Potential NVMe benefits spark enterprise IT interest
IT pros accustomed to SAS- and SATA-based flash storage performance are eagerly anticipating the latest NVMe technologies. Some are already using nonvolatile memory express for demanding applications, while others wait for vendor support.
NVMe-based solid-state drives (SSDs) can lower latency and boost performance, compared with the standard SAS- and SATA-based SSDs that are the norm in most IT organizations. NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) can extend the NVMe benefits across a network, between application servers and storage arrays.
Although these are early days for NVMe, some enterprises already made the jump for select application workloads that have especially high I/O requirements. Market statistics indicate those users are in the distinct minority, but adoption should start to increase as storage vendors ramp up support and enterprise NVMe-based PCI Express SSDs drop in price.
NVMe benefits for database response time
Baystate Health took the leap to NVMe-based SSDs last year to try to boost database response time. The healthcare provider, based in Springfield, Mass., uses VMware’s vSAN hyper-converged infrastructure on Cisco Unified Computing System server hardware across three data centers in about a 10-mile radius.
“It’s not like we want to do cool, fancy things,” said Raj Subramanian, director of IT infrastructure and technology at Baystate Health. He said NVMe had become “necessary for the response time.”
Subramanian said Baystate’s InterSystems Caché database, in particular, requires low response time to prevent corruption and performance issues.
“Overall, NVMe improved the cache performance,” Subramanian said, “but it still hasn’t been determined if the performance is good enough for Caché’s IOPS requirements.”
Financial institutions tend to be early adopters of any new technologies that can boost performance. One technical director in infrastructure architecture said his financial services firm used Fusion-io’s PCIe-based SSDs before shifting to standard NVMe-based PCIe SSDs as soon as the drives became available.
“It’s definitely significantly faster. And the pricing has come down on the NVMe drives, so it’s actually pretty competitive, especially in comparison to a SAS flash drive,” said the technical director, who asked that neither his name nor company be identified.
The financial services firm bought @Samsung NVMe-based PCIe SSDs for its #Aerospike in-memory #NoSQL database running on @Dell servers, with plans to explore storage-class memory for its trading systems and in-memory databases. The technical director said the firm’s other databases use conventional disk- and flash-based SAN storage, and the company’s virtual servers connect to @Pure Storage and Dell EMC #XtremIO #allflash arrays.