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HPE Debuts Persistent Memory in ProLiant Gen9 Servers

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted March 31, 2016


Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today is announcing its ninth generation of the industry-leading ProLiant server family. As is often the case with major server releases, the ProLiant Gen9 update is tied to a new Intel server chip update, but this time, Intel chips aren't the only big new highlight.

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With ProLiant Gen9, HPE is debuting its first generally available instantiation of Persistent Memory technology. Bret Gibbs, Persistent Memory Product Manager for HPE Servers, explained to ServerWatch that Persistent Memory is an emerging product category, with offerings delivering the performance of memory with the persistence of storage.

"The HPE 8GB NVDIMM is the first offering in the new HPE Persistent Memory product category and is the first NVDIMM designed around a server HPE persistent memoryplatform in the industry," Gibbs said. "It combines DRAM for data acceleration and NAND Flash as a persistent store to deliver new levels of workload performance on HPE Servers."

The way the NVDIMMs work is they are installed on the memory bus along with system memory like HPE SmartMemory. Gibbs explained that the HPE Smart Storage Battery provides the backup power source for HPE 8GB NVDIMMs, which is the same battery used by HPE Smart Array controllers today.

The battery sits in the front of the server directly behind the drive cage and is already pre-wired to provide backup power to memory slots.

"The 96-watt battery enables us to support up to 16 NVDIMMs in a single DL360 or DL380 Gen9 server," Gibbs said. "We believe the HPE Smart Storage Battery is the ideal backup solution because it eliminates wires running to the NVDIMMs from alternative solutions such as super capacitors, and the wattage enables us to support up to 128GB of NVDIMMs in a single server."

Persistent Memory Based on Broader Standards Efforts

The idea of Persistent Memory is not a proprietary innovation but is an idea that based on a broader standards efforts. Gibbs commented that the HPE 8GB NVDIMM was designed based on the industry-standard JEDEC definition NVDIMM-N, which includes DRAM backed by an equal amount of NAND Flash.

"HPE will continue to work with industry-standard organizations to adhere to and enhance standards," Gibbs said.

Applications have long been able to make use of both traditional memory as well as storage, but the Persistent Memory approach takes the idea a step further. Initially, the way it will work is that applications will access the HPE 8GB NVDIMM as a block storage device – like applications access HDDs and SSDs today. Gibbs noted that users will see immediate performance benefits from using a faster tier of storage on the memory bus.

"The real performance benefits of HPE Persistent Memory will be unlocked when applications are fundamentally changed to address this technology as a byte addressable device – like applications access system memory today," Gibbs said.


Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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