|By Jerome McFarland||
|March 2, 2016 01:27 PM EST||
Many of us suffer from an incurable addiction to data. We randomly seek random information, frequently...and when we have questions, we don't just want the answers....we need them. Worse, we need them NOW.
As a result, "search engine gymnastics" is a new discipline in which many of us have become highly skilled. Armed with internet-connected devices, we expect to answer any question in a matter of seconds. It's just data. It should always be at our fingertips. ALL of it.
Memory to the Rescue
Memory lies at the heart of the instantaneous access we require. So when "Zombie Vampire Alien Invasion" sweeps the honors at Cannes, it's likely that you, me, and our 10,000,000 closest friends will start pulling up related articles and pictures. When that happens, the data won't be travelling to us from a slow hard disk somewhere...or even from a faster solid state drive (SSD)...retrieving data from storage is simply too slow. Instead, once certain data is in demand (i.e. once it's "hot"), it will be served from an in-memory cache. The larger the memory, the larger the cache...the larger the cache, the more data available for concurrent, on-demand access.
Until recently, memory capacity has been bounded by the cost and capacity limitations of DRAM, but that constraint is now being removed. By leveraging new memory technologies (e.g. exposing high-density NAND flash as byte-addressable memory [see Diablo Technologies' Memory1]), applications can have access to more memory than ever before. So, besides sating our appetite for award-winning cinema...what else can we do with more memory? Here are a few examples:
- Maximize Operating Profit - More memory enables enhanced in-memory processing to provide real-time business intelligence, leading to better, faster decisions and more effective logistics management. The improved operational efficiency can both reduce costs and free resources to garner additional revenue.
- Corner The Stock Market - Memory-intensive mathematical models and real-time analytics drive many of the trading decisions affecting individual stocks, mutual funds, and your 401K. Feed those models with more memory and be the first to identify subtle patterns and lucrative hidden indicators.
- Target your Audience - In-memory marketing analytics provide real-time insights that enable more efficient, targeted advertising. Expanded memory enables crisp, relevant ad placement decisions, maximizing the impact and effectiveness of your message.
- Get Noticed - Facial-recognition can already find you (like it or not) within many images on social media platforms. Memory-hungry advanced analytics will soon recognize body types, clothing styles, posture, mannerisms, gait, etc., to locate even more of your cameos in both pictures and video.
- Get Sick Less - Real-time health monitoring and predictive analytics can warn of impending issues, enabling preventative care. Memory-dependent analysis engines can identify crucial changes in vital signs, through real-time analysis in context with patient history and massive statistical data sets.
- Avoid Accidents - Automatic braking and other collision avoidance mechanisms are supported by memory-intensive analytics on multiple streams of real-time sensor data. Vehicle speed, direction, weight, distance between objects, and road conditions are just a few variables, amongst hundreds, that can be incorporated into crucial, real-time automated safety decisions.
In a growing number of applications, the required real-time performance is only possible when data resides in system memory. Storage is simply too slow to support our increasingly demanding expectations. Fortunately, new technologies have emerged to dramatically expand the boundaries of memory capacity. And not a moment too soon, because when the inevitable "Z.V.A.I." sequel is announced, we'll again NEED instant access to satisfy our data addiction...from the fully-immersive, 4K virtual reality trailer...to the open world, multiplayer, holographic gaming experience. We'll expect the data to be at our fingertips. ALL of it.
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