Publications / Conference Poster

Performance analysis for using non-volatile memory DIMMs: Opportunities and challenges

Awad, Amro A.; Hammond, Simon D.; Hughes, Clayton H.; Rodrigues, Arun; Hemmert, Karl S.; Hoekstra, Robert J.

DRAM scalability is becoming more challenging, pushing the focus of the research community towards alternative memory technologies. Many emerging non-volatile memory (NVM) devices are proving themselves to be good candidates to replace DRAM in the coming years. For example, the recently announced 3D-XPoint memory by Intel/Micron promises latencies that are comparable to DRAM, while being non-volatile and much more dense. While emerging NVMs can be fabricated in different form factors, the most promising (from a performance perspective) are NVM-based DIMMs. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of studies that explore the design options for NVM-based DIMMs. Because of the read and write asymmetries in both power consumption and latency, as well as limited write endurance, which often requires wear-leveling techniques, NVMs require a specialized controller. The fact that future on-die memory controllers are expected to handle different memory technologies pushes future hardware towards on-DIMM controllers. In this paper, we propose an architectural model for NVM-based DIMMs with internal controllers, explore their design space, evaluate different optimizations and reach out to several architectural suggestions. Finally, we make our model publicly available and integrate it with a widely used architectural simulator.