Should NVMe be part of your storage infrastructure?

Non-volatile memory express lets you replace solid-state drives, spinning disks or traditional storage arrays. Why are IT pros moving to this new storage technology and how do two leading products (Dell EMC PowerMax NVMe and Pure FlashArray//X NVMe) compare?

Sandra Henry-Stocker

IT pros regard NVMe (non-volatile memory express) storage technology as transformational, providing a faster alternative to older options, according to a report from IT Central Station.

 “We knew we needed to invest in a new solution to help our clients respond to all their requirements. We needed to make available other services and other classes of storage. The solution's architecture influenced our buying decision. It was important for us to have NVMe because it is faster,” says as a storage administrator from a company with more than 10,000 employees.

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A senior solution architect at a hosting company said one of the benefits of using Dell EMC PowerMax NVMe is that it decreases his company’s physical footprint: “From reclaiming data center space, which is so tightly constrained these days, it will pay for itself in a short amount of time.”

What is NVMe?

NVMe can replace SSD disks, spinning disks or traditional storage arrays. For example, a senior engineer whose healthcare company with more than 10,000 employees say s he deployed Dell EMC PowerMax NVMe because, “The response time, compared to XtremIO, is far better.”

A CTO at Secure-24 cites the benefits of moving from a Pure Storage array to a Pure FlashArray//X NVMe: “With the traditional Pure Storage array, you had very consistent low latency, but you still were in one to three milliseconds. Now, with the NVMe arrays, it's a whole new paradigm of fast. You're measuring everything in less than a millisecond. With the I/O responses, your high bar is one millisecond. This is something you haven't seen in most traditional storage frames or even all-flash storage frames.”

Other NVMe users note the cost savings that come with the technology. “They can tout the functionality and cutting-edge technology that they have, but that's where the price tag comes in,” said a manager of infrastructure at an insurance company.

Another NVMe user notes: "I don't think we're any different than anybody else when we continue to look to the industry for price reductions of both NVMe and traditional SSD storage."

Is the NVMe market demand growing?

One factor to consider when looking at new products or technologies is their future viability. For example, how does it integrate going forward and with new technologies? According to a storage engineer at a government entity with more than 10,000 employees: “In terms of NVMe over Fabrics, that's something we're going to see a lot of in the future. It's going to change storage. When it comes to speed, compared to other Fiber Channel gear, there's nothing that compares. It's amazingly fast. When it comes to NVMe over Fabrics with existing Fibre Channel infrastructure, the sky's the limit. It's robust, it is a pretty amazing product, and the performance, especially with things like AI applications. It will be pretty amazing.”

Dell EMC PowerMax NVMe vs. Pure FlashArray//X NVMe

To see how storage professionals ranked two of the top NVMe solutions, log in or subscribe to download the 35-page PDF report from IT Central Station.