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Intel Optane Persistent Memory: The Best Kept Secret for Virtualization

October 28, 2021

Intel Optane Persistent Memory: The Best Kept Secret for Virtualization
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Five years ago, Intel came up with a new silicon chip to store data.

With this chip, users can expand the memory component of their server more than ever before.

Shelby Skrhak speaks with Ken Lloyd, Director of US SLED at Intel, about:

  • How Optane splits the difference between NAND and DRAM
  • Common uses for Optane
  • How Optane works with virtualized workloads
  • Why it’s great for public sector and education

Intel Optane Persistent Memory (PMEM)

Before Optane PMEM, users had a choice between NAND storage and DRAM memory. NAND was slower, but big and cheap. DRAM was faster, but very expensive.

Optane PMEM splits the difference between the two.

“It provides both performance on par with DRAM and endurance on par with NAND,” Ken says, “and it’s able to do that at a price point between those.”

Most common uses

Users are demanding more memory than ever before, especially when it comes to virtualization.

“They want to put more VMs on every server and their VMs are getting bigger,” Ken says.

Optane PMEM is an inexpensive way for people to get big volatile memory onto their platform.

“Ironically, the most common use of Intel’s Persistent Memory is as a non-persistent memory,” Ken says.

Virtualized workloads

When you use Optane PMEM as memory, it allows you to host more VMs and bigger VMs than ever before.

Plus, the system has complete support from different operating systems and hardware manufacturers, including one of Intel’s top customers—VMware.

Public sector and education

The public sector is under near constant pressure to do more with fewer servers and at a lower cost.

“If instead of having 25 VMware hosts in my environment,” Ken says, “I can improve my consolidation and take that down to 15–20, the ROI is huge.”

Lowering the density also means you can keep your YOY software licensing flat or reduce it all together.

All of this adds up to a reduced budget.

According to Ken, that’s what it’s all about: “Finding ways that they can do more with the same or less money has been a huge advantage within the public sector.”

Common customer questions

  • Does VMware support using Optane PMEM? Yes, it does. Learn more.
  • Will Optane PMEM hurt VMware performance? No, it won’t. Learn more.

For more information, contact Andrew Calabrese at andrew.calabrese@ingrammicro.com or visit Intel Optane Persistent Memory.

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