I spent part of this week at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2012 in San Francisco, primarily to learn more about NVM Express (NVMe) and see the prototype solutions on display. I spent time with representatives from several companies and discussed some of the technical details with a few of the architects.
NVM Express is a scalable host controller interface designed for enterprise and client systems that use PCI Express SSDs. NVMe was developed by an industry consortium of more than 80 member companies and is directed by a 13-company promoter group that includes Cisco, Dell, EMC, IDT, Intel, LSI, Marvell, Micron, NetApp, Oracle, Samsung, SanDisk and STEC. The original NVMe 1.0 specification was published in March 2011. The 1.0c specification was published in February 2012. A version 1.1 is underway that has added enterprise features that support multi-host usage models including the use of reservations.
My full commentary and observations are available on the Demartek website.
Action Item: NVM Express is an emerging technology that promises to provide the lowest storage latency not only at the hardware level but also through the operating system stack. The first enterprise products are expected to become available towards the end of 2012. This technology is worth watching over the next few months, especially for those applications that need the lowest storage latencies.
Footnotes: The full commentary is available at http://www.demartek.com/Demartek_Comments_IDF2012_and_NVMe.html on the Demartek website.