Friday, October 15, 2010

Effects of Development in Non-Volatile Memory Technology

According to Wikipedia (n.d.), non-volatile memory or NVN, is a computer memory capable to storing the data without constant power supply. Previously, non volatile memory was associated with rotating hard drives were associated with non-volatile memory, characterizing with slow performance, bulky size and high electricity demand, and electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM) characterizing with low density (small storage size) and slow write speeds.
Advances in non-volatile memory technology such as ferroelectric random access memory (FeRAM), phase change random access memory (PRAM), resistive random access memory (RRAM) and magneto resistive random access memory (MRAM) attempt to “achieve high speed, high density and low cost while incorporating non-volatility with robust endurance and retention characteristics” (Mitchell Douglas, 2010).
Number of different opinions exist with regards to the most prominent technology. According to Mitchell Douglass (2010), MRAM is the most promising of the technologies listed above, while Seong N., Woo, D., and Lee H. (2010) believe that “compared to other non-volatile memory alternatives, PCM is more matured to production, and has a faster read latency and potentially higher storage density”.
The availability of increased memory storage, combined with smaller physical size and more efficient power utilization will have a direct impact on mobile devices such as Personal Digital Assistance (PDA), smart phones and notebooks, all have limited resources including power (battery) and processing capabilities. The fact that mobile devices will be able store more information while consuming less power, will allow system architects to design mobile application with additional functionalities and features, directly impacts the end user. In addition, it will make data processing and storage techniques more distributed across the broader network.
On the other hand, availability of non volatile memory has a direct effect on the security of the data. If previously it was stored in relatively secure enterprise environment, today it is quite common to find the data stored on mobile devices. Furthermore, as noted by Enck W., Butler K., Richardson T., and McDaniel P (2006) “sensitive data written to main memory is now available across system reboots and is vulnerable as the system is suspended”. Techniques to safeguard the data will have to evolve to support hundreds of terabytes of data stored within distributed environment.


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