Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

RAMCloud: The Idea of Storing All Data in RAM

By - Source: Stanford University | B 56 comments

Researchers at Stanford University have an idea how to overcome latency and performance bottlenecks of hard drive and solid state disk-based storage systems.

According to a recently published paper, they believe that a RAM-based cloud system with about 1000 servers and a total RAM capacity of 64 TB can be built for about $4 million and is feasible today.

Compared to a disk-based system, a RAMCloud could have a 100-1000x lower latency than disk-based systems and 100-1000x greater throughput, the researchers said. The system would use replication and backup techniques to overcome the problem of volatility and data loss if the power supply is interrupted. The approach would provide enough performance for cloud systems to solve scalability issues for web applications, enable a "a new class of data-intensive applications" due to the extremely low latency of RAM and provide a growth path for small applications to grow into a large application on demand.

The estimate is that latencies of only 5 to 10 microseconds should be achievable by a measured RAMCloud system, which is about 1000x faster than the 5 - 10 milliseconds that is provided by disk-based systems for data that is accessed over a network. The researchers estimate that a single multi-core RAM server could support at least 1,000,000 small requests per second, while disk based systems are typically maxed out at 1000 to 10,000 requests.

Cost is the barrier for a broad use of such RAMClouds. However, the scientists noted that "the cost of DRAM today is roughly the same as the cost of disk 10 years ago ($ 10-30/GB)", which, of course, does not help much considering the massive storage space requirements today.

Discuss
Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the News comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 24 Hide
    Netherscourge , November 11, 2011 6:29 PM
    Sounds awesome - until the power goes out.

    ;(
  • 22 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 11, 2011 6:15 PM
    No really? This can be done for a consumer, as well. Imagine having your entire OS in the RAM? An X79 board has what, 8 RAM slots? Throw 8GB into each one and you get 64GB, that's more than enough for a full Windows installation and some programs. It will be blazing fast.
  • 12 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 11, 2011 6:33 PM
    ltdementhiali really don't see an use for this type of things...although it will be nice if you are a Minecraft maniac...but in real life task even more than 8gb for now is very unnecessary and stupidly excessive.


    Prices keep going down. RAM is dirt cheap; 8GB costs $50 (2x4GB), the new 8GB chips are costly but prices WILL fall, and having your stuff in the RAM is awesome. And for servers, it's even better. Did you read this:

    Quote:
    The researchers estimate that a single multi-core RAM server could support at least 1,000,000 small requests per second, while disk based systems are typically maxed out at 1000 to 10,000 requests.


    That is, bye-bye to DDOS.
Other Comments
    Display all 56 comments.
  • 22 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 11, 2011 6:15 PM
    No really? This can be done for a consumer, as well. Imagine having your entire OS in the RAM? An X79 board has what, 8 RAM slots? Throw 8GB into each one and you get 64GB, that's more than enough for a full Windows installation and some programs. It will be blazing fast.
  • 24 Hide
    Netherscourge , November 11, 2011 6:29 PM
    Sounds awesome - until the power goes out.

    ;(
  • 12 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 11, 2011 6:33 PM
    ltdementhiali really don't see an use for this type of things...although it will be nice if you are a Minecraft maniac...but in real life task even more than 8gb for now is very unnecessary and stupidly excessive.


    Prices keep going down. RAM is dirt cheap; 8GB costs $50 (2x4GB), the new 8GB chips are costly but prices WILL fall, and having your stuff in the RAM is awesome. And for servers, it's even better. Did you read this:

    Quote:
    The researchers estimate that a single multi-core RAM server could support at least 1,000,000 small requests per second, while disk based systems are typically maxed out at 1000 to 10,000 requests.


    That is, bye-bye to DDOS.
  • 2 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 11, 2011 6:35 PM
    NetherscourgeSounds awesome - until the power goes out.;(


    UPS for you :D  Mine can keep my gaming rig, my lights, fans (no, not the case cooling, big ceiling fans) and so on running for 2 days straight.

    blood_dewAnd how are you planning to get around the volatility problem on your home rig sir amk-aka-Phantom?


    Elaborate, please!
  • 2 Hide
    legendkiller , November 11, 2011 6:39 PM
    ltdementhiali really don't see an use for this type of things...although it will be nice if you are a Minecraft maniac...but in real life task even more than 8gb for now is very unnecessary and stupidly excessive.

    more than 8GB is recommended if you do some CS5.5 or 3D uses... 8GB is need for gaming system... Your all about the games instead of what's out there in the internet that you needa experience...
  • 1 Hide
    Haserath , November 11, 2011 6:45 PM
    blood_dewAnd how are you planning to get around the volatility problem on your home rig sir amk-aka-Pantom?

