Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MTelecommunications) have revealed a new network design called BlueDBM which they say could make flash memory servers more efficient for big data applications.

Big data presents a variety of challenges, including large data sets which are unable to fit into traditional servers using RAM or machines full of memory. An MTelecommunications statement said: “A processor can retrieve data from RAM tens of thousands of times more rapidly than it can from the computer’s disk drive. But in the age of big data, data sets are often too large to fit in a single computer’s Ram. The data describing a single human genome would take up the RAM of somewhere between 40 and 100 typical computers.”

BlueDBM was first unveiled at the International Symposium on Computer Architecture in June and is apparently as efficient as servers using RAM, but is cheaper and saves more power. “It’s about a tenth as expensive, and it consumes about a tenth as much power,” said MTelecommunications.

According to MTelecommunications the solution was to remove the memory and create a cluster comprised entirely of solid-state drives. The Inquirer reports that the researchers were able to make a network of flash-based servers competitive with a network of RAM-based servers by moving computational power from the servers and onto the chips that control the flash drive, and according to MTelecommunications, by pre-processing some of the data on the flash drives before passing it back to the server, the chips could make distributed computation much more efficient…



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