You may have seen our NVMe product on our website and wondered what the big deal is.
What does “insanely fast” mean for you? How does it work and why is it better than regular SSD technology?
As a brief primer, NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) is a relatively recent technology protocol. It accesses high-speed storage media and has several advantages as compared to legacy protocols such as SATA.
The earlier SSDs that utilized SATA aimed to minimize any changes in the legacy HDD (Hard Disk Drive) enterprise storage systems. The limitation is that SATA was not designed for high-speed storage media. By contrast, NVMe utilizes parallel, low-latency data paths to media, offering higher performance and lower latencies. (Latency is the term we use to refer to the delay between requesting and receiving information).
What does this mean when you’re making a decision between choosing between NVMe and other technologies? Here are some clear advantages:
#1. It’s geared for enterprise workloads
Many enterprise-level companies are data-heavy, requiring some serious heavy lifting from their computing solutions. For example, look at any company that might require a large data analytics load to be operating at any second. Or, consider a busy online trading platform, where thousands of requests per minute may need to be processed.
Any enterprise that is sensitive to data latency is a good candidate for NVMe technology. How does it achieve better speeds? It uses parallel, low-latency data paths within the back-end of flash arrays.
To give a specific example, legacy SCSI is a serial protocol, meaning that it can only talk to one disk device at a time. NVMe allows you to have up to 64,000 simultaneous requests and access storage capacity much more efficiently. The NVMe drives provide significantly more IOPS – Input – Output per second. What this means is the you can write more data per second to the hard drive and you can read more data per second.
In terms of cost, NVMe consumes a lot less power than other solutions and reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO) for enterprises less as well.
#2. Better website user experience
Higher IOPS means better performance in the eyes of your website users. As you will know, user experience can make or break the success of a website. Our website visitors expect to be able to do what they need to within seconds and that the website renders well for them.
Imagine a lot of people arriving on a website at once. For example, if you run tax services and it is tax season, or if you have a popular ecommerce store and it is Cyber Monday. Legacy technologies can lead to significant performance issues when there are multiple site requests simultaneously.
Some websites operating on older technology will outright crash with heavy use, while others will slow down so significantly that users lose patience with them. Overall, not only is this a poor experience for the user, it can be costly to your business. The chances are people will leave if they can’t achieve what they need to quickly. NVMe provides more outputs per second, meaning your website renders faster in the browser of the user.
Consider the types of websites where data needs to be saved or uploaded too. If a user is hitting a “submit” button, NVMe allows this to happen much faster and assures them that their data has been received. This is because there are more inputs per second writing to the hard drive.
From the perspective of website users within the company as well, NVMe can provide a superior experience. Consider for example companies with large databases that want to pull a lot of information from the hard drive at any one time. Sometimes a “show all” command involves thousands, even millions of rows of data in a database. With legacy SSD technology, this will usually involve several minutes of waiting around, whereas NVMe cuts that wait time right down.
To give a specific example, we have some clients that use Quickbooks on their NVMe servers. They like them because they can pull up all of their customers much more quickly. They also report that generating invoices is a much quicker process than it used to be under older technology.
#3. Better bottom-line business benefits
We can infer from better customer experience and faster performance for the business that there will be better bottom-line benefits too. In fact, there is some data to suggest this is so.
To backtrack slightly, a lot comes down to customer expectation of performance. While internet speed and device performance have improved, they’ve also lead to increased expectations around website speed. Data shows though that websites have become more technology-heavy and have slowed down overall, especially when we look at large ecommerce sites and other traffic-heavy websites.
Research shows that 57% of website visitors will leave if the website doesn’t load after three seconds. 80% of those people will never return. Of that 80%, half are likely to tell other people of their bad experience. This means that not only is a slower website impacting the number of conversions you get, it’s affecting your overall reputation. Would a speed boost from NVMe be worth it from this perspective? We think so. You could potentially expect more revenues, more commissions and better overall customer service.
Even if your website is mostly used for internal purposes, you can get better benefits for your bottom-line. Consider the workload of team members and how it may be impacted by website speed. Are they waiting around for thousands of lines of data? Or, does the data arrive quickly allowing them to get through their work speedily.
Better business efficiency allows for more focus on activities that drive your bottom-line. We’d say that’s a great reason to opt for NVMe over other choices.
#4. NVMe has unique features
There are several features that are unique to NVMe and very helpful to businesses – we’ll mention just a couple here. One of those is that no custom device driver is required. Early SSD versions would often require the deployment of a completely new device driver to access the SSD any time a user upgraded their operating systems, or even made a simple security patch.
NVMe is supported as-is by all major modern operating systems. The standardized interface supports any NVMe from any manufacturer.
Another feature is that NVMe can increase device lifetime. With older SSD technology, SSDs have a finite lifetime dictated by the number of write operations known as program/erase (P/E) cycles NAND flash can endure. NVMe uses multi-stream writes which reduces device management writes to improve device lifetime.
#5. NVMe is the technological future
Consider this extract from a Network World article:
“As NVMe technology matures, costs decline, and storage performance requirements rise, enterprises will move toward flash-based storage systems that implement NVMe end-to-end and can support mixed workloads. “There’s a TCO argument around a system for mixed workloads that’s built out of NVMe instead of SCSI. It still has flash, but it’s flash that you talk to over NVMe versus flash that you talk to over SCSI. You can build a more powerful system in a smaller footprint that uses less energy with the NVMe-based version,” Bergener says.”
The overall implication is that NVMe will eventually replace other storage options anyway. More and more enterprises are shifting to NVMe already, although it hasn’t yet reached the 50% threshold.
If you’re looking for new solutions anyway, you could look at NVMe as a future-proofing investment. If you want to be able to scale easily and require higher infrastructure density, then NVMe will deliver you the best possible performance. Importantly, NVMe is upgradable for newer storage technologies so you can be certain you’ve made a good choice for the long-term.
NVMe is next-level when you’re looking for superior and reliable website performance. Speed matters, and NVMe is what we’d describe as “insanely fast.”
If you’re making choices about your website infrastructure, we’d put NVMe near the top of the list as a solution. It has longevity, performance and a range of features that push it ahead of other solutions.
To learn more about our NVMe hosting solution, click here.