back to article New research: Flash is DEAD. Yet resistance isn't futile - it's key

Flash is at a crossroads. It cannot keep shrinking dies because, beyond a certain point, NAND cells produce too many errors, are slower to respond and have a shortened working life. Yet a University of Michigan professor's research may hold the key to the future of flash storage technology. Flash foundry suppliers are working …

  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
    Thumb Up

    Top boffinry by the sound of it

    Time will tell what will become of the technology, of course, but having thumb drives that are faster, have larger capacity, and do not wear out is something I would love to see

    1. Steve Knox

      Re: Top boffinry by the sound of it

      Thumb drive!? I could replace my SAN with a gross of those chips...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Top boffinry by the sound of it

        SAN stands for Storage Area Network. You're not going to replace your network with these things.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: Top boffinry by the sound of it

          Sure I can. These things + Maxta = bye bye SAN. No need for the storage area network OR the arrays that live on it.

  2. stucs201

    Flash!, I love you!

    But we only have 14nm to save the data

  3. Pirate Dave Silver badge


    too bad, I was hoping "Flash is DEAD" was referring to the product from Adobe...

  4. Pen-y-gors

    Sometimes I wonder...

    Very clever etc, great boffinry.

    I know that "no-one will ever need more than 640K of RAM" etc. but do we really need to store these insane amounts of data, other than in a few extreme use cases (NSA/GCHQ, Radio telescopes, unread backups). If we're now able to store 1TB on something the size of a postage stamp, what more do we realistically need? Amazon are selling 128GB SD cards for £50, which will hold 30 DVDs, 3,000 hours of radio-quality MP3, 30,000 high-res photos or about 200,000 Project Gutenberg books. That's on just ONE flash card.

    There's a limit to how much pr0n and cat photos even the nerdiest nerd could want to download and keep.

    </old fart mode>

    1. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: Sometimes I wonder...

      "There's a limit to how much pr0n and cat photos even the nerdiest nerd could want to download and keep."

      But you're forgetting about 4K utra-HD cat videos!

    2. Mage

      Re: Sometimes I wonder...

      I want my entire BluRay, DVD, CD, Vinyl, cassettes, 78s, film photos & slides in original format or digitised losslessly, plus all the files I've been saving since 1988 which includes all email since about 2001 (don't ask why).

      I'd like to save whole websites as the wayback machine often doesn't have the associated download files.

      An afford and fast so I can have complete copies elsewhere easily.

      A bonus if it can slip pass U S or Chinese Customs as something innocuous.

      1TB is piddling amount even though my first HDD was only 5 M byte (in 1982)

    3. James O'Shea Silver badge

      Re: Sometimes I wonder...

      "There's a limit to how much pr0n and cat photos even the nerdiest nerd could want to download and keep."

      No, there isn't.

      There might be a limit as to how much can be _produced_, but even that is iffy

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Sometimes I wonder...

      "There's a limit to how much pr0n and cat photos even the nerdiest nerd could want to download and keep."

      At least when Joe Blow goes into PCWorld to buy a computer and asks "Does it have the Internet on it", well, the answer may in future, be true.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sometimes I wonder...

      Much like Mage, I can see a time when my DVD collection becomes obsolete because I can store it on a NAS box. If an uncompressed DVD is 5GB (it's about that, isn't it?) I'd need 15TB of storage. In 10 years' time, perhaps, that will be on an affordable home device.

  5. John Robson Silver badge


    Still waiting for a low power, OK speed (mostly sequential), insane capacity and drop dead low price storage.

    If ReRAM is as good as it sounds then great - but a big fat slow SSD will do the job quite happily - at an appropriate price point obviously.

    1. Charles 9

      Re: Price/speed/capacity/power

      I'm personally curious about long-term static longevity issues. Consumer backup technology is currently standing a touch precariously, as I've had unusual experiences with spinning rust and finnicky controllers.

      If the tech is about to hit the streets, bully. For once, an article about technology we'll soon be able to actually use. At the very least, we'll be able to see some concrete numbers.

  6. Jad

    Shut up and take my money already!

    Tell me when I can get it commercially, and I will have it in my computers that day! :)

  7. DropBear

    Reading this I did perform a few obligatory 'Calloh Callay' chortles, but since I'm a rather skeptical bastard, they went straight into a well-sealed bottle, to be released only upon actual commercial availability (about the same time one of those oft-announced revolutionary super-batteries and/or unbreakable-and-actually-flexible LCDs finally surfaces too, no doubt).

    1. Charles 9

      Well, according to the company, they're only a couple steps away. Inking agreements with chip makers means they're close to the manufacturing stage.

