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New Device Puts SSD In a DIMM Slot

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the ram-disk-returns dept.

Data Storage 169

Vigile points out a new take on SSD from Viking Modular Solutions. The SATADIMM puts an SSD in the form factor of a memory module. "The unit itself actually uses a SandForce SSD controller and draws its power from the DIMM socket directly but still connects to the computer through a SATA connection — nothing fancy like using the memory bus, etc. Performance is actually identical to other SandForce-based SSDs though the benefits for 1U servers and motherboards with dozens of DIMM slots is interesting to say the least. Likely priced outside the realm for average consumers, the SATADIMM will likely stay put in the enterprise market but represents an indicator that companies are realizing SSDs don't need to be in traditional HDD form factors."

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169 comments

I suppose the real question here is... (4, Insightful)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271524)

Why? If it's only drawing power from the DIMM slot, what benefit does that serve? Sure, in a 1U rack it *might* save a trivial amount of space. I just dont see a market for it.

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271588)

Add drives to machines that lack enough hard drive slots but have extra dimm slots.

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272466)

Yes, but if it can be that small, just make it about that size but accepting power like a regular drive. Then it can be tucked away anywhere and the cable won't interfere with airflow.

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (3, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272652)

In a 1U server there no such space. The DIMM design lets you put it in a nice free space and not interrupt airflow too much.

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272870)

I work w/ 1U servers all the time, and there certainly is such space. In the long ones, there's room behind the drive bays, and in a short one, tuck it in to the space between the PCI(e) card (if any) and the MB with a bit of double sticky tape. On older 1Us, put it where the floppy drive used to go.

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (5, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271608)

Sure, in a 1U rack it *might* save a trivial amount of space. I just dont see a market for it.

If there's anything I've learned from calculus - it's that a whole lot of trivial values can add up to something significant.

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271802)

If there's anything I've learned from calculus - it's that a whole lot of trivial values can add up to something significant.

That's a good summary.

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34271816)

Hell yeah, this could save a megaton of space. It seems most of the negative comments are from people who have never seriously used racks

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (3, Insightful)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271908)

I have, and this would have a hard time fitting in a 1U case. The data cable comes out the top, but many 1U cases have the ram sticks at a 45 degree angle because they would be too tall. It would be OK in a 2U or larger and used as the boot disk.

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272156)

That was my thought as well. In the article, they seem to have a 90 degree adapter on the SATA cable to plug into the DIMM. My immediate reaction (besides "that's kinda neat") was that RAM is stacked, so if you put 4 of these in a bank of RAM, the 2-4th's SATA cables would hit the cable from the 1st. You'd need cables that connect at 90 degrees in one way and 45 in another.

If you have empty RAM slots and you want to add one or two, it's not that bad. The idea of using banks of it to put terabytes in a 1U case... seems unlikely.

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (3, Interesting)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272268)

They should have model variants with connectors staggered relative to the DIMM length. Have one with the connector in the first quarter, another with the connector in the second quarter, etc. So you could have a bank of four with no cable/connector overlap.

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (3, Interesting)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272456)

two words for all of you:

custom cables.

seriously: sata cables are cheep as hell to build, and doing a fan cable of a custom length to match up to the controller either on board or in the single 16/4x slot would only kind of make sense.

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272964)

And also custom 1U racks filled with powered memory slots for such drives...

But I seriously think the point to this whole exercise is that with SSD drives we don't have to be tied to any single layout or size... they could be made to go anywhere. They could make them into stackable cubes like Lego's (with sufficient cooling, of course).

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (1)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 2 years ago | (#34273148)

omfg. Lego storage drives would be awesome.

who want's to get on that? I'm sure we could find somebody to sell them to.

Who has empty DIMM slots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34272838)

We use blades even (smaller than 1U) and we run out of DIMM slots before we run out of CPU or I/O.

What kind of application needs lots of servers each underpopulated with RAM and also populated with their own SSD?

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (4, Informative)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271716)

I guess it would be a quick way to add storage to a server that has a bunch of unused memory sockets. And the design uses off-the-shelf components which is always nice.

