Historically, SSDs have been designed to fit in the same I/O interface as a hard disk drive (HDD), such as the SATA and the SAS interface, to connect to the host computer. Although most SSDs today use 3D TLC NAND-based flash memory, rapid developments in Non-volatile Memory Express (NVMe), NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF), and storage-class memory (SCM) technologies offer tremendous potential in the data center.
NVMe is an interface protocol for accessing flash storage via a PCI Express (PCIe) bus. Unlike traditional all-flash architectures, which are limited to a single, serial command queue, NVMe supports tens of thousands of parallel queues, each with the ability to support tens of thousands of concurrent commands.
NVMe-oF is a host-side interface into storage systems that extends many of the relevant NVMe capabilities over a remote direct memory access (RDMA) or Fibre Channel fabric. With NVMe-oF, it is possible to scale out to large numbers of NVMe devices, even over distances.
SCM, also known as persistent memory (PMEM), is a new type of media technology that is blurring the line between memory and storage because it can be used as either. Examples of SCM include Intel’s 3D XPoint and Samsung’s Z-NAND media.
When broadly deployed, NVMe and NVMe-oF, especially in combination with SCM, can dramatically accelerate a new generation of applications, delivering 10x lower latency and maximum IOPS.
NetApp was the first to market with high-capacity 15TB SSDs based on 3D NAND technology. It is now leading the future of flash with a powerful vision of integrating the new flash storage systems based on NVMe, NVMe-oF, and SCM into the existing infrastructure nondisruptively.