2/4/2005

Sun floats open-source database idea

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Sun Microsystems has raised the possibility that it might offer customers its own database, a move that could trigger displeasure at Oracle but curry favor with open-source advocates.

Chief Executive Scott McNealy offered the provocative idea Wednesday at a meeting of influential financial analysts at Sun’s headquarters here. During a speech, he showed a slide that placed the words “Sun DB” next to a list of existing database products.

McNealy offered no details besides “stay tuned,” but Sun President Jonathan Schwartz indicated in an interview that database software is one possible way Sun plans to extend into new open-source software realms.

Source: News.com

‘DVD on a chip’ memory tech

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Elpida has licensed a technology that applies the same technique used in rewriteable optical discs to non-volatile memory chips.

Developed by Ovonyx, the system, dubbed Ovonic Universal Memory (OUM), uses a thin film of chalcogenide alloy, a material similar to the substance used in DVD- and CD-RW discs. In the optical world, laser light is used to adjust the phase of the material - crystalline or amorphous - at each data-storing spot to encode the binary 1s and 0s that make up digital data. Instead of light, the Ovonyx system achieves the same result with electrical signals controlled by transistors.

According to Ovonyx, chips built using its technology are cheaper to make than Flash memory, thanks to their simple structure and less complex fabrication process. Cells can also be packed more densely, making for higher capacity chips.

Flash’s key weakness, the limited number of read-write cycles it provides, is also no an issue with OUM, which has a life of more than ten trillion writes, apparently. It also provides fully random access to data. And OUM faster than Flash, the company claims, with a performance “similar” to DRAM.

Elpida, at least, seems convinced. So are Intel and STMicro, among others, who have also licensed OUM. The technology may work at the test cell stage, but it needs much more work to commercialise it, and that’s what Elpida, for one, will be doing.

“Elpida plans to utilize Ovonyx’s phase-change technology to further explore the development of new DRAM features that will provide the high performance and low current consumption required for next-generation mobile applications,” the company’s president and CEO, Yukio Sakamoto, said in statement.

Source: The Register

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