Today finds us at Storage Visions 2015, and first up is a meeting with Diablo Technologies. We met with Jerome McFarland, principal product marketer for Diablo, who brought us up to speed on the latest developments with the NvDIMMs and Memory Channel Storage (MCS). Diablo has partnered with the likes of SanDisk, IBM, Lenovo and SuperMicro to offer NvDIMMs.
NvDIMMs are able to occupy standard DDR3 DIMM slots on a server (or desktop) motherboard, and by moving memory access much closer to the CPU eliminates SATA and PCIe bottlenecks, resulting in ultra-low latency. These latency improvements can be several orders of magnitude better than even flash storage that utilizes either the SATA or PCIe interfaces.
The NvDIMMs that we are viewing today contain 400GB of on-board flash memory. Diablo has partnered with SanDisk in development of these NvDIMMs (also called ULTRADIMMs) to make these storage devices work seamlessly. This has created the ability to significantly improve the storage performance of server storage arrays, including improved performance for virtualized environments.
With the ongoing explosion of data to be stored and accessed, including critical fields such as medical records, the ability to quickly access this data becomes increasingly important. NvDIMMs offer not only lower latency, but consistently lower latency than even PCIe flash storage (which can have occasional “spikes” of increased latency), and significantly lower latency than flash storage that utilizes the SATA interface.
In the above image, we see 8 x 400GB NvDIMMs in a 24-DIMM-slot server motherboard in a Lenovo 3650 rack unit. The image below is of a Lenovo 3850 “book” rack unit with 400GB NvDIMMs occupying 4 of the available DIMM slots. Keep in mind that NvDIMMs do not necessarily replace memory DIMMs, but rather work alongside DIMMs in spare slots to improve storage system performance.
There are two key items coming down the pike for Diablo and its Memory Channel Storage. The first, and more obvious, is the migration to DDR4 DIMMs; which Diablo anticipates having production units available of DDR4 NvDIMMS later in Q1 of 2015. The second is called “Nano-Commit”, which enables the ability to mirror DRAM to persistent storage, such as NvDIMMs. One key advantage to this is to dramatically reduce latency in virtual environments by once again eliminating a potential bottleneck.
Stay tuned for further developments as we tour both Storage Visions 2015 and CES 2015 here is Las Vegas. You can view Diablo’s Memory Channel Storage technology and their NvDIMMs at Diablo’s website here.