Sometimes I just can't keep my opinions to myself.
Last Friday afternoon while I was perusing Chris Mellor's Blocks and Files, I was struck by the discontinuity of messaging that is emerging around the "best" application of Flash drives. From the "flash can't write fast enough" doom and gloom of the relatively unknown wanna-bee Infortrend to the "flash is too fast for external storage" justification for Sun's focus on server-based flash, it struck me that uninformed readers were likely being confused, if not outright mislead by the contradictory misinformation.
So I dashed a letter off to Chris outlining my concerns and rebutting the misrepresentations of the real benefits that the right flash drive is already delivering today - despite the unfounded claims of others in the storage and server industries. And upon his request, I granted him permission to publish this as an opinion piece on Blocks and Files, which he has done under the title of Missing the flash point (a fitting play on words, IMHO).
N.B. - Normally, I would have posted this to my own blog, but part of my concern is that the misleading information is being distributed by sites like Blocks and Files. My letter was in fact originally written in a context beseeching Chris to present a more balanced perspective on the realities of flash technology. When he offered to publish my opinion outright, I figured the best way to provide balance was to use the same billboard, so to speak.
Anyway, I hope that my opinion letter helps expand the conversation about flash technology. In my opinion, there's nothing to be gained by trying to polarize this into an either-or discussion. In fact, I honestly believe that there are appropriate applications for Flash-based storage in both servers and external storage arrays. And judging by the applications I've seen flash targeted for by customers, the early adopters are going to have a pretty big competitive advantage on their competitors.
The bottom line is this - the sooner that more vendors stop quibbling over who, how or where flash is "best" and actually start bringing real flash technology to market in their respective products, the sooner (and faster) we collectively will drive up demand and drive down the costs.
And that, my friends, is the whole point...the flash point, as it were: leveraging Flash to cost-effectively bypass the inherent limitations of mechanical disk drives...