised me.

Flash doesn’t make a good disk
Anyone who cares to can track how my view of flash has evolved. From early enthusiasm, based on my happy experience with a flash-based HP Omnibook 300 – the original netbook – in the ’90s, to increasing skepticism.

The “aha” moment came at the Flash Memory Summit in August, when an industry panel agreed that

. . . NAND flash is best seen as an extension to DRAM and a layer between DRAM and disk – not as the guts of a disk drive replacement.

BTW, I started skeptical on Fusion-io and have become a convert. Go figure.

The learning continues
Fusion-io isn’t the only company offering flash storage in a non-disk format, but they do seem to be furthest along. I think their perspective is way more important than, say, Seagate’s. Here’s the video.

The StorageMojo take
Every time a new technology appears, our first impulse is to recreate the products of the old technology with it. Such is the case with flash.

We’ve run into the limits of the old disk/RAID/array/SAN paradigm. With storage clusters, flash and changing workloads we now face the exhilarating – and sometimes frightening – prospect of re-architecting our storage infrastructures.

Fusion-io won’t be the final word on flash, but they’ve made a great start. Not to mention a real head start.

Courteous comments welcome, of course.