New Intel Data Center Optane m.2 at OCP Summit 2018

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Intel Optane M.2 DC Edition At OCP Summit 2018
Intel Optane M.2 DC Edition At OCP Summit 2018

During the Intel keynote at the OCP Summit 2018, we saw something intriguing. During the keynote, we saw several references to Optane DC m.2 devices that are aimed at the data center market. 

Intel Keynote at OCP Summit 2018 Includes Optane

Durin the keynote, Intel said that 75 contributed products include Intel. This is important because Intel estimates that 80% of all workloads by 2025 will be deployed in hyper-scale data centers. Intel also focused on its Rack Scale Design and disaggregation of compute and storage to allow for capabilities such as having independent refresh rates for comptue and storage.

Intel Keynote OCP Summit 2018
Intel Keynote OCP Summit 2018

The company also spoke about security (something we are going to cover in another piece) and projects such as OpenBMC which will push some still proprietary server bits into the realm of a more open infrastructure. As we went over our notes, something caught our eye:

Intel Keynote OCP Summit 2018 Optane M2 Reference
Intel Keynote OCP Summit 2018 Optane M2 Reference

In this slide, and onstage, there is mention of a m.2 Intel Optane SSD. Looking at the pictures, we thought this could be the Intel Optane 800P that was just launched. The Intel DC P4511 we know is the 3D NAND update and essentially a m.2 counterpart to the Intel DC P4510. But something seemed different.

Tracking Down the Intel DC Optane m.2 SSD

Between meetings on the first day of the summit, we did some digging at the Intel booth and found this:

Intel Optane M.2 DC Edition At OCP Summit 2018
Intel Optane M.2 DC Edition At OCP Summit 2018

We were told by the Intel team in the booth that this indeed is an Intel DC Optane m.2 SSD meant for hyper-scale deployments. You can immediately see the differences between this drive and the just launched Intel Optane 800P:

Intel Optane 800P Front And Rear
Intel Optane 800P Front And Rear

We prodded the Intel representatives for more details but they politely refused. This is in-line with standard Intel policy on unreleased drives. From talking to some of our hyper-scale data center contacts, we expect this new Optane m.2 drive to be PCIe x4 and significantly faster than the desktop drives. Perhaps given the DC P4510 and P4511 naming convention this will become the Intel DC P4801X or a new class of drives like a P4601X.

Still, the continual march of the m.2 form factor in servers, even in the dense OCP server platforms, is ongoing. It is great to see that a proper Intel Optane DC drive is coming to the m.2 slot. We will provide more details as we find them.

As a shameless plug, if you want to use Intel Optane today, check out the STH Forums and you can say you have used Optane.

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