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Solid state drives (SSDs) have been all the buzz lately, with companies like OCZ and Super Talent pushing faster solutions at lower price points. But despite the strides being made, industry experts predict it could take up to 10 years for the SSD business to write realistic enterprise-level standards for flash memory.
Motivating vendors to get there, the enterprise flash memory market is projected to be in the $60 billion range by 2012. While cost still remains a roadblock, the real stickling point is that flash memory can only last for a limited amount of write cycles, at which point the cells become read-only.
"Personally, I think SSDs are a terrible replacement for hybrid hard drives (HHDs) at this time, for a lot of reasons, the biggest of which is that they haven't been around long enough to know how they really will perform in heavy-duty production situations," said Robin Harris, a panel member for Data Mobility Group.
Many analysts agree that the SSD industry needs a standard, and according to Michael Cornwell, Sun Microsystems' new head of NAND flash business development, "there are about 60 flash vendors and about 17 organizations doing some kind of standards work." Hard drives went through a similar competitive transition period back in the '80s, but it didn't happen over night.
Are we really a decade off from SSDs becoming a viable option in the enterprise market?