SanDisk, Diablo Intro ULLtraDIMM Flash Storage, Claims Performance Better Than PCIe


Todd Swank, senior director of product marketing at Equus Computer Systems, a Minneapolis-based system builder, said he is looking forward to seeing ULLtraDIMM come to the broader channel.

"For certain products like high-performance computing, the performance of ULLtraDIMM could be amazing," Swank said, adding "200 to 400 GBs capacity? That's huge. It will be interesting to see how it is priced."

How quickly a technology like ULLtraDIMM is adopted depends on the price and performance ratio, Swank said. "I'm guessing it will be pretty expensive," he said. "But there is always going to be someone who will want that performance."

SanDisk did not discuss ULLtraDIMM pricing because the initial market is server and storage OEMs. However, SanDisk's Cox said that, given the consistent low latency of ULLtraDIMM vs. the fluctuating latency of PCIe, it could actually result in lower cost for some applications.

He gave as an example a solution for deploying 10,000 virtual desktops. Using PCIe, he said such a solution might require 100 physical servers, each of which would be running 100 virtual desktops. However, with the low latency of ULLtraDIMM, it might be possible for 50 physical servers to each run 200 virtual desktops, resulting in a cost of $114 per virtual machine vs. $265 per virtual machine using PCIe.

Swank said it is fun to watch the evolution of flash storage technology.

"The SATA SSD market is coming to the end, and SAS will become the mainstream," he said. "PCIe is next. Where do you go from there? Putting flash storage on the memory bus, like ULLtraDIMM. After that? Could Intel someday put SSDs in the processor? It's kind of crazy."

PUBLISHED JAN. 20, 2013