What is Flash Storage?

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The flash storage refers to any type of system for data repository, which makes use of flash memory. The complexity and the size of these data repository systems may range from a portable USB to an array-based system. This does not utilize electricity and doesn’t have any mechanical parts. Normally, flash storages only use up around 20% of the power and can read data much faster compared to the traditional mechanical-type hard drives.

Because traditional hard drives can cause energy drain, data center managers seek methods to address this problem. One of the ways that they are considering in order to achieve a greener way of computing is through the use of flash storages.

Enterprises which have I/O-intensive applications, including credit card processing, also consider this to be more practical and efficient. With this, storage providers such as EMC, server makers such as Sun Microsystems, and chip manufacturers such as Samsung, have penetrated the market for flash storage.

Flash storage systems comprise mainly of a memory unit that stores the data and an access controller, which is used to control and manage the storage space of the memory unit. The data may be written on a NOR flash memory, a NAND flash memory, or on a combination of these.

There are four kinds of flash storage, including server flash, all-flash array, traditional storage array with flash, and hybrid array. The first one which is the server flash is the type which can offer the fastest access with the lowest capacity. This kind of flash is cache storage.

The next type called the all-flash array is described as a persistent storage, which can provide fast access with a bigger capacity. The traditional storage array with flash is a persistent storage as well, and can provide a cost-effective and scalable capacity. Lastly, the hybrid array is considered as a practical solution which can provide fast access for cached data and makes use of the hybrid hard drives (HHD) for capacity.

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