Fusion-io, a manufacturer of various PCI-E based solid state drives, has released a software development kit (SDK) that allows developers to access the NAND flash memory directly. Debuting at the DEMO conference, the SDK gives software developers direct access to the memory and how it operates. As Allyn mentioned on the podcast, the Fusion-io drives use rather dumb controllers and rely on software and the host machines processor to do the heavy lifting.
But because of the way the Fusion-io drives work, and being PCI-E based, they are able to present the NAND flash to software without going through other layers of abstraction such as the SATA interface and internal drive controller processing. Software is then able use the NAND flash as storage for applications that demand high input/output operations per second. And because of the direct access, latency is greatly reduced.
The full press release is below: