By Brandon Hoff
I recently presented a webcast on NVM Express® over Fabrics (NVMe-oF™) and gave a rundown on what’s new for NVMe-oF in 2018. Since the NVMe-oF specification’s official release in May 2016, we have seen a lot of excitement building.
In my webcast, I deliver a high-level overview of the NVMe-oF content we presented at Flash Memory Summit this year. The good news is that you can drill down into more details by accessing that content on our website here. You may also catch the recording of this webcast on our BrightTalk Channel. We are expecting the updated NVMe-oF 1.1 specification to be released soon, but in the meantime, here is a primer on a couple of things to come and the road ahead.
As a reminder, NVMe-oF is the defacto standard for extending the NVMe architecture in a scalable manner over mainstream interconnects. The standard is designed to enable nonvolatile memory express message-based commands to transfer data between a host computer and a target solid-state storage device or system over a network. Notable benefits include increased performance and reduced network latency and bottlenecks.
One of the more interesting new developments that I am thrilled about is the new transport bindings for the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). The benefits for developers is that it gives you the ability to migrate to an NVMe technology and migrate away from Internet Small Computer Systems Interface (iSCSI). NVMe-oF/TCP is an excellent option for enterprises who want to leverage their Ethernet infrastructure and avoid the complexities of Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) protocol.
NVMe-oF is transport agnostic, meaning that NVMe-oF equally supports all transports. There are several means of transport available – RoCEv2, iWARP, InfiniBand and, FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet). Some transports use the RDMA protocol binding that is included in our specification already, but we are now adding the TCP to meet market demand.
The industry is optimistic for the NVMe/TCP standard; many industry leaders are standing behind it, including Facebook, Google, Dell EMC, Intel, and others.
The External Storage Market is Taking Off
The market is already picking up NVMe-oF technology and we expect that enterprise customers will continue to play with and deploy it in high performance demanding applications. We are already seeing top vendors including Broadcom, Cisco, Intel, IBM and more announcing NVMe-oF solutions.
The NVMe-oF Future is Bright in Enterprise Storage
There is demand for NVMe-oF technology in emerging, compute-intensive markets.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and real-time analytics all require lower latency and faster throughput, which NVMe-oF delivers. NVMe-oF technology has many benefits that address new applications. On the server side, NVMe-oF reduces the length of the operating system storage stack, allowing connections to be made much more efficiently. On the storage array side, we see a performance improvement for a given array footprint, due to a shorter path through the target stack. One of the most significant benefits, however, is that NVMe-oF takes advantage of the backside of the storage array and makes the end solution much faster by moving from SAS/SATA drives to NVMe SSDs.
Again, my intention with this blog is to entice you to take a deeper dive on NVMe-oF. Please take a listen to the webcast and check out all our presentations from FMS 2018.