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Viking Modular plugs flash chips into memory sockets

Not a DIMM idea at all

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What a brilliant idea: put flash chips into memory sockets. That's what Viking Modular is doing this with its SATADIMM product.

This is a small solid state drive device, with a 25mm or 18.75mm height, 133.35mm length and maximum 7.75mm width; giving it a 75 per cent smaller footprint than a 2.5-inch SSD. It comes with a 6Gbit/s SAS/SATA interface and uses single-level cell flash (SLC), the more capacious but slower multi-level cell (MLC) NAND, or the longer-lived enterprise MLC.

The capacities vary; SLC product ranges from 25GB to 400GB, and (2-bit we think) eMLC/MLC product starts at 50GB and tops out at 480GB. Power is delivered through the DIMM socket. Viking has built in AES-128 bit encryption and says the SATADIMM product has a five-year endurance rating.

There is a super-capacitor for power failure protection. The random read performance is up to 60,000 IOPS, while the sequential read bandwidth is up to 520MB/sec.

Viking says that good host devices for the product are blade servers, 1U rackmount servers, storage bridge bays (SBB) and AdvancedTCA blades (ATCA).

This type of product would seem a natural for DIMM memory manufacturers such as Samsung to supply. After all, it already makes SSD and flash chips. We could easily see Intel/Micron, Samsung and Toshiba delivering product in this area as well.

Viking sells through OEMs and we could see it cutting deal after deal, as servers using it should get a useful boost in performance if not a huge boost in performance through not having to wait so long for disk drives to deliver data or complete writes. Once one server OEM jumps on board this SATADIMM ship, the others would have to follow suit in order not to be left behind performance-wise.

SATADIMM flash would seem to compete with PCIe flash from suppliers such as Fusion-io and Virident, but with them having a capacity edge in terms of having more space to fill with flash on their cards.

There is no pricing information available, and no availability data has been released as yet. ®

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