Last week Diablo Technologies introduced Memory Channel Storage (MCS), a new storage and system memory solution that essentially allows NAND flash to be accessed from the memory channel rather than a PCI-Express slot or a SATA 3 interface. It's a drop-in replacement from standard RDIMMs that seeks to deliver the highest, most economical scaling of any enterprise storage solution on the market.
Diablo Tech's MCS approach utilizes the industry standard DIMM form factor and native CPU memory interface. It's compatible with any industry-standard DDR3 memory slot, meaning it can be deployed across a number of storage system, server designs and form factors. The company said it's ideal for blade servers where PCIe slots are limited in availability and size.
According to the company, MCS can be configured as a traditional block storage device to enhance the performance of applications while reducing latencies by more than 85 percent over PCI-Express based SSDs and 96 percent over SATA/SAS based SSDs. Unlike PCIe, MCS can easily scale linearly as more drives are inserted into the system due to the parallel nature of the memory controllers.
"Memory controllers in processors have been highly tuned for several decades to ensure the absolute lowest latency for applications to access critical data," the company explained. "Additionally, these memory controllers were designed to be massively parallel, allowing unprecedented memory bandwidth as the number of memory modules in the system are increased. By placing Flash directly onto these massively parallel, lowest latency direct links to the processors, Memory Channel Storage leverages all of the benefits with incredible performance."
MCS can also be configured to expand system memory from gigabytes to terabytes, thus improving the performance of large in-memory applications. The company said this provides a 100x increase in accessible memory and allows the entire application data set to reside in the CPU memory space. This configuration is ideal for memcached, big data analytics, and other large in-memory applications.
"Performance in storage and density in DRAM have massively fallen behind the curve of CPU capability and growing data capacity needs, which ultimately reduces application performance and increases TCO for users. Flash is the key to a balanced compute architecture and massive application acceleration," said Riccardo Badalone, Chief Executive Officer at Diablo. "The arrival of MCS finally allows applications to leverage the benefits of flash memory connected directly to the processor's memory controllers, which will ultimately change the cost/density/performance rules forever."
The company said that an application such as VMware ESX using Flash MCS could service 1,000 requests for data with sub-1 millisecond latency -- that's supposedly not possible with the widely variable performance of PCIe Flash under a moderate load. With MCS Flash, storage is no longer the limiting component to application acceleration, the company said.
For more information about Memory Channel Storage, head here.
Kevin Parrish is a contributing editor and writer for Tom's Hardware,Tom's Games and Tom's Guide. He's also a graphic artist, CAD operator and network administrator.
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