Kioxia and Western Digital present ultra-high-speed XL-FLASH memory as an alternative to Intel Optane
Intel’s Optane hybrid solution that combines DRAM memory with storage properties has been proven to be quite efficient. Still, Intel does not offer Optane support on all of its platforms, and if you happen to be an AMD fan you need to go through some more hoops to benefit from what Optane offers. To simplify the compatibility part, Kioxia (Toshiba’s new memory branch) and Western Digital are now stepping in with an alternative called XL-FLASH that aims to be cheaper than DRAM and faster than SSD storage 3D NAND flash memory at the same time.
The new XL-FLASH memory is a new breed of 96-layer 3D NAND known as “storage class memory” (SCM). It essentially improves the non-volatile 3D NAND memory latencies, bringing them closer to the ones that are usually featured on volatile DRAM memory. Kioxia claims that the access times for the new XL-FLASH SCM memory are a tenth of those inherent to 3D NAND flash, which means that letencies are now lowered to 75 microseconds (write) and 4 microseconds (read). In Addition to the increased throughput, XL-Flash will also allow for significantly higher IOPS especially for random read/write operations on smaller files.
Expect to see the new XL-Flash memory integrated in ultra-high-speed SSDs, so most likely enterprise and data center PCIe solutions for now, but, as the technology matures, SCM chips could make their way to the more affordable PCIe NVMe SSDs.