Thursday, November 1, 2018

Intels Announcement of Beta Deployment of Optane Persistent Memory

Intel announce that Optane Persistent Memory is shipping to select customers and those companies will deploy solutions "soon".

What was announced:
Optane Persistent Memory is shipping as Beta Program to select customers.
Widespread shipping in 2019
More importantly, they announce two ways in which it will work.

1) Memory Mode: Big and Affordable, but Volatile
This is 100% lined up with what we forecast. Optane Memory main value proposition is adding tons of memory at slower speed in DIMM format on the memory bus. Half the price of DRAM, probably 7x higher latency, much higher density. 6TB is possible. You make the speed OK by using DRAM cache. Example:  1.5TB of Optane with 192GBs of DRAM. but it only appears as 1.5TBs of memory since the DRAM is all used as cache. The downside? The memory is not persistent. Since you use a volatile cache, you can lose the data. 

Summary: Optane Persistent Memory in Memory Mode is not persistent. 

2)  App Direct Mode: Big, Affordable, and Persistent

In this mode, you have Optane in addressable memory. you have DRAM as well each is addressable separately. If you want to write to 192GBs of DRAM fine... just like always. If you want to write the the Optane, fine... its persistent. But you have to explicitly decide where to write. 

Summary: Optane Persistent Memory in App direct mode is persistent. 

Actual value proposition will depend on a few items:
A) Do you need tons of memory but dont need persistence? 
B) Do you need persistence and have the application software to manage it
C) Are you OK that the persistent memory is about 7x slower but is 50% cheaper

We have more data on actual speed, cost, and models on the next Gen Optane. We also previously published the models for Revenue from Optane SSDs adn Optane persistent memory.

Final Thought: If memory mode was persistent, we would actually have a simple memory solution. And something tells me there will be limitations built into the drivers on writing optane in App direct mode since it does not have infinite endurance. I am thinking that those details will come out when we see the end products... we will let you know.

Mark Webb

Intel announcement

Explanation of Modes