The benefits of NVMe in enterprise

The benefits of NVMe in enterprise

Why NVMe matters in the data centre

Storage protocols are improving as organisations invest in the ongoing digital transformation that is happening in the data-heavy enterprise environment. Until now, SATA (supports SSD and spinning-disk hard drives) was the dominant protocol but with the rise of non-volatile memory express, the gears are shifting towards a new kind of technology.

NVME LogoKnown as NVMe, the new storage protocol empowers data centres and enterprise environments to take full advantage of high-performance flash memory. Since the SATA interface was built for hard drives, it has many inefficiencies when paired with flash-memory-based SSDs. While the SATA protocol is available in both SSDs and HDDs, NVMe is particularly designed for SSDs. As a result, the difference in performance between SATA and NVMe is impressive.

Fig. 1 above shows IOPS and bandwidth differences in SATA and NVMe

SATA III boasts speeds of up to 600MB/s, but is unable to sustain this kind of performance consistently. SATA-based SSDs are proficient for some data centre workloads since there are many legacy servers in the field that only support SATA/SAS SSDs, but they will eventually be limited and capped in their performance.

By enabling numerous I/O operations at the same time, NVMe enables the multicore processing necessary for organisations to compete in efficiently accessing, manipulating and processing data in enterprise environments. This Quality of Service (QoS) provides an exceptional balance of consistent I/O delivery with high read and write IOPS performance to manage a wide range of workloads.

Why NVMe over SATA?

The benefits of switching over to NVMe include having faster speeds and multiple simultaneous streams of data that take full advantage of CPU and GPU utilisation. NVMe also supports multiple form factors including M.2, U.2 and EDSFF connections which makes it versatile for many storage platforms from servers for all-flash arrays.

NVMe allows for data to be divided and streamlined so that data gets written at the same time. In addition, NVMe enables six times the bandwidth, a triple latency improvement, multicore support and 4K efficiency. Not only that, NVMe includes several commands for communicating with NVMe SSDs. This results in faster interfaces and optimised routines for writing data to the SSD.

Businesses and organisations in enterprise environments are investing heavily in creating, manipulating, analysing and storing data to remain competitive. By eliminating the bottlenecks and limitations found in protocols of the past, the new PCIe and NVMe protocols greatly improve the efficient storage, management and accessing of data without sacrificing performance.

It’s also important that the enterprise NVMe SSD incorporate QoS enhancements into the firmware and hardware design. An NVMe SSD that delivers good QoS ensures predictable I/O and latency delivery that an application can depend on to deliver desired performance for developers all the way downstream to the end-user interface. NVMe is at the leading edge of storage technology and is changing the way businesses operate with data for the better.

NVMe performance in enterprise

NVMe’s performance boost will benefit latency-sensitive workloads and other areas such as real-time big data analytics or database environments with heavy workloads. The NVMe protocol leverages parallel, low-latency data paths that are like industry standard processor architectures. This offers significantly higher performance and lower latencies compared to legacy SATA protocols. It allows workloads to accelerate existing applications that require faster speeds while enabling new applications and capabilities for real-time workload processing in the data centre and at the edge.
  • High performance over 3GB/s
  • Predictable low latency and high I/O consistency
  • Reduce application latencies

Fig. 2 above shows the latency difference between SATA and NVMe

Industries such as healthcare, finance and telecoms all depend on extremely fast computers with high performance and low latency. Healthcare and telecom companies leverage NVMe speeds for fast and complex workloads since they nearly eliminate processor wait times when reading data from storage. Finance companies use NVMe as extra storage to accelerate high transaction volumes.

Online transaction processing (OLTP) databases and big data also benefit from high-performance reads. In databases, businesses can use an SSD cache to pin data, metadata and indexes without slowing read speeds. This improves query speeds, which ultimately improves database performance. Business analysts can make real-time decisions with quickly accessible data since big-data-intensive workloads no longer run into bottlenecks. NVMe isn’t just limited to one specific type of workload since it improves performance for other applications as well.

Fig. 3 above shows OLTP testing

NVMe allows admins to optimise virtualised environments by increasing the number of virtual machines the virtual network can support. Usually, virtual environments need to partition the network by workload, latency or IOPS. This can lead to expensive costs and increased workload for management. NVMe is intentionally built to manage clusters and optimised performance across workloads, which enables the virtual environment to boost network speed and performance without the need for complex partitions.

Why switch to NVMe?

With the rise of big data, enterprise systems require new solutions to meet the demands and challenges of this new data frontier. Even high-performance SSDs connected to legacy protocols can experience lower performance, higher latencies and poor Quality of Service (QoS) in the face of big data.

NVMe’s new technology helps avoid bottlenecks, enable full utilisation of all CPU and GPU cores, and allow for traditional scale-up database applications, along with emerging edge computing architectures that need to be scaled to meet new demands.

NVMe is designed for high-performance and non-volatile storage media and is the only protocol that can rise to meet the demands of big data and provide for data-heavy enterprise environments including cloud storage and edge computing ecosystems. It is leading the way to help businesses store, manage and access data more efficiently while improving performance, reliability and consistency.


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