Faced by the prospect of having to compete with outdated NAND flash memory against Intel and Micron's 3D XPoint technology, SanDisk and HP announced a partnership to collaborate on a new "storage class memory" (SCM) category technology. The press release mentions the work will center around HP's Memristor technology and SanDisk's non-volatile ReRAM technology to create new enterprise-wide solutions for memory-driven computing.
The company's mention the new technology will be up to 1,000 times faster than NAND flash storage and offer up to 1,000 times higher endurance too, while promising significant cost, power, density and persistence improvements over DRAM technologies:
The technology is expected to be up to 1,000 times faster than flash storage and offer up to 1,000 times more endurance than flash storage. It also is expected to offer significant cost, power, density and persistence improvements over DRAM technologies. The SCM technology and its characteristics are intended to allow systems to employ tens of terabytes (TB) of SCM per server node for applications such as in-memory databases, real-time data analytics, transactional and high-performance computing.
This technology is focused on addressing the massive streams of data generated by the convergence of social media, security, mobility, big data analytics, cloud and the Internet of Things. The partnership aims for the companies to augment existing flash memory-based SSD product lines with this technology, providing high-performance storage solutions to enterprise data centers. It also aims to contribute to HP’s breakthrough new computing model, The Machine, which reinvents the fundamental architecture of computers to enable a quantum leap in performance and efficiency, while lowering costs and improving security.
“The onslaught of data facing enterprises will continue to be a challenge for the foreseeable future. We are excited to be working with SanDisk as they share an understanding of the significance of this challenge, and more importantly share a vision that the solution lies within Memory-Driven Computing,” said Martin Fink, Executive Vice President and HP Chief Technology Officer. “Together, we plan to bring new memory solutions to market and accelerate adoption in the enterprise, while simultaneously advancing HP’s development of The Machine to enable a new computing model over the long term.”
What this new technology is exactly remains a mystery, but as ARS Technica points out, it sure sounds a lot like 3D XPoint.
While the HP/SanDisk memory tech doesn't have a name, one advantage that it has over 3D XPoint is that we have a slightly better idea of how it actually works: the press release all but confirms that it will be based on memristors/ReRAM. HP invented the memristor way back in 2008, but commercialisation has always been just out of reach.
SanDisk's involvement is a bit puzzling, too. SanDisk has only ever mentioned ReRAM in passing, as a futuristic tech that's some way out on its roadmap. SanDisk does bring manufacturing expertise, though, which might be exactly what HP needs to bring its memristor tech to market.
There's no word about when these products are expected to hit the market.