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Diablo targets flash in DIMM slots at in-memory apps

Apps such as Apache Spark need memory. Diablo has changed tack to provide flash as memory in DIMM slots that acts as cache behind regular DRAM so apps don’t have to hit disk storage

Customers with memory-hungry apps, such as in-memory analytics platform Apache Spark and databases such as MySQL, can boost server memory by adding flash as cache behind DRAM main memory using Diablo Technologies Memory1.

By doing so, they can make sure apps retain the entire dataset in memory and don’t need to hit main storage and incur unacceptable latencies, while doing so for about 60% of the cost of DRAM.

Those are the claims of Diablo Technologies, which started out making flash storage that acted as a logical drive with block storage that was physically located in motherboard DIMM slots, but has since switched to flash as cache in DIMM slots.

This is provided via its Memory1 product, which incorporates its DMX memory expansion software.

The key idea is that Memory1 acts as a supplement, as cache to DRAM main memory. Reads and writes hit the faster, but more expensive, DRAM – but with Memory1 allowing the entire dataset to be held in memory.

Diablo marketing vice-president Kevin Wagner described it as a “buffer pool”. Memory1 comes as 128GB or 256GB capacity DIMM slot-compatible hardware that provides byte-addressable memory that is non-persistent. Latency is claimed to be in the low 10s of μs.

Targeted use cases are analytics platforms such as Apache Spark, databases such as MySQL, and cloud workloads where virtual machines and containers need to be scaled out, said Wagner.

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Speaking of analytics and databases use cases, he said: “The more you can keep in memory, the better. It is quicker and with a bigger dataset there is no need to go back to storage. We don’t provide I/O cache but a pool of cache behind the DRAM.

“Memory1 is a cheaper way of adding memory than more DRAM.”

By comparison, Wagner said the cost for servers equipped with 2TB of Memory1 flash would be about 60% of that of servers with 1.5TB of DRAM.

Server makers that already qualify Diablo’s Memory1 for use with its products include HPE, Supermicro and Inspur. ..........................................................................................

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