Viking combines DRAM module with flash for auto backup

New memory module is said to alleviate the need of a traditional backup power pack

Viking Technology Tuesday launched the ArxCis-NVTM DRAM memory module, which the company said can automatically detect I/O interrupts and back up data to NAND flash prior to an outage.

The company's next-generation ArxCis embedded memory module combines DRAM, NAND flash and super capacitor technologies.

When a power failure or I/O interrupt is detected, the DRAM automatically backs up up its data to the NAND flash memory, alleviating the need for external batteries in high availability enterprise server environments, the company said.

The DDR3 DRAM module comes in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB capacities.

The ArxCis module is aimed at several markets, including RAID storage appliances and a host of server based applications, such as RAID storage cache backup, OLTP database acceleration, enterprise cloud computing, virtualized server environments, and SAN I/O bottleneck management.

The ArxCis memory module includes integrated power management circuitry that charges the power pack directly via a dual in-line memory module (DIMM) interface. The module's super-capacitor battery pack lasts up to seven years, according to Adrian Proctor, vice president of marketing at Viking.

ArxCis
Viking's new ArxCis DRAM module and capacitor

Because it uses DRAM, the module has up to 12.6GB/sec throughput, while the NAND flash backup provides non-volatile memory.

"Storage has conspicuously lagged behind CPU and processor performance. We now have storage that can sit right next to the CPU and hum along at appropriate speeds," Proctor said. "These new modules eliminate the need for battery backup units, and deliver a more stable, maintenance-free, and cost-effective solution than has historically been deployed."

Proctor said traditional battery backup units are often not properly maintained, and their disposal is difficult because of toxic chemicals.

In the event of power failure, or a host trigger, the ArxCis memory module will automatically perform a save operation, transferring all DRAM data to its flash memory, he said.

A copy of all DRAM data (including error correction codes) resides within the integrated NAND flash. A data restore operation is triggered automatically when the host server or array is again powered on or it can be restored based on a host-initiated software command, Proctor said..

"The system is interfacing with the DRAM module. In the event of any failure, we have a place to back it up rather than the traditional method where systems hold up hole mother board and transfer data to a spinning drive or SSD," Proctor said. Each memory module has about twice the NAND flash capacity as the DRAM.

The ArxCis module is 5.25-in wide by 1.18-in wide and about .30-in thick.

Pricing for a low-end 2GB module starts in the $300 range, according to Proctor.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian, or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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