Flash Memoy Snake Oil

After reading our article, Using Solid State Flash Disks as Cure-All for Medical Storage Systems, a reader was so impressed that he decided to write us a love letter:


As regards this latest in a string of outright deceptions foisted on IT decision-makers by the manufacturers of SSDs (Solid State Disks), I respectfully submit that your editors should look more carefully at submissions such as:


The economic analysis (most significantly, the charts) presented by Bit-Micro tells what can only be described as a bold-faced lie about the current and future economics of DRAM/Flash-RAM vs. HDDs. There is certainly no argument about the access density advantages of RAM-based solutions, but the idea that Disk and RAM prices are “converging” is a pure (and purely self-serving) fabrication on the part of Bit-Micro.

free technical publications

Quoting “Web Feet Research”, the authors said: “the gap between HDD and solid state flash disk quotes is seen to narrow significantly-with a difference of ONLY about $0.05 per MByte in 2007″…(emphasis mine).

HDD’s today cost about $0.00024/GByte. A $0.05/MByte PRICE DELTA IS EQUAL TO A >>$50.00/GByte<< PRICE DELTA!!! That’s more than a 200-fold difference!!

The above quote, along with a cleverly constructed chart which appears to show ‘price parity’ in 2009 between HDD and Flash Ram, a chart that is so obtuse as to present a 200:1 price delta in a way that causes this delta to look like zero…well I think you’ll agree that this article is a masterpiece of marketing deception.

I am in a business where the ‘facts’ around these economics are of critical importance. This article was forwarded to me by a highly respectable technologist as justification for a decision to invest in this “Flash Memoy snake oil”, which investment is now worthless. The story that RAM and HDD prices are converging has been told for almost 30 years now, and after 30 years now it’s known to be pure fantasy. In fact, for the last ten years we’ve known that the price gap is INCREASING (check with IBM Almaden, or Fujitsu…these companies make BOTH HDD and silicon devices…if you doubt my research).

I’m surprised that the folks at Embedded Star are still falling for this stuff, and I’m tired of having to point out how fallacious these stories are…to the embarassment of otherwise smart people reading otherwise respectable publications like Embedded Star(tm).

Please gentlemen, if you would kindly direct a little bit more ‘healthy skepticism’ toward the Snake-Oil salesmen, I and many others will greatly appreciate it.