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Tech Talk: Dennis Martin on SSD technology

Solid-state storage has been making waves in the storage industry over the last few years. As solid-state's cost steadily falls, more and more users are looking at products based on it. In this TechTalk, Demartek LLC founder and president Dennis Martin talks about the latest developments in solid-state storage with Rich Castagna, the editorial director of TechTarget's storage media group.

Martin said solid-state drive (SSD) developers have resolved endurance issues and increasingly multi-layer cell (MLC) flash -- to the point where SSD technology can be used in enterprise deployments. He said that the more robust-but-pricier single-layer cell (SLC) still has a role in some enterprise applications, while consumer-level triple-layer cell (TLC) continues to undergo work to make TLC viable for business use.

According to Martin, when deploying solid-state storage, caching is a good place to start.

"The nice thing about caching is you can watch your apps start to pick up speed ... and you can do it with a relatively small amount [of flash]. Caching is a great way to go," said Martin, who later noted that flash can be used effectively in the storage system, the server or in the network layer.

Martin also said that solid-state storage has come a long way, but improvements to the medium are ongoing. He noted that there are a number of flash alternatives in the works that could be successors to the technology.

"NAND flash is a great technology, but a lot of other things are coming that are being worked on right now," said Martin, pointing toward development of technologies such as phase-change memory, resistive RAM, magnetic RAM and ferroelectric RAM.

"We're almost there, not quite, but there's a lot of good stuff coming," he said.

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