A few days ago, Sandisk’s CEO Eli Harari blamed his company’s lack of progress around Solid State Drive performance on Windows Vista claiming:
"As soon as you get into Vista applications in notebook and desktop, you start running into very demanding applications because Vista is not optimized for flash memory solid-state disk… Unfortunately, [SSD] performance in the Vista environment falls short of what the market really needs and that is why we need to develop the next generation, which we’ll start sampling end of this year, early next year… We have very good internal controller technology, as you know… That said, I’d say that we are now behind because we did not fully understand, frankly, the limitations in the Vista environment."
Fascinating, huh? Apparently Betanews wasn’t content with Harari’s blanket statement about it being "all Windows Vista’s fault" so they started to dig further, inquiring what exactly are the "limitations" that he was talking about:
In a statement to BetaNews today, Richard Heyes, who heads up SanDisk’s SSD Business Unit, didn’t elaborate on the areas of optimization, although he did talk about SSD performance on "full-featured" operating systems such as Windows Vista vs. "simple" systems such as XP Starter Edition — and he predicted that operating systems in general will become more "SSD aware" in the future…
…In answer to a question about how Microsoft and Sandisk are addressing SSD issues, Heyes said the companies have been working together in that vein. "We are continuing our work with Microsoft to identify opportunities for optimizing SSDs for the Windows experience," he said…
…But Heyes did not answer a request from BetaNews to pinpoint the so-called "limitations" of Vista for SSD support, mentioned by Harari during Monday’s conference call.
Also today, BetaNews provided Microsoft with an opportunity to comment on the SSD issues raised by Harari and Heyes — asking Microsoft, too, for information about any plans around greater "SSD awareness" in either Vista or the forthcoming Windows 7. But by the end of the day, the company was still investigating the matter…
"We are still looking into this, and we will be back in touch whenever we have anything to share about it. Thank you for your patience," a Microsoft spokesperson told BetaNews.
So in review:
- SANDISK BACKPEDALLING
Sandisk CEO Eli Harari made a bunch of unsubstantiated statements about Windows Vista, that their own PR mouthpieces seem unwilling to back up.
- MICROSOFT DOESN’T KNOW WHAT HE’S TALKING ABOUT
"We’re still looking into this"? Doesn’t this usually equate to, "We have no idea what this dude’s talking about"?
- MICROSOFT’S FLASH MEMORY WEAR LEVELING ALGORITHM
Windows Vista has a special Microsoft Research created algorithm that is used for flash I/O to distribute writes across the entire medium to minimize the "wear" of the memory over time and otherwise maximize the life of flash media by preventing the user from unintentionally writing to the same flash memory cells over and over again. Note that flash memory cells can only be written to something like 50,000-100,000 times before burning out. Imagine what would happen to the memory cells used for the file allocation table if the writes weren’t distributed across the entire medium.
I hope Betanews and other media outlets pursue an explanation of this statement of Sandisk CEO Eli Harari aggressively. Even in the most positive light, this seems like a stupid statement to make publicly regardless of whether or not there’s any accuracy to it and he should be hung in the media for it just as Steve Ballmer or Steve Jobs or any major corporate CEO would for pissing all over another company for their troubles… much less a partner of theirs.
Personally, I would even go so far as to think there could possibly be an issue with operating systems IN GENERAL not recognizing the difference between SSD drives and mechanical magnetic material drives and thus not applying wear leveling, but from what I’ve seen, no such technology exists natively for Windows XP, MacOS, Linux, or any other operating system out there making his isolation of Windows Vista sound more like a weak evasion tactic used by a corporate mouthpiece that was shooting from the hip in front of a group of press badges.
But what do I know… I hated the storage technologies courses I took back at UCLA Engineering.