Dell EMC announced today that its high-end array will support high-end storage class memory (SCM.) The Dell EMC PowerMax is set to adopt Intel Optane DC D4800X SCM. We first highlighted the platform last year in our Dell EMC PowerMax Launched for High-end Storage piece. This is a major change in the platform.
Dell EMC PowerMax adopts Intel Optane DC D4800X
We first saw the Intel Optane DC D4800X dual-port NVMe SSD announced at its April 2, 2019 event along with a slew of additional companies. You can read our story at Intel Optane SSD DC D4800X and Intel SSD D5-P4326 Launched. At its core, it is a drive similar to an Optane DC P4800X but with a major feature change. It is a dual-port NVMe SSD based on 3DXpoint.
We have been waiting for the PowerMax to announce a storage class memory. Intel Optane provides excellent performance, especially at low queue depths. Optane data center drives typically offer high-endurance as well.
When the original Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X was launched, it lacked dual port NVMe capability. Dual port NVMe SSDs are still not as plentiful as single port counterparts. That dual port capability splits the standard PCIe x4 interface into two PCIe x2 interfaces. Each of these x2 interfaces can be connected to a controller thereby making drives dual ported and suitable for high-availability storage solutions. This is similar to how we generally see dual port SAS SSDs designed for HA arrays and drives like SATA SSD and the Toshiba RM5 that are single port SAS only. The dual port feature makes the DC D4800X suitable for use in the Dell EMC PowerMax.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this announcement is that Dell EMC is not using the high-endurance Optane SCM as a cache. Instead, it is being used as primary storage. Dell EMC says it will use its machine learning capabilities on the PowerMax to move hot data to the Intel DC D4800X drives. The Dell EMC PowerMax is a high-end array and adding dual port Intel Optane SCM for a high-availability appliance is a major step forward.