Samsung has unveiled a 512 gigabyte Compute Express Link (CXL) DRAM module, waiting for the servers to blackmail it.
The device will be shipped within EDSFF E3.S form factor – a standard most often used in large capacity solid-state drives (SSDs).
The E3.S is expected to replace M2 and 2.5-inch SSDs eventually, but Samsung has acknowledged that it could be a while before servers ready to handle the device appear. This time could well be spent figuring out how to make DRAM work properly in E3.S, since DRAM is faster than the flash memory used in SSDs. The good news is that PCIe 5.0 can handle this extra I/O action.
For now, the Korean giant is happy that Lenovo has committed to work on the CXL devices.
The Chinese manufacturer will likely get its hands on the 512GB CXL DRAM modules in Q3, when Samsung announces that “joint evaluation and testing” will begin, before “marketing as next-generation server platforms will be available”.
CXL is important because it allows the creation of dial-up fabrics that allow a host server to connect to resources on multiple other devices. Servers containing some of Samsung’s new 512GB monsters could therefore be accessed by other servers – the kind of thing VMware has started building with its Project Capitola software-defined memory.
Samsung has its own software on how to operate the modules. The chaebol has an updated version of its open-source Scalable Memory SDK in the pipeline and suggests it will take advantage of the new module and CXL.
Large memory modules are attractive because applications such as AI, ML, ERP, and clouds all benefit from higher compute density and more opportunity to store data in memory.
Samsung has teased 512GB DDR5 DIMMs before, so it’s the CXL and form factor implementation that makes this announcement the most significant. ®