MIT’s New Server Network Design Ditches RAM To Cut Big Data Costs

Researchers at MIT have built a server network that ditches RAM in favour of flash storage, yet extracting equivalent performance as more traditional servers for several Big Data applications.

MIT-Terabyte

Computers like to store data they’re working on in RAM where the CPU can retrieve data tens of thousands of times faster than a computer’s hard drive. However, RAM is very expensive.

The MIT researchers have been able to get flash drives pre-process some of the data instead of dumping all the work onto the CPUs and while there’s still a speed gap, it’s negligible.

Flash memory is 10X cheaper than RAM and 10X more power efficient and the researchers found that if traditional servers pull data from the disk even 5% of the time, their performance falls to a level comparable with flash.

Still, the new style of computing architecture isn’t a replacement for DRAM that found in devices, so don’t expect your smartphone or PC to go RAM-less anytime soon.

MIT’s technique however can help with database-heavy tasks such as ranking web pages which does translate to faster cloud services at lower costs and massive energy savings.

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