Servers: The Right Compute
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

HPE unleashes Persistent Memory: the performance of memory with the persistence of storage


 Guest blog by Bret Gibbs, Persistent Memory Product Manager, HPE Server Options

Brett Gibbs.jpg

The world of server-based storage is never going to look the same again. HPE is releasing the first non-volatile DIMMs (NVDIMMs) designed around a server platform, delivering the performance of memory with the persistence of storage on our ProLiant Gen9 Servers. It’s the first offering in our emerging product category HPE Persistent Memory. We’re breaking new ground in the industry with this release, and we think it’s going to open up all kinds of opportunities for customers to get much more business value out of their infrastructure.

One thing I hear over and over as I talk to IT leaders is they want faster access to their data so they can put it to work more quickly in their business. The faster you can mine your data, the faster you can discover patterns that can help you hone a competitive edge, identify areas to cut costs, or uncover new ways to drive revenue. Time-to-insight is crucial, and IT decision-makers want solutions that are designed around the workloads and applications they already have in place. What this suggests is the insatiable need for speed, of the kind that we all associate with technologies like DRAM, with their low latency and outstanding performance.

At the same time, choosing a technology with rock-solid resilience and reliability is essential. Data is the enterprise’s most valuable resource, and protecting it is an absolute mandate. No data – no business! You want a solution that’s not going to let your data just disappear if the power supply blinks off for a moment. That suggests non-volatile storage technologies like NAND flash and magnetic media.

Performance and Cost PM image.jpg

The problem is you can’t have the speed of DRAM and the low cost of flash at the same time. Companies’ options have been limited to those shown in the grey part of the pyramid in the graphic. Until now. HPE Persistent Memory breaks into the pyramid at the point where NAND flash meets DRAM – the non-volatile memory (NVM) layer. Our first product in this category combines conventional DRAM with an automatic flash-based backup layer on the same DIMM form factor. It provides the speed and endurance of memory, but if your power goes out, you don’t lose your data. The video below gives you a great introduction to Persistent Memory.  

Slashing latency by half

So what can you do with Persistent Memory? Well, for starters, imagine what it could do for your databases and analytics. Actually, you don’t have to imagine, because we’ve done the tests for you and developed the quants. We’re seeing up to 2x to 4x performance increases in databases and analytics. Let me share one example, a comparison of Microsoft SQL Server transaction log performance on 400GB SSDs vs. 8GB NVDIMMs. We used an HPE ProLiant DL360 Gen9 server for both scenarios (see the graphic).


With the pair of SSDs, we saw very good performance, around 970,000 transactions per minute. The log write latency was 372 microseconds – very good. But now look what happened when we moved the transaction log to the NVDIMMs (we didn't move the entire database, just the transaction log): We went from 970,000 transactions per minute to 1.08 million. And look what we did to the latency: We reduced it by over half, to 181 microseconds.

Here’s an even more compelling performance comparison. We measured IOPs, bandwidth and latency for our new NVDIMMs versus SAS SSDs and also versus PCIe Workload Accelerators running on HPE ProLiant servers. Bear in mind that the HPE PCI Workload Accelerators are the fastest internal server storage solutions we’ve offered, until now, on our ProLiant family of products. You can see how the NVDIMMs unlock entirely new levels of performance.

NVDIMM Perf to Flash.jpg

A thriving partner ecosystem

The mention of Microsoft SQL brings me to a point that I really want to emphasize. As important as the hardware advances are here, the software side is every bit as important. The analogy I like to use is this: having Persistent Memory without a software change is the equivalent of having an iPhone or an Android without the OS or all the applications you rely on. Without that software, your smartphone becomes a glorified doorstop.

In storage, hardware is traditionally the bottleneck; we have sophisticated software to mask the difference in speed between DRAM and flash, but the software often sends commands faster than the hardware can complete them. But with Persistent Memory, unmodified software could become a bottleneck. That’s why HPE is taking a leadership role in building an ecosystem of software provider partners, including industry leaders like Microsoft, Linux, Red Hat, and Hortonworks. We’re working directly with software application and OS partners to ensure that this exciting new technology really flies on HPE servers, and that customers can take full advantage of the performance leaps that Persistent Memory delivers. Look for even bigger strides forward in the near future as we deliver innovative solutions designed to bring new levels of performance and resiliency to your data center.

With Persistent Memory, HPE has solved the speed vs. reliability dilemma for a significant segment of the capabilities spectrum. Looking further ahead, it’s the first step on the road to a new programming paradigm: one where data is always persistent, and we can throw away millions of lines of code that do nothing but move data between volatile working data structures and permanent storage. It’s a step towards Memory-Driven Computing, the architecture at the heart of a completely different kind of computer: the Machine. To learn more about The Machine, check out Mark Funk’s article in The Next Platform: Drilling Down into The Machine from HPE.

Dell or EMC customer? Curious how HPE can help you? Right this way.


0 Kudos
About the Author


I am a Senior Manager managing external content and social media for HPE Servers Awareness. Stay tuned for topics on Mission Critical Solutions, Core Enterprise and SMB Solutions, Next Gen Workload Solutions, Big Data and HPC, Cloudline and HPS Options! Follow me @RubyD_Nich

Read for dates
HPE Webinars - 2019
Find out about this year's live broadcasts and on-demand webinars.
Read more
Read for dates
HPE at 2019 Technology Events
Learn about the technology events where Hewlett Packard Enterprise will have a presence in 2019.
Read more
View all