IBM’s and Everspin 19TB SSDs Expanded MRAM Integration

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IBM’s new line of FlashSystem storage appliances will be making waves soon as they are slated to come using one of the fastest & most hard-wearing, nonvolatile memory technologies in existence; the Magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM). The new architecture which will be used for cache writing will be replacing the capacitor-backed DRAM. The flip-side is this, however, when the MRAM is compared to Intel’s 3D XPoint memory & NAND flash memory, it is seen to be seriously lacking in terms of density.

The single supplier of discrete MRAM chips, Everspin, has moved on from the in-house manufacturing on wafers fabbed at Freescale to a partnership with GlobalFoundries in other to make MRAM on their 22nm FD-SOI process. It has also been raising the memory capacities of their MRAM chips & by year’s end, we’ll be having a taste of their 256Mb & 1Gb chips. Though they still stand too small to be used as primary storage, the increase in MRAM memory capacities has made it alluring for use in systems with a high volume of data. It is a good step forward actually if we consider the fact that previous applications of the MRAM were only used in embedded systems to replace battery-backed DRAM, small flash chips & SRAM buffers.

IBM’s new SSDs for its Flashsystem are some of the highest-density TLC-based drives, as they pack a storage capacity of 19.2TB of 64L 3D TLC NAND flash memory & use a 20-channel NAND interface with a four-lane PCIe 4.0 host interface which can operate in dual-port 2+2 mode. IBM’s current FlashSystem appliances make use of the standard 2.5″ U.2 drive form factor SSDs, a system-wide power loss protection design at a per-drive level, FIPS 140 compliant encryption & FPGA-based controllers with optional 3:1 transparent compression ratio with no inclusion of bulky supercaps as MRAM’s non-volatility eliminates the need for it.


IBM’s new FlashSystem drives will be displayed this week at the Flash Memory Summit & shipping of the drives begin this very month.


Shahnwaz Khan

Shahnwaz is Sarfraz’s brother and works in an IT company. He is experienced in database related stuff and writes on latest computer hardware trends. You can contact him at Shahnwaz@xtremegaminerd.com
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