I saw a review of a relatively inexpensive RAM disk over at anandtech.com, the Gigabyte i-RAM

Basically, it is a PCI card, which takes standard DDR RAM, and has a SATA port on it, so that to the system, it looks like a normal SATA drive.

The card costs about $100-150, and you fill it with your own ram, so for a 4GB (max size) disk, it costs around $500. Looking for solid state storage devices, the cheapest I found was around $5k for 2GB.

Gigabyte claims that the battery backup can last up to 16h, which seems decent, if not really long (the $5k solution has a built-in harddrive so that if the power goes out, it uses the battery power to copy the ramdisk onto the harddrive for more permanent storage).

Anyway, would something like this be reasonable as a drive for storing pg_xlog? With 4GB you could have as many as 256 checkpoint segments.

I'm a little leary as it is definitely a version 1.0 product (it is still using an FPGA as the controller, so they were obviously pushing to get the card into production).

But it seems like this might be a decent way to improve insert performance, without setting fsync=false.

Probably it should see some serious testing (as in power spikes/pulled plugs, etc). I know the article made some claim that if you actually pull out the card it goes into "high consumption mode" which is somehow greater than if you leave it in the slot with the power off. Which to me seems like a lot of bull, and really means the 16h is only under best-case circumstances. But even 1-2h is sufficient to handle a simple power outage.

And if you had a UPS with detection of power failure, you could always sync the ramdisk to a local partition before the power goes out. Though you could do that with a normal in-memory ramdisk (tmpfs) without having to buy the card. Though it does give you up-to an extra 4GB of ram, for machines which have already maxed out their slots.

Anyway, I thought I would mention it to the list, to see if anyone else has heard of it, or has any thoughts on the matter. I'm sure there are some people who are using more expensive ram disks, maybe they have some ideas about what this device is missing. (other than costing about 1/10th the price)


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