The concept of using a small, quick-access NAND flash device to offset the latency of larger mechanical hard drives is nothing new. In fact there are already numerous players in the storage market that are planning to ship hard drives integrate both technologies in one package. There is a second concept that some companies have taken to that has the flash module connected to the southbridge. The idea is that this enables users to upgrade the flash module completely independently of their hard drive(s). Here's what ArsTechnica is reporting:
"Currently, the interface between the southbridge's flash controller and the flash memory itself is standardized, but the interface between the OS and the controller is not. This makes it harder for operating systems to support the flash cache, because the register-level interface for each southbridge's flash controller is different.
Standardizing the flash controller's OS-level interface will make it easier and cheaper for Vista, Linux, OS X, and other operating systems to include support for flash cache technology. This will also help the technology to proliferate more quickly, which helps Intel as a flash vendor."
While currently the interface between the southbridge and the flash controller is standardized, the interface between the OS and the flash controller isn't...yet. Enter Microsoft, Intel, and Dell. They're working together to create a single specification so that any OS developer that choses to can use the flash memory modules with reduced development costs in comparison to today.
The upshot is that a completely standard interface will make programming for the modules a lot easier for OS developers. This in turn should drive more people to adopt the hardware itself.