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Appeared on: Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Spansion EcoRAM Architecture Unveiled

Flash memory maker Spansion Inc. today released further details surrounding the architecture and performance of its Spansion EcoRAM solution.

The Spansion EcoRAM architecture is designed to leverage existing and upcoming high-speed connectivity solutions from both Intel and AMD to improve performance. Because the architecture uses standard x86 servers with Spansion EcoRAM memory, commodity servers are able to potentially support an additional half Terabyte (512 Gigabytes) of main memory storage in a single standard form factor (1U) server using 32 Gigabyte Spansion EcoRAM dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs). At the same time, this architecture is intended to deliver read performance of up to 4.0 Gigabytes per second (GB/s) in a 4-socket platform, which is comparable with DRAM read performance.

In terms of read latency, Spansion EcoRAM memory is expected to provide a read latency of 250 nanoseconds (ns) or less, compared to hard disk drives, which have far greater multi-millisecond latencies, or solid state drives which have multi-microsecond latencies. At the same time, write bandwidth capability of the architecture is projected at up to 300 MB/s, making it well- suited for read-intensive workloads in vertical market segments.

"Massive amounts of memory in mainframe and proprietary Unix servers have always been available, but for a very high price," said Hans Wildenberg, vice president, Mass Storage Division, Spansion Inc. "With Spansion EcoRAM, we're enabling big memory in standard x86 servers that potentially deliver eight to sixteen times the capacity of typical servers, filling the critical performance and density gap between power-hungry DRAM and disk-based storage, especially for read-intensive applications."

Spansion licensed the Virident GreenGateway Platform to create the Spansion EcoRAM Accelerator -- a memory controller -- in a standard x86 processor socket. The integration of the Spansion EcoRAM Accelerator allows the system to read from Spansion EcoRAM DIMMs at DRAM speeds and latency. The architecture leverages memory access techniques that have been used in the high-end server world to allow microprocessors to use system memory more efficiently. This approach delivers an overall increase in system capability and application performance, all while helping to significantly reduce the costs of server sprawl, inefficient power consumption, and associated infrastructure expenses. The initial solution will support Linux-based environments.

Spansion plans to work with all major server OEMs and many vertical and regionally focused OEMs to bring Spansion EcoRAM to market. Pricing and availability are not being announced at this time.

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