Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe) is a logical interface that was introduced to the public in 2013. It's performance is far better than any other available storage types thanks to the new technology it utilises.
Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe) is a logical interface that was introduced to the public in 2013, it's the most modern and technologically advanced storage device currently available. NVMe uses Peripheral Component Interconnect express ports (PCIe) in order to access information. This storage device is a huge step up, even from SSDs using SATA technology, it's significantly faster with seamless high-speed storage media rates as well as general speed rates, and it's performance is far better than any other available storage types thanks to the new technology it utilises.
There are many different forms of storage devices that can be used in server systems, and all of them work slightly differently from one another. NVMe is the most recent and modern creation in storage technology.
Hard Disk Drives (HDD) are an old form of storage technology which utilises magnets. They can store and retrieve data from a disk with a rapidly rotating platter, which is coated in a magnetic material, a head located on the end of this rotating platter is what read and writes data using 0s and 1s. They aren’t that reliable compared to newer storage devices, due to the fact that they utilise disks and can easily get scratched and wiped.
Solid State Drives (SSD) are newer than HDD storage devices, they use flash memory to store data instead of magnetic technology, meaning that the data is accessed digitally. SSDs have an incredibly quick data transfer speed which is almost instant in comparison to HDDs, and due to the way SSDs are structured, they don’t pose as much risk of damage to the data held on them as it’s all electronical rather than magnetic based, so it’s harder to wipe the data and damage it.
Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe) however, are even newer than both of these storage devices. It utilises an improved version of the same technology used in SSDs. Through the usage of PCI express (PCIe) lanes which are directly linked to the CPU, NVMes are incredibly quick and fast paced transfer speeds due to the more direct bus routes.
Storage solutions other than NVMe are still widely available for dedicated servers with some companies and can be handy to have alternative options for some businesses or clients looking to buy a server.
For example, one form of data storage are HDD drives, inside of a HDD is a spinning disk with a spindle from which the read head collects data. Due to the drives relying on physical moving parts they are much slower than other storage solutions and are more prone to mechanical failure, but they are also much cheaper which can make them good if you want a cheaper storage device to use in your server, providing you know the cons and risks that this cheaper alternative comes with.
Or another storage solution is using SATA SSD, which as mentioned before, SSDs use NAND-Flash memory, this means they are not reliant on moving parts and are less prone to failure. They are more reliable and have a quicker response time than HDD counterparts but will cost a little bit extra for this added benefit and difference.
HDDs with a SATA-III interface type has an average read/write speed of 100MB/s, with the ability to handle up to 100 operations per second. They have an average unit life of 3-5 years, and you can get up to 20TB on a single disk space, with 1TB costing just £30.
SATA SSDs with a SATA-III interface type have an average read/write speed of 500MB/s, and can handle up to 100,000 operations per second, which is a huge difference to HDDs ability to only handle up to 100 per second. Their average unit of life is around 5 years, and you can have 30TB on a single disk space. Though 1TB usually costs around £80.
NVMe SSDs with a PCIe 4.0 interface typehave an average read/write speed of 6,000MB/s, making them insanely fast, andthey can handle up to 500,000 operations per second too, even more than SATASSDs are capable of. Their average unit life is around 5 or more years. 1TB ofNVMe can cost around £120, which makes them relatively expensive compared tothe other two forms of storage devices.
PCIe connects NVMe drives directly the CPU increasing the performance of the SSD. While SATA allows for a 6GB/s connection, PCIe connections allow for up to 16GB/s connection speed. By increasing the link speed by over double that of a SATA drive, NVMe has transfer rates three to six times faster between hardware components, significantly improving the performance of a system.
When an NVMe drive is installed on a server, it interfaces via a designated PCIe slot rather than a SATA cable. As mentioned before this method of interfacing allows the NVMe drive to transfer data to and from the rest of the computer much faster than with a SATA connection. This means that NVMe drives can provide the fastest data transfer rates out of any storage medium to date.
NVMe drives are in the M.2 form factor which allows the drives to be directly installed onto the motherboard meaning that they require very little physical space when compared to the standard 2.5-inch solid-state hard drives. This will help reduce the clutter of a cramped server box and give you additional space without using too much of your server's real estate. This small form factor can also in some cases help to prevent some servers from overheating, if you are renting your server from a large data centre based company you will not have to worry about this anyway.
Of course, all things have their downsides and that includes NVMe drives, despite the fact they’re much better in regards of the technology they utilise than the tech in other storage devices.
But, one of the issues is that due to them being so fast in speed, it can be a huge nuisance if you want to run a RAID configuration on your server. NVMe drives are too fast for traditional RAID cards. So instead of a hardware RAID, it is strongly recommended that you deploy a software RAID system as most of these will be able to handle the high speeds of a NVMe drive. As well as this NVMe is more expensive than a generic SATA SSD due to their smaller form factor and higher transfer speeds. Due to this NVMe based SSDs are not very cost effective for storing large amounts of data due to their cost.