NVMe at FMS and IDF – and what’s next

Written by Judith Vanderkay on . Posted in Blog

August has been an action-packed month for the NVM Express team, with active presences at both the Flash Memory Summit, August 11-13, and the Intel Developer Forum, August 18-20. We had a lot of great conversations – thanks to all those who stopped by to see us.  And thanks also to the many members whose long hours and focused efforts made our participation possible!

At the Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, California, 15 NVM Express, Inc. members presented on 10 different topics, while at our booth, four members gave live demonstrations of NVMe products. Topics discussed included Security and the Trusted Computing Group Storage Specifications, NVMe over Fabrics, NVMe in Mobile Segments, Management Interface, and the NVMe Ecosystem.

  • The past, present, and future of NVMe were presented, to show the progress that has been made with NVMe over the past seven years and the amazing things that are in store for the future.
  • Real world benefits were showcased through a variety of data center and client use cases. For example, a proof point for Microsoft SQL for big data analytics with NVMe acceleration, SAS analytics for business, and the possibility of dual 4k video editing.
  • Oracle presented an end-user case study to show the evolution of their SSDs to NVMe and provided a comparison that showed a 2x increase in single block reads and 6x Log File Synch Waits over their old system.

These presentations showed how NVMe has left the proverbial drawing board and is now paving the way for future high-stakes use cases.

NVMe over Fabrics (an effort under development) was highlighted at the event, with several presentations that covered real-world use cases and applications, performance and emerging NVM application synergies. In addition to a Fabrics overview, the presentations touched on improved latency, advantages for sharing, and improved read-and-write performance.

A discussion about the NVMe ecosystem provided insights about how to begin utilizing all that NVMe has to offer through drivers, management, security, and components, discussing scalable architecture, and the importance of interoperability to system success. Strengths of the NVMe driver ecosystem, with drivers available on Windows, Linux, Soaris, VM ware, and UEFI, and a growing list of form factor availability were also highlighted. Closing remarks reiterated the advancements and opportunities that NVMe is bringing to the storage world.

Intel Developer Forum
FMS did a good job building excitement for IDF in San Francisco, the very next week. Our presence there included hands-on NVMe experiences and a plethora of informative events. NVM Express had a lively space in the event’s Technology Community that highlighted product availability and the breadth of industry investment driving our transformative technology, with demonstrations by 16 companies. In addition, the IDF conference agenda included several sessions dedicated to NVMe, both speaker-led presentations and “Tech Chats.”

What’s Next
The Annual NVM Express, Inc. Member Meeting is our next big event, and we look forward to sharing more about all the exciting things we have going on with NVMe. Save the date – it’s scheduled for March 21-22, 2016 in Santa Clara, California! If your company isn’t already a member, join us at http://nvmexpress.org/join-nvme/.

Joint White Paper on Self-Encrypting Drives from NVM Express, Inc. and the TCG

Written by Judith Vanderkay on . Posted in Blog

NVM Express, Inc. teamed up with the Trusted Computing Group (TCG) to deliver a white paper on Self-Encrypting Drives (SEDs). The focus in this paper is on Opal SSC-based solutions for scalable security management in data center and client solutions that can be utilized based on the needs of particular NVMe implementations. The paper also covers TCG Storage and Opal SSC background and comparisons of Opal SSC to legacy management interfaces.

The white paper with its insights and details is available here.

Linux Driver Support Decoded

Written by Judith Vanderkay on . Posted in Blog

NVM Express has enjoyed Linux kernel support since early 2011. However, it is a complex landscape, and it can be challenging to understand all of the Linux Server OS and kernel choices, including when particular features have been adopted.

Learn all the details for kernel support and the various Linux distributions (Red Hat, Ubuntu, SUSE, and Oracle Linux) in this detailed overview by Frank Ober.

