Hardware vs. Software Innovation

Innovation and disruption are in the DNA of technology. But as the scope of technology broadens, so does the way innovation can be approached. When software was closer to a function of highly specific hardware, innovation in one generally reflected on the other part as well. But as hardware has become both more powerful and general purpose, there is an interesting debate over innovation in the foreseeable future will depend on customized hardware, or software gymnastics running on commodity kit.

Ray Lucchesi recently weighted in on this. He considered Dell EMC’s decision to kill their DSSD NVMe storage device, and frames it in the continuing debate over hardware vs software innovation. Ray thinks it’s further evidence that we are in a software innovation cycle. As further evidence, recent releases by both Excelero and E8 Storage. Both are using commodity hardware to achieve high level performance, over 4 million IO/sec with ~120 to ~230µsec response times. It’s an interesting discussion, and Ray gives both sides their due.

Read more: Hardware vs. software innovation – round 4

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.