Is the SCM promise really worth the wait?

HP and SanDisk are making revolutionary memory market ready

The IT companies HP and SanDisk are promising that their Storage Class Memory (SCM) will be 1000 times as fast as the current generation of flash memory. That’s quite an assumption or is it really proven that it will be this fast.

HP SCM

Storage Class Memory (SCM) is a combination of the memristor technology HP is working on for years already and SanDisk’s ReRAM technology. The new type of memory has some pretty impressive characteristics:

  • It’s 1000x faster
  • It lasts a 1000x longer

Well, if it’s affordable, I can certainly live with that! But that’s exactly what both vendors are promising! The question is what their target audience is. HP and SanDisk are initially aiming for servers running large “in memory” databases that often require dozens of Terabytes of capacity. And with the whole big data and realtime analytics requirements of the near future (and perhaps at this moment already for some specific applications) this is becoming a hot topic. I cannot wait to see specs, performance tests and of course, last but not least: what will it cost? I’ve asked for an affordable way to store TBs of data on non spinning disks a while ago: could this be it?

HP already had some sort of cooperation with Hynix to mass produce the memristor technology, but when after three years their contract ended, there still wasn’t any physical evidence of a usable product. So now HP and SanDisk have joined forces and although it’s still unclear when the first SCM products will hit the market, they say it’s now a matter of time to be able to write firmwares, drivers and applications that can and will make use of this new technology. HP and SanDisk have confirmed that their contract / agreement is a longterm one, so hopefully their promise will hit the market soon.

The competition

Intel and Micron are working on similar technology named “3D XPoint”. Intel thinks this product can be ready by the end of 2016. Some startups even expect to have similar products ready even before that. Crossbar for example expects to be able to produce their 3D RRAM during the year (2016) already!

ReRAM

It’s going to be an interesting next few years (and hopefully 2016)!!

 

 

Source: IT-Infra, SanDisk, ComputerWorld, Forbes

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