Facebook to rely on cold flash technology for cold data storage needs

NAND flash plays a very important role in Facebook’s daily computing needs and now the company has decided to use a new type of flash for long term storage of data such as photos and videos. The leading social networking website has decided to use ‘Cold flash’ for storing loosely accessed data (Cold data) of its users.

Thus, with the latest implementation, facebook will be the first company to use cheap, slow and low-endurance filled flash in this high speed NAND flash world.

So, what exactly cold flash means in technological terms? As said earlier, cold flash would have low endurance and low performance and will be mostly used to carry on with read functions.

Speaking at Flash memory summit, Jason Taylor, Director of Infrastructure, Facebook revealed cold flash truth to the world. He added that Facebook will be relying on the worst flash possible for its cold storage needs in coming days, where the focus will be in obtaining a dense and cheap memory medium, which has write once, read many capabilities.

Cold flash write capabilities will be reduced by 10 times than seen in usual flash memory and thus, will not have the capacity to be reliably written over many times. But it will have the potential to be read/viewed over many times in long run.

Till date, most companies are in a practice of using hard disks for cold storage needs, as it offers much lower price/bit than flash. But facebook plans to leave out some qualities which developers are trying to improve in flash to make cheap ‘Cold flash’ storage available to its users.

Facebook has plans to use cold flash to store photos, videos and other content that tends to stay the same after it’s created and is not much accessed by users.  Jason added that the majority of data will be probably written once and read never. Additionally, Cold flash can also be used by facebook to keep log data for future needs.

Presently, flash is being used by Facebook for cashing needs, as a replacement for hard drives and as an alternative to RAM.  From now on, ‘low-cost’ flash will be used by the social media giant for cold data storage needs as well.

To be precise, Cold-flash will be a cheap NAND flash which will have less endurance and write capabilities. So, producing such NAND flash will be a cheap gimmick to most flash vendors and so that is where Facebook wants to reduce its investments with innovation.

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