What is NVMe?
NVMe SSDs are rising in popularity, with many companies and individuals looking to upgrade their storage drives for improved performance and productivity. The data that our devices handle, process, upload and download is drastically increasing year on year. Technology that allows for greater data transfer rates is becoming increasingly popular in order to continue to meet demand.
But what exactly is NVMe technology and is it right for your business? In this article, we address this and explore what NVMe can offer your IT system.
NVMe Storage Drives
An SSD is an essential component that, once installed in your device, processes and stores data. It is a form of non-volatile memory that is capable of storing data even with a device is switched off. Head to our SSD blog to learn more about this particular component in more detail.
The term NVMe stands for Non-Volatile Memory Express and refers to the way in which the storage drive communicates and transfers data with the motherboard. Traditionally, storage drives (both HDD and SSD alike) utilise point-to-point serial protocol to transfer data between component and motherboard. This means the connection is cabled. Previous SSD editions, such as SAS and SATA, make use of cables and ports to transfer data. However, NVMe drives plug directly into the motherboard resulting in a faster and more efficient data transfer rate.
SATA vs NVMe
SATA and NVMe drives essentially perform the same task but they execute this task in different ways and it is this difference that is important.
SATA was introduced in 2000 to improve upon the then-current technology, Parallel ATA (PATA). SATA provided a quicker, smaller, more affordable and higher-performing model of ATA SSDs. PATA was also used for hard disk drives. However, this technology was only capable of achieving 50-120 MB/s using the SATA interface. SSDs in comparison could reach up to 550MB/s but they were still limited by the number of queue commands available.
NVMe technology was introduced in 2011 and utilises a more direct interface to transfer data. NVMe drives make use of the PCIe port to access up to 65,000 parallel command queues to transfer data exceptionally quickly. Therefore, the NVMe interface is able to transfer a vast amount of data at any one time for a more productive storage drive and faster device performance overall. SATA has access to only a single command queue, meaning that, in real time, NVMe is up to seven times faster than SATA.
With so many command queues available to transfer data, it is easy to see just how much quicker NVMe is. A single trackway along a country road will never be able to transport as many vehicles as a six-lane motorway, no matter how quickly the cars travel! The same goes for data transfer, the more lanes available, and the more data that can travel simultaneously, the faster the data transfer rate.
Is NVMe worth it?
Just as with any other form of technology, the more powerful and faster a component is, the more expensive it becomes and so NVMe does cost more than traditional SATA or SAS storage drives. However, the boost in performance experienced is impressive.
With data becoming increasingly important to every business, IT speed and efficiency is essential to the productive running of companies globally. As a result, NVMe technology is important to consider for your IT network. Businesses that handle real-time customer interactions rely on the speed and efficiency of their network and so NVMe is a worthy investment. Similarly, DevOps, artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data and advanced analytics apps are all examples of industries and applications that could utilise NVMe.
Furthermore, it is widely believed that NVMe is the future of SSD technology. Data centres and IT providers are increasingly turning towards NVMe drives within their infrastructure. It is predicted by IDC that the adoption of NVMe technology in data centres will grow to 91% by the end of 2023.
With the numbers of NVMe drives in data centres growing drastically, it is predicted that many IT manufacturers will break away from older technology for this more popular option, resulting in the redundancy of SATA and SAS. And just as we upgrade our phones regularly to keep pace with the never-ending stream of updates that seem to be released, you may start to find that many new server releases are not compatible with older storage drive forms. By joining the ever-growing number of NVMe converts you are futureproofing your own technology against potential obsoletion for older storage options.