Feeds

Facebook's request to the flash industry: 'Make the worst flash possible'

Counterintuitive, perhaps – but eminently sensible

High performance access to file storage

Flash Memory Summit Flash-memory designers may currently be focused solely on improving speed and endurance, but Facebook's director of capacity engineering and analysis wants something completely different from them.

"The Facebook ask of the industry is make the worst flash possible," Facebook's Jason Taylor told his keynote audience at the Flash Memory Summit on Tuesday in Santa Clara, California. "Just make it dense and cheap."

What Taylor was talking about was flash to be used in "cold storage" – not only for rarely accessed data such as logs and metrics that Facebook uses to do its analytics, but also user content that's rarely – if ever – accessed.

"Photos, video – essentially, after you first create these, they're almost never updated," he said. "The majority of that data will probably be written once and read never – really, it's sad."

Slow, low-endurance flash would be ideal for such an application. "Write-once, read-never is probably the spec for a lot of this," he said, noting that when you want to keep something for a very long time and essentially never touch it, write speeds could be up to 10 times as slow as current flash, and the user experience would be hardly compromised.

Facebook currently handles its "cold storage" by assembling a rack of hard drives that sit in racks, spun down, and are only spun up, individually, when a request is made. Needless to say, when a Facebook user actually wants to access something that's in cold storage, the latency involved is considerable.

Cold storage that's done using flash, however, doesn't have the same spin-up latency as does hard drive–based cold storage. Taylor called this type of rarely used storage cold flash. "I wouldn't say it was completely cold," he said. "It's more like 'tepid'."

Cold flash wouldn't need to be fast and long-lived, as the type of flash that the industry is continually working on perfecting. "Essentially the silicon could be developed in such a way that we could get really dense flash modules that could then be created for very high-fidelity, long-term read-only memory," Taylor said.

And cheap – don't forget cheap. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES
Or helium filling either, according to reports
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?
Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans cloud spot exchange
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.