    There is non-volatile ram in development. Not sure if it will ever become a real product, but it's there.
  • -4 Hide
    viometrix , November 11, 2011 6:46 PM
    amk-aka-Phantom - after you use all that 64gb of ram for your os and some programs, what ram do you have left to actually run them? sheesh
  • -6 Hide
    surda , November 11, 2011 7:02 PM
    ok so what happens if the computer turns off? screw all of you!!! your information is gone lol
  • 2 Hide
    ojas , November 11, 2011 7:03 PM
    HaserathThere is non-volatile ram in development. Not sure if it will ever become a real product, but it's there.

    I thought SSDs use non-volatile NAND RAM? or is that NAND flash? :\

    Why do they call it a "could" system? Isn't this just a ram-based server? Cloud is like, for storing data and things right? "Run your shitz of the cloud". I can't see the point of it for cloud storage, would be too expensive. What's the point of the super-low latency if your ping to the RamCloud will be 200ms? A movie streams a ms late, big deal...

    If it's used for regular server hosting (like game servers, etc) then i can see the point, because computation time would reduce.
  • 1 Hide
    drinking12many , November 11, 2011 7:04 PM
    LegendKillermore than 8GB is recommended if you do some CS5.5 or 3D uses... 8GB is need for gaming system... Your all about the games instead of what's out there in the internet that you needa experience...



    Also nice if you have a couple VMs running. My board is maxed out at 16.
  • 6 Hide
    ojas , November 11, 2011 7:07 PM
    BTW does anyone else notice a CPU usage spike when you scroll from the article to the comments? Happens somewhere at the end of the article...been noticing this for a while.

    Use chrome, 32-bit, 3.2GB RAM and a Core 2 Quad. Tried on a C2D laptop and happens there too, had used chrome again.

    EDIT: Just tried with IE, spike happens but you cant notice it. Chrome actually stutters a bit...
  • 2 Hide
    mindless728 , November 11, 2011 7:08 PM
    Quote:
    I thought SSDs use non-volatile NAND RAM? or is that NAND flash? :\

    Why do they call it a "could" system? Isn't this just a ram-based server? Cloud is like, for storing data and things right? "Run your shitz of the cloud". I can't see the point of it for cloud storage, would be too expensive. What's the point of the super-low latency if your ping to the RamCloud will be 200ms? A movie streams a ms late, big deal...

    If it's used for regular server hosting (like game servers, etc) then i can see the point, because computation time would reduce.


    yeah if you are the ONLY one using it then the timing difference is almost nothing compared to the ping, but if you have hundreds of thousands of users accessing the data HDD's and even SSD's wouldn't be able to keep up, that is where the Ram Cloud would come in
  • 11 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 11, 2011 7:09 PM
    Quote:
    amk-aka-Phantom - after you use all that 64gb of ram for your os and some programs, what ram do you have left to actually run them? sheesh


    About 29GB. My current OS/programs partition takes 35GB. U mad?
  • 1 Hide
    ojas , November 11, 2011 7:10 PM
    mindless728yeah if you are the ONLY one using it then the timing difference is almost nothing compared to the ping, but if you have hundreds of thousands of users accessing the data HDD's and even SSD's wouldn't be able to keep up, that is where the Ram Cloud would come in

    Ah...didn't think of that!
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , November 11, 2011 7:39 PM
    It's called a RAM-drive, and this is nothing new. You can do this on any desktop machine if you want, it's just usually not worth it due to power interruptions. Still fun nonetheless.
  • 8 Hide
    TunaSoda , November 11, 2011 8:09 PM
    You lost me at cloud
  • 3 Hide
    ThisIsMe , November 11, 2011 8:12 PM
    Not sure if the researchers have taken into consideration the added cost from having to use only buffered ECC RAM. The unbuffered non-ECC RAM some of the commenters here are referring to is considered volatile for more than just what happens when the power turns off. After some time the data stored in this RAM becomes corrupted and would no longer be the same data. Ever wonder why some programs after being open and running for several days can sometimes start to act funny after a while?

    For the past 20 years or so OS's have used redundancy to help with this issue via the swap file on the HDD. Using buffered ECC RAM can eliminate about 99% of this problem, but can cost 2-3 times as much in some cases. Although, I suppose you could offset the cost by using twice as much "regular" RAM and using half for redundancy. Still, the best option would be to store the data on a typical storage device and have a newer better buffering system which keeps and accurate and updated copy in the RAM "cloud" which could keep the data integrity in check. This way there would only be the older latency issue initially when the data is being uploaded or altered, or when it needs to be rebuffered because of corruption. Plus that thing about the power going out would be a non issue.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 11, 2011 9:21 PM
    This makes zero sense for a home user. But makes a lot of sense in some situations. Master server that writes results to disk, with many slaves that only have ram for instance.

    I can see this ram cloud service now . "Tech support: how can i help you", "you: all my files are missing", "tech: ya we had a power failure, sorry everything is stored in ram, all data is gone", "you: excuse me?"
Display more comments