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January 2018, Vol. 16, No. 11

Persistent storage-class memory to revolutionize data centers

Things are moving backward. Only a few years ago, virtualization burst onto the scene and brought great economies to the data center. But virtualization made it bad to have direct-attached storage -- that is, storage within the server -- because the virtualization model requires the sharing of all resources, including processors, storage, code and data. Then PCIe SSDs roared onto the scene in 2008, and the move to eliminate DAS got some pushback. Fusion-io was the first to show users they could do a lot more with high-speed flash storage in the server, even in a virtualized system. Soon sys admins learned this was also true of slower, cheaper SATA SSDs. Today, storage is poised to move even deeper into the server, sitting right on the memory bus using storage-class memory, as advanced users migrate toward in-memory compute. Let's explore why this is happening and what changes will result from adopting this "new" storage technology. Learning from history More than a decade ago, semiconductor experts hypothesized that conventional...

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