SanDisk Co-Founder States Flash Memory Will Checkmate Hard Drives by 2020

Eli Harari,  one of flash memory’s founding fathers, was not reserved when speaking Monday at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC).

The SandDisk co-founder predicts that flash memory will “checkmate” hard drives by 2020.  He goes on to state that DRAM, as we know it, may not be far behind.

This is quite the counterpoint to the recent Microsoft Research and UCSD study that somehow drew conclusions of impending doom for the flash and SSD markets.

Cheap NAND is one of the major growth-fuelers in the explosion of the use of flash memory in mobile devices. Harari states that “Today, the cost of NAND per gigabyte is 10 times lower than the cost of DRAM … and that’s not likely to change.”  Harari also points out that adding 10GB of flash will give you much more of a performance boost than adding 1GB of DRAM.  With SSD use taking off in tablets, ultrabooks, desktops, and now enterprise applications there are many who support Harari’s conclusions.

Having said that, Harari feels that 3D resistive RAM (3D-ReRAM) will be what causes the demise of the hard drive.  This is actually older tech that is re-emerging.  He expects that at some time in the next few years, 3D-ReRAM will take over from NAND flash at around 11nm architecture.  Predicts Harari: “I believe that by 2020, flash — which is highly-scaled NAND and 3D resistive RAM — will be the undisputed king of storage.”

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