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Martin: SSD future determined by NAND flash, possible successors

Ultimately, one consideration for solid-state storage manufacturers will be at the forefront. In this segment of his Storage Decisions presentation, Dennis Martin of analyst Demartek LLC noted that the key to solid-state's commercial viability will hinge heavily on what the cost will be to produce large quantities.

"The key thing is, though, how much will it cost to produce it?" asked Martin. "Will [the manufacturers] be able to make money at it?"

He said that the largest quantities of NAND flash today are made for the consumer market, such as cell phones and tablet computers. Martin noted that the enterprise market for SSDs generally is a lower priority for producers because the volumes are not as large for enterprise products compared to consumer products.

"The consumer market drives this," said Martin. "As much as enterprise guys don't like to say they're driven by the consumer, in this case, they are, because that's where the big volumes are. The prices are dropping because of consumer volume. So you like things like cell phones, tablets and USB drives, because that drives down the price of enterprise SSDs."

When it comes to the SSD future, Martin said the next developments in memory technology will only become commercially viable if the manufacturers can get significantly better costs than those manufacturers can get for NAND flash in terms of equivalent features and capacities.

"They have to figure out where that will be, [and] where the market will be," said Martin.

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