Fusion-io is claiming to have developed a new type of flash memory combining single and multi-level cell (MLC) attributes. It will announce full details of the new development later today.
Single-level cell (SLC) flash has speed and reliability advantages over MLC. The latter has 2 or 3 bits per cell and wears out faster, but is cheaper on a capacity basis. Fusion says its SMLC flash (Single Multi-Level Cell, presumably) combines SLC performance and reliability with MLC cost-effectiveness at a price point between SLC and MLC flash products.
The company will be introducing an SMLC product with error-correction and global wear-levelling.
As Fusion-io is a solid state drive (SSD) controller and interface company, it is highly unlikely that this is a flash fabrication technology development. A possibility is that SMLC flash combines SLC and MLC dies in the same SSD, perhaps with the SLC as a cache, with controller functions using both to their best effect. More details to follow.
Fusion-io makes PCI-e-connected flash, with HP as an OEM, and here we see TMS and Fusion-io competing for customers. Seagate is joining Intel and STEC in producing enterprise flash drives to replace fast Fibre Channel disk. Western Digital is easing its way into the enterprise data centre with its product. Both SandForce and Pliant have candidate controllers under development for business-grade flash storage.
The enterprise flash market is steadily heating up. ®