This Sunday (Sept. 20, 2015) I will be presenting my company’s findings on the 3D XPoint memory that was introduced by Intel and Micron in July. I will be speaking at the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) Storage Developer Conference (SDC) Pre-Conference Primer. You can click the name to be taken to the agenda.
This won’t be the only talk about persistent memory technology at the conference. Prior to my presentation storage consultants Tom Coughlin and Ed Grochowski will give an overview of advances in nonvolatile memories, and following my presentation will be two Intel talks.
Intel will be covering this new technology a lot during the conference. Of a total of 120 presentations at the conference and pre-conference primer, Intel will be presenting nine, seven of which directly name persistent memory or nonvolatile memory in the title. Other firms will also be talking about NVM: AgigA, Calypso, HP, Pure Storage, and SMART Modular. Even Microsoft alludes to it in a couple of its presentation titles. Persistent memory is a hot issue.
So, the question for readers of The SSD Guy blog is: “Will this do away with SSDs?”
This is a question that was Continue reading
What is NVRAM? Quite simply, it’s DRAM or SRAM that has a back-up flash memory a small controller, and a battery or super-capacitor. During operation the DRAM or SRAM is used in a system the same way that any DRAM or SRAM would be used. When power is interrupted the controller moves all of the data from the DRAM or SRAM to the flash using the backup power from the battery or super-capacitor. When power is restored, the controller moves the contents of the flash back into the SRAM or DRAM and the processor can resume operation where it left off.
In some ways it’s storage and in some ways it’s memory, so Continue reading
Violin Memory and Microsoft have jointly announced a novel way of harnessing the power of Windows Server software. Violin will be shipping its memory arrays with a special version of Windows Server 2012 R2 pre-installed on the embedded server that manages the internal operations of Violin’s all-flash array.
Violin explains that native support of specially-optimized versions of Windows Server and System Center that have been tuned for an all-memory array will provide improved performance and economics for large-scale enterprise cloud deployments.
The system can internally run Continue reading
In his Flash Memory Summit keynote on Wednesday, Micron VP and Chief Memory Systems Architect Ed Doller made a compelling demonstration of the power and performance advantages of a new approach to computing.
With true showmanship, Doller had his co-workers hand out buttons with LED lights to the entire audience. The LEDs in these buttons were either green or blue, with the colors randomly dispersed among the crowd. Doller asked the entire audience to turn on their lights, then called one row of the audience to file up to the stage so he could determine whether each person’s button was blue or green.
He pointed out that this was like having a single CPU check the contents of a drive. He then asked why things should work this way – wouldn’t it be more sensible to Continue reading
Today NAND flash is being shoehorned into HDD formats simply because it is persistent – the data doesn’t disappear when the lights go out. This approach fails to take advantage of NAND’s greatest strength – its low cost relative to DRAM – and this prevents it from fully meeting the needs of most data centers.
Since 2004 NAND has been cheaper than DRAM, and today its price per gigabyte is an order of magnitude lower than that of DRAM. NAND is cheaper and slower than DRAM, and HDD is cheaper and slower than NAND.
A role better suited to NAND flash technology is Continue reading
Micron Technology has produced a very good four-minute video that shows how SSDs are made. It starts with the design & manufacture of the NAND flash chips themselves and goes right through their assembly into SSDs, interspersing videos of manufacturing processes with graphics of the product’s operation.
This is on the SSD Guy’s recommended YouTube videos list. Check it out by clicking:
SSD-watchers have expressed some concern over the last few years that SSDs cannot be manufactured using advanced NAND flash process geometries. This is because these parts have lower endurance and a larger number of bit errors than NAND made using less-advanced processes – the tighter the process, the shorter the flash’s life, and the more errors it will have.
Fortunately these concerns seem to be Continue reading
DensBits, a flash memory controller company, has just introduced its new DB3610 “Memory Modem” eMMC controller for 3-bit or TLC flash. The controller is the first to use DensBits’ new technology which the company claims can coax better reliability out of 3-bit flash than most controllers can out of 2-bit MLC, to provide important cost savings to OEMs.
Read and write performance is also said to be nearly on a par with 2-bit MLC.
DensBits’ Memory Modem is a blend of Continue reading
When I have a question about SSD retail pricing I know exactly who to consult. Andy Higgenbotham (pictured here) and his Price G2 service track HDD and SSD retail pricing and publish data to a very high degree of resolution.
Price G2 data has been used in another post in the blog: When Will SSD Prices Drop Below HDD Prices?
This company publishes weekly reports of pricing from all major HDD and SSD manufacturers (Seagate, Western Digital, Toshiba, Samsung, Intel, Micron, and the like) with information on market trends like this for the week of April 23:
Flat to increasing pricing continues throughout 2012. Only on the 512GB have we seen sustained price drops from Q1 and through Q2. The 512GB capacity currently sells for $1.05/GB in week 17.
Amid recent rumors of steep SSD price declines this service has served to disprove any notion that the SSD market is undergoing fundamental change. The SSD Guy highly recommends Price G2 for anyone whose business relies on timely and thorough HDD and SSD price tracking.
Intel has gotten into the fast-growing and lucrative market for PCIe SSDs. The company has announced a PCIe SSD, the 910, that provides the high performance you would expect of a PCIe drive with the quality guarantees that customers expect of Intel.
Who could blame them? Fusion-io has become a Wall Street darling for creating the PCIe SSD market, and still rides it to continually growing revenues. LSI is fascinated by the growth of its Warp Drive. Micron attained a significant design win at EMC, Texas Memory Systems (TMS) has had success in its own narrow markets, and Virident, OCZ, and STEC have also participated in the PCIe SSD’s market growth.
Intel’s 910 consists of four Hitachi SAS SSD Continue reading