Persistent Memory: The Ultimate Guide

Computer memory has come a long way over the past few decades. Early computers had to store information in volatile memory locations, so they could not retain data when the computer was shut down or restarted. As a result, programs had to be written so they would not make permanent changes to memory locations. It was almost impossible for users to launch new programs without restarting their computers. The first non-volatile computer memory was invented in the 1950s and is now known as "read-only memory" (ROM). But with the advent of persistent memory, we are seeing major advancements in how computers store information. This article covers everything you need to know about persistent memory and where it fits into today's industry-standard architectures.


What is Persistent Memory?


A computer's memory is used to store instructions and data that are in use. A computer's storage is used to store instructions and data that are not in use. In the context of computers, "persistent memory" is a non-volatile memory that acts like storage but uses the same interfaces as dynamic random access memory (DRAM). That is to say, persistent memory extends the capacity of systems beyond traditional DRAM limits. It acts like DRAM in terms of speed and is accessed using the same interfaces as DRAM but is non-volatile, meaning it retains information even when the system is powered off. Persistent memory has been around for a few years, but it is only now available in select enterprise data centres and high-performance computing environments. The next section describes how persistent memory works.


How Does Persistent Memory Work?


Since persistent memory acts like DRAM, it can be used in the same way as DRAM, or it can be used as an extension of DRAM. Here's an example of how it works in a data centre:



● Persistent memory is installed as an extension of DRAM.
● A computer system accesses the persistent memory as if it were DRAM. - The system also accesses DRAM as if it were DRAM.
● The system retains data in the persistent memory when it powers down.

In other words, the system treats the two as the same, which means the system can access both types of memory similarly. When the system powers back on, it can access all of the stored data in the persistent memory.


Reasons to Adopt Persistent Memory


A few compelling reasons businesses should explore the adoption of persistent memory. First, persistent memory is non-volatile, which means that data is retained even when the system is powered off. As a result, the system can access data even when it isn't in use. This can greatly reduce access times and total system downtime. Second, persistent memory has a lower cost per gigabyte than DRAM, which means it can be used in larger capacities. For instance, persistent memory can extend DRAM beyond the system's normal capacity. In other words, if the system has 16 gigabytes of DRAM, it can access 32 gigabytes of persistent memory. Third, persistent memory is read/write, which can be used to store instructions and data. This is an important distinction, as DRAM was traditionally used for instructions and non-volatile memory was used for data. In other words, a computer can store instructions and data in the same memory with persistent memory.


Persistent Memory Use Cases


As noted above, persistent memory can be used to extend the capacity of DRAM. In addition, it can be used to store instructions and data in the same way as DRAM. Here are the top three use cases for persistent memory:



● DRAM Extension - A computer with 16 gigabytes of DRAM can access 32 gigabytes of persistent memory. This allows users to store more data as well as retrieve data more quickly.
● Data Retention - A computer with 16 gigabytes of DRAM can access 32 gigabytes of persistent memory. This allows data to be retained even when the system is powered off.
● Instructions and Data Retention - A computer with 16 gigabytes of DRAM and 32 gigabytes of persistent memory can store both data and instructions in the persistent memory. This allows for faster access to both data and instructions.

Persistent Memory Benefits


As noted above, persistent memory comes with several benefits, including quicker access to data, a reduction in system downtime, a reduction in power usage and the cost per gigabyte. In addition, persistent memory can be used to extend the capacity of DRAM. When used in this way, persistent memory can improve a computer system's overall performance and efficiency.


Conclusion


Computer memory has come a long way over the past few decades. Early computers had to store information in volatile memory locations, which meant they could not retain data when the computer was shut down or restarted. The first non-volatile computer memory was invented in the 1950s and is now known as "read-only memory" (ROM). The next advancement in computer memory came in the 1990s when computer chips were developed to retain data even when the computer was turned off. This technology is now known as "flash memory". With the advent of persistent memory, we are seeing major advancements in how computers store information. Persistent memory extends the capacity of systems beyond traditional DRAM limits, acts like DRAM in terms of speed and is accessed using the same interfaces as DRAM, but is non-volatile, meaning it retains information even when the system is powered off.

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