After reading the last piece of storagemojo on flash based ssd, i thought i throw in my two cents:
Why use them?
Having a disk that spins with 5200 rpm in computer system, that you move a lot, does not look desirable to me.
The only thing that made me excited about the mac book air was the rumor it would come with a ssd as only option. That would have been the right sign for the market, kind of when apple made the switch to flash based ipods. Higher production volume would be the solution to many ssd problems, like first of all the price, the quality and even the speed, since the main reason for switching to new chips is the price advantage for the vendor.
Saying that ssds don’t come with a power consumption advantage might be right with our systems atm. But i think the software vendors could do a lot on this.
With a classic harddisk you don’t want to lay down the disk to sleep that fast and often since it takes to much time to have it on speed after waking it up and it reduces also the lifetime of the disks. With ssds you don’t have such problems, you can power down the harddisk whenever the system is not using it.
Who likes noisy pcs? No one does. Many people like the idea of centralized storage at home, using network harddisk at the low end and home servers on the other. Those devices you can place where ever your network reaches, you can access them via your desktop, laptop, the media player attached to your big screen, ipod, handy, the mp3 player in the kitchen and so on. So why not replace that noisy disk in the desktop with a ssd?
Cooperate desktops are another thing. For cooperate use, i would choose thinclients, like sunrays etc. So no need for any kind of "masstorage" there.
Well, atm i would not want them for all my storage, but they can speed up my storage a lot. I can use them to store my meta-data, in zfs i can use them for the intent log and there are several other nice things to do with them.
If the price would drop, they would be superior on the enterprise sector. Normal harddisks do spin at all time in your arrays, with ssds powering down disks would be possible.
One of the biggest issue with big arrays is the mechanical movement, with ssds it be can reduced to near zero. Heat and space are the second big problems in a modern datacenter.
Storage products like suns thumper aim to pack a big number of disk on as low numbers of HEs as possible. Why not produce a ssd in the size of a whole HE?
Who wants to switch hds anyways? Just take enough of the disk as failover storage and you are good.
We need bigger production volumes to lower the prices, to increase quality and performance.
Performance and better energy efficiency has to come not only from the ssd vendors (research and better production technics), but also from the operating system vendors.
The needed demand for ssds will most likely come from the emerging sub 500$/ sub 10" screen size notebook market.
I’m pretty sure when the first transistors came up, there where enough people that where unwilling seeing a need for it, since there trusty vacuum tubes where cheaper, proven to work etc.