But there was getting to be a need for a proper SSD package, as sticking them inside HDD housings was both limiting and an inefficient use of space. Viking's solution probably won't take off, though, since Apple/PhotoFast/Toshiba just stole their thunder. [arstechnica.com]

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271940)

i've read where putting the tempdb in MS SQL Server and whatever the Oracle and DB2 equivalents are on SSD is a huge performance boost for queries that rely on it. things like sorts and joins.

you can easily have multi-terabyte databases on a 1U/2U servers these days and with 16GB DIMM's enough memory in a few slots for them. but if you have idiots running select queries for hundreds of millions of rows at once then this will be a big help. i've seen queries like this run for days

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (1)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272152)

If that is true, wouldn't it be better to populate the DIMM slots with RAM and use a ramdisk instead of SSD for this purpose?

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (2, Insightful)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272542)

sure, but you know what the price of ram vs the price of flash is?

16GB dimms run me about $900 each, whereas I can get 64GB X25-E's for $700.
and tit for tat, the performance won't be THAT bad by comparison.
at ~$55/GB for Ram, or ~$10/GB for flash, at 1000GB quantities... that's a pretty easy call to make personally. :P

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34272992)

If that is true, wouldn't it be better to populate the DIMM slots with RAM and use a ramdisk instead of SSD for this purpose?

With 4 empty DIMM slot, you can install over 1TB of SSD storage. It's not possible to put that much RAM in a DIMM slot yet.

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272080)

OK lets assume 1ru's come in two basic flavors the fully integrated products from Dell HP IBM and the like these rarely have any standard power connectors let alone internal SATA ports. Then there are the custom built these normally have free standard power connectors and free SATA ports. In the first case there is nothing to plug it into unless you add a sata raid card at which point why not just get the power from the PCI-E slot? Custom servers don't need to draw power from a dimm slot. In either case if your that concerned about performance you would have populated that DIMM slot already to max out ram. This seems like a solution looking for a problem to fix.

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (3, Interesting)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272786)

the point is that you can instead of purchasing ram at ~$25/gb you can buy flash at ~$10/gb and still stay dense.

I'm sure where you are there's room for things: but in much of the world this is not the case. try suggesting 4U storage cases for a customer wanting to host a 20TB database in Egypt. you may only get 4-6U in each building to work with, (with little cooling capacity) and $25K/building in hardware budget.

There are cases for everything. I can think of a pile of customers of mine that only filled their Vmware hosts with 64GB (of the 512GB max) of ram (leaving twenty eight sockets free in each of the three hosts for something!) that's 33.6TB of space right there! (though personally I'd PREFER to stick RAM in there, that would only be another 1.344TB of ram)

Re:I suppose the real question here is... (1)

XLazarusX (534555) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272318)

Not just power. It's mounted in a DIMM socket. If your server has lots of DIMM slots and few drive slots this is ideal.

Just an SSD that uses memory slot power? (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271580)

So you don't have to run a molex or other power connector to the SSD, it's easier to put in, I suppose.

I wonder if there are significant gains to be had by inserting these in place of existing RAM?

Re:Just an SSD that uses memory slot power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34271792)

I wonder if there are significant gains to be had by inserting these in place of existing RAM?

Nope, just significant loss

Re:Just an SSD that uses memory slot power? (2, Informative)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272836)

except storage capacity. they're 512GB (raw, 400GB formatted) per Dimm. making them 32 times denser capacity vs RAM.

though yes, you're right: compared to the equivalent AMOUNT of RAM, they suck. compared to the same dollar value of ram: that's another story.

Whats the point (1)

headhot (137860) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271600)

If your using a DIMM slot for power, and SATA for data transfer, why not use the power supply for power instead of losing a memory slot?

Re:Whats the point (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271704)

Are you thinking in a desktop or a server environment? Because I have only ever seen ONE server ever use every single one of its memory slots full of the Max amount of memory for a stick at the time.

Often times, its trivial to upgrade RAM to get a spare slot.

It's Not as trivial to have to unplug absolutely everything because you switched out the power supply.

