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mercoledì 14 maggio 2014

The IBM SSD of the future is 275 times faster than the current

Using the phase-change memory IBM has been able to speed up the storage structure of the data up to 275 times. It's called "Project Theseus" and may one day replace the NAND Flash memory that we find in many electronic products, such as SSDs. It is the project of IBM, in collaboration with the University of Patras in Greece, and is the first attempt to handle phase change memory, NAND and DRAM in a single controller, all on a dedicated card.

The first results are sensational: performance from 12 to 275 times higher than the SSD with PCI Express interface. The phase change memory (PCM), is a non-volatile solution formed from an alloy calcogenura called GST, able to change phase (crystalline or amorphous) by a current which, through the memory cell, induces the phase change. This type of memory quickly switches between two states, also has been demonstrated the ability to assume intermediate states, in order to store two bits of information per cell. The PCM memory has a lower latency than the NAND, times of read/write much more rapid and can support millions of cycles in writing. In short, the paper is better. With the project Theseus IBM has managed to enter the PCM memory in a hybrid structure, in order to exploit the positive features, especially the very low latency. The company has used the memory in question as a cache or as a layer between the NAND and DRAM, developing a controller that can handle 2.8 GB of PCM (36 cells per 128-Mbit card, 5 cards in total) and giving rise to what which was called PSS (Prototype Storage Solution).

The PSS solution has completed most of the requests in less than 500 microseconds, reaching a maximum at 2000 microseconds, while MLC solutions have reached 14,000 and 20,000 microseconds. NAND TLC has done even worse, reaching 120,000 microseconds. Clear results, especially if you think that the PCM memory has been designed with a 90 nm CMOS Micron process, certainly not as the latest addition to production.

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