E-Handbook: High-performance data storage goes from NVMe to SCM Article 1 of 4

How NVMe and SCM are transforming high-performance storage

NVMe has been a game changer for high-performance data storage in the enterprise. Applications where microseconds count, such as high-frequency trading, e-commerce, AI, machine learning and big data analytics, are driving demand for NVMe-based technology.

The cost and limited capacity of dynamic RAM (DRAM) have prevented it from meeting the needs of those applications. NVMe has stepped in to fill the gap between NAND flash and DRAM, providing faster storage than NAND at a lower cost than DRAM.

NVMe runs on the PCIe bus. Data storage market research firm TrendFocus Inc. forecasted that, by 2024, 136.5 exabytes of enterprise storage will ship as PCIe-based SSDs, up from 26 EB in 2019. That's a compound annual growth rate of 39%.

But the technology has its limits. There are only so many PCIe slots available per socket, capping the number of NVMe drives per storage controller. Storage class memory (SCM) is up next to drive the data center to even lower-latency and higher-performance data storage.

This handbook looks at how much faster SCM drives are than NVMe flash drives. It also examines other areas -- such as higher throughput, more IOPS and better durability -- where SCM goes beyond NVMe flash. But all those advantages are counterbalanced by higher cost.

But all is not lost: Vendors are coming up with cheaper approaches that will get SCM into the enterprise sooner. These include a new version of tiered storage that combines SCM for primary storage with lower-cost, high-capacity NAND flash as a secondary tier for cooler data.

In addition to assessing the transition from NVMe to SCM, we'll take a deep dive into SCM technology, uses and products. Finally, we'll look at storage hardware trends as more NVMe-based flash storage and SCM drives and DIMMs hit the market.

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