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From Cars to Data Centers: Driving the Internet of Things with NVMe

The incredibly fast bandwidth advantages and high queue depths of Non-Volatile Memory Express SSDs enable faster and more efficient big data analysis.
By Ulrich Hansen
Aug 17, 2018

The Internet of Things (IoT) is all about data: big data in core data centers where millions of sensor inputs are aggregated, with trends identified and actionable insights delivered, while fast data pulses through thousands of individual edge gateways to deliver microsecond processing that is acted upon in real time. IoT devices (autonomous cars, drones, robots, machines, equipment, surveillance cameras and so forth) will continue to increase the data they generate annually, as forecasts indicate.

For example, a self-driving car can generate approximately three gigabytes of data per second from a variety of sensors—if the average car is driven about 300 hours per year, a single vehicle could generate about 72 gigabytes per day and about 26 terabytes of data annually. Processing data on this scale at IoT speed requires a modern storage interface, such as NVMe.

The Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) standard, an interconnect protocol used for accessing high-speed storage media, is designed to connect high-performance NAND flash memory to compute resources over native PCI Express (PCIe) links. Its streamlined memory interface, command set and queue design eliminate the legacy SCSI command stack and direct-attached storage (DAS) bottlenecks associated with traditional hard drive interfaces, resulting in a uniquely tuned input-output (I/O) architecture optimized for solid state media.

NVMe connects directly to the CPU via a PCIe bus, minimizing the storage driver stack to deliver significantly faster performance than traditional interfaces. As such, it is well suited for aggregating diverse data sources from IoT workloads, including from thousands of sensors streaming data at a rate of thousands of times per second. The advanced performance of NVMe makes it essential for aggregating diverse IoT data streams into databases, while providing enough bandwidth and IOPS to also perform analytics.

The new generation of NVMe-compliant SSDs are enabling more responsive applications while reducing the number of overall storage devices required, as well as associated physical footprints. As a result, NVMe SSDs are accelerating business opportunities in all areas of the data center and at the edge.

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