Intel Optane - GoTechTalk

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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Intel Optane

Intel Optane

By now it's become more or less mainstream to have a Solid State Drive or SSD in your computer or even your phone and why not with their fast response times and more recently falling costs they're often recommended as the best single upgrade the average user can make to an older machine, but most SSDs are based on a storage technology called NAND Flash which has actually been around for decades now, as we demand faster speeds and storage solutions that can handle tons of requests at once which is especially important for all those cloud-based services that we love, this ageing technology will become more and more of a bottleneck.


Intel Optane, a new fundamentally different storage tech based on what Intel is calling 3d crosspoint, although they're treating exactly what sorts of materials they're using in 3d crosspoint and how they're arranged as a top secret, what I can tell you is that Optane has a few major advantages, first up is latency the delay between an i/o request and the drive acting on it although op gains latency isn't as low as the cache on your CPU or as low as your system RAM it is much lower than any of the existing storage technologies and yet obtains data density is much higher than Ram meaning that it can be deployed as either Ram like working memory or even as longer-term storage due to its combination of quick access times and high capacities on the subject of using obtain for storage to be clear it won't be replacing the mechanical hard drive anytime soon, but unlike Ram it's non volatility me that it can retain data for a relatively long time without a constant supply of power and it's faster than even the fastest NAND SSDs across the board including in the small random reads and writes at low queue depth that account for the bulk of the average person's usage not just in cherry-picked benchmarks that don't reflect the real world in fact optane can hit close to a 100,000 IOPS (Input/Output Per Second) at a queue depth of 1 and over quadruple that at around queue depth 8 not queue depth of 32 which many SSD makers advertise but which virtually never occur in real life.

Optane also provides much better quality of service meaning that random dips in performance are far less common and it can handle many more transactions per second, so performance doesn't degrade nearly as much even when the drive is getting slammed with i/o requests this could end up being very important on the server and cloud side of things meaning like video messages or controller inputs in cloud games could go in and outwork quickly and reliably if these enterprises started using optane and it looks like the technology should catch on due to its lower cost per transaction, optane ability to be used as high capacity Ram could also make it a compelling solution for things like Machine Learning think about developing software for self-driving cars for example.

Well right now the only optane product available on the consumer level is an n.2 Optane cache solution available in 16 or 32 byte capacities that places frequently used data like operating system files and save games on to the cache automatically which in some situations is faster than running things off of an SSD even if your main disk that it' accelerating is a mechanical hard drive, there is a catch though you'll need a supported platform namely a KB Lake or newer CPU and a 200 series or newer Intel chipset as the company didn't want to do the validation and testing on anything older or for that matter anything AMD opting instead to tell consumers “we know this hardware setup will work so use that” the good news is that this optane cache drive looks like it's going to be supported by nearly all major motherboard manufacturers as well as the like of Dell, HP and Lenovo and there's more good news there will be a full fat optane storage solution that will function as a normal drive over a PCI Express slot or a u.2 port without needing a specific motherboard, though high-capacity optane drives in an M.2 form factor probably won't be available any time soon due to power and thermal concerns.

So then that's today but optane is so fast that it currently saturates a PCI Express 3.0 x4 connection which has a theoretical max speed of a little under 4 gigabytes per second so at some point we should expect to see new interconnects and protocols that can fully harness the potential of octane whether you're modeling the best way to build Skynet coding a real-world matrix or you're just worried about Google Chrome loading a few fractions of a second more quickly.

Alright, guys, that's the end of the blog, thanks for reading the whole way through if you enjoyed this blog please share it with someone who would be interested and leave a comment, Thanks for reading guys.

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