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Apr.18.2016-【TaiwanCN/HKASEANEverspin Aims MRAM at SSD Storage Tiers

Everspin 256M

TORONTO – MRAM pioneer Everspin Technologies Inc. is continuing its efforts to expand the applications for its non-volatile memory by displacing DRAM as a persistent memory in enterprise storage applications.

The company recently announced it is shipping 256Mb spin torque technology (ST-MRAM) samples, now the highest commercial density on the market, aimed at applications requiring persistent memory in storage devices and servers using DDR3 and DDR4 interfaces.

In a telephone interview with EE Times, Everspin CEO Phill LoPresti said storage and servers OEMs have been evaluating its ST-MRAM products, and the company will deliver further density increases for its MRAM-based storage class memory (SCM) and expects to sample a 1Gb product based on its proprietary perpendicular magnetic tunnel junction (pMTJ) ST-MRAM later this year.

Everspin has been in the MRAM business since 2008. Its initial focus has been providing an alternative for SRAM, a market the company will continue to support, LoPresti said, which already includes applications in the industrial, automotive and transportation markets for both discrete and embedded MRAM products. “We're still going to support persistent SRAM market," he said.

LoPresti said there are still a lot of emerging opportunities to support the automotive market, particularly for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, which need high bandwidth and high endurance. RAID storage remains the biggest segment for Everspin's its established MRAM offerings, accounting for about 40% of demand, said LoPresti, while 35% is in industrial control applications. Automotive and transportation account for the bulk of the rest.

The persistent DRAM market is significantly larger than the persistent SRAM market, saidLoPresti, and the new, higher density 256Mb ST-MRAM can be used to protect hot data in the first tier of storage, including SSDs. It is capable of securing data in flight without the concern of data corruption due to the unreliability of power sources, as well as the slower write performance of NAND and other persistent memories, he said. “It's made big dramatic shift for us to address more mainstream enterprise products," LoPresti said.

Everspin will offer both discrete ST-MRAM products and NVDIMMs. The latter provide improved reliability by eliminating the data transfer between DRAM and NAND flash required during a power down situation. LoPresti said the 256Mb ST-MRAM allows the company to enter the SSD-based storage market, with the upcoming 1Gb density able to follow. “256 is kind of an entry point," he said.

LoPresti said general purpose memories are becoming less effective in solving specific problems. ST-MRAM has become better suited than DRAM for write caching. However,Everspin is not aiming its sights directlyon DRAM but focused on replacing DRAM for applications requiring persistent memory. “We're still several pricing modes behind DRAM,"LoPresti said . “Our focus isn't to claim that MRAM is a universal memory that can replace NAND or DRAM in a system."

Everspin has been the only MRAM company to achieve noteable commercial success to date, although there are other vendors working on the niche memory. Avalanche Technology, for example, 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 32/64Mbit stand-alone discrete STT-MRAM memory device with an industry standard SPI interface built on a 55nm-node foundry process.

—Gary Hilson is a general contributing editor with a focus on memory and flash technologies for EE Times.

Sourcehttp://ppt.cc/LyrtA