SMART and Diablo demonstrate UltraDIMM at Flash Memory Summit 2013

SMART Storage Systems show off the incredible UltraDIMM technology at FMS 2013.

@paulyalcorn
Published Mon, Aug 26 2013 5:56 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 12:21 PM CST

It isn't often that I find myself still thinking about a display at a trade show a week later, but the marriage of SMART Storage Systems' Guardian Technology and Diablo's Memory Channel Storage (MCS) displayed at Flash Memory Summit 2013 has the potential to be a game changer that can alter the very shape of the datacenter.

SMART and Diablo demonstrate UltraDIMM at Flash Memory Summit 2013 01 | TweakTown.com
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We are very familiar with this display of SMART Storage Systems products; we have actually posted product evaluations for all of the SSDs, and are waiting in tense anticipation for the opportunity to test the new UltraDIMM which resides at the top of the SMART product family in this display.

SMART and Diablo demonstrate UltraDIMM at Flash Memory Summit 2013 02 | TweakTown.com

A close-up of the UltraDIMM reveals that the underlying MCS technology allows NAND to be addressed as a storage volume, but with the unique placement of the NAND into the ultra-fast memory slots. Each DIMM has two SMART controllers to manage two banks of NAND, and a Diablo Technologies controller to aggregate the NAND pools and present them to the memory bus as a single device.

The Diablo MCS technology allows addressing the NAND as either block storage or as memory, effectively creating an exponential increase in system memory or the option of ultra-fast block storage.

SMART and Diablo demonstrate UltraDIMM at Flash Memory Summit 2013 03 | TweakTown.com

One of the key advantages of this technology is for dense applications. In Blade servers and ultra-dense deployments, the UltraDIMM will allow for maximum density. The picture does no justice to the small size of this server, which measured approximately a foot in width.

SMART and Diablo demonstrate UltraDIMM at Flash Memory Summit 2013 04 | TweakTown.com

Density is a big benefit, but it pales in comparison to the massive speed enabled by the UltraDIMM. One of the key reasons for the enhanced performance over a PCIe SSD is the reduction in latency from utilizing the memory bus. This eliminates the bus contention that is a common problem with PCIe SSDs. As demonstrated in the above test results, the UltraDIMM provides superb latency and throughput that far outperforms even the fastest PCIe application accelerators.

SMART and Diablo demonstrate UltraDIMM at Flash Memory Summit 2013 05 | TweakTown.com

Another display illustrates the use of the UltraDIMMs in a typical server chassis. While there is a need for BIOS enhancements to utilize the UltraDIMM, there are vendors stepping up to provide support.

With the recent completion of the SMART Storage Systems acquisition by SanDisk, the potential for this technology to explode into the datacenter has risen immeasurably. SanDisk has broad penetration into the market, the advantage of NAND fabrication, and works with 6 of the 7 major OEMs. Look to these pages for a full evaluation of the UltraDIMM product as soon as they become available.

The quest for benchmark world records led Paul further and further down the overclocking rabbit hole. SSDs and RAID controllers were a big part of that equation, allowing him to push performance to the bleeding edge. Finding the fastest and most extreme storage solutions led to experience with a myriad of high-end enterprise devices. Soon testing SSDs and Enterprise RAID controllers at the limits of their performance became Paul's real passion, one that is carried out through writing articles and reviews.

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