What is NVMe?

NVMe stands for nonvolatile memory express and is a storage and transport protocol used by SSDs (solid state drives). NVMe storage is currently the fastest option on the market with the quickest data transfer rate. This makes it a popular option for use in laptops, PCs and servers. 

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.  

What are NVMe Storage Drives?

NVMe is a nonvolatile form of flash memory that stores and transfers data within your device. It is the fastest storage option on the market for laptops, computer and servers alike. It offers reduced latency and boosted productivity for all devices that results in a quicker user experience nad overall device. 

The term NVMe refers to the way in which the storage drive communicates and transfers data with the motherboard, the NVMe protocol. Traditionally, storage systems (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. It uses the PCIe interface to transfer data quickly and effectively. 


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.  

SATAdrives were 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.  

Find out more about which of these two options, NVMe vs SATA, is best for you here.  

NVMe vs M.2 |Are NVMe and M.2 the Same? 

No NVMe and M.2 are not the same. NVMe refers to the way in which data is transferred by an SSD and M.2 is a form factor.

A form factor is how a component or device looks, its shape, size and, often, how it connects. For example, an M.2 SSD is roughly the size and shape of a stick of gum and connects to a computer or laptop through the M.2 slot (or PCIe slot with an adapter). 

If a drive had an M.2 form factor that does not mean that it is an NVMe SSD. M.2 drives can support PCIe, SATA, USB 3.0 Bluetooth and Wi-Fi as well as NVMe. 


Is NVMe worth it?  

Is NVMe worth it? The quick answer is yes. The speed and performance of an NVMe storage drive are currently unrivaled. 

However, 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.  

Browse our range of NVme SSDs here or get in touch for more information.