back to article Non-volatile MRAM coming to servers in early 2017

Non-volatile RAM outfit Everspin says it's almost ready to ship non-volatile 256-megabit DDR3 chips and expects they'll soon find a home in your next server or array. 256 megabits is just 32 megabytes, which doesn't sound worthy of a DIMM slot even if, as Everspin claims, its kit can sustain writes 100,000 times faster than is …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It does sound like a good addition

    To a backup or buffer for the write cache. Should a system fail, you know the data is still there in the MRAM and can be written on reboot. An additional layer between the SSD and the RAM?

    It's small now but I'm certain sizes will increase.

    1. BlartVersenwaldIII

      Re: It does sound like a good addition

      Assuming it does what it says on the tin, it's a perfect fit for cache chips in HDDs, SSDs and RAID controllers where even in small sizes it can be extremely useful.

      In fact El Reg even announced some years back that LSI were starting to use it for journal memory

      This HBA at least seems to have an everspin chip on it. Barely visible in the second pic... looking for a better one on t'internet this HBA seems to come in varieties both with the everspin chip and regular DRAM combined with a supercap (probably cheaper to make).

      Version with capacitor:

  2. streaky

    Take of the e

    .. and add ing. Just saying 'reg. Just saying :)

    Cacheing :p

    Oh yeah and is it end times for BBUs on raid cards? \o/

    1. jzl

      Re: Take of the e

      Off, not of.

  3. Lee D Silver badge

    BBUs on RAID cards. Yep.

    Caching for storage controllers and the like. Yep.

    Maybe even in the drive itself. Yep.

    But everything else will need larger capacity, which I'm sure will come with one company's technology or another.

    Surely a killer application would be pure and simple, however. Press the power button on your laptop, or even allow the battery to die, and it has a permanent suspend which isn't power related at all and can be resumed years in the future as if nothing had happened.

    I'm sure we'll also start to need a "reset" button, because if something crashes like that, you won't be able to just power-off and let the BIOS sort it out!

    But if they can operate in DDR ranges and they can be made in memory chip sizes, there's little reason not to use them, and end up with true zero-power suspend without a hasty "give me a moment, let me just write all that to disk" forced procedure. We all know Windows cheats here and turns the screen off then churns the disk for several tens of seconds afterwards while it ACTUALLY shuts down / hibernates.

    And surely one of the main uses would be much more important - DDR3 speed recordings of sensor-data which are permanently stored as soon as they hit the RAM, even if the power fails. Black boxes anyone? You could record much more detail, much more quickly, much more resiliently, and keep every speck of live data that was churning through it, than something like Flash, disk, etc.

  4. Myself

    Black boxes, video recorders, and the like, need this badly.

    32 megabytes is several seconds of video at reasonable resolution. Something with this modest capacity, but non-volatile with virtually-infinite write endurance, would be perfect as a circular buffer for event-recorder data.

    Smack a trigger button to save-off the recent clip to bulk flash storage, sure. Post the funny stuff on your blog later. But if a literal crash happens and the system just stops mid-frame, the last little bit in the MRAM buffer would tell investigators what happened.

    I'll buy a dashboard camera with this, if it ever comes out!

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