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Breaking Digital Logjams with NVMe

By Ian Sagan, Marvell Field Applications Engineer

and Jacqueline Nguyen, Marvell Field Marketing Manager

and Nick De Maria, Marvell Field Applications Engineer

What is NVMe®?

NVMe is a purpose-built protocol for NVMe SSDs (solid state drives based on NAND Flash storage media). This set of industry-standard technical specifications, developed by a non-profit consortium called NVM Express, defines how host software communicates with flash storage across a PCI Express® bus. As noted in the recent Marvell Whitepaper on NVMe-over-Fabrics (NVMe-oF), these specs comprise:

  • NVMe, which is a command set that is efficient and manageable, with a faster queuing mechanism and scalable for multi-core CPUs.
  • NVMe Management Interface (NVMe-MI), which is a command set and architecture that can use a Baseboard Management Controller to discover, monitor, and update NVMe devices.

Why use NVMe?

  • Is more streamlined, with fewer command sets and fewer clock cycles per IO, making it faster and more efficient than legacy storage protocols such as SCSI, SAS and SATA
  • Is designed to deliver higher bandwidth and lower latency storage access
  • Offers more command queues and deeper command queues than the legacy protocols

Can I afford NVMe?

No.

  • When is it better to patch a datacenter than undertake a full refresh?
  • What are the tradeoffs between familiarity, accessibility, and breakthrough performance?
  • What is the transaction cost of changing to new protocols?

What components do I need to implement NVMe?

For administrators considering a shift to NVMe, two major categories of solutions exist:

    • A modern server with enough PCIe interfaces to host local NVMe drives for caching and/or capacity
    • Marvell® FastLinQ® 10/25GbE NICs with Universal RDMA (RoCEv2 and iWARP) for high speed, high intercluster network connectivity
  1. External Block Based Storage (All Flash Array) – This solution delivers disaggregated storage where multiple applications access pools of NVMe for application acceleration
    • A modern server, typically virtualized and hosting multiple applications that need access to high speed storage
    • Marvell QLogic® FC HBAs with concurrent FC-SCSI and FC-NVMe capabilities – all Enhanced 16GFC and 32GFC HBAs (or)
    • Marvell FastLinQ 10/25GbE NICs with NVMe/RDMA or NVMe/TCP capabilities
    • Supported Storage Array with All-Flash NVMe, several available in the market
    • Latest operating systems with support for NVMe over Fabrics like Linux and VMware ESXi 7.0 onwards.

Why administrators should embrace NVMe today

For early adopters, NVMe and NVMe-oF delivers immediate benefits – dramatic savings in time, energy and total cost of ownership – paying dividends for years to come.

Additional NVMe information:

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