Apple and Facebook flash forward to computer memory of tomorrow

“Like Google and Amazon, Apple delivers web services to hundreds of millions of people across the globe — at last count, iCloud served over 250 million souls — and that requires a whole new breed of hardware and software, stuff that’s far more efficient than the gear inside most data centers,” Cade Metz reports for Wired. “You can think of this as the technology of tomorrow. As the web continues to grow, the tech used by the Apples and the Googles will trickle down to the rest of the world. In many cases, it already has.”

“What we do know is that Apple is spending mountains of money on a new breed of hardware device from a company called Fusion-io… Inside a data center like the one Apple operates in Maiden, North Carolina, you’ll find thousands of computer servers,” Metz reports. “Fusion-io makes a slim card that slots inside these machines, and it’s packed with hundreds of gigabytes of flash memory, the same stuff that holds all the software and the data on your smartphone. You can think of this card as a much-needed replacement for the good old-fashioned hard disk that typically sits inside a server. Much like a hard disk, it stores information. But it doesn’t have any moving parts, which means it’s generally more reliable. It consumes less power. And it lets you read and write data far more quickly.”

Metz writes, “If you know anything about Fusion-io, you know that its chief scientist is Steve Wozniak, the man who founded Apple alongside high-school friend Steve Jobs.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Fusion-io cuts 2013 forecast as Apple, Facebook delay orders – January 31, 2013
Fusion-io surprises Woz with 62nd birthday party, unveils ION Data Accelerator – August 2, 2012
How Fusion-io CEO Don Basile convinced Apple co-founder and ‘rock star’ Woz to go back to work – February 13, 2009
Apple co-founder Woz joins Fusion-io as Chief Scientist – February 06, 2009


  1. THIS is the (near) future, not a tiny supercomputer in everyone’s pocket. In the past, the computing power of the user’s device was mostly limited to its local hardware; each computing device had to operate more or less independently.

    We are currently at the transition point where each user can activity and continuously tap into the power of a “supercomputer” (AKA “data center”). Siri and iCloud, as well as FaceBook services and Google “search,” are just the primitive starting points for this revolution.

    The biggest bottleneck to progress is the limitations of so-called “broadband” network connectivity. Once this bottleneck got away (or is significantly lessened), new apps will be written to do most of the heavy-lifting on the networked data center, with the user’s device acting as the user interface. THAT will become the norm for app design. However, from the users’ perspective (their “experience”), it will seem like they are using their own AI-enabled personal pocket supercomputer (not accessing a “data center”). And THAT is what Apple is steadily building.

    1. “The biggest bottleneck to progress is the limitations of so-called “broadband” network connectivity.”

      When cable internet first came on the scene, it was billed as an “interim technology” that would soon be replaced by fiber optic networks. Now, almost 20 years later, we’re still waiting. I don’t know about you, but my internet service gets slower every year as more and more subscribers are added to the same overburdened cable network. Why invest in new technology when you can make truckloads of cash reaming your customers without spending an extra penny?

      1. When new game-changing connectivity technology appears, I don’t think it will be a gradual improvement over time. I think it will be like going from “dial-up” to today’s typical broadband, a sudden quantum leap for the user. When such connectivity become common (the norm), THEN software and hardware will be fundamentally redesigned.

        But you are probably right… It will take a while. Fortunately, early applications of this type of design, such as Siri, are already possible even with today’s typical connectivity and will start to drive the need for MUCH higher capacity.

    2. It’s a pendulum swing. Right now it is swinging toward the backend doing most of the heavy lifting. The overall systems over the last 50+ years has continued to swing from local to remote and back again. I don’t see the pendulum getting stuck at either extreme — ever.

    3. @ken1w
      You durn city-slickers gotta realize that HUGE numbers of people live in rural areas or small towns where there is no chance in any foreseeable future of having the bandwidth to do anything like this.
      And have you ever travelled for business outside major metropolitan centers. Working in the cloud!? What a joke! Not any time soon.

      1. Sure, but there is an even HUGE-r number of them “dum city-slickers.” So, the fact that there are a large number of people in rural areas is irrelevant.

        Besides, I wasn’t commenting on the timing if this “revolution”… I’m saying that it will eventually happen, when the connectivity is available to a sufficiently large number of users, city, rural, or otherwise.

  2. Here in Australia the government is rolling out the NBN (Nat.Broadband.Network) which will put a fibre connection in pretty well every home. Watch this space. It will carry pretty well any service you can point a device at. It is being deployed as we speak, suck on that Google Fibre.

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