nvm_express_tm_colorNVM Express, Inc. recently announced that it has initiated an effort to specify a standard for NVM Express over Fabrics. This extends the benefits of NVM Express (NVMe) to usages with hundreds of solid state drives where using a fabric as an attach point is more appropriate than using PCI Express, as in flash appliances that use fabrics such as Ethernet with RDMA, InfiniBand®, Intel® Omni Scale Fabric and Fibre Channel.

The organization also announced that Revision 1.2 of the NVM Express Specification is in the final stages of ratification.

Delivering application-focused performance for data-intensive workloads, such as real-time data analytics, NVM Express over Fabrics enables end-users to connect remote subsystems with a flash appliance to achieve faster application response times and better scalability across virtual data centers. While the ability to access remote solid state drives over fabrics exists today, typically a SCSI-based protocol is used. This results in increased latency. By using NVMe end-to-end, the latency-contributing SCSI translation is eliminated, resulting in faster access to data. This provides end-users with the ability to harness the performance of hundreds of solid state drives, achieving similar latency whether the SSDs are local or remote.

An early prototype of NVM Express over Fabrics will be demonstrated at the Intel Developers Forum, September 9-11 in San Francisco at the Intel booth, #173 in the NVM Express Community.

The NVM Express 1.2 specification, extends the specification to a new level of enterprise and client functionality. The NVMe 1.2 specification adds features for both enterprise and client systems. For client systems, the NVMe 1.2 specification enables better power management, and other mobile-oriented capabilities, such as a feature that enables SSDs with less or no DRAM, reducing system costs. These features are especially important in the expanding small form factor computing segment. For enterprises, the NVMe 1.2 specification enhances status reporting and expands capabilities including live firmware updates.

The NVM Express 1.2 specification will be available for download in the fourth quarter of 2014.