American Megatrends Inc. (AMI) Launches Enclosure Management Solution for NVM Express SSD Subsystems

Written by Judith Vanderkay on . Posted in Blog

The AMI MG9095, a new low-cost, ultra-small, single-chip solution for enclosure management, designed for a new generation of NVMe SSD environments, supports up to eight SSDs per backplane. However, cascaded controllers can support up to 32 drives. More details and specifications for the product can be found on the AMI corporate website at www.ami.com/products/backplanes-and-enclosure-management/enclosure-management-asics/mg9095-controller.

Crystal Disk Mark’s New Release Measures True Performance of NVMe

Written by Judith Vanderkay on . Posted in Blog

Due to limited support for large queue depths and multiple workers, the full performance of NVMe SSDs could not be seen in Crystal Disk Mark 3.0.4 . For example, the maximum read bandwidth on this build for one NVMe drive was ~ 1.5 GB/s and the maximum IOPs was ~ 150K IOPs.

The developer has completed a new version, revision 4.0.3, that adds deeper queues and multiple worker threads to the benchmark and enables measurement of the true performance of an NVMe SSD. The same NVMe drive now measures over 2 GB/s for bandwidth and ~ 450K IOPs on random I/O. In order to fully saturate the NVMe drives, recommendations are a queue depth of at least 32 and a minimum of 8 worker threads for 4K random testing.  Check it out at http://crystalmark.info/?lang=en.

First NVMe All-members meeting, April 30

Written by Judith Vanderkay on . Posted in Blog

The NVM Express annual member meeting was held last week in San Jose, California with over 130 members joining in to get the latest updates.  During the meeting the group heard the latest status on technical working group activities and marketing plans, and discussed roadmaps and planning for this year’s upcoming events.  A networking event took place after the sessions.

NVMe sessionNVMe networking

As part of the after-hours social event, several companies demoed some of their latest NVMe products including;

  • HGST, Ultrastar SN100 & SN150 NVMe SSDs
  • OCZ, Z-Drive 6000 Dual port NVMe SSD
  • Mangstor & Melonox, NVMe over Fabric
  • Samsung, SM951 M.2 and XS1715 & SM1715 NVMe SSDs
  • Teledyne LeCroy, NVMe test equipment

Thanks again to all those who supported and attended.

Mass production of industry’s first M.2 NVMe PCIe SSDs begins

Written by Judith Vanderkay on . Posted in Blog

Samsung has started mass production of the industry’s first NVMe PCIe solid state drive (SSD), with an M.2 form factor for use in PCs and workstations. The company has also begun shipping NVMe SSDs to OEMs for the PC market.

According to the company, the new NVMe-based SM951 SSD achieves sequential data read and write performance up to 2,260 megabytes per second (MB/s) and 1,600MB/s, respectively, which Samsung states are the industry’s most advanced, with speeds four and three times faster than those of a typical SATA-based M.2 SSD.  Read more in the press release and in SSD Review.

Using NVMe to Modernize Servers, with Big ROI

Written by Judith Vanderkay on . Posted in Blog

Principled Technologies has done a deep analysis of the Lenovo ThinkServer RD650 with NVM Express SSDs. When the server is equipped with four 1.6TB NVM Express SSDs, it delivers the work of four legacy server workloads. Consolidating older servers onto a powerful new server with flexible storage solutions, including NVMe, can be an excellent investment. For all the details, check out the white paper here.

How to Benchmark SSDs with FIO Visualizer

Written by Judith Vanderkay on . Posted in Blog

There are two proven software tools commonly used for IO benchmarks – Iometer (http://www.iometer.org/) for Windows and FIO (http://freecode.com/projects/fio) for Linux OS. 

What is FIO Visualizer? It’s a GUI for the FIO. It parses console output in real-time, displays visual details for IOPS, bandwidth and latency of each device’s workload. This is a valuable tool for benchmarking NVMe SSDs.

Learn all the details and how to get started here.

— written by Andrey Kudryavtsev, Solutions Architect, Intel