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Recently, Pure Storage announced the industry’s (arguably) first all NVMe all flash array (AFA). Other vendors are quickly following suit. Pivot3, the HCI vendor announced its NVMe solution shortly after Pure Storage. So, what is the impact of NVMe, and where will it be best deployed?

Neuralytix’s opinion is that the uptake of NVMe will be slow through the end of 2017, and a steady and measured growth through 2018 as large vendors make the transition in their product lines to support NVMe. We expect all flash related solutions to be NVMe compatible by 2020.

But NVMe’s speed is local to a server. The ultimate benefit will be when NVMe is run over fabrics. Leading composable infrastructure vendor Liqid, with its intelligent PCIe switch is already demonstrating the benefits of NVMe fabrics.

In the end, what will end up happening is that we will have networked flash, allowing any machine that has an NVMe connection to address flash that is external to the local server.

Vendors such as HPE and Cisco, with its blade systems will be the first to bring networked NVMe based flash to market, as their blade systems already have a private network to talk to each other. Others, will require external switches (either very high speed Ethernet, or PCIe, or Fibre Channel).

While Neuralytix’s forecast of software defined datacenters shows that by 2021, roughly 63% of datacenters will be software defined, by 2021, rather than aggregation of datacenter resources in HCI, we will also see the disaggregation of resources by way of composable infrastructure.

We believe that it is through composable infrastructure that the most benefit can be gained from NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe/F).

Other considerations need to be taken into account – NVMe/F is fine, but drivers need to be available and stable. Applications need to be able to take advantage of the increased speed, and reduced latency.

Neuralytix believes databases (both relational and unstructured), along with analytics applications, and high performance computational environments (e.g. high performance computing, high frequency trading, and Monte Carlo simulations) will benefit most from NVMe/F.