Intel announcements include details about benchmarking Optane P4800X in VMware ESXi, new 750GB capacity, and 3D XPoint fab expansion

Posted by Paul Braren on Nov 13 2017 (updated on Nov 15 2017) in
  • Storage
  • HomeLab
  • HomeServer
  • ESXi
  • Virtualization
  • There are three recent Intel announcements that are quite interesting. The first is about 4 recent detailed technical publications, the second is about a maximum Optane capacity doubling, and the third is about a new 3D XPoint fab, in collaboration with Micron.

    Of most interest to me personally is the level of detail of the technical publications that include specific BIOS settings and software configuration tips. This is very handy stuff, and along with Shrout Research, should be really helpful as I perform some very basic tests of my new 900P in my Xeon D-1541 system. These tests will include:

    1. multi-vendor storage vMotions between SATA3 (Samsung 850 EVO), M.2 NVMe (Samsung 960 PRO), and U.2 NVMe (Intel Optane 900P) datastores, stopping to test the Windows VM's disk performance at each hop.
    2. I may also be able to add an AIC NVMe (Intel Optane 900P) to the mix soon, including 900P to 900P tests across Intel X557 10GbE.
    3. I may also be able to add a U.2 drive to M.2 adapter cable test to the mix soon.
    4. I hope to experiment with vSAN, meanwhile, here’s one initial (unsupported) 900P test by Brad Lay that’s looking promising so far, using HCIBench by VMware Labs.

    1) Intel has now published a series of blog posts about evaluating the performance of Intel® Optane™ technology for the data center:

    • Optimizing Hardware for Intel® Optane™ SSD Benchmarking


      Oct 30 2017 by Andrey Kudryavtsev at Intel IT Peer Network. Excerpt:

      This blog opens a whole series of the handy instructions for benchmarking SSDs, from the ground up hardware configuration, up to the software stack. Here I’ll be writing only about hardware, CPUs, platform, BIOS options, etc. You’ll be surprised how varied the results of those options are especially for Intel Optane drives.

      What’s special in benchmarking them? Well, you know the answer, the latency under small queue depth is special, out of 10us latency, the media contribution is small, while the NVMe protocol and SW stack contribute a significant portion. And so, if we speak about the software, then the CPU performance matters the most… Does it? yes...

    • Tuning the performance of Intel® Optane™ SSDs on Linux Operating Systems


      Oct 27 2017 by Frank Ober at Intel IT Peer Network. Excerpt:

      The P4800X drive is simply an NVMe SSD so any x4 capable PCIe 3.0 slot will work fine for connectivity. The U.2 interface is also available at the same time as the add-in-card shown in the picture above, so choose an NVMe capable server with front enclosures if you wish.

    • Configuring VMware ESXi for Optimized Benchmarking of Intel® Optane™ SSD


      Oct 30 2017 by Vivek Sarathy at Intel IT Peer Network. Excerpt:

      Intel® Optane™ SSD has been a game changer in how storage gets deployed in data centers using VMware solutions. Given its ability to eliminate data center storage bottlenecks due to high IOPs at very low queue depths VMware administrators managing datacenters have been able to take the advantage that Intel Optane SSD brings both in VMware ESXi as an extremely fast caching device and in software-defined storage technologies like VMWare vSAN.
      For an in-depth analysis of Intel Optane SSD benefits on a vSAN cluster do take a look at the study by Evaluator Group.

    • Benchmark Considerations on Windows Operating Systems

      Oct 29 2017 by Alessandro Goncalves at Intel IT Peer Network. Excerpt:

      I am very excited to have the opportunity to test Intel® Optane™ in several scenarios, and certainly, I will be sharing this experience with you, as much as possible.

    I know I'm looking forward to trying out the VMware ESXi recommendations, likely on the Intel Optane 900P Series that I recently bought, and hopefully on an Intel Optane P4800X Series in the future.

