Sunday, October 15, 2017

Where Do Optane DIMMS Fit In?

An over-simplified look at Storage/Memory options for Servers. 

When you need more memory, NVM, and are willing to sacrifice some speed, Optane DIMMS make sense. They should be available early in 2018?

  • DRAM DIMM alone is fastest and has lots of suppliers
  • NVDIMM-N is available at high cost if NVM is needed
  • Optane DIMMS allow more Random access memory at lower cost. its NVM. It is slower than DRAM.
  • SSDs are improvement on HDD. Optane SSDS are fastest (latency) SSDs available
  • Optane DIMMS take off in volume if the cost is significantly lower than DRAM DIMMS.

Fast enough for most
Optane SSD
Fastest SSD Around
Optane DIMM                 
Assume minimal DRAM
DRAM only
Fastest, but not  NVM

HDDs are dead? On life support? Or enjoying mature lifestyle?

I saw more articles this week on death of HDD. Or that they will be dead in a couple years. If we want to use aging analysis, they are mid 50s, past midlife, not getting any younger but still active, healthy, and planning on watching their grandchildren grow for a couple decades.

Recent data:
  • HDD units outship SSDs more than 2:1
  • HDD Bits outship SSDs 10:1
  • HDD increase in bits shipped was larger than SSD increase in bits.
  • HDD units are dropping and EBs shipped are increasing at modest rates.

What is happening:
  • SSDs are increasing penetration in PCs at a modest rate. Hovering around 50% by end of year
  • Performance enterprise HDDs are being replaced by SSDs. But 10K and 15K HDDs still are close in sales to Enterprise SSDs. Even though there is no technical reason for this.
  • Nearline HDDs are growing in capacity shipped. SSDs are a small cache (<2% of capacity)
  • Slow capacity storage is 99% HDD or Optical or Tape

  • SSDs still cost 7-10X more than HDDs per Bit. It turns out we are storing bits? Who knew?
  • HDD ASP decreased in last year, SSD ASP increased. That was not supposed to happen.
  • Nearline and enterprise capacity needs are driving large increase in HDD capacities.

  • SSD ASP per bit being lower than HDD is almost a fantasy now. 2025 for being “close/ 2x”
  • SSD penetration into PCs will grow from ~50% to ~70% over the next 6 years
  • SSD will continue to grow at steady, no tipping point, rate. SSDs will account for 25% of bits shipped by 2022… or 2024 …. Or 2026 … let’s just say a long time
Mark Webb