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MemVerge 2020 Predictions: 2020 Will Be Year One of a Memory-Centric and Software-Composed Data Center

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

By Charles Fan, MemVerge CEO & Co-founder

2020 Will Be Year One of a Memory-Centric and Software-Composed Data Center

In today's era of machine-generated data, enterprise data centers are struggling to keep up, partly because data is becoming bigger and faster at the same time. While there are existing petabyte-scale infrastructure solutions for big data  and fast data solutions for nanosecond-response, what doesn't exist is a good solution that can answer to both petabyte-scale and nanosecond-response at the same time and on one system. In other words, there is no solution for big AND fast data.

In 2019 a new hardware media, Storage Class Memory (SCM), entered the market  and it changed the game. SCM is a new class of media that combines the speed and byte-addressability of memory and the persistence and scale of storage. SCM offers 10X bigger capacity compared to DRAM and 100X faster latency compared to NAND Flash SSD. It sets the foundation of a new data center architecture as well as new application development and deployment paradigms. Combined with a new class of infrastructure software, it will enable a memory-centric and software-composed data center. 2020 will be year one of the journey towards this future. 

A huge push for a memory-centric data center

With an increasing demand from data center applications, paired with the increased speed of processing, there is a significant movement taking place in favor of a memory-centric data center. Computing innovations are happening at a rapid pace, with more and more computation tech-from x86 to ARM to GPUs to other computing devices-becoming present in the data center. This will continue to open up new topology between CPU and memory units, especially given the invention of SCM and the development of emerging memory fabric such as CXL. While data center architecture currently tends to be more disaggregated between the computing layer and the storage layer today, we are headed towards an architecture that will look quite different.

A new memory layer powered by SCM and  Memory Converged Infrastructure (MCI) software will emerge. This layer will be different from the memory layer today in at least two ways. First, it will boast a much larger capacity of memory compared to the DRAM layer today and will open up many new possibilities for application development and deployment. Secondly, this new memory layer will be persistent. Combined with the right set of data protection and data service software, this can make today's primary storage tier obsolete. 

SCM will be the most disruptive new hardware technology within data center architecture for the next ten years. Over time we expect the MCI market to become a $10 billion+ market. We anticipate this transition will take ten years to complete and 2020 will be the first year of this profound transformation.

Composable infrastructure... by software

If there is one word that can summarize enterprise IT infrastructure in the last decade, it would be "cloud". The cloud turned physical resources, iron and dust, and silicon and wires into fungible resources, available via software services and billable by hours. By doing just that, it turned the IT world upside down. 

All of that is fine and dandy, but what will be the next big thing? What will come after the cloud?

I believe what lies ahead is Composable Infrastructure. And just like the cloud that came before it, the compositions will transpire through smart software.  Software-Composable Infrastructure will make the physical resources ever more fungible than before.  There will be a diverse set of physical computing devices-CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs-and they will need to be made composable via software APIs. There will be new classes of physical memory devices such as SCM discussed above, and these can be dynamically composed into volatile memory services, storage services or persistent memory services. Software-Composable Infrastructure is Cloud.next.

Summary

2020 will be a visionary year for enterprise IT (pun intended). The world of data centers will take a first step towards the memory-centric and software-composable future. 

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About the Author

Charles Fan 

Charles Fan is the CEO and co-founder of MemVerge, the inventor of Memory-Converged Infrastructure (MCI), and is a recognized IT Infrastructure thought leader.

Published Monday, December 16, 2019 7:15 AM by David Marshall
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