It seems like everything organizations are focusing on right now relates to data, and not just small volumes of data. Take the extremely large data sets and high-powered advanced analytics that scientists are using to analyze COVID-19 transmissions. Traditional storage simply isn’t engineered to handle the speed that these applications require and the volumes of data. However, two recent improvements in storage technology – Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) in conjunction with Storage Class Memory (SCM) – can help solve this issue.
NVMe is a data protocol and interface that helps speed up the transfer of data between enterprise resources and end-user systems and storage drives. Think of it as a larger pipe that’s can push huge volumes of data where before only a trickle could move. This can be attributed to NVMe’s massively parallel architecture whereas SAS is a serial protocol. SCM, on the other hand, is a type of flash storage that has a power supply, ensuring availability in the case of a power outage or system crash. Combined, the two take data sharing and storage to the next level, making it easier to use and store data as data needs continue to skyrocket, explains Alan Hopla, a Specialist System Engineer at Hitachi Vantara.
“Even with improvements in response time from the storage layer there is still a vast difference between the best that bulk storage devices can offer compared to system memory-based access,” he explains. “SCM – a new family of memory devices – closes this gap, offering a latency between existing DRAM technologies with ~100ns and existing NAND flash technologies of ~100us. It introduces non-volatile storage with a latency of ~10us, or approximately one-tenth of traditional NAND flash technology.”
What does this mean for IT leaders? Here are three ways NVMe and SCM can improve storage infrastructure and provide real-world benefits.
1) NVMe powers hyperconvergence. NVMe drives became popular early on with organizations running hyperconverged compute solutions. They were, and can be, readily integrated into the hyperconverged environment and improve performance quickly due to their architecture. Simply put, NVMe has an efficient logical device interface that reduces interface processing overhead – especially when compared with more traditional interfaces such as SATA.
2) IT can get more out of their data faster. The use of NVMe as the bulk storage layer and SCM in a caching role greatly improves the processing and analysis of large datasets. This means IT and users will see dramatically reduced time to results. Bottom line: This increase in speed-to-results produces higher-quality analysis, enabling organizations to be more flexible and react more rapidly to changes in their operating environment.
3) Improved productivity for end users. When a user launches a data-intensive application, they can spend minutes sitting there, waiting for data to load. NVMe and SCM reduce the amount of time it takes to load, share, and transfer data, which means improved productivity for everyone. It also means IT is less likely to field complaints about slow processing.
To learn more about what NVMe and SCM are and how they can fit into a modern data infrastructure, click here.
Read the IDC analyst review of the Hitachi Unified Compute Platform HC including emerging technologies NVMe and SCM here.