UPDATED 23:40 EDT / MAY 30 2018


Intel announces new Optane DC persistent memory for advanced data center workloads

Intel Corp. announced a new kind of memory and storage technology Wednesday that it built purposely for data center operators.

The technology, called Intel Optane DC persistent memory, is designed to support the massive storage requirements of today’s hyperscale data centers, the company said.

To accomplish that goal, Intel’s new tech offers much higher storage capacities per module than traditional dynamic random access memory. Its first products based on the tech are available in three capacities – 128, 256 and 512 gigabytes – which is significantly larger than the most recent DRAM modules can offer.

Intel also hinted that the Optane DC persistent memory should be much cheaper, saying it offers an “unprecedented combination of high-capacity, affordability and persistence.”

“High-capacity persistent memory in the data center allows applications to run without incurring the latency penalty of going out to storage over the PCIe bus,” said Lisa Spelman, Intel’s vice president and general manager of Xeon products and data center marketing. “As developers adapt software, this new memory class is designed to enable cost-effective, large-capacity in-memory database solutions; provide greater system uptime and faster recovery after power cycles; accelerate virtual machine storage; deliver higher performance to multi-node, distributed cloud applications; and offer advanced encryption for persistent data built into the hardware.”


The technology has been a fairly long time in coming. Intel first spoke of an Optane dual in-line memory module back in 2016, but failed to meet the timeframe it first stated. It was later revealed by Tom’s Hardware that Intel was struggling to meet the power and thermal requirements of the tech, though those challenges have seemingly been overcome.

Intel says the new Optane DC persistent memory will be shipped to “select customers” later this year, ahead of general availability in 2019. However, developers will be able to get an early look at the tech. Intel said it’s planning to offer remote early access via its Builders Construction Zone, which is a program for customers willing to test out its cutting-edge technologies.

The company expressed its hopes that developers will quickly embrace the new technology, and at least one market watcher agreed.

“This announcement is a huge deal as it significantly accelerates data center workloads, and for analytics and AI, gives answers significantly more quickly,” Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told SiliconANGLE. “It also paves the way for huge datasets at a much lower cost than real memory, vitally important in big data analytics and AI.”

Images: Intel

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