Boy, I loved that movie. How can you beat Jennifer Beales (or her stand-in) in leg warmers...?
Yesterday, Intel and STmicro ganged up to form a new company to make flash chips. Both companies also have new flash based disk products. hmm...
With the cost of flash chips dropping an estimated 80% a year, flash SSD will be within shooting distance of HDD by 2010/11. With read performance running up to 50% higher than HDD, power at 50% less, no heat, no vibration, and capacities quickly catching up (sub $1K 64GB SDD is just around the corner, 128-150GB are right behind), we're just an adoption curve away from rewriting enterprise storage as we've known it for 15 years.
Seagate and Western better get moving on their very, very large archival HDD, because pretty soon that's going to the be only market left for rotating media - and I still think that's a specious foothold.
Vista is already very "flash friendly" and likely to get more so over time - tests show Vista boots in sub-30seconds off SSD in a laptop, and MSFT has some cool magic that recognizes extraneous flash cards plugged into the system (USB is fine) and uses the space it finds for caching.
I first met Jim Gray at Tandem in the early 80's - I was a bonehead newbie, and he was already an annoited guru, but he was patient and quietly amazing even then. Later, around 1989 when we both ended up at DEC he showed a group of us a prototype of 19 inch "memory board" - but instead of chips, it was populated with a dozen or more 1" spindles soldered directly on the board. He envisioned racks and racks of these storage arrays running database applications. In one of his last published pieces, Jim predicts the future of disk. Like his predictions in 1989 of storage boards, Jim might be a little fuzzy on the implementation details - all big thinkers get a muligan on that hole - but I doubt many of us are smart enough to argue with him on the direction this is headed.
"First, when there's nothing but a slow glowing dream..." - what a feeling