Everspin has filed for their IPO. They’re looking to raise $40 million from the public market. They’ve been shipping product for over 10 years, so this is a real company, not a dream and a slide deck.
Everspin’s Magnetic RAM has a number of advantages over flash and DRAM:
- DDR RAM write latency – much faster than 3D XPoint and much, much faster than flash.
- Endurance that is much higher than flash and 3D XPoint.
- Byte addressable, like DRAM and unlike flash.
- Can replace DRAM on DIMMs – no need for complex controllers for wear leveling and garbage collection.
- The latest MRAM gen is built on a simple 3-layer process, which means that it could, at high volumes, be cheaper than DRAM.
The logical question then is: why hasn’t MRAM killed DRAM? A couple of key reasons:
- Cost. MRAM could be as cheap as DRAM, but only after climbing down the learning curve, where DRAM has a 50 year head start.
- Density. Everspin will be sampling a 1 Gbit chip later this year, far behind the 8 Gbit DRAM chips commonly available today.
But even with a cost-per-bit 10x that of DRAM, MRAM has a defensible niche as it ups production and lowers cost. It replaces DRAM-based NVDIMMs because it doesn’t need the batteries and assorted packaging cruft those require. It also works nicely as a buffer, where speed, endurance and non-volatility are vital, and its cost is buried in a larger product.
Everspin’s S1 shows that the company is doing about $25 million a year, and spending about $10m a year on R&D. Despite gross margins in the 50% range, their investments in growing the business have them on track to lose about $18m this year.
The StorageMojo take
Given Wall Street’s warm welcome for Nutanix I expect that Everspin will have a successful IPO. It may finally be sinking in with the investment community that storage is the most valuable part of our IT infrastructure.
The larger picture is that the IPO demonstrates that NVRAM technologies are real, that 3D XPoint isn’t the only contestant, and that the pace of change in the storage market is still accelerating. These are all Good Things.
StorageMojo wishes Everspin the best of luck on their IPO.
Courteous comments welcome, of course.