Monday, September 12, 2005

Diskless laptops

It wont be long before laptops have no disks.
It is now becoming much more economical
to manufacture multi-gigabyte flash chips.
Flash chips are far more compact and less
power-hungry than hard disks, making them
prime candidates for laptops.

For example, consider a laptop with 10 4G Flash
chips vs a laptop with a 40G disk. The flash laptop
would be about $700 extra in storage costs, but
would be much lighter (no disk, much smaller battery),
would boot up and operate much faster and it would
be easy to plugin extra storage.

Samsung is manufacturing millions of these 4G
flash drives for Apple's iPod Nano, so economies
of scale will also drive manufacturing prices down.
Storage per $ in Flash chips is expected
to double by 2006 and quadruple by 2007. At that
point, the 40G flash laptop will only be $200 more
expensive than the hard-disk option. What will
become of the hard-disk manufacturers then ?
They will pretty much have to focus on servers
at that point.

At some point, one must expect that servers that
host transactional applications (database servers,
webservers) will also have a substantial flash component
to boot up quickly and provide quite write capabilities.