What is NVMe and Why is CMA Using It?
In certain circles (yes, you can consider that a storage disk joke), it’s been impossible to miss the hype around NVMe:
- “NVME is the new language of storage...” says Tom Coughlin, Contributor, Forbes Magazine.
- “NVME is no longer nice-to-have storage technology... Bottom line: NVME is fast. Really fast. Like never-have-to-wait-again-for-your-computer fast,” says Jon Jaconi, Contributor, PCWorld.
- “I think now is a good time for your organization to consider NVMe,” wrote Daniel Chow, a few years ago, as CTO of Silicon Mechanics.
At CMA, we think that recommendation is still accurate, as this article will explain. But first, a short primer.
A Short History of NVMe
NVME stands for Non-Volatile Memory Express. A consortium of vendors (including Dell, Intel, Samsung, and Sandisk) designed it for a very specific purpose—to “take advantage of the unique properties available w/pipeline-rich, random-access, and memory-based storage.” It is a communications protocol that allows drives to act like fast memory, rather than the hard disks they imitate.
NVMe products began to appear on the market toward the end of 2014, and NVMe-leveraging storage platforms began to appear in 2016, which makes NVMe fairly new, but stable technology.
For an easy-to-understand overview, we recommend, “NVMe for Absolute Beginners,” by J. Metz.
Is it Really That Much Faster?
Technology is always promising better, faster things. And after listening to that same message for a few decades, it can be difficult to put a truly leading-edge technology into proper context.
But the answer is yes. And NVMe can make a huge difference for enterprises. CMA’s own benchmarks back this claim up. More on that in a bit.
“NVMe enables faster performance and greater density compared to legacy protocols. It's geared for enterprise workloads that require top performance, such as real-time data analytics, online trading platforms and other latency-sensitive workloads,” says Ann Bednarz, Assistant Managing Editor, Network World.
How is CMA Taking Advantage? And How Can We Help You Do the Same?
CMA’s Chief Technology Officer, Brian Dougherty, decided that our MicroTerabyte solution would be the perfect place to optimize NVME’s amazing speed.
“Building powerful, cost-effective platforms to host data at scale is very important, and utilizing NVMe and the latest fabrics is key,” he said. Made with NVMesh, the latest iteration of MicroTerabyte, MicroTerabyte NVMe, is an ultra-high performance, pre-calibrated data solution designed to easily scale and build up as needed.
Let’s get back to those benchmarks and show you how fast NVMe contributes to certain tasks. When it comes to creating a 10TB tablespace, MicroTerabyte NVMe took 31 minutes, opposed to 111 minutes taken by our previous solution. Performing a full table scan on a 12 TB table took 2.5 minutes, as opposed to 27. And creating a local bitmap index on this same 12TB table took 3 minutes, opposed to 92.