Linux 5.1 Might Pick Up Support For Using Persistent Memory As System RAM
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 11 March 2019 at 12:19 AM EDT. 10 Comments
HARDWARE --
While we are expecting to see more Intel Optane NVDIMMs this year that offer up persistent memory using 3DXPoint memory on the DDR4 bus for persistent storage, the Linux 5.1 kernel might pick-up support for treating this persistent memory back as traditional RAM if so desired.

Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory is expected to begin appearing in more servers this year for offering application-level persistent memory for use-cases like database servers, HPC, and other enterprise computing possibilities. If you are buying such NVDIMMs in the first place, chances are you planning to utilize the persistent memory for such purposes, but otherwise with Linux 5.1 there are patches pending to allow this PMEM to function as traditional system RAM.

Device-DAX code updates queued for Linux 5.1 allow for persistent memory and other reserved/differentiated memory to be assigned to the core memory management code as system memory. This will treat the NVDIMMs as volatile RAM and support all of the traditional Linux memory management interfaces.

More details on this pending work via this patch series. While it's a pull request to land in Linux 5.1, Linus Torvalds has requested clarification about some behavior from Intel and is awaiting that before he considers merging the code.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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