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Martin: Future nonvolatile memory technologies

While storage administrators continue to look at ways of adopting solid-state storage devices into their environments, developers continue exploring new technologies. Dennis Martin, president of Demartek LLC, discusses potential future nonvolatile memory technologies in this Storage Decisions presentation.

"You got other kinds of things being worked on in the labs now. This is after NAND flash, so to speak," said Martin. "These are other types of memory technologies that are nonvolatile and have interesting possibilities to become replacements for NAND flash at some point in the future."

One new technology is NVDIMM, which Martin said is available today. "It's DRAM that's nonvolatile. So when you turn the power off, the bits don't go away," he said, noting that it offers the same speed and capabilities of DRAM, albeit at a higher price. Another is phase-change memory (PCM or PRAM), which Martin said has already started shipping in some models of cell phones.

Other potential memory technologies include ferroelectric (FeRAM), the magnetic RAM (MRAM) variants "racetrack" and "spin-torque," resistive RAM (RRAM), and memristors. Martin noted some are more likely to hit the market earlier.

"You will probably hear about phase-change and possibly spin-torque and memristors sooner than you'll hear about the other ones," said Martin.

Martin said that these technologies will offer reduced latency and increased endurance when compared with NAND flash. "Some of these have a million write cycles, for example, instead of 100,000 like NAND flash does," he said.

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