Cloud without rain and Flash without Thunder

Everyone now lives a mostly digital life, thanks to the plethora of devices that we use and the numerous websites that we frequent. Every aspect of our life is recorded and stored somewhere. The sheer user base of the various services, websites and devices that have now become commonplace means that the data being pumped in and out of these is mind boggling. This brings a new challenge to the fore, how do we store more data in the same or lesser space? And there we meet the new game changer – the flash, not the guy who runs around in a red suit, but the SSD that is leading the data age from the front. More reliable, efficient and compact compared to the mechanical HDDs.

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The humble Kilobyte led to the decent Megabyte and then there was the Gigabyte, but hey, everyone now knows only the Terabyte as minimum storage unit. And we have companies like SanDisk and Kingston to thank for that. You can actually now carry a Terabyte in your pant pocket. Unimaginable just a few decades ago. Let us now look at both sides of the flash story.

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The retail story is what we all experience daily. The USBs in your pocket and on your phone. We then deal with the Cloud that doesn’t cause rain – instead keeps our data. DropBox and their ilk have made a killing out of this. Unlimited Cloud storage is now the default freebie. Your mobile phones also lock you into the Apple, Google or Microsoft cloud based on what OS you have running. The Cloud is everywhere and resistance is futile, you will be assimilated. The microSD slot and it’s partner the card itself help free your phone from storage hassles. All was well and then we have Tech Gurus like Hugo Barra predicting the imminent death of the external SD. Surely the storage companies must be worried? Far from it! They are actually happy! Why?

Simple Answer, we all live on disks and only the location of the disk is changing! I recently had a chance to talk to Mr. Guruswamy Ganesh and Mr. Vivek Tyagi from the Senior Management of SanDisk and here is the summary of what they said. If the microSD dies, device internal storage grows and if that gets exhausted, the cloud comes into the picture. All these are now moving to SSD and in a big way. There are .5 petabyte storage units that will fit in a tiny corner of your rack, there are huge arrays of them. They are being researched here in India and enterprises, cloud providers and mobile makers want them.

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The InfiniFlash system is a new storage platform offering massive capacity and high density to address the demands of capacity workloads at scale without compromise.


I am really at a loss to even think of where this is going in the next few years! We will have our entire lives on disks and they will probably live on a SanDisk Flash!

So, irrespective of who you are, what mode you use to store and get data, you are living on a disk somewhere and chances are, they are SSD units! So the storage makers have a win on their hands and so do we! Let us buckle up and enjoy this ride into Petabytes and more!

The best part of this story is the fact that SanDisk India is right here in Bangalore and is all set to become a major storage technology research hub in the world! I’ve been there and I liked what I saw! I am looking forward to meeting the SanDisk leadership later in the year when they will hopefully have stupendous results to share with us! And yes, the food in the cafeteria was a deal closer!

 

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