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Why storing your Facebook photos may require a new kind of flash memory

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Facebook currently stores more than 240 billion user photos, and it's adding an extra 350 million every day. As of now, the company stores all this data on standard mechanical hard disks, but Jay Parikh, VP of infrastructure engineering, wants to move everyone's photos to flash memory — and he's looking for help. The problem, as Wired reports, is one of cost and quality; today's flash memory is still expensive, and designed to store data that's persistently accessed, making it unsuitable for the kind of "cold storage" that Facebook needs.

That's why Parikh is calling upon the world to create a new kind of flash memory — one designed only for occasional data retrievals, which would lower Facebook's power consumption while giving its software engineers greater flexibility. "We want a continuum of options," Parikh said recently. "Today, the spectrum is very coarse. There’s tape on one end. There’s flash on the other end. And spinning disks in the middle. And that’s it."

The Verge
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