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Netlist launches new DDR4 NVDIMM

Netlist unveiled its new DDR4-based non-volatile dual in-line memory module (NVDIMM) yesterday at the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA)’s Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) Summit in San Jose.

The NVvault DDR4 NVDIMM (NV4) combines DRAM and NAND flash, with the non-volatile flash ensuring that data is protected in the event of a power failure. The main difference between the latest NV4 product and the prior NV3 NVDIMM is support for DDR4 DRAM.

Netlist’s DDR4-based NV4, which became generally available yesterday, brings speed and capacity advantages over the DDR3-based NV3 product. The maximum density expands from 8 GB to 16 GB, and the DRAM clock speed increases from 1,600 megahertz (MHz) to 2,400 MHz, according to Mat Young, Netlist’s vice president of marketing.

At the NVM Summit, Netlist demonstrated the NV4 NVDIMM against a PCIe NVMe NAND flash device using a Super Micro server running a Percona TPC-C-like transaction processing benchmark on a MySQL database. Netlist claimed the NV4 system achieved a transaction rate five times higher than the PCIe NVMe flash.

Young said industry demos often focus on IOPS and bandwidth, but Netlist wanted to show potential customers how the product could performance with a real-world application.

“We feel really strongly that non-volatile memory is the next potential performance boost for storage. It’s a bit like NAND was to spinning hard drives,” said Young.

Netlist is working with several server and BIOS manufacturers on support for its NV4 NVDIMMs and sampling the product to an undisclosed number of customers, according to Young. He said target customers include OEMs and ODMs, appliance manufacturers and end users looking for higher application performance than NAND flash can provide.

“The fact that they’ve migrated to the DD4 interface indicates that NVDIMMs are growing in popularity. Although today’s main application is logs or journals in storage arrays, the growth of in-memory databases will create a much larger market,” said Jim Handy, chief analyst at Objective Analysis in Los Gatos, California. Handy said Netlist’s competition includes AgigA Tech, Micron, Smart Modular Technologies and Viking Technology.