Principal Architect – HPC at Amazon Web Services
Over at Enterprise Storage Forum, Jeff Layton from Amazon writes that new 3D flash technologies are enabling increasing storage densities that should pave the way for lower prices.
For a period of time, it didn’t look like flash drives were going to decrease in price very much. Flash cell technology is limited to around 20nm because of cost and complexity considerations, but manufacturers have found ways around the limitation. Rather than decrease the features size, they now store more bits per cell (TLC) and have started to create 3D flash chips. This combination, plus the growth in flash storage sales, has driven down the price per gigabyte. Flash drive vendors aren’t totally focused on price though. They have also been working on ways to take advantage of the flash drives by utilizing other system buses, specifically the PCIe bus. The somewhat new NVMe specification has standardized PCIe storage devices, reducing the burden on writing drivers and adding more headroom on performance via parallelization. When flash storage is put in the PCIe bus, you can see amazing performance from single drives.