Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03/06/in_memory_desktop_computing/

Penguins, only YOU can turn desktop disk IO into legacy tech

In-memory desktop computing could be a win for some sharp-eyed Linux firm

By Chris Mellor

Posted in Storage, 6th March 2013 14:33 GMT

Blocks and Files With the advent of flash-based storage memory, the prospect of banishing disk IO waits forever from transaction-based or other IO-bound server applications is close to becoming a reality. But what about desktops?

We have a pretty weak example with Apple's MacBook Air ultrathin laptops, but these are underpowered little lovelies, trading off faster-than-disk flash memory access for weak CPUs. A Fusion drive iMac, the one with a disk and separate slab of flash for hot data, seems faster and much more powerful, but really it is just nibbling at the edges.

I don't want just instant boot and faster app load. I want my desktop PC to silently scream along, I want it to be faster than the speed of light. I want to hit a key to fire up Quark Express, that bastard of a big, complex app, and have it ready to run in microseconds.

And I can have it... I know I can have it. Just load the big clumping load of Quark code into storage memory and that's it - ready to rock 'n' roll at a the press of a key.

I want the apps in storage memory (flash) - which the apps will simply treat as extended real memory - and have the operating system treat app data IOs as memory-level access operations. There'd be no need for that treacle-slow traversing of old legacy IO subsystems. Enough already.

Listen, system and OS designers, we all know it: disk IO sucks.

Microsoft with its wobbly Windows OS has done it. Redmond, with its crapware and bloated code, has made a modern disk-based PC about as fast as an old tape-driven mini-computer. I mean, come on, surely it can do better than this.

I want a storage-memory-based desktop with an OS that's lightweight in the IO department. I want a screaming fast PC and the tech is there to build it. Microsoft won't do it, it seems to have lost the PC performance plot, condemned by its legacy Windows mindset.

So come on Linux startups, feel the Fusion-io storage memory love and try to cobble something together. Give the world a Linux storage memory-using OS that takes a vanilla PC, adds a slab of PCIe flash and turns it into a workstation of wonder, a desktop of desire, a paradisaical PC, a speed freak's fantasy machine.

Apple couldn't do it, not successfully anyway, and Microsoft doesn't seem to want to - so here's your chance. ®