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The Bleak Future of NAND Flash Memory
Laura M. Grupp, University of California, San Diego; John D. Davis, Microsoft Research, Mountain View; Steven Swanson, University of California, San Diego
In recent years, flash-based SSDs have grown enormously both in capacity and popularity. In high-performance enterprise storage applications, accelerating adoption of SSDs is predicated on the ability of manufacturers to deliver performance that far exceeds disks while closing the gap in cost per gigabyte. However, while flash density continues to improve, other metrics such as a reliability, endurance, and performance are all declining. As a result, building larger-capacity flash-based SSDs that are reliable enough to be useful in enterprise settings and high-performance enough to justify their cost will become challenging. In this work, we present our empirical data collected from 45 flash chips from 6 manufacturers and examine the performance trends for these raw flash devices as flash scales down in feature size. We use this analysis to predict the performance and cost characteristics of future SSDs. We show that future gains in density will come at significant drops in performance and reliability. As a result, SSD manufacturers and users will face a tough choice in trading off between cost, performance, capacity and reliability.
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