Memory Channel Storage

Storage is no Longer the Bottleneck


The Problem

Historically, the discrepancy between Compute performance and Storage capability has created a significant gap that limits real-world productivity. Intensifying data demands have made this issue increasingly apparent, and the need for effective solutions has become a critical business issue for a broad range of customers and applications. The introduction of flash-based storage provided a path towards mitigating this disconnect. The mainstream adoption of SATA and SAS solid state drives (SSDs) provided orders-of-magnitude improvement over the incumbent disk-based solutions. PCIe-based SSDs represented the next evolutionary step, shortening the I/O request path and moving flash closer to the CPU. Even with these advancements, however, the Compute-Storage gap still remained.

The Memory Channel Storage solution

Memory Channel Storage (MCS) technology represents the solution. MCS bypasses traditional storage interfaces and directly presents non-volatile memory (e.g. flash) on the memory subsystem. Massive data capacity is now accessible via the shortest and fastest possible path to the CPU….the memory channel. MCS-based products are physically deployed into the same DIMM slots that house DRAM and the first generation of MCS is fully-compatible with the DDR3 protocol. As a result, MCS provides a high-performance persistence layer that is tightly coupled with system memory. Data now remains local to the CPU and applications, which results in faster, more deterministic response time (a.k.a. latency).

Also, unlike pre-existing storage solutions, MCS does not force a trade-off between I/O throughput and latency. Since MCS leverages the inherent parallelism of the memory subsystem, ultra-low response times can be achieved while simultaneously servicing heavy I/O loads. Previously, deploying expensive DRAM was the only way to achieve this highly desirable combination of performance characteristics.

In addition, despite its disruptive performance characteristics, MCS fits seamlessly into existing IT infrastructures. All major operating systems are supported and no changes to applications are required.

Problem Solved

With MCS, storage is no longer the bottleneck. The Compute-Storage gap has been eliminated and enterprise performance can be unlocked in ways that were previously impossible. Applications can immediately access larger data sets, perform faster analysis, and service more users than ever before. The next-generation of storage has arrived.

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Key Benefits

Leverages the parallelism of the memory channel as a storage and memory alternative to DRAM and SSD’s.

Disruptive lowest latency at the highest, most scalable performance

Up to tens of terabytes of flash per server in standard DIMM form factor and DDR3 CPU interface

Deployable in all dense server, blade and storage array architectures

Future proofed with the ability to utilize NAND-flash and future non-volatile memories

Product Forms

Diablo’s MCS architecture can be found in two product forms: the IBM® eXFlash™ DIMM and the SanDisk® ULLtraDIMM™ SSD. Both MCS-based products are offered in 200GB and 400GB capacities with power fail protection.

SanDisk ULLtraDIMM