    2) Intel's new P4800X capacity announcement:

    • Intel Doubles Capacity of World’s Most Responsive Data Center SSD

      News Byte
      November 9, 2017
      Today, Intel announced the Intel® Optane™ SSD DC P4800X Series, the world’s most responsive data center solid state drive, is now available in a new 750GB capacity in both half-height, half-length add-in card and a hot-swappable 2.5-inch U.2 form factor. Both form factors and capacities will be broadly available this month.

      Increased capacity and multiple form factors expand data center implementation options and deliver both solution-level and total cost of ownership flexibility for customers. Intel® Optane™ technology for data centers combines the attributes of memory and storage with low latency, high endurance, outstanding quality of service and high throughput, creating a new data tier that increases scale per server and reduces transaction costs.

      Combined with the latest Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, Intel® Optane™ technology enables bigger and more affordable data sets to gain new insights from larger memory pools. The Intel® Optane™ SSD DC P4800X is an ideal SSD for storage workloads, like SAN and software defined storage, as well as cloud, database, big data and high-performance computing workloads.

      The new capacity follows the 375GB half-height, half-length add-in card launched earlier this year. The Intel® Optane™ SSD DC P4800X Series is also available as part of the Intel® Select Solutions program and through additional OEMs, cloud service providers and distributors starting this month. For information on Intel® Optane™ SSDs for the data center, and other storage solutions from Intel, visit Intel’s Optane Technology website.

    3) Intel's new fab announcement:

    • Intel and Micron Increase 3D XPoint Manufacturing Capacity with IM Flash Fab Expansion

      News Byte
      November 13, 2017
      Today, Intel and Micron announced the completion of an expansion to Building 60 (B60) at the IM Flash facilities in Lehi, Utah. The expanded fab will produce 3D XPoint™ memory media, a building block of Intel® Optane™ technology that includes Intel® Optane™ memory for clients, the recently announced Intel® Optane™ SSD 900P Series and new capacities and form factors of the Intel® Optane™ SSD DC P4800X Series.


    VMware Storage vMotion with vSphere Client [HTML5] is easier than vSphere Web Client [Adobe Flash]
    Xeon D-1541 boot time tests featuring Windows 10 on Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X Series NVMe SSD
    VMworld 2017 US - at Intel, Juan Fernandez shows NVMe SSDs, Ruler & Optane P4800X in PCIe & U.2

    See also at TinkerTry

    All P4800x articles.
    All NVMe articles.









    See also


    • Intel Optane Storage Performance and Implications on Testing Methodology
      Oct 27 2017 by Shrout Research at Shrout Research

      The new Intel Optane SSD 900P offers workstation and enthusiast consumers a new level of performance for storage. But offering incredibly fast response times and low latency puts a unique emphasis on storage testing methodology, system configuration, and software design. Our Optane white paper focuses on the impact and issues of legacy testing as well as the value of measuring low queue depth performance.

    • The Intel Optane SSD 900P 280GB Review

      Oct 27 2017 by Billy tallis at AnandTech

      Who is the Optane SSD 900P for?
      With a price per GB a little over twice that of the the fastest flash-based consumer SSDs, the Optane SSD 900P is an exclusive high-end product. For most desktop usage, drives like the 960 PRO are already fast enough to make storage no longer a severe bottleneck. The most noticeable delays due to storage performance on a 960 PRO are when moving around large files, and the Optane SSD doesn't offer any significant improvement to sequential transfer speeds. Random writes can be a challenge for flash-based SSDs, but volatile write caches and SLC caches allow them to handle short bursts with very high performance.


    For a thorough look at the subtleties of M.2 NVMe benchmark testing, and an overview of why NVMe is better than SATA in very measurable ways.

    • Benchmarking Samsung NVMe SSD 960 EVO M.2
      Mar 24 2017 by Taras Shved at StarWind

      Everyone knows that, currently, the SSDs are one of the best storage devices that allow you to upgrade your architecture and significantly accelerate the performance of the computer. SSD accelerates the loading speed of your PC, applications opening and files searching speed, and generally increases the performance of your system. Despite the fact that solid-state drives are more expensive than standard hard drives, the performance improvement can hardly be overlooked.