From the Blogosphere
Bigger Memory, Zombie Vampires, and the Quest for Personal Wealth, Stardom, and Immortality
(a.k.a. How expanded system memory can make you richer, healthier, and more popular)
By: Jerome McFarland
Mar. 2, 2016 01:27 PM
Many of us suffer from an incurable addiction to data. We randomly seek random information, frequently...and when we have questions, we don't just want the answers....we need them. Worse, we need them NOW.
As a result, "search engine gymnastics" is a new discipline in which many of us have become highly skilled. Armed with internet-connected devices, we expect to answer any question in a matter of seconds. It's just data. It should always be at our fingertips. ALL of it.
Memory to the Rescue
Memory lies at the heart of the instantaneous access we require. So when "Zombie Vampire Alien Invasion" sweeps the honors at Cannes, it's likely that you, me, and our 10,000,000 closest friends will start pulling up related articles and pictures. When that happens, the data won't be travelling to us from a slow hard disk somewhere...or even from a faster solid state drive (SSD)...retrieving data from storage is simply too slow. Instead, once certain data is in demand (i.e. once it's "hot"), it will be served from an in-memory cache. The larger the memory, the larger the cache...the larger the cache, the more data available for concurrent, on-demand access.
Until recently, memory capacity has been bounded by the cost and capacity limitations of DRAM, but that constraint is now being removed. By leveraging new memory technologies (e.g. exposing high-density NAND flash as byte-addressable memory [see Diablo Technologies' Memory1]), applications can have access to more memory than ever before. So, besides sating our appetite for award-winning cinema...what else can we do with more memory? Here are a few examples:
In a growing number of applications, the required real-time performance is only possible when data resides in system memory. Storage is simply too slow to support our increasingly demanding expectations. Fortunately, new technologies have emerged to dramatically expand the boundaries of memory capacity. And not a moment too soon, because when the inevitable "Z.V.A.I." sequel is announced, we'll again NEED instant access to satisfy our data addiction...from the fully-immersive, 4K virtual reality trailer...to the open world, multiplayer, holographic gaming experience. We'll expect the data to be at our fingertips. ALL of it.
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