Re:Whats the point (1)

b00m3rang (682108) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271772)

The power still comes from the power supply... where else would it come from? I guess it'd be useful if you have memory slots you're not using, but no extra drive bays.

Re:Whats the point (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271862)

The power still comes from the power supply... where else would it come from? I guess it'd be useful if you have memory slots you're not using, but no extra drive bays.

The distinction the GP was making was the power -- yes, from the power supply -- delivered through the pins of the DIMM slot rather than the cable connected directly to the PSU. And I'd have to agree with both of you in asking what the point of this is.

Disappointed (2, Interesting)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271614)

When i saw the headline, i was hoping that this would be a device that allowed an SSD to be connected to a RAM slot and used as RAM, rather than an SSD that takes up a RAM slot.

Additionally, if they can squeeze a 256GB into a DIMM form factor, why the are even 4GB sticks of RAM still expensive

Re:Disappointed (3, Informative)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271686)

Additionally, if they can squeeze a 256GB into a DIMM form factor, why the are even 4GB sticks of RAM still expensive

Because using flash memory as system RAM would be rather disappointingly slow.

Re:Disappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34271746)

Additionally, if they can squeeze a 256GB into a DIMM form factor, why the are even 4GB sticks of RAM still expensive

Is this a joke, or do you honestly not understand the difference between RAM and Flash? Like, they just happen to use the same form factor in this case, one has no bearing on the other. That's like asking why if I can get a PCIe NIC for $20, why do high end graphics cards still cost several hundreds.

Re:Disappointed (3, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271872)

While the write speed would be painful compared to real DRAM, the read speed would be comparable.

For large static arrays, and for custom data applications, it could have uses in the form the GP suggests, though it WOULD be a nasty throwback to the days of user ROMs...

However, I could definitely see the potential in having such a thing mapped directly to system memory, then loading a special block device driver to allocate all that "memory", so that memory IO could be used for data storage. It would eliminate the SATA controller's IO bottleneck, but would impose a slight CPU penalty. For systems with multiple CPUs, that wouldnt be much of a problem. You would need to allocate that memory fast though, to prevent the OS from trying to use it like RAM.

Re:Disappointed (1)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272954)

Sure, burst speed may be comparable: but ram will maintain that burst speed in an almost any number of IOPS. try writing 250KIOPS@1K to a flash drive, watch it slow to a crawl.

Access times, though much better in flash over the last few years are still an order of magnitude slower. and just imagine writing to ram only to find out that the process must wait while the old blocks are re-allocated due to bad sector remapping. (potentially causing micro or even millisecond access times!)

sorry, flash has a LONG way to go replacing ram.

Re:Disappointed (1)

TurtleBay (1942166) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271814)

A single channel of 1333 Mhz DDR3 RAM can transfer at approximately 11 GB/s. A 240 GB SSD usually has transfer rates of less than 300 MB/s. You pay more for expensive DRAM with an expensive 240 pin dual data rate interface because transfer rate and latency matter that much more in main memory than in storage.

Because RAM isn't Flash (3, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271820)

The price of flash has nothing to do with the price of RAM. They are completely different constructions, and for different tasks. Flash is faster than magnetic storage but still dog slow compared to RAM. For flash you talk access time in 2-3 digits of microseconds. For RAM you talk access time in single digit nanoseconds. For flash transfer rates are in the 100s of MB/sec with anything over 200 being rather exceptional. For ram transfer rates are in the 10+GB/sec.

Same sort of transition again when talking DRAM (what you put in your system) to SRAM (what processor cache is made out of). Again the price goes up massively so instead of 8GB, you are talking maybe 12MB. However again the speed goes way up and access time way down.

Re:Disappointed (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271904)

4GB sticks are cheap as hell, kiddo. Even the server stuff as a double kit, meaning 2X4GB is $250.

How much cheaper can it get?

And flash as ram would be slow as hell.

Re:Disappointed (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272030)

When i saw the headline, i was hoping that this would be a device that allowed an SSD to be connected to a RAM slot and used as RAM, rather than an SSD that takes up a RAM slot.

 
Well I don't know why you would want to use slow flash as your primary storage rather than fast DRAM or SRAM.
Now this is not what I think you had in mind but having primary storage that does not need refresh would permit you to have a machine that could be powered on and off and remain in a consistent state. Well there were a few more things you'd need to do like preserve the content of CPU registers but there are ways to solve those problems. Such a machine also could have only primary storage because large flash banks are so cheap. Now this machine would be very slow but for some applications it would be useful. Actually such machines are often employed in manufacturing and probably other places. A flash based memory module would have been a step toward alowing us geeks how just want to play with something like that a way to build it out of cheap hardware; but your typical gamer would have no interest.

Re:Disappointed (1)

surgen (1145449) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272438)

Well I don't know why you would want to use slow flash as your primary storage rather than fast DRAM or SRAM.

Maybe rather than just taking up the slot use it for communication too? Appear as RAM to the computer and then create a RAM drive to mount the SSD? Though it does seems like a rather roundabout way just to avoid using a SATA cable.

Reminds of of the old hard cards (3, Interesting)

bobjr94 (1120555) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271632)

I remember back before computers had onboard drive controllers and there was no such thing as a standard drive interface, they sold ISA hard drive cards, it was a drive & controller all in one. I dont see to much advantage running a drive on a ram slot, you can just dedicate a drive(s) to you work, swap or temp files. I typically do that when editing video, 1 drive holds the raw videos, one drive is a temp drive and one is what the final video files are outputted to when they are rendered. Much faster then using 1 drive or even a single raid to read/write large amounts of data at the same time.

Huh? (0, Redundant)

falldeaf (968657) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271636)

That's kind of crazy how would you access the drive? Would you need a special driver or something to mount it as a sata drive? This seems neat but I'm confused at how this work and the article didn't seem to explain...

Re:Huh? (0, Troll)

hjf (703092) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271730)

FTFS (From the fucking SUMMARY!):

The unit itself actually uses a SandForce SSD controller and draws its power from the DIMM socket directly but still connects to the computer through a SATA connection — nothing fancy like using the memory bus, etc.

and the article even have photos of the thing with a SATA cable coming out of it.

Sheesh!

Re:Huh? (1)

Mitsoid (837831) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271734)

it sounds as if the DIMM slot is simply the "Bay" holding the drive, which also provides the power. Otherwise it will function like an SATA SSD as it connects to the SATA Port for data transfer.

Re:Huh? (1)

falldeaf (968657) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271838)

Ok now if that's the case this doesn't seem as neat... I guess if you happen to have an empty dimm slot but that seems like a small niche. Why not just sell a tiny ssd drive that you could hook up to the molex power sockets and the sata cable? I'm not a server admin or anything though so maybe I'm missing something.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34272518)

Because a server rarely has an extra molex connector, but will often have empty RAM slots.

Re:Huh? (1)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 2 years ago | (#34273126)

How many molex connectors are in the average machine?

there are 32 dimm slots on a modern 4 socket server board. memory comes up to 16GB/dimm densities, and few companies (well, few of the ones I sell to globally) have any need to max the boards. 8 slots gives you 128GB of RAM, leaving 24 slots available.

at 400GB usable densities per slot with this product, the machine can then host 9.6TB of SSD storage BEFORE connecting to a drive array. being that most cases will only allow 8XSSD's to be mounted, that allows for 8X64GB + 24X400GB = 12.1TB in a 1U box. at that same density, you could cram almost 40TB OF FLASH into the same size as a desktop computer mounted horizontally. (not really, but it gives you the idea. :P)

the densest thing that I can think of for SSD's, would be a Super Micro SC-417. that's 72x64GB (the largest enterprise SSD's I've ever trusted are the 64GB intel x25-E) yielding a whopping 4.6TB in 4U.

personally: I see that as pretty awesome.

Re:Huh? (0, Troll)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271770)

You're an idiot. It's in the summary AND the article, and if you looked even briefly at the actual photo of the device, you'd have seen that it has a sata port on it.

