3D XPoint™ memory, the first new memory to ship in volume in decades, features the combination of DRAM and NAND attributes of: high memory density (NAND-like capacity); high performance (closer to DRAM performance); and non-volatility. The arrival of 3D XPoint™ memory – offering the full promise of a storage class memory – has the potential to fundamentally change the memory-storage hierarchy at the hardware, system software, and application levels. This memory is currently available as an Intel® Optane™ SSD with access times as fast as the rest of the system; a departure from classical storage technologies. System changes to match the low latency of these SSDs are already advanced, and in many cases they enable the application to utilize all the Optane SSD's performance. The implications of this new memory on computing are significant, with applications taking advantage of this new technology as storage as the first to benefit. Applications such as key–value stores and real-time analytics can benefit immediately both in terms of faster runtimes and also access to larger data sets through application or OS-based paging. To best measure this high performance SSD we borrow memory performance measurement techniques and apply them to storage. The next step in this convergence of memory and storage will be 3D XPoint memory accessed through processor load/store operations on DIMM busses.
Frank T. Hady is an Intel Fellow and the Director of the Storage Technology Group, the systems research and architecture team within Intel's Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group (NSG). Frank's team researches future SSD and systems level storage advances, specifies the architectures defining Intel's SSDs and other storage products, and partners to create industry standards. Prior to his current role Frank was the chief architect of 3D XPoint™ Storage in NSG leading architecture definition of Intel® Optane™ SSDs and systems advances for fast storage. Hady has authored or co-authored more than 30 published papers on topics related to networking, storage and I/O innovation. He holds more than 30 U.S. patents, with more pending. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Virginia, and his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland.