Intel is on a mission re-imagine the memory and storage hierarchy, and it's attempting to do that with its 3D XPoint technology, which we have seen manifest in various Optane Memory products. Now we can add one more to the list—Intel is bringing its 3D XPoint technology to server DIMMs with the introduction of Optane DC, a type of persistent memory that will take residence in data centers.
"Intel Optane DC persistent memory represents a new class of memory and storage technology architected specifically for data center usage. One that we believe fundamentally breaks through some of the constricting methods for using data that have governed computing for more than 50 years," Intel said.
Optane DC modules look like typical memory sticks that you'd stick in your PC, but they offer customers much more capacity. Intel said it's planning to make these persistent memory sticks available in capacities of up to 512GB. In doing so, Intel envisions data center clients having an affordable path to total capacities of 3TB and more, thereby allowing customers to "better optimize their workloads by moving and maintaining larger amounts of data closer to the processor and minimizing the higher latency of fetching data from system storage."
"As developers adapt software, this new memory class is designed to enable cost-effective, large-capacity in-memory database solutions; provide greater system uptime and faster recovery after power cycles; accelerate virtual machine storage; deliver higher performance to multi-node, distributed cloud applications; and offer advanced encryption for persistent data built into the hardware," Intel said.
The exact specifications of Optane DC are not known at this time. However in lieu of those details, Intel did say that early results show systems running Optane DC paired with scalable Xeon processors showed restart times decreasing from minutes to seconds. It also allowed for more server instances and provided a 9.4x increase in database operations per second, with 11x more users.
Intel has begun sampling Optane DC persistent memory and will "ship for revenue" to select customers sometime later this year. Broader availability is expected in 2019.