Re:Huh? (0, Troll)

falldeaf (968657) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272368)

Yah, kind of a brain fart I guess. In my defense it's kind of a strange niche concept I just didn't get it at first. And since we're name calling you're a small dick, asshole who's mom is a whore and a weasel fucker.

Re:Huh? (0, Offtopic)

falldeaf (968657) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271812)

Wtf?... I try not to post about bad moderation but how the fuck is that a troll?

because there's no "read the summary" moderation? (0, Offtopic)

Chirs (87576) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271836)

Duh....

Re:because there's no "read the summary" moderatio (0, Offtopic)

falldeaf (968657) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272436)

Ah, well I did read the summary but I didn't get it I guess. Still, over rated maybe? I just made a mistake, I wasn't trying to be inflammatory or troll anyone.

Re:Huh? (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271916)

I try not to post about bad moderation but how the fuck is that a troll?

Do, or do not. There is no 'try.'

Re:Huh? (0, Offtopic)

falldeaf (968657) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272486)

That's a really good point, thank you. Let me be more clear. Before, I didn't post about shitty moderation but now I do whatever the hell I want.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34272468)

People were being nice and assuming you weren't retarded. ;-)

Arima NM46x (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34271664)

Something like this would be great with the Arima NM46x, it has 16 DIMM slots.

Speedy servers (4, Interesting)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271668)

Certainly putting things like swap space and database journal files on SSD would speed things up wonderfully, but how about an OS hack where an SSD drive is a sort of L3 cache between core and traditional disk for dirty disk buffers? Also, I'm wondering about the power requirements between SSD and DIMM RAM.

Re:Speedy servers (4, Interesting)

m.dillon (147925) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271868)

Not sure I would call it an OS hack but DragonFly has precisely that, called swapcache. Swapcache Manual Page [dragonflybsd.org]. It isn't so much making standard paging work better (systems rarely have to 'page' these days) but instead its ability to cache clean data and meta-data from the much larger terrabyte+ hard drive that makes the difference. Anyone who has more than a few hundred thousand files to contend with will know what I mean. -Matt

Re:Speedy servers (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271902)

An SSD usually uses considerably less power even during writing than RAM. Consider that a stick of RAM is going to have to continually refresh each of its 16 or 32 chips, while flash is only going to power up those that it is currently accessing at that time.

You can get RAID controllers that do that (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272856)

Adaptec's like of MaxIQ controllers are the cheapest I know of, Intel also has it on their high end rebadged LSI controllers though you have to pay extra to add the feature. The controllers use an SSD as an additional layer of cache (they also have a RAM cache) for the array to speed things up. Works quite well apparently, if a bit costly.

What purpose does this serve? (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271670)

From the article:

Final Thoughts: Taking power (and space) from free DIMM slots is certainly a novel idea, and is beneficial to overly cramped installations. I can easily see these being used for embedded and other custom systems where high storage performance is needed without the wasted space.

So the entire purpose of this hyper-expensive convoluted creation is to save a power cable...? The whole article reads more like an advertisement + some benchmarks. I see no benefit to this thing whatsoever. Unless I am missing something, it sounds more like Viking was trying to make a non-volatile memory chip (that would be kinda cool) and realized it wasn't going to work, so they had the engineers rip out everything novel about it and just use the DIMM slot to save a power cord.

saves space primarily (2, Informative)

Chirs (87576) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271910)

It's aimed at 1U servers that have no free drive bays or PCI slots.

Re:What purpose does this serve? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34272094)

The purpose is to maximize density. Let's say your server has 12 memory slots but you're only using 4 of them. That means it now has 8 free drive bays you can fill up with high-speed SSDs. Have you ever seen a 1U server with 8 drive bays? If you leave off the standard drive bays, it's not hard to make a 1U server with 32 DIMM slots, meaning you can have 32 SDDs in a 1U server and not have to get a power supply with 32 cables or figure out how to route those 32 cables without impeding airflow.

