Hardware

Understanding the Impact of Emerging Non-Volatile Memories on High-Performance, IO-Intensive Computing

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Executive Summary

Emerging storage technologies such as flash memories, phase-change memories, and spin-transfer torque memories are poised to close the enormous performance gap between disk-based storage and main memory. The authors evaluate several approaches to integrating these memories into computer systems by measuring their impact on IO-intensive, database, and memory-intensive applications. They explore several options for connecting solid-state storage to the host system and find that the memories deliver large gains in sequential and random access performance, but that different system organizations lead to different performance trade-offs. The memories provide substantial application-level gains as well, but overheads in the OS, file system, and application can limit performance.

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