AMA Intel Optane AMA - Starts Tuesday at 12pm

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Jsimenhoff

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Tom's Hardware is proud to announce the upcoming guest in our featured Community Series -- ASK ME ANYTHING.

On Tuesday, March 12th through Wednesday, March 13th the Intel Optane Team will join us in a live AMA. Have a question about Optane? Now’s your chance to speak with Intel directly. Log into the forums to join the discussion and learn about the latest news on the future of Intel and Optane storage technology.

This thread will be unlocked, open and live for 24 hours starting at 12:00pm EDT on Tuesday, March 12th. Questions will be moderated and supervised by Tom's Hardware Community Manager, Joshua Simenhoff, as well as our full team of moderators.

Intel Optane Technology Team
  • Chris Tobias, Director, Intel Optane Technology Team.
  • James Myers, Director, Data Center Storage Solutions Architecture
  • Roger Corell, Marketing Manager
  • Avinash Shetty, Senior SSD Strategic Planner and Product Line Manager
  • Mark Henderson, Storage Technology Marketing Engineer
The official representatives will reply periodically, using a recognized and verified account.

Don't Forget the Optane Giveaway

We're also proud to announce an upcoming giveaway done in partnership with Intel. Up for grabs is the workstation ready Intel Optane SSD 905p 960GB. Featuring AIC PCie x 4 3D XPoint technology and some the fastest latency speeds in the industry, the Intel Optane SSD 905p is ready for the most demanding storage workloads. Don’t miss out on your chance to win! The sweepstakes opens today, March 12th and will close at 11:59 pm EST on April 5th. Please see the contest entry page for a full list of rules and ways to enter.

Ask Me Anything Rules
• No tech support questions, as these require in-depth personal follow-up and diagnostics.
• All Rules of Conduct apply.
• Keep questions direct and to the point.
• Avoid opinion bias, as in, "Why are all your products awesome/horrible?"
• Be respectful of our guests--no insults, no leading questions.
• Do not post duplicate questions or repost your question multiple times.
• Not all questions may be answered. Questions may not be answered in the order in which they are received or posted.

To reiterate: No opinion bias, insults, leading questions, or breaking the Rules of Conduct. Breaking these rules may result in a one-day ban.

Only registered users will be able to ask questions, so if you haven’t yet, be sure to register now for your chance to participate!
 
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Rogue Leader

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Hi all.

I think the idea behind using an Optane cache drive is great, Its kind of like Windows page file but massively boosted. However I wanted to know your thoughts on PC Manufacturers implementation of it. Specifically many are advertising PCs and laptops with "20GB of RAM" and then in the fine print "16GB Optane, 4GB DDR4". Thats a bit unscrupulous, and additionally I feel like they are passing off systems with a lower than optimal amount of system ram to unsuspecting buyers. I even saw one with an i7 in it! Optane is great, but its not Ram. What are your feelings about this, have you contacted the manufacturers to stop these practices?
 

Team Intel Optane

Official Forum Representative
Mar 8, 2019
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Hi all.

I think the idea behind using an Optane cache drive is great, Its kind of like Windows page file but massively boosted. However I wanted to know your thoughts on PC Manufacturers implementation of it. Specifically many are advertising PCs and laptops with "20GB of RAM" and then in the fine print "16GB Optane, 4GB DDR4". Thats a bit unscrupulous, and additionally I feel like they are passing off systems with a lower than optimal amount of system ram to unsuspecting buyers. I even saw one with an i7 in it! Optane is great, but its not Ram. What are your feelings about this, have you contacted the manufacturers to stop these practices?
Intel® Optane™ memory is a unique technology that bridges a gap between ‘memory’ and ‘storage.’ Like RAM it sits within the PC memory hierarchy. By placing commonly used data and programs closer to the processor, Intel® Optane memory allows the systems to access this information more quickly and improve overall system responsiveness. Intel® Optane™ memory cannot replace DRAM entirely. However, these two memory technologies complement each other within the PC.

Intel does provide a recommended fact tag guidance for its products. For example, for Intel® Optane™ memory, we recommend calling out the entire capacity and the memory technology in the memory line.

