DELL EMC Glossary

Flash Technology

Flash Technology encompasses all types of non-volatile memory including NAND and NOR as well as combined volatile and non-volatile implementations such as NVDIMM. Flash Technology is pervasive, existing everywhere from consumer devices like your car (NOR), mobile phone, and wearables to traditional computing devices like your laptop all the way large to hyper-scale data centers which employ flash storage (NAND) throughout.

Why should I consider Flash Technology?

Flash Technology uses less energy, is more compact, lighter, and faster than most traditional data storage methods. Removing wait times from your daily life is critical both as an individual and in a business setting. Waiting for data is akin to waiting in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles – nobody wants to do it if they don’t have to. Expectations are changing and the commoditizing of technology is driving flash from consumer devices and into businesses and enterprises everywhere. Do you have a tablet or ultralight laptop? There’s Flash Technology inside enabling the ultra-fast storage and operation of those units. Have you made a reservation on an airline’s website in the last year? There’s Flash Technology driving the results that are delivered to you in near-real-time. Flash Technology is used by almost everyone in their daily lives, if they take the time to pause and look for it.

How does Flash Technology work?

Flash Technology works as an improved response method of storage over other existing technology. Flash Technology consists of microscopic switches (transistors) on silicone that can be programmed as either a 1 or 0 – standard for most block-level binary devices. Flash Memory such as NAND is non-volatile meaning when the power is removed from the unit; the data persists until the power is restored. This is contrary to volatile memory such as DIMM and SIMM which lose their data when they lose power. Flash Technology’s speed of response to requests for writes and reads of data is what differentiates it from other storage methods such as HDD’s, tape, or other magnetic / spinning forms of media. Flash response times are typically measured in the sub millisecond or even nanosecond range; whereas traditional spinning media or magnetic tape and floppy disk must deal with elongated seek times which are typically measured from 1 millisecond up to 30+ milliseconds, depending on current workload and data locality. While there are typically trade-offs with every technology benefit, the exponential response time of requests for data far outweighs the limited duty life cycle of flash memory cells.

What are the benefits of Flash Technology?

Flash Technology enables faster application results and more rapid access to static content. Flash Technology is used almost everywhere in your daily life whether it be your personal or work life. As a consumer, you use flash memory in numerous devices including but not limited to: mobile phones, digital cameras, vehicles, tablets, laptops, children’s toys, and much of the online sites you use on a daily basis are enabled by flash storage in some manner. At work, whether you work in Information Technology or consume your company’s IT resources, Flash Technology likely exists in both your company’s data center and/or a service provider’s data center that your company is partnering with. Whether it be in the form of Flash Memory cards, SSD’s, or NVMe, the uses for Flash are growing rapidly and are being driven heavily by the consumption of Flash Memory in consumer devices which make them more portable and rugged. This demand is pushing the Flash Technology makers to deliver more capacity on their chips while simultaneously driving down prices.