Flash Storage vs SSD: When you talk about solid-state drives, most people including the experts use the terminology SSD and flash. It is an easy language choice because these two technologies are related to each other. But they do not refer exactly to the same thing.
The difference between the flash storage and SSD may be easy to understand with an analogy. One of the most opted analogies that are used in the storage industry is that flash looks like an egg and SSD looks like an omelet.
What Is Flash Storage?
It is a silicon chip-based storage medium that can be used to write data on it and erase it whenever needed. The examples of storage medium involve tape, DVDs, CDs, spinning hard drive disks, Blu-ray punch cards, and even floppy disks.
Speed: Flash has a few unique features that make it useful for storing high-level data. As its name tells us that it is extremely faster than other devices like the spinning hard disk drives (HDDs).
No Moving Parts: Apart from tape or spinning disks, flash is used to make drives along with no moving parts. Generally, this makes it less obvious to fail or break, specifically in situations where the storage is moving around.
Non-volatile: Flash is non-volatile, this means it will retain the data if there is a break in the power supply. That makes it unlikely to be a RAM, which is also a very fast device but erases all the data once the power is cut off.
Easily Rewriteable: Flash is very easy to rewrite, so it is considered to be very useful for storing the data that changes often unlike a CD or a DVD.
Flash can be used in a number of things in addition to SSDs. For instance, laptops, digital cameras, phones, memory cards, USB memory sticks, calculators, video cameras, mobile phones, digital toys, and some medical devices use flash storage.
It is also important to know that flash comes in a variety of different forms. The most commonly used flash is NAND and NOR. NOR was the first one to be developed. It is extremely fast for reading but not for writing.
So it is mostly used where once the code is written and read frequently. NAND is much faster for writing and takes up very little space than NOR. This feature makes it less expensive. Most used flash in SSDs is the NAND.
The drawback of the flash drive is that it was extremely expensive in the past. But now technology has improved the cost is decreased resulting in making flash extremely cost-effective for enterprises. Nowadays you can get high-speed Flash with high storage easily
What Is SSD Storage?
SSD is also a storage device. Mostly SSDs in the market are still using flash as the medium of storage. The relationship between SSD and flash is just like the relationship between a CD drive and a CD. The CD is a medium and CD drive is the storage. Similarly, SSD is the device for storage whereas flash is the medium.
However, SSD does not necessarily use flash as its storage medium. SSD stands for “Solid State Drive”. So any kind of storage that is not in motion can be counted as an SSD. In fact, the earliest SSDs lacked flash storage. Future SSDs also other mediums.
Most SSDs use the same factors as HDDs. That makes it easy for them to move from disk storage to solid storage. Companies can buy drives or SSD array that are already populated with drives. Hybrid arrays are a combination of HDDs and SSDs which is also a famous option. Click here and purchase high-speed SSD from Amazon.
Flash Storage vs SSD: History
SSDs came long before the flash. Still, some people think that the origins of SSDs are far back from the 50s, the first SSD came into the market in the 1970s. The initial SSDs relied upon the type of chip called EAROM i.e. Electrically Erasable Read-Only Memory.
EAROMs appeared in various video games, but technology could not take it off. Just like RAm, flash is also fast but RAM is volatile flash isn’t. This means that if the power is turned off, anything that is stored in RAM will be erased.
This posed a very obvious problem in the case of power shut down, so many SSDs had battery backup systems. Manufacturers continue to refine and sale RAM-based SSDs in the 2000s. In that time, they experimented with other technology that can create SSDs.
In the 80s, Intel created a device Bubble Memory that was expected to generate a lot of buzzes. It was integrated into some early PCs including the Apple II. But the designers ran into some technical problems while expanding its capacity and Intel abandoned it soon.
At the same time when people thought that Bubble Memory is the hottest new invention, an employee of Toshiba named Fujio Masuoka set the idea for flash memory. He presented this idea at the convention of the industry in 1987. This device hit the market in the late 80s.
Flash-based SSDs came into the market in the early 1990s, but they were too expensive at that time. SunDisk sold the flash SSD of 20 MB for $1,000. In today’s dollars, that is equal to about $1,900 or $95,000 per gigabyte.
The extraordinary high prices put the flash out of reach for many applications, it was also not as fast as RAM, these both points were against the market of technology. The non-volatile nature of flash made it convincing enough that researchers developed it even after RAM SSDs.
In the late 2000s, SSDs began to lose the market and gradually flash became more famous than RAM. In the 2010s, the prices of flash dropped to the point where enterprises can afford to replace their older technologies such as HDDs and tape with faster SSDs.
The Future Of SSDs
Today, almost all the SSDs in the market are based on flash technology. This is the big reason why most people think that SSD and flash are two words for one thing. But it is not always like this.
Manufacturers are looking for the new alternative to flash. One of the most promising is 3D Xpoint. This is championed by Micron and Intel and sold in the name of brands like QuantX and Optane.
Like flash, 3D XPoint is also non-volatile and is said to offer “greater endurance and 1,000 times lower latency” than NAND flash. Like flash in the early days, 3D XPoint is still way too expensive and many people are still using it.
Other potential flash alternatives include spin-transfer torque RAM resistive RAM and phase-change memory. So no other choices, including 3D XPoint has become the most important part of the storage market.
For the nearest future, most SSDs will continue to rely on flash storage technology. This means that a greater amount of the storage industry will continue using the terminology SSD and flash interchangeably.
Summary Of Flash Storage vs SSD
SSD is just like a hard disk that can’t move. SSDs used to use RAM but now use Flash instead. Flash is the memory type, it is fast and does not require continuous power. In short, you can not compare Flash to SSD.
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