Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 14th Apr 2013 20:30 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems "In the past five years, flash memory has progressed from a promising accelerator, whose place in the data center was still uncertain, to an established enterprise component for storing performance-critical data. It's rise to prominence followed its proliferation in the consumer world and the volume economics that followed. With SSDs, flash arrived in a form optimized for compatibility - just replace a hard drive with an SSD for radically better performance. But the properties of the NAND flash memory used by SSDs differ significantly from those of the magnetic media in the hard drives they often displace. While SSDs have become more pervasive in a variety of uses, the industry has only just started to design storage systems that embrace the nuances of flash memory. As it escapes the confines of compatibility, significant improvements in performance, reliability, and cost are possible."
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RE[3]: Comment by TempleOS
by Alfman on Mon 15th Apr 2013 18:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by TempleOS"
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

I also think non-volatile ram would make a lot of sense, assuming the technology were feasible and not overly compromising like flash is today.

High throughput database and file system processes are obvious candidates, they would benefit tremendously by eliminating the need to O_DIRECT/fsync constantly for committing transactions.

By unifying ram/disk into one concept, we could open up new programming methodologies where programs and/or data can simply exist without having to sync state begin disks and ram. I'd even go further and make stateful objects network-transparent too so that they "just exist" and never need to be serialized from a programmer's point of view (such things could be handled automatically by the languages/operating systems). Like you say, this could be emulated today, but it'd necessarily have to be in a lower performance and/or less reliable fashion that NV-RAM could achieve.

Modern NAND flash is not ideal, the way it works adds latency and has undesirable addressing properties. NOR flash is technically far closer to a RAM substitute since it's truly random access and more reliable than NAND without needing the whole Flash Translation Layer in front of it. If NOR flash could be made cheaper and more densely, it would completely replace NAND.

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