One of the biggest disruptions in computing in recent years has been the growth of NAND flash memory as an enterprise storage medium. Flash has much lower latency than spinning disk and has is projected to continue dropping in price rapidly. Along with the growth in adoption has come a proliferation of form factors, from arrays to SATA cards, and even cards that fit in DIMM slots. One of the form factors in which STAC Benchmark Council members have expressed the most interest is PCIe cards with direct interfaces to applications. For its part, the STAC-M3 Working Group has established a research agenda for STAC to test a variety of PCIe flash products against a tick data workload. Those results continue to flow.
The space will only get more interesting in the next few years, as application interfaces become more efficient and standardize, even as the underlying media evolve in a number of post-NAND directions (e.g., PCM, ReRAM, STT-MRAM). For a perspective from one important PCIe flash player on how solution designers and application developers should approach this rapidly changing world, check out a presentation by Intel at the Spring 2014 STAC Summits.