  • Memory : 20GB Memory : 16GB Intel Optane Memory + 4GB DDR4 DRAM or
  • Memory : 16GB Intel Optane Memory + 4GB DDR4 DRAM or
  • Intel® Optane™ memory and DRAM are called out separately without total.
Fact tag positioning is the retailer’s decision. Guidance provided as-is; with no warranties or indemnities, express or implied.
 
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Team Intel Optane

Official Forum Representative
Mar 8, 2019
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Hello!

Will full Optane functionality ever be supported on non Intel platforms? Like AMD Ryzen and future ARM Snapdragon Windows 10 machines?
Intel Optane SSDs conform to the PCIe and NVMe specifications. The Intel Optane memory client solution is only supported on Intel processors.
 
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Are there plans to bring down of the costs of these current drives and 3DXPoint in general in short/long term? I use a 900P 280GB myself and highly recommend them to those interested, but compared to the common M.2 NVMe NAND based drives, it's hard to explain to someone the benefits of Optane technology given the current pricing vs. M.2 NAND drives for example. A lot of folks just think all SSDs about the same other than speed advertisements and just buy what's on sale instead of what may actually benefit their usage scenario.
 
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Lutfij

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Welcome to Tom'sHardware ;) It's a pleasure having you here with us.

I see you're working with creative professionals, like BT(the artist), helping them make their end goals come to fruition faster. Do you see guys see a point where what you're doing with Optane now(and the foreseeable future) is possible enough to remove DRAM altogether? I mean I see you're saying ti's not a direct replacement now but is it possible to fathom DRAM being replaced with Optane'ish technology and reduce the form factor of builds or at the very least reduce real estate needs on a motherboard's PCB?
 
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shisai

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SSDs are becoming the standard now and the terminology for PCI-Express/M.2/etc. based storage are finally becoming household terms in the gaming/performance/AI sectors. However from my perception Optane/3DXpoint technology is generally still in the 'theoretical'/'impractical'/'dream' categories when compared to other SSD technologies for regular consumers. While the tech is definitely different (and better) I feel you guys are competing for the same space that the high end performance PCI-express drives currently occupy.

Do you guys have any plans to change this perception and try to make Optane more mainstream?
What do you feel is your biggest hurdle at this point to making it THE standard for high performance storage solutions? (cost/tech/marketing/availability?)

(just to note i have nothing against the Optane or Intel. In fact I really really want one but trying to justify the cost vs performance vs storage ratios is a hard sell for my frugal self)
 

2Be_or_Not2Be

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I'm interested in Optane drives for my company's servers. To get real capacity, we need multiple drives, and so we would get them in U.2 format.

Let's say the intended use case is a database server. To add 4-5 U.2 Optane drives to the system, is it recommended to use a PCIe RAID HBA (caching or not)? Or do you recommend plugging direct into boards w/a few U.2 ports? What is the recommend RAID topology when using 4-5 U.2 Optane drives?
 

Giroro

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Does using Optane to cache storage increase the size, speed, or effectiveness of system memory?

If not, is there a method for a typical home user to use Optane so that it functions more like system memory instead of storage?
 
Mar 12, 2019
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Tom's Hardware is proud to announce the upcoming guest in our featured Community Series -- ASK ME ANYTHING.

On Tuesday, March 12th through Wednesday, March 13th the Intel Optane Team will join us in a live AMA. Have a question about Optane? Now’s your chance to speak with Intel directly. Log into the forums to join the discussion and learn about the latest news on the future of Intel and Optane storage technology.

This thread will be unlocked, open and live for 24 hours starting at 12:00pm EDT on Tuesday, March 12th. Questions will be moderated and supervised by Tom's Hardware Community Manager, Joshua Simenhoff, as well as our full team of moderators.

Intel Optane Technology Team
  • Chris Tobias, Director, Intel Optane Technology Acceleration Team.
  • James Myers, Director, Data Center Storage Solutions Architecture
  • Roger Corell, Marketing Manager
The official representatives will reply periodically, using a recognized and verified account.

