All those class reunion pictures and photos from grandma’s 86th birthday party posted to Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) are in a nice repository for storage, but once you put them up there, you rarely look at them again. In fact, it’s rare for anyone to look at them.
Since it’s a post-and-forget sort of situation, the social networking giant says you don’t need to be able to recall those pictures in a flash. Low performance memory would be best because the data rarely changes. In fact, it wants the memory industry to produce junk flash, or what it calls “cold flash.”
According to industry reports, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s director of infrastructure recently told a group of flash industry executives just to “make the worst flash possible.”
Because the data stored on it is rarely accessed, the flash doesn’t need the lightning speed and reliability that most memory users want. Instead, the “write once — read never” type of data that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) users employ means the cold flash memory only needs to be “dense and cheap.” You’d hardly experience any difference if, for some reason, you did want to look at that nutty picture of Fluffy that you took in the shower.
Reductions in costs are driving Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) to create whole new paradigms in computing. Earlier this year, Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) and Advanced Micro Designs, along with two other chip makers, got behind the social networking site’s drive to create specs for a new drop-in-and-go type of processor that separates it from the motherboard. By doing so, it won’t need two separate motherboards, but will simply be able to swap out an Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) processor for an AMD version, or vice versa.
It’s why Facebook won’t consider using solid-state drives for storing data like other Internet companies do. Indeed, where Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Dropbox, and others are pushing the storage wars toward SSD’s, despite their initial higher cost, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is heading in the other direction. It’s data needs aren’t those of the others who look for instantaneous recall. Since all memory devices degrade over time, the more they’re read and written over, the more SSDs will eventually fail. Cold flash, on the other hand, might have even greater endurance despite its lower quality, because it will hardly ever be engaged to read-write the data.