Yes, you read that correctly. 512 gigabytes of memory on an Intel NUC. Not only is this pretty 🤯 but this is actually possible today with an already released Intel NUC!
A few months back, I was made aware of some really cool technology from Intel called Intel Memory Drive Technology (IMDT) which leverages Intel Optane SSDs to extend memory of a system beyond its physical memory (DRAM) capacity. This technology is made possible with their IMDT software, which is a purpose built Hypervisor whose sole purpose is to just manage memory and this Hypervisor runs on top of the Intel Optane SSD. You can think of this like a Software-Defined Memory (SDM) solution. In fact, SDM was actually coined in this performance white paper evaluating IMDT with scientific-based applications back in 2018.
Note: This should not be confused with Intel Optane and its Datacenter Persistent Memory (PMEM) solution which vSphere already supports today.
The target use case for this type of technology is for memory intensive applications such as SAP HANA, Oracle, Redis, Memcache and Apache Spark to just name a few. These workloads can easily gobble up 10's of terabytes of memory that can bring a number of challenges when needing to scale up these solutions. High capacity memory DIMMS are not only expensive, but once you exhaust the number of physical DIMM slots, your only option for scale up is to add additional servers which is very costly.
Using IMDT, customers can expand their physical DRAM capacity from 8x to 15x, which can significantly improve cost, performance but also the operational overhead in managing additional systems. Putting aside the in-memory based workloads, I think there is also huge potential for general purpose workloads that can also get the exact same benefits, especially when you think about constraints like power, cooling and location such as Edge or ROBO locations. Since this solution works on an Intel NUC, a really interesting use case for this technology that immediately came to mind was for a vSphere/NSX/vSAN homelab environment.