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 saso on Mon 15th Apr 2013 19:21 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by TempleOS"
saso
Member since:
2007-04-18

What you describe is already in place, it's called "suspend to RAM" (aka "sleep") and it's far from simple. There's tons of runtime state that needs to be stored and restored when a machine changes power states that isn't in main memory. Just a little food for thought:

* peripherals (graphics cards, displays, mice, scanners, etc.)
* timing circuits (programmable interrupt clocks, watchdogs, etc.)
* environmental dependencies (open network connections, security contexts, etc.)

All of these need to be gracefully taken care of and reinitialized, and if possible made to continue previously interrupted tasks. All of this is already handled by current OSes. And all of this is very, very messy and complicated.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: Comment by TempleOS
by Neolander on Mon 15th Apr 2013 19:59 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by TempleOS"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

If NVRAM becomes as dirt cheap as DRAM is today, nothing would prevent its use in peripherals and timing circuitry too. The scenario which I describe, getting rid of that suspend kludge at last, can only work if everything that holds state inside of a computer is based on NVRAM.

It's true that environmental dependencies would still have to be taken into account. But these are handled at a higher level than hardware considerations, and can consequently be taken care of in a much cleaner way. Network connections can time out and be brought back, as an example.

If you think of it, a constantly failing wireless network connection should be much more of a hassle to handle than infrequent suspends, and yet if you aren't in a hurry modern OSs can handle that.

Edited 2013-04-15 20:15 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by TempleOS
by Alfman on Mon 15th Apr 2013 22:37 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by TempleOS"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

saso,


"All of these need to be gracefully taken care of and reinitialized, and if possible made to continue previously interrupted tasks. All of this is already handled by current OSes. And all of this is very, very messy and complicated."

Indeed, however it's complicated BECAUSE they use volatile ram. All of that mess could be avoided in the future with NV-RAM. That's the point, hypothetically if future NV-RAM could be built to be as practical as normal RAM, then there wouldn't be a reason to use normal ram anywhere. Making devices power up into their previous state would be free, or next to it, without any of today's complications caused by volatile ram.

Edited 2013-04-15 22:39 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3