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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

To support the high aggregate number of data streams from edge gateways requires a significant amount of storage bandwidth and performance stability. Not only does the storage need the ability to support 24-7 ingest of new data, but it also needs to have enough extra bandwidth and I/O capacity to handle batch and ad hoc queries against this data. A single high-performance U.2 form factor NVMe SSD (with x4 PCIe data lanes) can provide more than three gigabytes per second of throughput (Table 1). To match this bandwidth, five or more additional SATA SSDs would be required, given bandwidth performance of about 600 megabytes per second.

Table 1: Typical interface specifications for U.2 formatted SSDs
Processing big data generally involves streaming large block of historical data, small blocks of random read and write data used for intermediate processing, and large blocks that write the results. The same low latency and high queue depth features that make NVMe a good fit for edge gateways are just as beneficial when processing data at the core, and enable the cluster-computing tools used to process and act on streamed data with added capabilities.

Final Thoughts
The Internet of Things is driven by data. Edge gateways that process fast data need the low latency and high parallelism of NVMe SSDs to manage the massive amounts of aggregated sensor data they collect. At the core of the data center, the incredibly fast bandwidth advantages and high queue depths of NVMe SSDs enable faster and more efficient big data analysis.

Initially reserved for high-performance, high-capacity workloads, NVMe SSDs are creating a convergence of compute and storage, and are penetrating other areas of the data center previously reserved for legacy-based SSDs. With more than three gigabytes per second throughput across hundreds of commands and dozens of processing cores, NVMe delivers memory speed between application, CPU and SSD. Not only does this lower latencies and deliver multiple times the performance of SCSI, but it also keeps those new CPUs busy, maximizing your ROI. NVMe is a game changer—at the edge, in the core, and virtually across all computer architectures, today and tomorrow.

Ulrich Hansen is focused on product planning, product line management and technical marketing for Western Digital's enterprise SSD product portfolio. This includes defining the company's next-generation solid-state products, while ensuring that new products and technologies are successfully introduced into the enterprise and data-center markets. He is also responsible for assessing market opportunities and emerging technologies, defining requirements for new products, and aligning customers and industry partners with Western Digital's product and technology strategies. Mr. Hansen has more than 20 years of experience in a number of high-technology sectors, including servers, storage, and network and communication systems. Prior to joining Western Digital through the HGST-acquisition, he served as the senior director of marketing for Entorian Technologies, and has held senior positions in product development, marketing and corporate strategy, with management consultancies and technology companies that include A.T. Kearney and Dell. Mr. Hansen holds a Master's degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master's degree in electrical engineering from RWTH Aachen in Germany.

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