In many ways, Flash drives are superior to mechanical hard drives in terms of performance, power use, and availability. Until recently, they were typically used in harsh environments and environments where physical space is at a premium. For example, they are embedded in industrial computers and military/aerospace applications. Recently, due to technological advances resulting in greater capacity and lower cost, these drives are used in commercial and consumer-grade computers including enterprise computer environments and high-performance computer workstations. In the past, the small size and low power usage of Flash drives were unimportant in commercial environments. That is also changing; now, high-density storage capacity, low power usage, and low-heat generation are important data center requirements. The near RAM speed of the drive’s response time is also important. It is an advantage not to have to rely on slower mechanical storage for data when large datasets (databases) are being manipulated or when the lowest application or user response time is needed. Flash drives are especially well suited for low-latency applications that require consistent, low (less than 1 ms) read/write response times. Since there is no rotational or seek latency in Flash drives, the greatest throughput occurs with small-block, highly-concurrent, random-read workloads. The elimination of mechanical overhead and data placement latency greatly improves application performance and efficiency. All of these factors help Flash drives deliver very high IOPS with very low response times. Besides the industry-standard techniques used in all CLARiiON storage devices (like DRAM memory between the array and the storage media; a backup power circuit for the DRAM memory; error detection and 3 Enterprise Flash drives Unified Flash Drive Technology Technical Notes correction; and bad block management), there are certain features that are specific to Flash drives. These features are discussed in the following
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