NVMe is changing the storage status quo.

By Ann Allyn - 2017-09-11

Shared storage technology finds its space- and rightful place

It’s always interesting in our crazy world of dynamic technology advances to see which latest innovation gets lots of hype, which actually transforms from a concept into a reality, and then which one emerges as a game changer impacting real computing and business needs. We’d all be rich if these were easy or obvious calls to make.

The sum of any technology solution, including function, industry acceptance, cost, availability, ease of implementation and investment longevity, poses a tough equation to solve. According to industry experts Gartner, NVMe™, as part of a shared storage backbone, is one of those technology paradigms that has done just that. Take a look at the recently published Gartner review entitled The Future of Hyperconverged and Integrated Systems Will Be Shaped by Shared Accelerated Storage. It details how a once aspirational and revolutionary memory concept has grown into a practical and cost effective method to meet today’s hyper-critical processing needs. And it’s not just for highly specialized, high demand applications any more, but is becoming the “go to” interface protocol standard for much broader use cases. NVMe (NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF™) is growing up, with lots of new places to go, helping solve a myriad of application challenges.

Some thoughts from Gartner on four key areas articulating why the time has come to implement NVMe technology, in their own words:

  • Performance: NVMe SSD devices have been improving performance by several orders of magnitude, compared with SAS and SATA SSDs.
  • Cost effective:  NVMe SSDs are forecasting price drops of 35% $/GB year over year.
  • Standards: The NVMe group with 115 members and 12 companies leading adoption of the standard in ecosystem. (Micron is a member of the NVM Express industry group.)
  • Systems Infrastructure: NVMe SSDs are mainstream in server and OS support adoption.

While some technology gets left in the dust, others mature and become new standards that not only meet current demand but prepare our organizations for future success. But Gartner also suggests some added infrastructure and operational considerations when moving to this newer technology, especially when selecting a vendor to meet your needs:

  • Select products that are based on NVMe and NVMe-oF, and use commodity technologies to minimize disruptions in a rapidly changing product landscape.
  • Reduce their product selection risks by favoring vendors that have demonstrable support capabilities, provide customer references and are able to guarantee roadmap items; however, they shouldn't forget that this ecosystem is changing rapidly.

And Gartner also highlights some application areas where new storage technology can best be applied. These include databases (both relational and no SQL) that are read/write intensive, hyperscale computing where I/O bottlenecks can impede system performance, as well as other more traditional but essential uses such as virtualization and web applications.

This report is well worth the few minutes of time it takes to read. It promises to address some important storage questions regarding the latest NVMe hardware interface, and how it can reduce latency, speed app performance and deliver increased bandwidth that were once considered out of reach.

Read the Gartner report now.

Amit Gattani

Ann Allyn