      1. Stuart Halliday

        They've been saying that for the last 10 years....

  8. Mike 16

    Holy Carp!

    It's basically a nano-coherer. Well, several billion of them. On a chip.

    1. Steve Knox

      Re: Holy Carp!

      Hmmm. Something fishy about your post...

  9. Canecutter

    The things you could build if this were real!

    I can only imagine the kind of systems you could build with that.

    Non-volatile, fast access, byte addressable, high-capacity storage? You got it.

    Carve it onto a die with a 64-bit processor core, and what do you get? Active memory.

    Given the form factor, I suppose you can have 16 processors and 16 TB in a 150x100x30 mm module.

    Man the system possibilities that come to mind if I could have hardware like that.

    I'd love to write the software to work with that.

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    1TB on a *single* chip

    Is that not at least a little impressive?

    Not to mention a major different chemistry and physics compared to the usual Silicon.

    1. Mage
      Paris Hilton

      Re: 1TB on a *single* chip


      But having started with 5M byte HDD, 64K RAM and 4MHz clock 8 bit CPU, with ASCII graphics, 300 bps or 1200/75 modem and worked up to multiple HHD (some are 2,000,000 M Byte), 8,000,000,0000K RAM and multiple core 64 bit cpu at 2,400MHz with dual 1600 x 1200 32bit screens (or dual 19200 x 1080) with GPU using 128,000K RAM and 8,000,0000 / 1,000,000 bps fixed microwave link modem (nearly 9 years for the link) at a fraction of the price of 1982 (real inflation cost) I'm now expecting stuff better than SF and at poundland prices.

      I know no satisfying some people.

      Pity the software is mostly just prettier than 1988 and full of bugs :-(

      I had FutureNet Schematic Capture, Spice, Spreadsheets, Wordprocessor, DTP, CAD / Vector drawing, email via X.25 pad, BT Telecom gold / Bitnet (300bps modem!). My last taped up MPU board was 1982.

  11. Dave Bell

    There have been similar Great White Hopes in the past. Not all have worked out.

    I shall believe this when I see it in Lidl.

    Well, maybe that is an exaggeration.

  12. Charles Manning

    Nobody wants storage

    We just want to be able to access our stuff on demand.

    With perfect clouding etc, there would be no need for storage at all, beyond a few kbytes needed to boot a device.

    1. Mage

      Re: Nobody wants storage

      I've no wish to trust faceless corporations, only have access where there is suitable infrastructure and rent the storage forever. Or trust someone not to to delete / copy and trust backups.

      Also most people are about 1 x JCB from losing their cloud connection.

      I can write more convincing SF & F than cloud marketing.

      I have a spare bridge if you want to buy it.

      Which is faster?

      Ordinary post of 2T Byte to a Data centre or 2T down any affordable fibre even in 20 years time?

      P.S. I rent hosting too. It might be in Kansas. It was supposed to be in the UK. But who knows next week.

      Cloud is just renting Hosting with free arm waving, whale song and joss sticks.

    2. N13L5

      Re: Nobody wants storage

      I guess you like to have other people take care of your stuff and hope that they don't loose it, delete it, copy it or pass it on to the NSA and who knows who else around the globe...

      Maybe you should move into a hospital and let other people feed you, clothe you and take care of your body functions.

      Remember, the servant always becomes the master, sooner or later. Storing your own data for yourself on your own media and keeping it backed up in a safe place of your own choice would be a good start for you, not to slide down that spiral ending in incontinence and continual painkiller consumption.

    3. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Nobody wants storage

      With perfect clouding etc, there would be no need for storage at all, beyond a few kbytes needed to boot a device.

      I gave you an up-vote because if we had such a utopia you would be correct.

      In the real world however; neither BT or VM could even find my cloud in recent days.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. memory

    I'd be more interested in using the ReRAM/PCM tech for neural networks.

  14. roger stillick

    Flash is dead = Data Storage is dead after 5 years...

    The only thing left of my IP from the 1984 CBM-64 years is a plastic binder with a couple hundred sheets of printer output...can't read the 5 n 3 in floppies and anything the 2 Gridcase laptops did is gone... likewise with that IBM PC w/386 processor that couldn't be backed up (nothing readily available)...found out the little black external hard drives get excessive errors after 3 years...then die...found out DVD R/W media (the good stuff) starts showing errors after 4 years...

    Q = What is to be done ?? at this point in time, i really don't know...

    IMHO = perhaps IP data is time limited to a couple of years like US IRS info = 3 years n gone...

    caveiat = i downloaded the white paper... great SCI-FI read...RS.

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