Why You Should Care About NVM Express

Solid-state drives (SSDs) are becoming more capable and higher performance at an astonishing beat rate. This has driven the highest performance SSDs to use the PCI Express interface. PCI Express is 1 GB/s per lane and with seamless multi-lane support a vendor can easily build a single device that is 4 or 8 GB/s – substantially outrunning what is possible with SAS or SATA.

PCI Express is the raw throughput. What is necessary on top of PCI Express is a standard software interface, command set and feature set that allows Datacenters to unlock the true potential of PCIe SSDs. NVM Express™ (NVMe) is that standard software interface, developed by an industry consortium of over 90 members.

NVM Express has started to ship to Datacenter customers this quarter. What value does NVMe bring today versus SATA and SAS? Check out these raw performance numbers.


Note: PCIe/NVMe Measurements made on Intel(R)Core(TM) i7-3770S system @ 3.1GHz and 4GB Mem running Windows Server 2012 Standard O/S, Intel PCIe/NVMe SSDs, data collected by IOmeter* tool. PCIe/NVMe SSD is under development. SAS Measurements from HGST Ultrastar SSD800M/1000M (SAS) Solid State Drive Specification. SATA Measurements from Intel Solid State Drive DC P3700 Series Product Specification. Measurements shown for PCIe/NVMe with queue depth 128 and SAS/SATA with queue depth 32.


NVM Express delivers over 2x the raw performance of SAS 12Gbps and over 4x of SATA 6Gbps.

Imagine what you could do with this capability at your fingertips? Imagine how software will change over the next several years to take advantage.

Get ready for NVM Express – the SSD interface for the next decade. To learn more, visit nvmexpress.org.

Amber Huffman