Supercapacitors power non-volatile memory modules

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By Nick Flaherty

AgigA is a subsidiary of Cypress Semiconductor and its latest PowerGEM Green Energy Modules support both AgigA’s AGIGARAM memory modules and OEM partner NVDIMM-N memory modules designed around the recent JEDEC specifications.

For the Amber modules, AgigA has developed a simple management and control interface that can enable a central power mode option. In this mode, a host server system can provide 12V power to the DIMM sockets directly during a power loss event, much like a micro-UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). This eliminates the need for any external cable connections from the NVDIMM modules to the PowerGEM.

“As NVDIMM capacity increases and use cases for persistent memory become more prevalent, there is a clear need for smaller form factor energy solutions to provide backup power to ensure critical data does not get lost,” said Ron Sartore, president and CEO of AgigA Tech. “Our new Amber PowerGEM modules provide this smaller form factor, along with the ability to support multiple NVDIMMs in a single module, which lowers the total solution cost for the system.”

The Amber PowerGEM supports up to a single 32GB NVDIMM-N module, while Amber4X can support up to 4x 16GB or 3x 32GB NVDIMM-N modules. The patent-pending design is offered in multiple form factors, including a 2.5” drive and half-height half-length (HHHL) PCIe card.

The new PowerGEMs are fully certified to industry standard safety regulations, including UL 60950-1 (Underwriters Laboratories), CSA C22.2 No. 60950-01-07 (CSA International), and CB Certification to IEC 60950-01 and/or EN 609050-1. These certifications include Energy Hazard Testing, and are a critical step in ensuring a safe and reliable product when deployed into production.

Next: Supercapacitor qualification

AgigA has spent more than a decade running reliability testing on supercapacitors from multiple vendors to provide high levels of reliability and has shipped more than 1 million supercaps to the field to date, without a single return due to a failed cell. The company has extended this test methodology to the newer hybrid supercap cells, and with more than 2 years of testing, has now qualified the cells for production.

The PowerGEM modules are designed to operate up to 5 years at 55°C without the need for maintenance or replacement, and unlike battery solutions, they can be shipped and disposed of without restrictions.

The NVDIMM-N standard defined by JEDEC offers a new class of non-volatile memory developed to meet the need for higher-performance persistent memory for enterprise-class storage and server applications, providing the low latency and nearly infinite endurance of DRAM, along with the non-volatility of Flash. Enterprise and data centre applications were previously constrained by the higher latency of existing storage solutions such as SSDs, but they are now able to remove a significant system bottleneck with the deployment of NVDIMM-N solutions in their storage hierarchy.

Production samples of the Amber/Amber4X PowerGEM family are now available with form factors from 65 x 68 mm up to a PCIe card and capacitites up to 4 x 16GB or 3 x 32GB


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