Rambus and IBM design hybrid memory system architectures

This entry was posted on Monday, March 19th, 2018.

Higher capacity in server memory subsystems

Rambus and the IBM Server Group (IBM SG) are currently researching hybrid memory systems. Targeting one of the industry’s key performance challenges, Rambus Labs and IBM SG are working to optimize DRAM and emerging memories to create a high-capacity memory subsystem that delivers comparable performance to DRAM.

In this context, Rambus will develop a flexible prototype hybrid memory platform using the OpenCAPI interface to demonstrate performance of multiple memory types in real-world server applications.

“The exploding volume of data and rapidly evolving workloads for Big Data applications are placing tremendous pressure on data center memory systems for increased performance and capacity,” said Laura Stark, senior vice president and general manager of the Emerging Solutions Division at Rambus. “This agreement with the IBM Server Group demonstrates our ongoing collaboration with the industry to accelerate the development and adoption of advanced memory solutions.”

As Stark notes, enabling a high-capacity and high-density memory subsystem close to the processor improves overall system performance and allows data centers to more fully utilize CPU resources.

“Rambus and IBM’s flexible and innovative hybrid memory system architectures will combine standard DRAM using other technologies such as Flash, enhanced Flash, Phase Change Memory (PCM), Resistive RAM (ReRAM) and Spin Torque Transfer Magnetic RAM (STT-MRAM) to create high capacity memories at lower cost per bit, with performance levels comparable to that of DRAM,” she added.

Rambus joins the OpenCAPI Consortium and OpenPOWER foundation

In addition to collaborating with the IBM STG group, Rambus is joining the OpenCAPI Consortium, an open development community based on Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface technology, along with the OpenPOWER Foundation, an open development community based on the POWER microprocessor architecture. Rambus will be using the unique attributes of the POWER9 systems’ OpenCAPI interfaces to build a hybrid memory and development subsystem prototype.

Rambus joins a growing roster of technology organizations that are contributing to the OpenCAPI Consortium and driving data center server innovation. Through the Consortium, members are working collaboratively to innovate on top of OpenCAPI, a high-performance coherent bus standard designed to help the technology industry work collaboratively to better meet growing demands for more advanced memory, accelerators, networking and storage technology. With the OpenCAPI specification, developers can more easily enable high performance accelerators such as FPGAs, GPUs, network and storage accelerators to perform functions that a server’s general-purpose CPU is not optimized to execute.

Interested in learning more? You can check out our hybrid memory page here rambus.com/hybrid-memory.