Radio Free HPC is (as usual) worth a listen

Good wrap up of last years trends, this week at InsideHPC Radio Free HPC podcast.

We get a small mention around 10:50 or so. Thats not why its an especially good listen. The team arrived at many of the same conclusions we did last year, which is why we brought out Forte, and we have some additional products planned in that line for later on in the year.

Basically NVM and variants, NVMe, etc. are massively faster in both streaming and IOPs than traditional SSD, in that they remove a whole set of protocol layers (SAS/SATA) that serve only to slow it down. Moreover, many of the SSD OEMs themselves are moving rapidly towards NVMe as their path forward. I had thought (this time last year) that 12g SAS would be the preferred modality with NVMe being interesting as a possible future tech.

But my mind was changed last year, as I saw far more effort in the NVM space than I did elsewhere. I saw the performance possibilities, and realized how much things were going to change. Even more than this, I had a number of discussions that I can’t repeat, with a number of large vendors, that convinced me that the direction we needed to focus on was NVMe.

NVMe changes many things. For one, the concept of RAID may be significantly less relevant here. This is not that NVM devices won’t fail, they most certainly will. But you’d be hard pressed to do RAID calcs at the rates you need to use these units in a “standard” RAID5 or RAID6. Many people are thinking of them in terms of being a memory tier, and that is fine, but they are devices with a limited number of writes, so you need to be quite careful with that mental model.

This will take years to fully sort out, and we have a number of cool ideas and some tech coming out to augment Forte and alike.

The team spent the first 12-13 minutes talking about NVM and related. As Henry and Dan noted, its something of the sleeper story, but we are putting it front and center with the Forte line. NVMe is here, its loud, its proud, and its gonna rock applications worlds.

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