bridges the gap between DRAM and storage, allowing greater flexibility in data management by low-latency memory closer to the processor. Micron's NVDIMM technology is a non-volatile solution that combines NAND flash reliability, DRAM performance and an optional power source into a single memory subsystem, delivering a solution that ensures data stored in memory is protected against power loss. By placing non-volatile memory on the DRAM bus, this new architecture allows for storing data close to the processor and optimize data movement by delivering faster access to variables stored in DRAM.
Micron’s 8GB DDR4 NVDIMM represents the first product in the company's persistent memory family. The DDR4 NVDIMMs combine DRAM (8GB), NAND flash (16GB SLC) and a power source in a memory subsystem to deliver high performance plus the reliability of backing up data if power is interrupted.
NVDIMMs operate in the DRAM memory slots of servers to execute workloads at DRAM speeds. In the event of a power fail or system crash, an onboard controller safely transfers data stored in DRAM to the onboard nonvolatile memory, thereby preserving the data that would otherwise be lost. When the system stability is restored, the controller transfers the data from the NAND back to the DRAM, allowing the application to efficiently pick up where it left off.
Micron says that persistent memory delivers a balance of latency, bandwidth, capacity and cost, delivering ultra-fast DRAM-like access to critical data and allowing system designers to better manage overall costs.
Persistent memory has been designed for environments that require frequent access to large, complex data sets and environments that are sensitive to downtime caused by power failures or system crashes. Applications include big data analytics, storage appliances, RAID cache, in-memory databases, metadata servers that store indexes and on-line transaction processing.
"With NVDIMM, we have a powerful solution that is available today. We're also leading the way on future persistent memory development by spearheading R&D efforts on promising new technologies such as 3D XPoint memory, which will be available in 2016 and beyond, said said Tom Eby, vice president for Micron's compute and networking business unit.
Micron will be offering three DDR4 NVDIMM products:
- 8GB DDR4 NVDIMM with legacy firmware
- 8GB DDR4 NVDIMM with JEDEC firmware
- PowerGEM ultracapacitor for 8GB NVDIMM
Legacy firmware refers to the firmware features and controller register locations for features determined by AgigA Tech, Inc., for initial DDR4 NVDIMM designs. JEDEC has now standardized the NVDIMM firmware features, register locations and APIs so that one vendor’s NVDIMM can be compatible with any other vendor’s NVDIMM. All new Micron NVDIMM solutions will leverage the JEDEC firmware interface.
NVDIMMs leverage either block mode or direct access drivers. NVDIMMs used in conjunction with a block mode driver are compatible with OS and applications with little to no necessary software modifications. Additional performance capability can be tapped by leveraging an NVDIMM with a direct mapped driver, but OS and application software will likely need some modification. Micron is currently working with major OEMs and software companies to incorporate NVDIMM hardware, driver and software support into their mainstream products.
Micron plans to lead the way on persistent memory development, spearheading R&D efforts on promising new technologies like 3D XPoint memory and other storage-class solutions.