Solid-state storage (SSS) is an increasingly popular backup alternative to traditional storage technologies such as the hard disk drive (HDD), compact disc, rewriteable (CD-RW), and digital versatile disc RAM (DVD-RAM).
All SSS devices, also called solid-state drives (SSDs), function entirely by electronic means, and therefore they lack internal moving parts. In theory, this characteristic should allow SSS devices to perform faster, longer, and more reliably than devices that employ mechanical components. In practice, the situation is more complex because optimum performance requires dovetailing of the underlying technologies.
The following table lists and compares several emerging and currently available SSS technologies. Some engineers and authors, when referring to certain SSS technologies, use the term memory (a technical misnomer) in place of the correct term, storage.
|Conductive metal-oxide (CMOx)||A nonvolatile storage medium in which oxygen ions migrate between conductive and insulating metal-oxide layers within a single chip.||Emerging technology; anticipated production in 2014 or 2015.|
|Enterprise multi-level-cell (eMLC) flash||A form of multi-level-cell (MLC) flash that offers an increased number of program/erase (PE) cycles for extended life and reliability.||Data backup for medium and large business computing.|
|Flash-based solid-state storage||Any data repository or system that uses flash memory. The size and complexity of such systems ranges from USB drives to enterprise-class array-based memory systems.||Data backup for a wide variety of users and environments.|
|Magnetoresistive random-access memory (MRAM)||A method of storing data bits using magnetic charges instead of the electrical charges used by dynamic RAM (DRAM).||High-density applications; emerging technology expected to reach the market in 2012.|
|Multi-level-cell (MLC) flash||An approach to flash memory in which two data segments can be written to the same cell, thereby doubling the storage capacity.||Data backup for personal and small business computing.|
|NAND flash memory||Flash memory technology or devices constructed using NAND logic gates.||Portable, laptop, and thin-client desktop computers for personal and business use.|
|NOR flash memory||Flash memory technology or devices constructed using NOR logic gates.||Mobile phones and pocket personal computers.|
|Phase-change memory (PCM)||A form of computer RAM (random-access memory) that stores data by altering the state of the matter rapidly back and forth between amorphous and crystalline on a microscopic scale.||Emerging technology noted for exceptional switching speed and high storage density.|
|RAM-based solid-state storage||A volatile solid-state storage media based on RAM technology that is relatively insensitive to the number of PE cycles.||High-speed computer memory applications for personal, business, and government environments.|
|Resistive RAM (RRAM)||A form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a specially formulated solid dielectric material.||Emerging technology noted for exceptional switching speed and high storage density.|
|Single-level-cell (SLC) flash||A nonvolatile storage device or technology that provides enhanced reliability and performance relative to MLC and eMLC flash media.||Data backup for medium and large businesses and government agencies.|
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