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Innovation

Hybrid DRAM/flash drive (almost) debuts

A new superfast hybrid DRAM/flash drive almost debuts. Is it for you? How much speed can you afford?
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor on

Enterprise flash drive maker STEC almost announced a hybrid DRAM/flash drive at EMC World. Sharp-eyed Chris Mellor noticed something odd at the STEC booth and and Stephen Foskett went to the STEC booth where the staff obliged by almost announcing the new product.

In a nutshell, the drive is 8 GB of DRAM and 8 GB of flash with supercapacitor power to de-stage data from DRAM to flash when power fails. The details:

. . . STEC claims massive performance: 80,000 IOPS for both read and write (versus 80,000 read and 45,000 write for the 6 Gb SAS ZeusIOPS) and 500 MB/s sustained read and write (versus 350 and 300 for the ZeusIOPS).

The Storage Bits take De-staging to non-volatile media is an old technique. Using supercapacitors and flash is a new way to it.

The small capacity, high cost - ECC DRAM is going for for over $40 GB and STEC will charge many $$$ for the other components - and extreme performance means this is a server product. For customers who need the performance and long life of DRAM the product will be valuable.

No doubt STEC hopes this will be a highly profitable niche because this not a high-volume market.

The clever part is the "accidental" product reveal. Is STEC taking a page from Apple's "lost" iPhone playbook?

Comments welcome, of course.

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