Don't Forget the Optane Giveaway

We're also proud to announce an upcoming giveaway done in partnership with Intel. Up for grabs is the workstation ready Intel Optane SSD 905p 960GB. Featuring AIC PCie x 4 3D XPoint technology and some the fastest latency speeds in the industry, the Intel Optane SSD 905p is ready for the most demanding storage workloads. Don’t miss out on your chance to win! The sweepstakes opens today, March 12th and will close at 11:59 pm EST on April 5th. Please see the contest entry page for a full list of rules and ways to enter.

Ask Me Anything Rules
• No tech support questions, as these require in-depth personal follow-up and diagnostics.
• All Rules of Conduct apply.
• Keep questions direct and to the point.
• Avoid opinion bias, as in, "Why are all your products awesome/horrible?"
• Be respectful of our guests--no insults, no leading questions.
• Do not post duplicate questions or repost your question multiple times.
• Not all questions may be answered. Questions may not be answered in the order in which they are received or posted.

To reiterate: No opinion bias, insults, leading questions, or breaking the Rules of Conduct. Breaking these rules may result in a one-day ban.

Only registered users will be able to ask questions, so if you haven’t yet, be sure to register now for your chance to participate!
I'm specifically asking about "Intel® Optane™ DC persistent memory".

I'm concerned about memory flush instructions (CLFLUSH) and the fence instructions (LFENCE, SFENCE, MFENCE). Is there a magic set of instructions to bring Optane™ DC into safety?

Specifically, crash recovery? What I mean is for Linux servers undergoing:
  1. Machine check
  2. Power fail
  3. system panic (wide variety of kinds)
  4. reboot
  5. reboot/nf (no flush)
Is there any way to make memory safe at a point across a set of these Intel® Optane™ DC persistent memory modules, and then come back to a consistent state after crash, like there is with fsync on storage, and write ahead log methods before the crash?
 

Team Intel Optane

Official Forum Representative
Mar 8, 2019
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What do you like the most about working on, and developing, Intel Optane products?
The cool, smart people we all get to work with--and the opportunity to drive change in the computing industry. The platform architecture has been around for decades and it's finally shifting, as we blur the lines between memory and storage! Plus, we get to wear cool Optane swag! #OptaneBowtie
 
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Team Intel Optane

Official Forum Representative
Mar 8, 2019
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9
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Are there plans to bring down of the costs of these current drives and 3DXPoint in general in short/long term? I use a 900P 280GB myself and highly recommend them to those interested, but compared to the common M.2 NVMe NAND based drives, it's hard to explain to someone the benefits of Optane technology given the current pricing vs. M.2 NAND drives for example. A lot of folks just think all SSDs about the same other than speed advertisements and just buy what's on sale instead of what may actually benefit their usage scenario.
Thank you for understanding that Optane is a workload benefit product. To further answer your question, just take a look at what Tom's Hardware said about the Intel Optane SSD 905P. To quote from the article:

" . . .It's worth the price because it is the fastest SSD on the market. It doesn't matter if you primarily play games or render nuclear simulations for the Pentagon: this is the uncontested performance champion."

Thank you for championing Intel Optane technology! Keep rocking your Optane with pride!
 

Team Intel Optane

Official Forum Representative
Mar 8, 2019
23
9
15
0
Welcome to Tom'sHardware ;) It's a pleasure having you here with us.

I see you're working with creative professionals, like BT(the artist), helping them make their end goals come to fruition faster. Do you see guys see a point where what you're doing with Optane now(and the foreseeable future) is possible enough to remove DRAM altogether? I mean I see you're saying ti's not a direct replacement now but is it possible to fathom DRAM being replaced with Optane'ish technology and reduce the form factor of builds or at the very least reduce real estate needs on a motherboard's PCB?
We don't see DRAM going away completely at this point, but we're open to new ideas. To see what we've done on the data center side of things, head over to Accelerate with Optane and use it as a development platform to see what you can do. If you want to try Intel Optane to see what it can do to extend memory in virtualization or MySQL, check out this link. And we continue to innovate on the client.
 
Mar 12, 2019
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I am interested in the performance of random reads for the "Intel® Optane™ DC persistent memory" modules.

