Storage is not keeping up with cloud deployments, growth of virtualization, performance demands, big data analytics and limited IT budgets. A better alternative than standard spinning HDDs need to be considered for onboard server storage.

Any type of SSD drives delivers benefits including high performance, extreme durability, and low power consumption. No matter the interface, SSD drives still maintain these inherent characteristics.  

  • Better Reliability
  • Faster Data Read & Write Rates
  • Higher Performance
  • Lower Power Consumption

NVMe SSDs

Now, let’s look specifically at NVMe SSDs.  Non Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) is a new industry standard that enables data centers to realize full flash potential without compatibility headaches. NVMe is new PCIe 3.0 high performance solid-state drive
(SSD) technology that provides high I/O throughput and low latency. NVMe interfaces remove SAS/SATA bottlenecks and enable all of the capabilities of contemporary NAND flash memory.

NVMe was designed specifically for flash memory communication and allows solid state drives to connect to the system using the PCIe bus giving these types of Solid State drives the ability to reach their true throughput potential. NVMe is an optimized, high performance, scalable host controller interface with a streamlined register interface and command set designed for accessing SSDs attached through the PCIe bus.

NVMe SSDs allow flash to fulfill more of its performance promise. It leverages the PCIe bus in a standardized way and it is specifically optimized for memory based storage. Users get the benefit of even higher performance mainly measured in IOPS (Input/Output). Since an NVMe SSD does not have to support legacy protocols, it can focus on taking full advantage of memory based storage.  

NVMe Key Characteristics

  • Low I/O latency
  • Fast sequential and random reads/writes
  • High endurance
  • Attach to a backplane that is directly connected to the PCIe bus
  • Support for software RAID
  • Hot add and hot remove
  • Most operating systems have native support

Key Workloads work better with NVMe SSDs:

Database – Consistent, low latency, high bandwidth performance NVMe shines in traditional relational databases

Big Data – Analytics and NoSQL databases fully utilize NVMe performance to provide near real time resultsPrivate Cloud – Software Defined Infrastructure is made affordable with high performance NVMe SSDs.

HPC – NVMe SSDs support high bandwidth demands of HPC designed to speed up workflow times

Virtualization – NVMe SSDs lower Enterprise TCO by enabling increased Virtual Machine scalability and optimizing platform utilization

NVMe Performance:

NVMe SSD Performance Provides (vs SAS or SATA SSDs)

  • Up to 50% better latency
  • Up to 2 times better IOPS per Core
  • More than double the sequential bandwidth
  • Up to 4 times the IOPSs on random workloads

A performance report was done comparing new server with standard SATA SSDs and the same server with NVMe SSDs.

Using SSDs the new server was able to perform the work of two of the legacy servers. After upgrading the server to NVMe SSDs, it was able to perform the work of 4 of the legacy servers.

Lenovo Press – Implementing NVMe Drives

A new Lenovo Press document titled Implementing NVMe Drives on Lenovo Servers is now available.

  • Introduces NVMe drives
  • Explains how to use NVMe with MS, Linux and VMware
  • Describes how to create RAID volumes using operating system tools
  • Describes how to recover a RAID array when an NVMe drive has failed

Intel P3700 and P3600 NVMe SSDs

The P3700 and P3600 NVMe Enterprise Performance Flash Adapter devices are based on Intel-developed controller, firmware, and leading manufacturing process NAND flash memory. Rigorous qualification and compatibility testing by Lenovo ensures a highly reliable SSD.

By combining Flash NAND management techniques and NAND silicon enhancements, High Endurance Technology (HET) enables the P3700 Series to achieve up to 17 drive writes per day over a 5 year drive life. For a lower cost NVMe option, the P3600 Series offers up to 3 drive writes per day.

For more information:

Lenovo Enterprise SSDs

Lenovo Servers