Fujitsu has little faith in SSDs

Posted on Saturday, Jul 12 2008 @ 06:06 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Joel Hagberg, Fujitsu's vice president of business development, said in a recent interview that his firm doesn't offer flash drives because they don't see the benefit of these drives. Hagberg says Fujitsu won't adopt the technology until flash manufacturers resolve the performance problems of solid state in sequential read and writes as well as random writes:
Mr. Haberg states, "There is a place for flash. Right now, that's random-read performance, such as relational database look-ups, tables, etc. But the big question that's been posed to Fujitsu is why haven't we come out with a flash drive product, and what do we think about enterprise disk drives, because there are executives from companies in the Northeast claiming that enterprise disk drives will be dead within two years? I think that's definitely overstating the capability of solid state."

Fujitsu will not adopt the technology, according to Mr. Haberg, until manufacturers "resolve the performance problems of solid state in sequential reads and writes as well as random writes."

He continues, "Every manufacturer has launched a notebook with a solid-state disk drive. And, almost universally, there has been a customer-satisfaction issue because they're hyped for performance, and people get them and don't realize what [manufacturers] mean is [NAND] flash is really good if you're reading stuff, but it doesn't work very well for large file reads and large file writes, and it doesn't work well for random writes."

He says boot times are often no faster, and that power consumption isn't much improved often amounting only to a meager five percent, or 15 min of life on a five-hour battery. He argues that hybrid drives are attempts to deal with the shortcomings of flash, but they don't succeed very well at this mark.

Further, Mr. Haberg argues that there are reliability and lifetime issues, stating that for a flash drive "100,000 writes as a spec across the industry, and with MLC [multilevel cell] solid-state disk, you may reduce it to one-tenth of that or less -- 10,000 writes per cell with two bits, or maybe even 1,000 writes per cell with three or four bits per cell."

He states that the tech is good for certain markets, acknowledging, "Solid-state drives are good in some narrow niche applications where you're focused on random reads. They're great for handhelds, cell phones, iPods, MP3 players."

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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