Friday, July 27, 2012

Toshiba Developing Flash-Based Data Center Products

Toshiba announced on Tuesday that it has started developing a line of products designed for storing large amounts of data and that these new products would be based on the company's flash memory chips. Toshiba is working on a three-tier strategy that it hopes will spur in-house demand for NAND flash memory.

Toshiba will offer memory chips for use in storage hardware, data servers that combine hard disks, solid-state drives and flash and software services for analyzing and handling large amounts of data. According to Senior Engineer at Toshiba Masaki Momodomi, "Up until now we've sold mostly to outside companies, but we want to strengthen our own offerings."

NAND flash makers like Toshiba are in a constant race to out-do each other and create chips with finer circuits, ultimately offering cheaper storage and better efficiency. However, they are closing in on the physical limits possible with our current technology. Toshiba has, until recently, focused on out-shrinking rival companies and was the first to launch solid-state drives with 19-nanometer memory.

Momodomi also added that Toshiba will offer chips smaller than 19-nanometers, but will remain in the teens over the next two years. In addition to that, Toshiba stated that it is working on 3D storage, which could be a possible successor to the current NAND flash technology that stacks memory in layers, allowing for greater density. Toshiba also says that it will have prototype samples ready by 2013.

Toshiba announced this new effort as part of the company's new research and development strategy. Toshiba showed several upcoming products at its central headquarters in Tokyo, including quantum encryption and home lighting based on organic light-emitting diodes. Toshiba also announced that its strategy going forward is also focused on adding headcount outside of Japan.

70% of the company's new research personnel through the fiscal year ending in March 2015 will be hired outside of Japan and the bulk of the new hires will come from China, India and Vietnam, countries where projects will focus on technologies and products meant for the countries where they are developed. According to Akira Sudo, a Research and Development Executive for Toshiba, "We have to keep a firm grasp on the global trends."

Source: Computer World - Toshiba to develop data center products based on its flash memory chips
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