In theory you could fit 128 DIMM slots on a 1U board, while you can't fit more than 12 HDDs in the same space. Thus, the DIMM form factor gives you a 10x density increase.

dom

Re:What purpose does this serve? (1)

m.dillon (147925) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272794)

But this makes even LESS sense for large-form-factor mobos. If you want to maximize density you buy a high-density SSD (they come in terrabyte sizes now, after all). You don't buy a hundred custom-fit DIMMs with discrete SATA connectors. It doesn't even make any sense for 1U FF, since 2.5" drive bays trivially fit in that form factor.

-Matt

Re:What purpose does this serve? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272140)

I wouldn't be surprised if the purpose were to confuse the buyer. Imagine, you see an SSD that plugs in to a DIMM slot. "Woah, that's got to be faster than normal SSD! Or it's got to be doing something that makes it better than this other one that only connects to a little ribbon cable.

kinda dumb (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271688)

This definitely falls into the realm of why would anyone do this? It's the same as a regular hard drive but you can't control where it goes as much. Sounds like a heating nightmare. If it's the same performance, then that's the only difference. I suppose a lack of power cables running across the case is a tiny advantage but whatever, this is still pointless.

Re:kinda dumb (0, Flamebait)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271920)

This isn't aimed at desktops dumbass, this is aimed at servers where iop/m^3 is important

Re:kinda dumb (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272280)

You're an idiot. It's in the summary AND the article, and if you looked even briefly at the actual photo of the device, you'd have seen that it has a sata port on it.

This isn't aimed at desktops dumbass, this is aimed at servers where iop/m^3 is important

Is it impossible for you to interact with others without insulting them?

Re:kinda dumb (2, Informative)

DarkXale (1771414) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272050)

You basically completely failed to look at the difference in size, or consider the type of case it is mounted in. Sure its unnecessary in a traditional Tower Case, where there are often 8 hard drive slots available. But in a small server rack where space is premium; this becomes very viable, especially as there are often few drive slots available; but probably there are unused RAM slots.

Form factor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34271728)

What sense does it make to abandon the traditional form factor when it already works with great efficiency?

I thought that this SSD was actually interfacing with the memory bus, which also would've been a dumb idea given the discrepancies in cost and performance.

But the headline reminded me of OCZ's DDR booster from years ago. "What next?"

Re:Form factor? (1)

DCstewieG (824956) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271848)

Think Mac Minis or Nano-ITX boards. You could make a damn small box which for many (most?) people is more desirable than expansion room. The case could also be dead simple with the most complicated thing being the holes to attach the board.

Re:Form factor? (1)

m.dillon (147925) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272000)

I think its a bit silly too. For one thing, there is ALREADY a suitable form factor: mini-PCIe. And two, DIMM slots change every year. Anyone buying this dimm-based SSD is basically buying a custom part with no resale value (because its form factor will become obsolete very quickly) and wasting a memory slot that they might actually want to use in the future. Bad news all around.

-Matt

Re:Form factor? (0, Flamebait)

DarkXale (1771414) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272180)

Try saying that again thinking in a context outside of your home desktop.

Re:Form factor? (1)

m.dillon (147925) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272322)

I guess you think a brain-dead one-liner comment like that is meaningful. Try again. I'm sure if you actually spend more than 5 seconds thinking about it you can come up with something better.

-Matt

Re:Form factor? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272890)

Think about the server room is what he was trying to tell you. 1U servers just about always have only two PCIe slots but tons of extra ram slots. Not everything is sold to the consumer market.

PCIe RAID card? (1)

BC_R3 (1942996) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271778)

Correct me if I'm wrong but couldn't all of this be done with a PCIe RAID card?

Re:PCIe RAID card? (1)

DarkXale (1771414) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272070)

Considering smaller form factor machines generally only have one or two PCI-E slots, and these aren't infrequently used for Network connectivity (or GPUs) - chances are high you simply don't have any PCI-E slots left.

Mini Options! (4, Interesting)

Falc0n (618777) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271944)

Actually I find this potentially quite cool. Not as much for the power source, but the size. Since most mATX boards don't come with mini PCIe slots, if you want to use an SSD drive you need a 2.5" drive or a PCIe card with a mini-slot on it. Both are much larger than a DIMM option.

