Feeds

Fusion-io server strokers show off 2.6TB RAM extension

Is that a PCIe card in your socket or are you just pleased to see me?

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Fusion-io and Princeton University boffins have used a PCIe flash drive to virtually extend a server's main memory into the terabytes.

Engineers at the storage company collaborated with the computer scientists to design the Extended Memory subsystem using Fusion's ioMemory hardware.

Applications built with Fusion's software development kit can transparently access the host computer's DRAM and PCIe-connected flash storage as one large chunk of memory. This could transform a 24GB server into a 2.64TB monster with a single ioDrive2 Duo card, meaning entire application datasets could be stored in faster-than-disk memory.

It's much cheaper to do this than to buy the equivalent amount of DRAM and cluster hardware. Multiple ioDrive2 Duo cards can expand memory capacity past the 10TB mark.

The bulk of the data is kept in the non-volatile flash tier of memory, and chunks of it are moved into the smaller but much faster banks of DRAM as required - just as systems page data to and from disk and RAM in swap-based virtual memory schemes, only at a higher speed.

Less frequently accessed pages of data in DRAM are moved back to flash. Selected pages can be locked into the host's RAM providing, for example, guaranteed fast access to metadata. Applications designed in this fashion execute much faster than if their datasets were held on disk because there is no hard drive latency slowing their transfers.

Vivek Pai, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Princeton, said: “DRAM is not only a costly resource in modern computing, but the capacity DRAM offers is also extremely limited. Extended Memory offers a cost-effective alternative.”

App performance is also faster than if the datasets were stored in separate solid-state drives because the host computer's operating system is needed to transfer data to and from this hardware; the ioMemory gear instead slots the physical flash chips into the operating system's memory map for direct access by the processor, bypassing layers of software.

Seasoned programmers may baulk at the suggestion of sidestepping the host operating system, thus preventing its virtual memory manager from using the ioMemory card as another backing store for cold data. However, Brent Compton, Fusion's senior director of product management, was cock-a-hoop.

“The ability to optimise key operating system subsystems for flash with tools such as Extended Memory simplifies performance for developers in ways that were out of reach just a couple of years ago," he said.

At some time in the near future the idea of storing 20TB databases on disk, as we do now, will seem archaic. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
729 teraflops, 71,000-core Super cost just US$5,500 to build
Cloud doubters, this isn't going to be your best day
Want to STUFF Facebook with blatant ADVERTISING? Fine! But you must PAY
Pony up or push off, Zuck tells social marketeers
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
SAVE ME, NASA system builder, from my DEAD WORKSTATION
Anal-retentive hardware nerd in paws-on workstation crisis
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.