Summary:

The quest for faster storage continues, with Everspin releasing samples of its magnetic random access memory that it hopes to use to usurp DRAM. MRAM chips are only available in 64 Mb and are expensive, but Everspin says it can scale up.

This is what MRAM looks like.
photo: Everspin

The next generation of MRAM storage is here, and its backers hope that it will displace DRAM in servers and maybe even flash memory in storage arrays in high performance storage arrays. Everspin says it is sampling a new type of magnetic random access memory that will scale up to gigabit densities and perform rapid reads and writes.

If you’re a tech company trying to speed up applications and provider faster access to more memory in your servers, the technology could be your holy grail. Everspin, the Chandler, Ariz,-based startup pioneering MRAM, said today that its spin-torque MRAM that it hopes to use to replace DRAM, is sampling and would be available for use in products by 2013. MRAM is one of several new evolutions in memory technology designed to make applications perform faster by removing bottlenecks in getting the data from storage to the processor. Today, even flash-based systems can still cause a delay in application performance.

Steffen Hellmold, VP of marketing of Everspin, says that MRAM in its current version is about 100 times faster than flash, with the caveat being that he’s comparing MRAM to basic flash, while most companies tweak their flash arrays to make them faster and more reliable. Another caveat is that MRAM costs about 10 times more than flash-based solutions, although for certain applications trading 100 times the performance at 10 times the price is an easy call to make. The final caveat is that the current samples are for 64 Mb memory sizes which is less memory than your home PC had in the mid 90s. Other types of memory in this emerging niche include phase-change memory and memristors, which are pretty far away from commercialization.

For more on MRAM check out this article from early this year, or a background[ER] on Everspin written when it was spun out from Freescale Technology back in 2008.

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