Optically connected memory for disaggregated data centers

Jorge Gonzalez, Mauricio G. Palma, Maarten Hattink, Ruth Rubio-Noriega, Lois Orosa, Onur Mutlu, Keren Bergman, Rodolfo Azevedo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Recent advances in integrated photonics enable the implementation of reconfigurable, high-bandwidth, and low energy-per-bit interconnects in next-generation data centers. We propose and evaluate an Optically Connected Memory (OCM) architecture that disaggregates the main memory from the computation nodes in data centers. OCM is based on micro-ring resonators (MRRs), and it does not require any modification to the DRAM memory modules. We calculate energy consumption from real photonic devices and integrate them into a system simulator to evaluate performance. Our results show that (1) OCM is capable of interconnecting four DDR4 memory channels to a computing node using two fibers with 1.02 pJ energy-per-bit consumption and (2) OCM performs up to 5.5× faster than a disaggregated memory with 40G PCIe NIC connectors to computing nodes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-312
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Parallel and Distributed Computing
StatePublished - May 2022


  • DRAM
  • Data-centers
  • Disaggregated memory
  • Memory systems
  • Photonics


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