Also at the event, an Intel researcher described a candidate library to support persistent memory based on the pmem.io work. Separately, a Microsoft researcher described the status of an implementation for Windows of SNIA’s Open NVM Programming Model 1.0.
At least one developer at the talk was skeptical of the still fledgling software efforts. “People are trying to stake claims before anything is delivered but things will be more interesting when real hardware emerges,” said Christoph Hellwig, an independent contractor.
Regarding the hardware, Alan Niebel, analyst at Web-feet Research remains hopeful 3D Xpoint solid-state drives and DIMMs from Intel could be commercially available before the end of 2017. But he admits “XPoint has been a propaganda release with high expectations a year ago and now we’re still waiting.”
Meanwhile, Everspin has released 256 Mbit devices and is promising a Gbit chip next year for its MRAM technology which has faster write speeds and longer endurance than XPoint. For its part, the XPoint chips will sport faster reads and a hundred-fold greater density.
Startup Spin Transfer Technologies (Fremont, Calif.) is expected to bolster the case for MRAM with news next month about its plans. “It adds more weight when you see a second or third company using the technology,” Niebel said.
Looking further out, Western Digital promised to deliver before 2020 an alternative based om resistive RAM. Sony is working on its own variant aiming at machine learning which could be paired with its imagers for computer vision apps. And startup Nantero claims by 2o19 it will have Gbit chips using its carbon-nanotube approach.
“The acid test is getting volume products to market at Gbit density,” said Niebel.
— Rick Merritt, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, EE Times