Medicine is tricky and has many blind alleys. This is hardly surprising given the overall complexities of the human body. In any type of problem solving, there will always be trial and error. Even medical practices that are obviously bonkers take years to discredit. This discrediting takes place, when concepts are put into question by seemingly innocent curiosity. For example, even bloodletting was an accepted medical practice until someone questioned it. The mighty brains at Intel have been asking some questions of their own lately. Curious about established principles and assumptions about storage; Intel has challenged these beliefs and has developed new answers that will cause big changes for storage, for the better.
For years, it was popularly believed that spinning disks offer the best form of storage. This seemed contradictory to me, since disks aren’t optimal performance-wise and there is an overall lack of trust regarding their reliability. For starters, storage disks require moving parts and were dreamt up in the 1960s. Don’t get me wrong, anyone capable of putting the man on the moon with little more than a couple of sophisticated sticks is certainly very bright, but surely 50 years later, there must be something better than disks. If disks are the right medium to store data on, why do we spend small fortunes on back-ups in the case that they fail? In fact, we are so concerned about loss of stored data, we are still inventing different ways of providing real-time protection today. We now have so many different types of RAID that we have reached double digits in version numbers.
So have there been any improvements in terms of storage? What technologies exist to solve these problems?
3D XPoint is a new type of memory developed expected to compete with both disk storage and memory. Based on mesh technology, and taken years to perfect, mesh technology provides a non-volatile, bit addressable storage that’s extremely quick and efficient. In fact, it is 1,000 times faster than any existing NAND. The extreme speed of the 3D XPoint is just one of its impressive performance factors. Durability, something that has plagued NAND for years has been greatly improved due to mesh technology. I can’t remember the last time I heard or knew of a performance increase of 1000x in one leap. It is almost equivalent to inventing the world’s first bicycle on Monday morning and gaining enough knowledge and insight, that by Friday, you could light up a Saturn 5 rocket into the sky effortlessly.
These performance increases do not come with the costs of additional power or cooling. The amount of power 3D XPoint draws is less than NAND, and significantly less than a typical storage disk. The running costs are also much lower. For those concerned about the well-being of our planet, you will be happy to hear that the 3D XPoint is an environmentally-friendly product. Data will never be lost even when power is cut, due to the nature of its non-volatile data build. There is no longer a need for a billion back up disks with the same content. Although the 3D XPoint wasn’t designed as a product to steal headlines, I for one, am incredibly excited to have storage that both works and is reliable.
3D XPoint has made strides in improving an established concept, by asking a few innocent questions. When it comes to storage, a product that is fast, known to be reliable, and does not lose data, ticks all of the requirements I have (and also makes me glad I don’t make a living selling spinning rust).
Learn more about 3D XPoint here.