Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory Re-Imagines Our Data-centric Future
In this ATC Insight
Modern business success hinges on your IT infrastructure's ability to manage workloads and derive real-time, actionable insights from terabytes of constantly accumulating data. Memory has always imposed limits – until now, with the introduction of a revolutionary new tier in the memory/storage hierarchy: fast, large-capacity, affordable Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory.
The world is accelerating into a new, data-centric era, where data is expanding at an unprecedented pace. With this new era of rapid acceleration, businesses are struggling to keep up and use the collected the data to operate more effectively and efficiently. Analytics becomes a necessary tool to manage and compile data so that companies are able to make sense of it all and improve business functionality.
Handling these workloads properly requires a high-performance infrastructure with prodigious compute power and the capacity to hold more data in memory. But, deploying traditional memory has always presented three challenges: high cost, limited capacity and the inability to retain data in memory between system reboots.
For businesses to keep up with the explosive growth of data and derive useful insights in real time, they need larger, faster and more cost-efficient memory capacity – more than traditional memory solutions can deliver. What's more, that memory needs to be persistent. This means that the data held in memory should be retained regardless of whether the system is powered down.
WWT's technology partner Intel® has just answered the challenge with a game-changing new marriage of memory and storage to complement its next generation of scalable processors for the data center — speeding time to value and insight and taking on the data-intensive workloads that are overwhelming every industry customers to gain valuable insights into the most promising deployment strategies.
At a major industry rollout on April 2, Intel® debuted its 2nd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor family to answer the ever-expanding need for more processing power, hardware-enhanced security and artificial intelligence (AI) acceleration. At the same time, the company also unveiled a revolutionary new class of memory to complement performance: Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory.
In a voraciously data-centric world, it's hard to overstate how game-changing this new technology is — Intel® has architected an entirely new persistent memory tier that fills the massive gap between traditional memory and NAND SSDs.
Unshackled from the previous constraints on memory, Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory offers higher performance, greater affordability, dramatically increased capacity and (as the name implies) data persistence. This critical feature maintains data integrity even when power is lost, enabling quicker recovery and less downtime compared to DRAM. Data reloads drop from minutes to seconds.
Beyond performance, there's a "green" case to be made for Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory as well. For extreme-scale systems, memory can consume significant electrical and cooling resources as systems scale and overall power consumption increases. By architecting workflows and optimizing systems leveraging persistent memory, organizations can work to reduce their energy footprint.
Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory bridges the gap between memory and storage by converging the most useful characteristics of both. This new tier provides access to high-performance, large-capacity, affordable memory that's flexible for different memory-bound workloads. Positioned closer to the processor to reduce bottlenecks, its low latency combined with high bandwidth, quality of service and robust performance enable Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory to do more – and do it faster and more affordably.
Lower latency is another benefit of this architecture, and organizations are able to extract more value from significantly larger data sets. Plugging seamlessly into DDR4 memory slots, Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory offers the flexibility of two operational modes:
- Memory Mode extends the availability of volatile memory visible to the OS with DRAM acting as the cache, benefiting such functions as virtualization in-memory database, content delivery networks and analytics. This larger memory capacity enables more virtual machines (VMs), and more memory per VM at a lower cost.
- App Direct Mode enables software and applications to communicate directly with memory, reducing complexity in the stack. A subset of App Direct Mode is called Storage over App Direct, which can use legacy storage APIs; this allows it to act like an SSD and boot an OS. Storage over App Direct Mode delivers high-performance block storage, avoiding the latency of moving data to and from the I/O bus.
Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory can also run in dual mode, allowing users to provision some memory in memory mode and the rest in app direct mode, creating high-performance storage without the latency of moving data to and from the I/O bus. And, to answer the modern security requirements of today's data center, it supports AES-256 hardware encryption technology. While in memory mode, the encryption key is removed when powered down, regenerating at the next boot, therefore making the data volatile.
Gigabit levels of data are being generated every day by individual users alone – so imagine the uncounted terabitscreated daily by smart factories, hospitals, autonomous vehicles, air traffic – the list goes on and on.
For many workloads in the data center, Intel® Optane™ technology is highly useful across a range of applications:
- Database management systems like SAP HANA might maintain an entire dataset in system DRAM to speed response times. Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory can extend memory capacity beyond DRAM, enabling much larger data sets to maximize core performance and minimize in-memory database licenses to reduce TCO significantly. And, it eliminates the need to add new hardware, reducing data center complexity and physical footprint.
- Real-time analytics can benefit from this new memory class as data to be analyzed can be held in memory on the memory bus. For example, increased memory used in artificial intelligence analytics provides faster data processing, which generally increases AI performance, accuracy and robustness.
- Virtualization has often limited the number of, and available memory for, virtual machines (VMs); consequently, less memory was allocated to each VM to support more total units. Now, Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory supports more VMs for cloud and more virtualized users. This can also improve total cost of ownership (TCO) through reduced software licensing costs, fewer nodes, power conservation and other efficiencies.
The advantages of Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory extend across storage, communications, and other aspects of the modern data center, and WWT is pleased to demonstrate it to customers in the Advanced Technology Center (ATC), our incubator for IT innovation.
Cisco, Dell, HPE and other leading OEM partners of World Wide Technology soon will be shipping systems with Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory delivered on the 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable platform. WWT is working with Intel to be the first to demonstrate a range of use cases for Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory with such applications as the OpenShift family of containerization software, SAP HANA relational database management, VMware vSAN, and more.
They are among the Intel® Select Solutions from Intel's technology partners. These Intel Select Solutions are designed for today's workflow-optimized data center infrastructure and verified for performance on Intel® architecture, delivering more rapid deployments and faster time to insight.
Crucially, these solutions are all greatly enhanced by Intel's reimagining of the traditional memory/storage hierarchy, delivering unsurpassed, affordable performance. WWT invites you to visit our ATC and see for yourself how Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory can transform your own data center capabilities.
Learn more about Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory from WWT experts. Schedule a Data-centric Workload Modernization Briefing to explore innovative data-intensive workload technologies, products, and solutions.