XMission's Company Journal

Flash to the Future

The XMission Research and Development team was in Boston this week, catching a ball game, taking in some local flavor…oh and we went to USENIX.

While there, I had the chance to hear from Adrian Cockroft, who is currently leading a performance tuning and research group over at Netflix.

Though his presentation was excellent, one of the most interesting thoughts he had was about the future of the hard drive, which he amusingly called spinning platters of rust.

Though projecting prices for storage is never a particularly exact science, some people have tried and show some interesting projections:

Given that we’ve already seem some major storage vendors moving toward solid-state arrays one has to wonder what effect this will have on operating system architecture. Cockroft pointed out that once we see effectively flat memory architectures in machines with much smaller differences in seek times between media, we may see a major effort underway to re-architect the way that operating systems see the idea of hierarchical memory.

Perhaps even more compelling from a performance standpoint is what this re-architecture might do to the idea of the database as a storage engine. For the truly curious, both Microsoft Research and Oracle Research are actively considering the question.


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