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NVMe (fast non-volatile memory) is a new storage access and transport protocol for next-generation flash and solid-state drives (SSDs) that delivers the highest performance and shortest response times for all types of enterprise workloads.
Today, in both consumer and enterprise applications, users are demanding ever shorter response times, even as applications become increasingly complex and dependent on other resources to deliver their results.
Common uses for NVMe
NVMe storage is already used in enterprise environments where every microsecond counts:
- Real-time customer interactions, such as software sales agents, e-commerce or in the financial sector.
- Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), Big Data, and advanced analytics applications.
- DevOps, allowing you to run more iterations in less time
- Resource Demanding Sites & Apps
- Software-defined Storage
- Machine Learning
- Big Data
- Data Center
- Enterprise Applications
- Hyperscale / Hyperconverged
- Data Warehousing
In order to deliver a higher-bandwidth, lower-latency user experience, the NVMe protocol accesses flash storage via the PCI Express (PCIe) bus, which supports tens of thousands of parallel command queues and is therefore much faster than traditional hard disk drives and all-flash architectures, which are limited to a single command queue.
NVMe specifications benefit from non-volatile memory in all types of computing environments. It is also ready to adapt to innovations down the road and to be used with persistent memory technologies that have not yet been invented.
Benefits of NVMe for data storage
It's all about time: NVMe storage is big news in the enterprise data center world because it saves time. The NVMe architecture brings a new high-performance queuing mechanism that supports 65,535 I/O queues each with 65,535 commands (referred to as queue depth, or number of outstanding commands). Queues are mapped to CPU cores delivering scalable performance.
- Specially designed from the ground up for SSDs.
- Takes advantage of both solid-state storage and multi-core CPUs and gigabytes of memory
- Has optimized command sets to efficiently parse and manipulate data.
- Provides lower latency
- More scalable for SSDs than legacy interfaces.
- More efficient interface significantly reduces the number of memory-mapped input/output commands
- Accommodates operating system device drivers running in interrupt or polling modes for higher performance and lower latency.
- Contains host-to-device protocol for SSD commands used by an operating system for read, write, flush, trim, firmware management, temperature, errors, and others
The NVMe base specification offered an efficient interface, providing lower latency, that is more scalable for SSDs than legacy interfaces, like serial ATA (SATA).
Designed from the ground up for SSDs, the NVM Express® (NVMe®) base specification has quickly evolved into the industry standard for PCIe solid-state drives (SSDs) in many form factors (U.2, M.2, AIC, EDSFF).
NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF)
NVMe is much more than faster flash storage. It is also an end-to-end standard that enables data to be transported efficiently between storage systems and servers.
- NVMe over Fabrics extends the latency and performance benefits of NVMe over network fabrics such as Ethernet, Fibre Channel, and InfiniBand.
- It provides a higher IOPS rate and reduced latency from the host software stack throughout the Data Fabric to the storage enclosure.
NVMe over Fibre Channel (NVMe/FC)
With the recent release of NetApp® ONTAP®, the NetApp AI data management platform now provides support for NVMe over Fibre Channel.
Many enterprises have built their own infrastructure around Fibre Channel because of its performance, reliability, and support for structural zoning and naming services.
Applications such as databases run much faster when using the NVMe/FC protocol than when using FCP (the SCSI protocol with an underlying Fibre Channel connection). ONTAP NVMe/FC traffic can coexist with FCP traffic on the same Fibre Channel fabric, making it easy to get started with NVMe/FC. For many customers with ONTAP AFF systems, this is simply a non-disruptive software upgrade.
What is NVMe®?
The NVM Express® (NVMe®) family of specifications define how host software communicates with non-volatile memory across multiple transports like PCI Express® (PCIe®), RDMA, TCP, and more. It is the industry standard for solid-state drives (SSDs) in all form factors (U.2, M.2, AIC, EDSFF).