Cloud computing is gaining popularity within daily business operations, especially among small and midsized companies. According to a survey by the International Data Group in 2016, 70% of businesses have at least one application in the cloud and invested an average of $1.62 million in cloud computing. Lower cost, increased security, mobile accessibility and sustainability are the major benefits that cloud computing can provide to businesses. It is estimated that the worldwide cloud computing market will reach $411 billion by 2020.
For any cloud computing network, the basic structure includes client computers, distributed servers, a datacenter and the internet. An individual customer uses the client’s computer to access files and operate applications, which are stored in the datacenter. The distributed servers handle all computing and processing in the network and the internet connects these different parts together.
The growth of cloud computing is driving up demand for certain electronic components, such as DRAM. The server DRAM industry has benefited from the development of cloud computing. About 30% of annual revenue for Micron Technology is generated from the server DRAM segment. SK Hynix switched a larger portion of its capacity to server products in 2017, as overall server DRAM revenues increased by 13.2% quarter on quarter to US$2.251 billion in Q1 2018.
In addition to regular DDR4, a new memory module called non-volatile dual in-line memory module (NVDIMM) is introduced specifically to servers and datacenter usage. NVDIMM normally combines standard dual in-line memory modules (DIMM), NAND flash chips, a small controller and a supercapacitor. During a power outage, the supercapacitor will act as an energy source to keep the DRAM in DIMM alive long enough for the controller to copy content from the DRMA into the NAND flash. When the power is back on, the controller will then move contents from the NAND flash back into the DRAM. This structure of NVDIMM enhances system performance and reliability for big data storage and analytics. Currently, Micron’s MTA001A16BA-003 and Smart Modular’s ST2047NJ420493SCL2 are some examples of NVDIMM on the market.
The introduction of NVDIMM module blurred the lines between memory and storage. With the ability to provide fast, persistent memory while storage is slow, NVDIMM is set to change the system architecture soon. It is estimated that NVDIMM will be mostly used in database functions and will grow at an average annual rate of 105% to nearly 12 million units by 2021.
Other components used in datacenters includes high speed connectors and cables to provide rapid data transfer. Datacenters also require installed temperature sensors, pressure and environmental sensors and thermometric relative humidity sensors to monitor the physical environment for equipment protection.