Intel just distributed the product discontinuance notification for the Intel Optane 100 DIMMs. These were the DIMMs launched in 2019 alongside the 2nd Generation Intel Xeon processors, codenamed “Cascade Lake.” This is an expected step in both phasing out a legacy product, but also one that is the first step in Optane’s eventual fate.
Intel Optane 100 DIMMs Product Discontinuance
A few months ago, Intel announced it would discontinue Optane as part of its Q2 2022 earnings. Still, Intel will support Optane on its Sapphire Rapids generation of Xeon SKUs. For those that have been following STH’s CXL content, the reason is clear. The Optane in the memory bus being cached by local DRAM is not a model the market wants versus CXL. Intel Optane DIMMs work differently than many would expect, see our Glorious Complexity of Intel Optane DIMMs piece for more on how the DIMMs actually work.
Cascade Lake generation CPUs that support Optane DIMMs are only ~3 years old. Indeed, a decent amount of the market is still on Cascade Lake systems as the PCIe Gen3 platforms are less expensive. Still, the top-end of the market, the part that would use Optane DIMMs, has largely moved to Ice Lake and Cooper Lake at this point. As a result, Intel is looking to the future and planning some SKUs to be sunset. Specifically, the 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB Intel Optane Persistent Memory 100 Series 4 and 50 packs. Here are the SKUs impacted:
|Marketing Name||Product Code||Affected MM#|
|Intel Optane Persistent Memory 100 Series (128GB Module) 4 Pack||NMA1XXD128GPSU4||999AVV|
|Intel Optane Persistent Memory 100 Series (128GB Module) 50 Pack||NMA1XXD128GPSUF||999AVW|
|Intel Optane Persistent Memory 100 Series (256GB Module) 4 Pack||NMA1XXD256GPSU4||999AVX|
|Intel Optane Persistent Memory 100 Series (256GB Module) 50 Pack||NMA1XXD256GPSUF||999AVZ|
|Intel Optane Persistent Memory 100 Series (512GB Module) 4 Pack||NMA1XXD512GPSU4||999AW1|
|Intel Optane Persistent Memory 100 Series (512GB Module) 50 Pack||NMA1XXD512GPSUF||999AW2|
We have ordered a few of the 4-packs at STH over the years (50 was out of our budget range.)
|Last Product Discontinuance Order Date||June 30, 2023|
|Last Product Discontinuance Shipment Date||December 31, 2023|
In terms of timing, the discontinuance is not immediate. Companies can still order the DIMMs by June 30, 2023, and the last shipments will happen at the end of 2023.
This is one of those bittersweet announcements. Intel Optane is perhaps the best SSD platform. We use it for all of STH’s databases at this point. Still, that was one of the big challenges of Optane. It was perhaps the best SSD media, but from a price perspective, it needed to compete with DRAM instead of NAND. The DRAM was interesting, but it also came with major drawbacks acting as either memory or storage in the DIMM channels. If you want to learn more, check out the glorious complexity piece linked above.
Still, the fate of Optane Persistent Memory was sealed as Intel announced it would shutter the business. With CXL, persistent memory can be designed via DRAM and capacitors, for example, freed from the DIMM form factor and competition on DRAM channels. If you are a business that uses Optane heavily, especially in Cascade Lake servers purchased in the 2020-2021 timeframe, you may want to consider purchasing spares in 2023 if you plan to use the servers for 5-years and into 2024-2025. We can see the Intel Optane 100 DCPMMs becoming scarcer in that timeframe.