Assuming you had a set of these installed on the appropriate highest end Intel processor on the best motherboard available, I understand the limit is 3TB per chip socket. How many random reads per second can this configuration expect to support (IOPS)?
 
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Could you use a normal NVMe M.2 SSD instead of Optane? What are some of the advantages over Optane?
Also, what do you do in a situation with multiple HDDs? Can you use more than one Optane for the multiple drives?
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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We've seen quite a few questions here at Toms regarding pairing a 16GB or 32GB Optane module with a traditional SSD.
Given current SSD are "fast", especially regarding the near zero access times, even SATA III but especially NVMe, is there a real point or benefit for a typical consumer system to merge these two technologies?

I can absolutely see it paired with an old school spinning platter, but on top of an already fast SSD?

For instance - my house systems are all SSD only. Currently top grade SATA III, but the next iteration will be NVMe drives.
The 905p is too expensive per GB, but would I benefit from a 32GB Optane paired with an NVMe and sufficient system DRAM?

Or are we chasing ever decreasing benefits?
 

Team Intel Optane

Official Forum Representative
Mar 8, 2019
23
9
15
0
I'm interested in Optane drives for my company's servers. To get real capacity, we need multiple drives, and so we would get them in U.2 format.

Let's say the intended use case is a database server. To add 4-5 U.2 Optane drives to the system, is it recommended to use a PCIe RAID HBA (caching or not)? Or do you recommend plugging direct into boards w/a few U.2 ports? What is the recommend RAID topology when using 4-5 U.2 Optane drives?
Here's the short answer. We don't generally recommend RAID for data availability with databases. Instead, we recommend data replication or a virtualized software-defined storage platform.

Here's the TLDR answer. A database server is a fantastic usage for an Intel Optane SSD P4800X. Just take a look at what Dimitri, the lead Open Source developer for MySQL had to say about using Optane. In his work, you will see that Dimitri uses MDM Raid 0 to combine drives into a single namespace. This is an option, assuming you have another method for data availability, such as an SDS or replication platform. A common approach we see is using DRBD style replication to another server. You’ll likely have replication of some form if data availability is a concern, because something as simple as a network cable or port, which can have much higher failure rates than SSDs, would knock you out of commission and force a failover to another node… Some other database technologies have higher level replication features built in, such as Microsoft SQL Server’s “Always On Replication” feature.

For big scale-up databases, we more often see Optane SSDs used for the log files and TempDB, where some lower cost NAND SSDs might be used for the database storage. Here’s an example reference architecture for Microsoft SQL implemented as such. Again, replication is key to a data availability strategy if you want to avoid down time.

Add-in hardware RAID controller options for NVMe SSDs are limited, often significantly limit performance, and add cost. You can use Linux MDRAID for a higher level of availability, but you can also consider an Intel product called VROC which is an alternative for NVMe SSDs directly attached to the CPU. If you insist on RAID within the node as your data availability model, take a look for Servers that support VROC.

Using RAID is becoming significantly less common as people move to NVMe SSDs, and embrace more cloud like models. It takes a pretty massive user base for your database to keep a big multi-core CPU, like the Intel Xeon Scalable Series busy, so most enterprises are virtualizing databases. A common approach to appreciate the performance of Direct Attached Storage for a database, but also have SAN like data availability is to embrace a Hyperconverged Software Defined Storage type platform, like VMware VSAN, Microsoft Server’s Storage Spaces Direct, Nutanix, Cisco Hyperflex, etc. We’ve worked with many customers to help them host the fanciest of databases on these HCI style platforms, where the Optane P4800X as a caching SSD is a good usage too.

You can also use the Optane P4800X SSD or Intel Optane Persistent Memory DIMMs to displace DRAM. Check out how MySQL runs when you short the DRAM in favor of Intel Optane SSDs here.
 
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USAFRet

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Here's the short answer. We don't generally recommend RAID for data availability with databases. Instead, we recommend data replication or a virtualized software-defined storage platform.
...
Using RAID is becoming significantly less common as people move to NVMe SSDs, and embrace more cloud like models.
Thank you.
If you were here, I'd hug you for that statement.
 
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