What is NVMe, and how is it changing enterprise storage

NVMe (non-volatile memory express) is shaking up the enterprise storage industry.

NVMe (non-volatile memory express) is shaking up the enterprise storage industry.

A communications protocol developed specifically for all-flash storage, NVMe enables faster performance and greater density compared to legacy protocols. It's geared for enterprise workloads that require top performance, such as real-time data analytics, online trading platforms and other latency-sensitive workloads.

NVMe vs. serial-attached SCSI (SAS)

NVMe is aimed at reducing the software overhead between applications and storage in all-flash systems.

Flash-based storage systems typically use SAS (serial-attached SCSI) links from their controller processors to communicate to flash. SAS relies on the legacy protocol SCSI, which was originally developed for use with slower hard-disk drives. SCSI can be used for communicating to flash, but it’s not ideal. “How it tries to read and write – SCSI just assumes that the flash drive it’s talking to is a hard-disk drive. It’s not very efficient when it comes to getting the full performance value out of flash,” says Eric Burgener, research vice president for storage at IDC.

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