And with 50gb, this would be very useful in a media box streaming from a server. Now only if the price could come down.

Re:Mini Options! (1)

m.dillon (147925) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272604)

But not more useful than actually putting ram in that slot, since most small form-factor motherboards are also going to have a minimal number of DIMM slots anyway. One rarely sees more than 4 slots and I don't know about everyone else but I always populate all my DIMM slots so I don't have to purchase ultra-high density sticks (which cost a premium).

There is a very good reason why Apple had to use this sort of thing... a custom-fit SSD in a custom, basically non-upgradeable item (people who buy Apple stuff tend to replace the machines en-toto and not do piecemeal upgrades). Since custom-fit essentially makes the stuff non-upgradeable it just isn't suitable for any other environment. One might not care so much when one purchases the item initially but I guarentee that people will start to care very much when, a year or two down the line, they find the part no longer available and their hardware now worthless because it can't be upgraded.

So for Apple, it may be a good thing, but sold as a general consumer item it is going to become a has-been very quickly. Except for the ultra-thin market a 2.5" SSD (e.g. most of the Intel SSDs) is plenty small enough. If there were actually demand for this sort of thing we will also see case makers react very quickly and start pushing 2.5" slot-only cases (especially now that the CD/DVD form factor is starting to disappear in favor of USB).

-Matt

Why so many ignorant replies? (2, Insightful)

PatPending (953482) | more than 2 years ago | (#34271992)

I can't recall a /. story that has this many ignorant replies.

Aside from the usual lack of RTFS and not reading TFA, I wonder if it's due to ignorance of hardware?

Re:Why so many ignorant replies? (1)

falldeaf (968657) | more than 2 years ago | (#34273066)

I'll just speak for myself but to me it seems like a strange concept to use a memory slot for power... apparently memory slots are commonly abundant in servers but not molex cables? I guess niche concept and 20 acronyms leads to mistake making territory in my case.. whatevs....

Distinguishing users from admins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34272136)

These comments give everyone the chance to figure out whom works with computer hardware and whom just owns a desktop.

Useless with virtualization? (4, Insightful)

ferrocene (203243) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272144)

This device seems backwards with today's trends. With virtualizaion gaining ground fast, the ideal setup is to have as much RAM as possible with a SAN back end for storage - iSCSI, FC, whatever. Most local disks on servers today are RAID1 mirrors for the small hypervisor.

So, yes, this device wastes a valuable DIMM slot to give you a less-valuable SATA drive?

I can't think of any scenario where this would be useful unless you're talking about handheld devices - a MacBook Air or tablet of some sort.

Re:Useless with virtualization? (2, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272928)

DB servers in a leased rack. Doing DB IO over FC or iSCSI adds latency that local disks are not going to have. This gets you fast local storage without having to pay more each month for leased rack space.

Virtualizing high performance DBs is a stupid move.

Rack? (1)

zmooc (33175) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272162)

Rack? Who cares about racks. It's not like there's not enough room in 1U servers. What this is awesome for, though, is for small form factor PCs. With video on the mobo or cpu the only thing left that stuck out, was the harddrive or ssd. Not anymore. Awesome! :-) Now I can go get myself a proper 17x17x5cm quad core PC:-)

So... wait. (1)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272212)

I can see this in an environment when you need to stick a lot of 1U rack systems all over the place, and can't spread out over a larger footprint in any one location. But when else am I going to use this? Didn't we decide a long time ago that large amounts of internal storage wasn't really a good way to handle increasing storage needs?

I'd much rather see a big ol' SAN full of SDDs than put together something like this, unless someone else is seeing an advantage that I don't.

Wow, someone put a piece of hardware ... (1)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272310)

... into a different electronic orifice of the motherboard than what is customary?

This is exciting news, indeed!

I will join this game-changing revolution by using file descriptor 3 for standard output!

We need a new standard. (1)

Above (100351) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272350)

We need a new standard form factor or two. Clearly making an SSD in the size of a pattered hard drive makes no sense, but this product makes no sense either. It's just a way to steal power from another sort of slot. In addition to the form factor, I'm not sure SATA even makes sense anymore, so it may be time for a higher level rethink.

