this is the home page of
leading the way to the new storage frontier .....
RAM image - click for RAM directory, articles and news
RAM news ..
DRAM latency
DRAM's latency secret ....
SSD symmetries article
SSD symmetries ..
storage test equipment and analyzers news and directory
storage analyzers ..

this may be a stupid question but...

have you thought of supporting a RAM disk emulation in your new "flash as RAM" solution?

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - - February 27, 2017
The idea of RAMdisk software is as old as the hills - and as you know for a long time now there have been real hardware SSDs - so why was I interested in a new blog - RAM Disk technology: Performance Comparison by Alex Khorolets (whose linkedin profile I can't find yet) at StarWind Software?

It wasn't the benchmark itself - although it's nice to see that there's so much choice now.

The blog post had reminded me of something which I had forgotten to ask Diablo Technologies in my recent conversation with them about their Memory1. (Although we had plenty to talk about as you can see by scrolling down below this "stupid question" blog.)

My question - which is now an open question to any vendor of software or related modules which repurposes flash as RAM to provide a high capacity, transparent memory tier is this...

Do you have a supported RAM Disk emulation for it?


how do the benchmark numbers look? (compared to a similar quantity of flash - or maybe even the same physical devices) when they are configured as native flash SSDs?

Now - if you're not into the art of evaluating new technologies - you may be thinking - that's just a stupid thing to ask.

I mean - why would you want an SSD emulation of a flash drive running on a flash system which is emulating RAM?

There are a couple of reasons.
  • The results will reveal interesting performance anomalies (in the flash as DRAM emulation) and (if they exist) complex quality idiosyncrasies.

    That's because RAM disk software is mature and generally well behaved. But flash as a RAM software is relatively new. Running one as an emulation on the other means you can leverage well proven flash SSD benchmark tools to see if there are holes or spikes in the RAM emulation software.

    This isn't going to magic away the need for true RAM tier evaluation tools. Something I've touched on before in a news story is it realistic to talk about memory IOPS?

    But you will learn something useful from the gap between ideal behavior and what you measure.
  • Another reason is this... In the present state of the market the need for pure play vanilla SSD storage (whether it's dressed up as AFA (capacity or performance optimized), or hybrid appliance or SDS is healthy and users will still be buying such quaint old fashioned products for many years to come. But....

    In the long term future... in another 5 to 10 years - such "storage focused" implementations of memory systems will become a smaller part of the overall local storage market. ("Local" being on your premises and not in the cloud. In the cloud we assume they will still find value based uses for cheap old slow stuff in the same way as they currently do with hard drives.)

    Instead - I think that "storage" itself may become just a software selectable setting in resource boxes which are really just big memory systems. The forerunners of which I hinted at in my blog - after AFAs - what's the next box?

    When all storage is made from memory chips - then the decision - sell it as memory or sell it as storage - may become a business and branding decision rather than a true representation of the technology in the box.
That's why I think the "supported RAM disk" emulation question today is a probe into a future market.

And I use the term "supported" advisedly - because it's obvious that a vendor specific "SSD emulation" on "flash tiered as RAM" should include hardware supported datamovers and perform better than a bland software based solution.

Either way - the industry will learn a lot about the "goodness" of new memory tiering products by stressing them in ways which the original designers never intended.

SSD history

can memory do more?

RAM SSDs news and articles

after All Flash Arrays - what's the next box?

SSD ad - click for more info

storage search banner
SSD software
SSD software news etc on
The next wave of disruptive change in memory systems architecture has barely begun.
The Top SSD Companies in Q4 2016
SSD ad - click for more info
The cloud adapted memory systems concept raises the question:- what proportion of the raw semiconductor memory capacity ought to be usable as storage? or usable as memory?
after AFAs - what's next?
SCM DIMM wars in SSD servers is closely related to several multi-year technology themes in the SSD accelerator market.

From an SSD history perspective it can be viewed as being the successor to 2 earlier centers of focus in the modern era of SSDs.

1999 to 2007 - the dominant focus and center of gravity was FC SAN SSD accelerators.

2007 to 2014 - the dominant focus and center of gravity was PCIe SSD accelerators.
the road to SCM DIMM wars

What we've got now is a new SSD market melting pot in which all performance related storage is made from memories and the dividing line between storage and memory is also more fluid than before.
where are we heading with memory intensive systems?

is data remanence in NVDIMMs a new risk factor?
maybe the risk was already there before with DRAM

DRAM's reputation for speed is like the old story about the 15K hard drives (more of the same is not always quickest nor best)
latency loving reasons for fading out DRAM

There's a genuine characterization problem for the SCM industry which is:- what are the most useful metrics to judge tiered memory systems by?
is it realistic to talk about memory IOPS?

Many of the important and sometimes mysterious behavioral aspects of SSDs which predetermine their application limitations and usable market roles can only be understood when you look at how well the designer has dealt with managing the symmetries and asymmetries which are implicit in the underlying technologies which are contained within the SSD.
how fast can your SSD run backwards?

Adaptive dynamic refresh to improve ECC and power consumption, tiered memory latencies and some other ideas.
Are you ready to rethink RAM?