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Intel Announces First Optane SSDs for Data Centers

20 March, 2017, 19:40 | Author: Nadine Todd
  • Intel Announces Crazy Fast $1520 Optane DC P4800X SSD

3D XPoint is a non-volatile memory (NVM) technology announced by Intel and Micron.

Intel has launched its Intel Optane SSD series of memory for servers, created to be capable of driving demanding artificial intelligence and machine learning platforms. Intel has stated earlier that these drives will be eight times faster than the ordinary SSDs that are available in the market. Higher-capacity versions, as well as U.2 form factors, will be available later on in the year. Along with speed improvements, Intel and memory partner Micron (NASDAQ: MU) said past year they hoped to convince potential enterprise customers that XPoint memory platforms are more durable than current NAND flash technology as well as providing as much as a ten-fold increase in storage density for persistent data compared to DRAM. The company was also forced to revise some of its performance estimates downwards from the figures it quoted when it first announced the technology in June 2015. Its affordability means that Intel Optane SSDs are likely to displace some DRAM in servers. This technology stores data with the help of cell resistance.

Beyond its speed as a standard SSD replacement - which the chip giant said is between 8 to 40 times more responsive under load compared to a SSD DC P3700 - Intel is touting its usage as a memory extender. That's a far cry from Intel's previous claims of a thousand-fold increase in performance, but the results are still impressive. The former will act only as an SSD, though it would be possible to install a swapfile onto the drive in order to use it as high-speed RAM-like temporary storage or to configure it as a cache layer between DRAM and mass storage; the latter, meanwhile, will act only as pseudo-DRAM with no option to reconfigure it for storage or caching at a later date.

In theory, Memory Drive could benefit in-memory applications such as SAP HANA, but Intel said it is now in talks with SAP and other in-memory providers on ensuring those applications work properly with the technology.

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