A New Level of Performance: NVMe over Fabric Storage Provisioning

Posted by VIOLIN SYSTEMS on Sep 8, 2020 8:43:09 AM

Does it feel like “NVMe over Fabric storage” is currently on the lips of everyone in information technology (IT)?

You’ve probably heard rumblings about this interface model that eliminates lag time and improves throughput throughout the IT industry. It’s not going anywhere.

Here’s what Eric Burgener, Research Vice President at Infrastructure Systems, Platforms, and Technologies Group, IDC has to say about the innovative technology:

“With the burgeoning use of artificial intelligence, machine, and deep learning, and the internet of things, demand for these types of extreme performance systems is growing, and IDC predicts that by 2021 NVMe-based storage systems will be driving over 50 percent of all primary external storage system revenues.”

The use of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) is just beginning. In fact, internet users are generating around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, and 97.2 percent of organizations are investing in big data and AI.

The problem is that all this data must be stored somewhere, and access quickly if it’s going to be of any use.

So if 95 percent of businesses cite the need to store unstructured data as a problem they are facing, how can NVMe over Fabric Storage provisioning help? Is it the solution to these data storage issues? Let’s take a look.

What is NVMe over Fabric Storage?

Non-volatile memory express over fabric (also known as NVMeoF or NVMe over Fabric) is perhaps one of the most exciting innovations in data center storage technology since solid-state drives and flash technology. The benefits are new levels of performance and efficiency to meet the demands of big data and fast-expanding storage arrays.

NVMeoF is a kind of network protocol that communicates between the host and the storage system over a network—which is also referred to as a “fabric”—that allows for lower latency. This protocol emerged out of a need for higher performance with all-flash arrays. It’s like unleashing the power of an all-flash array that was already there.

While all-flash arrays have the capability to reach 1 million input/outputs per second (IOPS), they were previously held back by legacy storage technology systems, which were built for spinning disk drives, not solid-state drives like in an all-flash array. They couldn’t actually reach this number of inputs and outputs, thanks to bottlenecking.

Essentially, NVMe over Fabric is a lightweight communication protocol designed with modern architecture, all-flash arrays, and contemporary storage techniques in mind. NVMeoF helps you achieve a completely new level of high performance.

How NVMe over Fabrics Technology Works

To access the full potential of all-flash arrays, the new NVMeoF technology grants users faster speed to take real benefit of flash performance. An NVMeoF interface does a few things:

  • It streamlines operations with lower latency
  • It reduces the central processing unit (CPU) overhead
  • It increases IOPS and throughput

Compared to legacy all-flash arrays, NVMeoF can operate as much as five times faster, which amounts to about thirty times faster than spinning disks.

How does this happen? NVMeoF eliminates a great deal of the bottleneck that happens with legacy systems. Using an NVMeoF interface, IOPS are performed in parallel, which means that many, many requests can happen at the same time, instead of one by one. Large tasks are easily broken down into smaller, independently processed tasks, which can happen independently of one another.

The Benefits of NVMe over Fabric Storage Provisioning

If it’s true that around half of external storage systems will operate using an NVMeoF interface, why is it so popular? What are the benefits?

Higher Throughput and Lower Latency

As servers today grow in power, and data storage centers gain speed with all-flash arrays, the far-reaching connective “fabric” replaces the bottleneck for optimal end-to-end performance, which gives your users a higher throughput while also eliminating latency. NVMeoF increases performance for the applications and the network itself, doubling improvement in throughput and reducing latency by 52 percent.

When you provision your storage using an NVMe over Fabric model, your data is spread out and accessed quickly for a lightweight, thin storage solution.

Increased Storage Capacity and Performance

When VIOLIN Systems integrated an NVMeoF interface, it allowed us to double the storage capacity of our VIOLIN XVS 8 Extreme Performance Storage Platform without any kind of decrease in performance. Essentially, you get more storage while still maintaining the same rapid retrieval of data you need for applications that rely on big data and AI.

When you increase storage capacity with an NVMeoF infrastructure, you also significantly reduce IT infrastructure costs. You can also increase your performance and earning potential. The connective fabric of NVMeoF will enable you to make rapid transactions, get timely business insights, and reduce the time it takes to develop data-based marketing strategies that increase customer satisfaction.

Compatibility with Your Existing Infrastructure

VIOLIN Systems has combined the NVMeoF standard interface with its own performance-enhancing technology, while still speaking the same language as your existing infrastructure. This eliminates the need to rip and replace your original system to keep up with business demands, big data, and AI technology.

With VIOLIN System’s implementation of an NVMeoF interface, you get to leverage your current storage for your less-critical workloads that have lighter performance needs, deploying VIOLIN’s solutions for any applications that need consistent, reliable, extreme performance. There’s no need for a total overhaul because it works with the systems you already have in place.

Who Needs an NVMe over Fabric Storage Provisioning Interface?

What industries need the speed and performance of NVMeoF storage provisioning? The short answer is, “Anyone who relies on AI and big data and needs somewhere to store it all.”

The top five industries where the use of artificial intelligence is the most widespread are:

  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Marketing
  • Retail and e-commerce
  • Financial markets and services.

VIOLIN XVS 8 is also ideal for use in government, transportation and logistics, media, and entertainment, who all increasingly rely on big data.

VIOLIN’s performance storage and advanced software—combined with the power of an NVMeoF interface allows for reliable—extreme performance for OLTP, SQL databases, and real-time analytics that are slowed down by older legacy systems.

The deep and broad set of enterprise services leveraged on standards-based technology is an increasingly attractive alternative to others requiring a major overhaul to implement.

Are you ready to add the power of NMVe over Fabric storage provisioning to your storage arsenal? Let’s talk! Contact us today to learn more about how this high-speed, high-performance infrastructure can work for you.

Topics: IT operations, storage architecture