Best of 2017 Flash Memory Summit Recap

This year’s Flash Memory Summit landed at an interesting time thanks to the evolution of data transmission speeds, capacity, and compute power, as well as software, artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data. Data is being used in ways we couldn’t have conceived of ten years ago and it is evolving in incredible ways.

So whether you were at the show and need a recap or followed remotely and want to see what you missed, we’ve got you covered in our Best of 2017 Flash Memory Summit Recap. Watch the highlights video and read on!

Keynote by Martin Fink, Western Digital Corporation CTO

Our chief technology officer, Martin Fink, keynoted during the conference this year and spoke on the opportunities and obstacles that we face in our data-centric universe. One of his first points was to ask the audience to think of Western Digital in a new light. Instead of being a component company, we are in fact a data company, one that enables the capture, access, aggregation, transformation and preservation of data through a wealth of technologies and products that bring to life new ideas and possibilities. Next, he introduced the audience to two key innovations Western Digital brought to the world this year:

  • BiCS4, a technology that increases 3D NAND technology to 96 layers. The denser storage improves scalability at an affordable cost, enables 1 terabit of storage per die, and brings faster IO while using low power, low voltage
  • X4, a flash architecture that brings four-bits-per-cell on 64-layer 3D NAND

Here are a few of the key topics and highlights from his keynote:

The Evolving Role of Data

The role data plays in our universe has changed. Consider that data began as a record of something, basically storing paper records in digital form. It then evolved into communication thanks to the birth of the Internet. Today, data is efficiency, in that it replaces items or processes such as paper maps or the need to call for a taxi vs. summoning one to your position. Tomorrow? Data as currency. One such example Martin shared is how data can literally save you money when you rent a car or get insurance by proving you’re a safe driver. That’s data as money.

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NVM System Opportunities

The emerging non-volatile memory market is rife with opportunities, and no single technology is likely to become dominant because each one has strengths and weaknesses ideal for specific use cases, workloads and budgets. Here’s his key takeaway for attendees:

Memory-Centric Compute

Martin discussed the incredible opportunity of memory-centric computing, by disaggregating memory from the CPU to scale each separately. This is a challenge for the entire industry, to think about computing differently without being constrained by the processor and to build out new memory interfaces, programing models and semantics with non-volatility to support Fast Data. Here’s more about this different model:

Technology Predictions

Finally, Martin shared five bold predictions for the future of the industry.

Curious what they are? Fast forward Martin’s keynote to 22:18 to get it straight from Martin himself.

Accelerating Precision Medicine

Our Stefaan Vervaet discusses some of the challenges faced by healthcare organizations in cost-affordably evolving to a place where precision medicine is time- and cost-effective as well as scalable. For example, technology such as NVMe™ flash reduces time to discovery and enables faster delivery of analytics, enabling speedier identification of new therapies.

The Re-emergence of Flash

Joan Wrabetz, VP of Marketing Communications for Western Digital Data Center Systems, discusses her observation that flash technology is seeing a re-emergence thanks to new use cases that are finally within reach. For example, she sees customers in media and entertainment applying cognitive machine learning to repackaging content (such as special cuts of movies for certain worldwide audiences). Where else is she seeing flash surfacing in a major way? Watch this quick interview to learn the other reason!

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Thank You 2017 Flash Memory Summit

2017 Flash Memory Summit was hot this year and we’re so pleased you made it through our recap. We hope you can join us again next time – who knows what advances a year will bring. Let us know your thoughts below.

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