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NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) is a new protocol for accessing high-speed storage media that has a number of advantages over conventional technologies. But what exactly is NVMe, and why is it so vital for data-driven businesses?

As businesses deal with the never-ending explosion of data, they must reconsider how data is gathered, preserved, accessed, and transformed. The performance, economics, and long-term viability of data at scale are critical. NVMe is having a significant impact on businesses and their ability to use data, particularly Fast Data for real-time analytics and developing technologies.

In this blog article, I'll define NVMe and provide a technical breakdown of how the storage architecture works. Upcoming blogs will discuss the capabilities and benefits it delivers to enterprises, as well as the use cases where it is now being used, and Customers use CyberX's NVMe SSDs, platforms, and full-featured flash storage systems for everything from IoT Edge applications to personal gaming.

For more than a decade, my work has been linked to data storage methods in some form. I've worked on enterprise PCIe SSD product management and long-term storage technology planning while closely monitoring the progress of storage products. I am incredibly excited about the transformation NVMe is bringing to data centers, and the unique capability of CyberX to deliver innovation up and down the stack. NVMe opens up a whole new world of possibilities by allowing you to do more with data! Here’s why:

The Evolution of NVMe

The initial flash-based SSDs used legacy SATA/SAS physical interfaces, protocols, and form factors to minimize modifications in existing hard drive (HDD)-based enterprise server/storage systems. However, none of these interfaces and protocols were built for high-speed storage media (such as NAND and/or persistent memory). PCI Express (PCIe) was the next logical storage interface because of its interface speed, the performance of the new storage medium, and its proximity to the CPU.
PCIe slots link directly to the CPU, allowing memory-like access and the ability to run an extremely efficient software stack. However, early PCIe interface SSDs did not have industry standards or enterprise features. PCIe SSDs used proprietary firmware, which made system scaling particularly difficult for a variety of reasons, including

a) Running and maintaining device firmware,

b) Firmware/device incompatibilities with different system software,

c) Not always making the best use of available lanes and CPU proximity, and

d) A lack of value-add features for enterprise workloads.

The NVMe requirements arose mostly as a result of these difficulties.

The NVMe Value Proposition
The NVMe protocol, like high-performance processor architectures, takes advantage of parallel, low-latency data pathways to the underlying media. When compared to traditional SAS and SATA protocols, this provides much higher performance and lower delays. This not only accelerates existing applications that require high performance but also enables new applications and capabilities for real-time workload processing in the data center and at the Edge.

Traditional protocols use a large number of CPU cycles to make data available to programs. These wasted compute cycles cost businesses money. IT infrastructure budgets are not expanding at the same rate as data and are under intense pressure to maximize infrastructure returns — both in storage and computing. Organizations may lower the total cost of ownership and drive top-line business development by leveraging NVMe 's ability to manage tough application workloads with a reduced infrastructure footprint.

NVMe Architecture – Understanding I/O Queues
Let's take a closer look at the NVMe architecture and how it achieves excellent performance while maintaining low latency. NVMe can support up to 64K I/O queues, with each queue containing 64K entries. Legacy SAS and SATA can only support single queues with 254 and 32 items, respectively. According to the system setup and predicted workload, the NVMe host software can generate queues up to the maximum allowed by the NVMe controller. NVMe allows scatter/gather IOs, reducing CPU overhead on data transfers and even allowing them to be prioritized based on workload needs.

How Do NVMe Commands Work?
The host writes I/O Command Queues and doorbell registers (I/O Commands Ready Signal); the NVMe controller then selects the I/O Command Queues, executes them, and transmits I/O Completion Queues to the host, followed by an interrupt. The host records I/O Completion Queues and clears the door register (I/O Commands Completion Signal).

Why NVMe Gets the Most Out of Multicore Processors? NVMe, as previously stated, is a NUMA-optimized protocol. This enables many CPU cores to share queue ownership and priority, as well as arbitration procedures and command atomicity. As a result, NVMe SSDs may scatter/gather commands and process them in parallel to provide significantly better IOPS and lower data latencies.

What Is the Importance of NVMe in Business?
In general, enterprise systems are data-starved. The exponential growth of data, as well as its changing demands, creates new obstacles. When confronted with some of Fast Data's new difficulties, even high-performance SSDs attached to conventional storage protocols can encounter poorer performance, increased latencies, and worse quality of service. NVMe's distinct characteristics aid in avoiding bottlenecks in everything from traditional scale-up database applications to upcoming Edge computing architectures, as well as scaling to meet new data demands.

In the very demanding and compute-intensive corporate, cloud, and edge data settings, NVMe is the only protocol that stands out. It is designed for high-performance and non-volatile storage media. Furthermore, new and unique features (which I will discuss in my next blog) include capabilities such as multiple queues, combining IOs, defining ownership and prioritization processes, multipath and virtualization of I/Os, capturing asynchronous device updates, and many other enterprise features that did not previously exist. As we assist organizations in their transformation, NVMe enables you to do more with data.

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Feb / 08 /2022