I'm not sure the best way to go, but there are some semi-obvious starting points. What about MiniPCI for SSD's? One or two on the motherboard could work well. Maybe a modified SATA design with the cable suppling power for SSD's? They could look like mini-USB sticks and plug directly into the connectors. Maybe we need an entirely new bus interface just for SSD's, and then put them in a SIMM/DIMM type package; that may be the best option for performance and size.

Re:We need a new standard. (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272722)

The new formfactor introduced in the Macbook Air sounds interesting, and already announced to be available from a couple of different manufacturers. It's basically the same size as a DIMM, but with the pins at the end instead of along one edge.

Just not practical due to cabling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34272370)

This idea simply does not scale due to SATA cabling limitations, especially in existing systems that locate their DIMM slots for proximity to the CPU, not the onboard SATA controllers. Even a relatively low density of SSD DIMMS would result in a mess of cabling in a typical case let along that crazy 32DIMM/row picture they provide.

Notice they never note the height. Since the SATA connector is in the same location on all the DIMMS and DIMM slots are traditionally lined up any use of standard SATA connectors requires them to be stacked. That means in that crazy picture with 128 slots you would have 32 stacked SATA cables and connectors. Even at 2mm thick that is 64mm, or 2.5" of sata cable all stacked. That is probably best case and that does not even take into account the mess at the controller having to plug 32 SATA cables into 32 SATA ports. There is a reason that higher density disk systems use backplanes that provide power and data connectivity.

The only interesting thing about this product is that you can put SSD chips onto almost anything. Far more interesting would be an industry standard form factor that allows for such densities but where the controller wiring is in the slot as well. Then you can integrate a proper solution like SAS to SAS/SATA SSD Chip Slot backplane so your cabling is not a complete mess.

The new form factor for the new thin apple laptop is much more promising.

Reasonable packaging (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272452)

It's not a very exciting use of non-volatile memory. It makes sense, though, to package non-volatile devices for vertical slots like DRAM, and have motherboards that have slots for them. But not DIMM slots - something that actually carries the drive data. The thing announced in the article still needs a drive cable; all it gets from the DIMM slot is power. This looks like an interim product until server motherboards go to that form factor and eliminate drive bays. The near future for server farms probably looks like that - onboard non-volatile storage in some kind of vertical slot, with rotating disks elsewhere in a storage array.

One of the challenges in computing is to figure out what to do with non-volatile memory besides pretending it is a "disk". Today, CPUs and operating systems understand two kinds of storage - "RAM" and "disk". Design has been locked into that model for decades. Nobody really knows what to do with something that has a 35us access time and no variable latency. Going through the operating system's file system drivers runs up the latency, but making big devices accessible as memory makes them too vulnerable. Some kind of intermediate form of access is needed. A tuple store? A database implemented in an FPGA? Something like that might make sense.

Gigabytes per gram (1)

wazzap123 (1943162) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272484)

There's an interesting analysis [dailycircuitry.com] over at the daily circuit that covers this and the new Toshiba form factor, comparing in terms of Gigabytes per gram with 640GB 2.5" and 3TB 3.5" drives.

New? (3, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#34272568)

I've had such things in the embedded world for over a decade.

What's next? NEW! small cards serve as memory devices!

Sacrifice memory for storage space? (1)

gravis777 (123605) | more than 2 years ago | (#34273212)

Let me get this straight, you want us to sacrifice valuable RAM slots, and more so, valuable RAM, to run an SSD device? What would make more sense would be to have a completely seperate 1U unit hooked up to the unit with nothing but SSD devices (or hard drives). Wait, don't they already have those?

Likely priced outside the realm for average consumers,

I also doubt the average consumer will want these. With most consumer motherboards only supporting two or four slots of RAM, I REALLY don't see sacrificing ram slots for SSD. Especially when they top out at, what, 128gig? I just bought a 2TB harddrive for $94. I mean, I guess I could put a single 4gig memory chip in my machine and three of these, but this gives me, what, like 378 gig of space?

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