The steady increase of Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) implementation and utilization has made our industry stand up and take notice. In today’s age of big data, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud services, many had until recently, thought the modern datacenter environment was lacking a modern storage protocol – and NVMe offers just that. In this post, we'll tell you exactly what you need to know about NVMe and why you may want to consider it within your organization.
An NVMe Solid-State Drive
What Exactly Is NVMe?
NVMe is a recently developed set of storage protocols that were created to interface with high-performing solid-state drives (SSDs), as well as flash storage systems. NVMe acts as the pathway connecting the processor to the data storage and allows data to be transferred instantaneously. Recently, NVMe has become a popular replacement method for legacy interconnected protocols between compute and storage because it transfers data with lightning-quick speed – doing so by removing the bottleneck created by connections designed to work with hard disk drives (HDDs). NVMe protocol standards are overseen by NVM Express, Inc., a consortium now numbering more than 100 organizations, that is responsible for the development of the NVM Express specification. These member organizations actively work to develop the standards needed to advance the capabilities and usability of NVM into the marketplace. NVM Express, Inc. is guided by a board of directors comprised of representatives from familiar industry titans like Cisco, Dell EMC, Facebook, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp, Samsung, Seagate and Toshiba, just to name a few.
NVMe Helps to Modernize the Datacenter.
NVMe may address a number of datacenter concerns, like delivering quicker access to the data itself, lowering power consumption, reducing latency or rendering higher input/output (I/O) operations. Additionally, NVMe lends itself to parallelism on a much grander scale, providing the ability to improve throughput dramatically. As data flows from the storage to the server host, it assumes position in a queue. Legacy serial advanced technology attachment (SATA) connections are able to support only one queue containing 32 pieces of data that can enter the queue at one time – like having one highway lane for 32 vehicles to travel down, or one checkout lane at a grocery store for 32 customers waiting in line. However, NVMe storage supports up to 64,000 queues corresponding to 64,000 entries each. Put in simpler terms, that’s like going from a one-lane highway to a 64,000-lane highway with room for 64,000 cars in each lane, or having 64,000 checkout lanes at your grocery store.
Why is NVMe a Better Option?
NVMe offers better storage performance over disk-based protocols, especially when deployed in flash-based systems. The NVMe protocol is optimized for simultaneous reads and writes and significantly increases the number and depth of queues with a drastically reduced command set. The overall effect is a large reduction in the overall controller and CPU usage in NVMe host systems, leaving more processing capacity for both higher volumes and a wider breadth of operations.
5 Quick Facts about NVMe
Here are five points to consider when deciding if NVMe is the right option for your business:
1. NVMe can be leveraged internally within the storage system and/or NVMe-oF (over Fabrics) for server-to-storage connection.
2. NVMe-oF storage networking technology capitalizes on SSD’ performance across an Ethernet or InfiniBand network.
3. NVMe-oF is designed to use NVMe technology through the network via Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA).
4. RDMA transfers data in memory between computers and storage devices across the network with little-to-no CPU usage and communication between the computer and storage device is almost instantaneous.
5. NVMe offers the benefit of increased performance, density and consolidation.
Due to the fact that NVMe spans storage, servers, I/O hardware and software, those intending to adopt NVMe need to take carefully into account all business ramifications of doing so. Do you have questions about how NVMe could help deliver improved business outcomes for your organization? Connect with an Xigent subject matter expert and let us know how we can help! We’ll be in touch shortly.