Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New advances in non-volatile memory - PMC, PRAM and NRAM

The end is in sight for spinning rust....

While flash based memory is nibbling at the edges of the disk industry, some new techniques are opening up prospects of even greater capacity and speeds in the next few years.

PMC stands for Programmable Metallization Cell, see this MIT review article.

PRAM stands for Phase-change Random Access Memory, some recent news seems to indicate that good progress is being made on PRAM as well as larger and faster Flash memory.


This SC07 article from The Register states that NRAM stands for Nanotube RAM, the makers claim that they will beat Flash on every metric in a few years time, and several of the big semiconductor companies are looking into the technology.

1 comment:

GregSchulz said...

Adrian FWIW PMC also stands for PMC Sierra the folks ( who make chips including PCIe to FC etc, however these days its becoming rare to find an acronym that does not mean multiple things (e.g. PCI, SAS, etc)..

Anyway, there are many interesting deployments taking place leveraging the deployments of enhanced RAM and FLASH. Texas Memory has combined RAM and FLASH for a hybrid storage device with the interesting thing being that in the past SSD vendors would place a disk or multiple disks (mirrored or RAID protected) for data persistence. In the flash and ram scenario, TMS uses flash in a RAID5 scenario for persistence and isolation should a flash card or chip fail and the ram as a normal cache as well as to offset the parity and flash write delays. With the price and capacity improvements of both flash and ram, ssd and in particular hybrid solutions that deliver say 2TByte of storage, very high performance for IOPS and bandwidth while consuming only about 250 watts of power are no longer just for the rich and famous. Even more interesting is when you look at the 250 watts of power to achieve over 100,000 IOPS or corresponding bandwidth and look at a IOPS per watt or bandwidth per watt of energy for 2TB of storage it makes a compelling story not just for performance as well as for energy efficiency.

Thus ram and flash continue to evolve to help off-site the continuing growing server to storage I/O performance gap.

BTW - Loved the cartoons you showed me the other day in San Diego at CMG on your iPhone.


Greg Schulz - Founder the StorageIO Group