The dream of replacing rotating mechanical storage, the disk drive, with solid-state, nonvolatile RAM may become a reality in the near future. Approximately ten new technologies—collectively called storage-class memory (SCM)—are currently under development and promise to be fast, inexpensive, and power efficient. Using SCM as a disk drive replacement, storage system products will have random and sequential I/O performance that is orders of magnitude better than that of comparable disk-based systems and require much less space and power in the data center. In this paper, we extrapolate disk and SCM technology trends to 2020 and analyze the impact on storage systems. The result is a 100- to 1,000-fold advantage for SCM in terms of the data center space and power required.
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