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HP and SanDisk Join The Storage Class Memory Parade With Their Own “1000 Times Faster Than Existing Flash” Technology

HP and SanDisk are announcing a collaborative effort to bring their own new storage technology to market that is “1000 times faster than existing flash”. This new technology is being referred to as “Storage Class Memory” (SCM), and this latest version apparently will combine HP’s Memristor technology with SanDisk’s non-volatile ReRAM memory technology to produce a “universal memory” that can be utilized as both permanent storage and as RAM. This is eerily similar to what Intel and Micron announced (and that we covered back in July) with their 3D XPoint memory.

SanDisk offices lobbyWhile both hope to commercialize Storage Class Memory by a 2018-2020 time frame, the Intel/Micron partnership is supposedly already sampling with “select” customers, and is anticipated to hit the market in 2016 under the name Intel Optane. At this year’s Intel developer conference, Intel did have on display a high-performance Optane SSD that bested their P3700 series of SSD by a factor of over 5X.

Memory-TimelineWhen pressed for more details at the developer conference, Intel was very cagey and non-committal in their replies, leaving most guessing as to what was at the core of this new type of memory product. Just like the Intel/Micron version, the HP and SanDisk press release describes their version as being “up to 1000 times faster than flash storage and offers up to 1000 times more endurance than flash storage.” Sound familiar? The HP/SanDisk version is also described as offering significant improvements in cost, power, density and persistence over existing DRAM technologies.

ReRAM and other emerging memories

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According to Siva Sivaram, Executive Vice President of Memory Technology at SanDisk, “We are very excited to deepen our relationship with HP and enhance its leadership offerings by using our complete portfolio of enterprise SAS, SATA and PCIe products, and leading-edge enterprise system solutions.  Our partnership to collaborate on new SCM technology solutions is expected to revolutionize computing in the years ahead.”

HP SanDisk logosUnlike Intel’s 3D Xpoint, at least HP and SanDisk are pretty much confirming that their version of this new technology is based on memristors and ReRAM. While SanDisk’s contribution with ReRAM does not seem like a significant part of their past technologies, SanDisk does provide significant manufacturing expertise that HP currently lacks. At this point, the HP / SanDisk announcement may just be to not let the Intel/Micron partnership get a big leg up on any potential competitors, as they have not yet revealed any specific time frames for having their Storage Class Memory technology in sampling and/or production. You can view SanDisk’s version of the press release announcing their foray into Storage Class Memory in its entirety here.