Linux 5.1 Will Let You Treat PMEM Like 3DXPoint Optane NVDIMMs Back As System RAM

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 16 March 2019 at 08:01 PM EDT. 5 Comments
With broader availability expected soon for Intel Optane NVDIMMs backed by 3DXPoint memory, which offers a new means of speedy persistent memory, patches have landed in Linux 5.1 to optionally treat this persistent memory just like system RAM.

Persistent memory like Optane NVDIMMs is geared for uses like databases, HPC, and other enterprise computing scenarios. While it's not quite as fast as system RAM, support is coming in Linux 5.1 should you find yourself wanting to dedicate some persistent memory for use back as conventional system RAM. This may make some sense if Optane NVDIMMs indeed end up being comparatively cheaper than large capacity DDR4 DIMMs albeit would be sacrificing some performance in this PMEM-as-RAM configuration.

Last week I wrote about this PMEM-as-RAM series through the Linux DAX code. At that time it looked like it might not land as Linus Torvalds wasn't yet certain over it. However, this Saturday he has gone ahead and merged the support into the kernel. This support will thus be present in the Linux 5.1 kernel beginning with the 5.1-rc1 kernel release expected tomorrow.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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