Toshiba XL-FLASH storage promises DRAM-like speeds at cheaper prices
As one of the world's largest manufacturers of NAND modules and memory solutions, Toshiba must constantly be innovating in the world of computer storage in order to stay ahead of the game. Its latest enterprise product, called XL-FLASH, combines the benefits of both NAND and DRAM to offer faster performance than the former at cheaper prices than the latter.
To be more specific, NAND modules like those that make up M.2 SSDs are relatively fast but generally not fast enough for server or enterprise purposes. In return, they are non-volatile and cheap per GB. In contrast, DRAM modules like those that make up system RAM are significantly faster than even the fastest NVMe SSDs often by a factor of 10 or more when reading and writing smaller 4K blocks. Users familiar with RAMDISK will know the advantages and disadvantages of using RAM as storage. In return, DRAM modules are volatile and significantly pricier per GB. XL-FLASH modules will offer the best of both worlds by being non-volatile like NAND while performing closer to DRAM at lower prices.
Since most consumer devices don't require such fast transfer rates, XL-FLASH will target enterprises and high-performance data centers first. Even so, we wouldn't be surprised to eventually see the technology make its way to desktop workstations or even mobile workstations in the future.
Check the press release below for more technical details on XL-FLASH. Toshiba is expecting to begin mass production of XL-FLASH in 2020.
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Toshiba Memory Introduces XL-FLASH Storage Class Memory Solution
Highest-Performing NAND Available; Cost-Effectively Reduces Latency
SAN JOSE, Calif., August 5, 2019 – Toshiba Memory America, Inc. (TMA), the U.S.-based
subsidiary of Toshiba Memory Corporation, today announced the launch of a new Storage
Class Memory (SCM) solution: XL-FLASH™. Based on the company’s innovative BiCS
FLASH™ 3D flash memory technology with 1-bit-per-cell SLC, XL-FLASH brings low latency
and high performance to data center and enterprise storage. Sample shipments will start in
September, with mass production expected to begin in 2020.
Classified as SCM (or persistent memory), with the ability to retain its contents like NAND flash
memory, XL-FLASH bridges the performance gap that exists between DRAM and NAND. While
volatile memory solutions such as DRAM provide the access speed needed by demanding
applications, that performance comes at a high cost. As the cost-per-bit and scalability of DRAM
levels off, this new SCM (or persistent memory) layer in the memory hierarchy addresses that
issue with a high density, cost effective, non-volatile NAND flash memory solution. Poised for
growth, industry analyst firm IDC estimates the SCM market is expected to reach in excess of
$3B in 2022 1 .
Sitting in between DRAM and NAND flash, XL-FLASH brings increased speed, reduced latency
and higher storage capacities – at a lower cost than traditional DRAM. XL-FLASH will initially be
deployed in an SSD format but could be expanded to memory channel attached devices that sit
on the DRAM bus, such as future industry standard non-volatile dual in-line memory modules
128 gigabit (Gb) die (in a 2-die, 4-die, 8-die package)
4KB page size for more efficient operating system reads and writes
16-plane architecture for more efficient parallelism
Fast page read and program times. XL-FLASH provides a low read latency of less
than 5 microseconds, approximately 10 times faster than existing TLC 2
As the inventor of NAND flash, the first to announce 3D flash memory technology and a leader
in process migrations, Toshiba Memory is ideally positioned to deliver SLC-based SCM with
mature manufacturing, proven scalability and time-tested SLC reliability.
“With XL-FLASH, we are giving hyperscalers and enterprise server/storage providers a more
cost-effective, lower latency storage solution that bridges the gap between DRAM and NAND
performance,” noted Scott Nelson, senior vice president and general manager of Toshiba
Memory America, Inc.'s Memory Business Unit. “We’re also opening the door for emerging
technologies and industry standards that will enable different form factors for low-latency flash
memory solutions. SCM is the next frontier for enterprise storage, and our role as one of the
world’s largest flash memory suppliers gives XL-FLASH a cost/performance edge over
competing SCM solutions.”
For more information, please visit business.toshiba-memory.com.
About Toshiba Memory America, Inc.
Toshiba Memory America, Inc. is the U.S.-based subsidiary of Toshiba Memory Corporation, a
leading worldwide supplier of flash memory and solid state drives (SSDs). From the invention of
flash memory to today’s breakthrough 96-layer BiCS FLASH™ technology, Toshiba Memory
continues to lead innovation and move the industry forward. For more information, please visit
business.toshiba-memory.com and follow us on social media.
© 2019 Toshiba Memory America, Inc. All rights reserved. Information in this press release,
including product pricing and specifications, content of services, and contact information is
current and believed to be accurate on the date of the announcement, but is subject to change
without prior notice. Technical and application information contained here is subject to the most
recent applicable Toshiba Memory product specifications.