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MRAM finds its way into M.2 modules

Posted: 26 Aug 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Everspin Technologies  MRAM  M.2  PCIe 

Everspin Technologies Inc. is a magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM) company that has been searching for broader applications for both its MRAM and Spin-Torque MRAM (ST-MRAM), particularly for applications that need data persistence and integrity, low latency and security. Now its MRAM has been integrated into the M.2 form factor as part of Aupera Technologies' All Flash Array.

The AupM001 is an M.2 MRAM module designed with Everspin's EMD3D064M ST-MRAM. Its initial capacity is 32MB, with higher capacities becoming available soon, said Everspin president and CEO Phill LoPresti. "We feel this is right in the sweet spot we targeted the products for when we started development."

Aupera's All Flash Array is equipped with Everspin's, 64Mb DDR3 ST-MRAM devices and a PCIe backhaul interface, he said, and this is the first time the M.2 form factor has been used to house MRAM. To date, the M.2 standard has been used for either SATA or PCI Express (PCIe) SSDs, having replaced the mSATA standard. LoPresti said the smaller form factor also means smaller connections and is appealing to companies that are building storage arrays such as Aupera. MRAM is being used as a buffer for write caches, rather than DRAM, and it's becoming an additional tier of persistent, high performance memory. It can also be used as buffer memory instead of low density DRAM or as I/O and network cache instead of an NV-DRAM.

The Everspin's MRAM in AupM001's flash array system is used for parity check and as a hardware accelerated engine for specific applications that require low latency and high performance, said Roy Liao, founder and CEO of Aupera. He said M.2 is becoming an increasingly popular form factor, particularly for modular systems, while Aupera's experience in the market is that customers are perfectly comfortable with MRAM being used where it makes sense, even though MRAM is still considered an emerging memory by many.

Aupera' All Flash Array

Aupera' All Flash Array is equipped with Everspin's 64Mb DDR3 ST-MRAM devices and a PCIe backhaul interface

Other companies that have incorporated Everspin's MRAM into enterprise storage include Mangstor, an NVMe SSD supplier which uses the company's EMD3D064M ST-MRAM in its line of storage devices for accelerating enterprise and cloud computing workloads.

Until recently, Everspin was the only company actually producing MRAM, but last month, Avalanche Technology announced it was sampling what is said are the industry's first Spin Transfer Torque Magnetic RAM (STT-MRAM) chips in the form of a 32/64Mb stand-alone discrete STT-MRAM memory device with an industry standard SPI interface built on a 55nm-node foundry process.

- Gary Hilson
  EE Times

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