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Categories: Linux Microsoft Software Defined Memory

A new class of memory technologies is coming to the data center landscape. Educate yourself on the emerging tech, including tools you’ll want to consider.

As #highperformancecomputing and #bigdata applications take center stage in the enterprise #datacenter, #memorytechnologies emerge as a way to adapt to changing needs. #Softwaredefinedmemory and #persistentmemory technologies offer increased performance and speed, enabling IT to keep up with the demands of high-performance computing. However, many of these new memory technologies aren’t conducive to a plug-and-play approach and require changes to your software. Before you take the leap into these emerging technologies, understand how to use them optimally.

Get to know persistent memory

As CPU performance grows steadily and storage performance remains flat, persistent memory aims to close the gap in the data center. Persistent memory is technically persistent storage that you can use as memory due to its low latency. From a programming perspective, it appears as a byte-addressable medium. It also uses load/store for data access rather than read/write and has predictable latency.

A nonvolatile dual in-line memory module (NVDIMM) acts as both persistent memory and block storage. There are three types of NVDIMM. NVDIMM-N is memory-mapped dynamic RAM (DRAM) with onboard flash, NVDIMM-F is memory-mapped flash and NVDIMM-P combines memory-mapped DRAM and memory-mapped flash. But to take advantage of these persistent memory technologies ensure that your software is compatible. Applications use block storage for data persistence, so you must modify the applications or use a file system between the persistent memory and application.

Persistent memory probably won’t have widespread adoption until around 2019. Both Linux and Windows Server 2016 have strong support for the technology, but the cost of NVDIMMs will need to drop before most enterprises take the plunge into persistent memory.

Software-defined infrastructure extends to memory

After adopting persistent memory, the next logical step is to use it to complement other persistent storage, and software-defined memory plays a role in that process. Software-defined memory handles memory and storage as a service, using software tools to move data across physical devices. It adds new memory tiers to DRAM that are supported by software, allowing users to flexibly divide the total memory and present a set of services to the host system that are available across the cluster network. It’s currently a nascent concept, and the software being developed for software-defined memory is associated with hardware from vendors such as Intel and Diablo Technologies. However, most of the code should run on a mix of hardware as the technology evolves.

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