Next generation memory technology: Intel Optane and Optane SSD Testbed

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IBM, Intel, and Lenovo, are excited to introduce the Intel® Optane™ SSD Innovator Testbed. The Optane SDD Innovator Testbed offers early access to end users and software vendors looking to discover new innovations as well as test and optimize applications.

What is Intel Optane technology?

Intel® Optane™ technology is a premium, non-volatile memory media. Intel® Optane™ SSDs deliver high IOPs at low queue depths (where many data center applications tend to operate, e.g. key-value stores). They also enable high endurance use cases (e.g. applications that require intense operating system paging/swap file) where traditional storage devices would wear out rapidly. Intel® Optane™ SSDs facilitate more virtual machines (VMs) with guaranteed service levels while delivering high IOPs per VM—dramatically improving the service quality received by each VM.

The unique characteristics of Intel® Optane™ SSDs enable some interesting use cases. Specific performance metrics depend on workloads, but in an SSD-optimized database (such as RocksDB or Aerospike), we see up to a 4x throughput advantage on our prototype drives versus Intel’s P3700 NAND-based drive. This leads to an improved QoS—meaning more work gets done with a tightly controlled latency spread.

Intel® Optane™ technology promises to change the face of computing with an unparalleled combination of low latency, very high endurance, and very high quality of service at extremely high and balanced read and write IOPs.

What is the Innovator Testbed?

Available at the end of the year, IBM Cloud and Intel will offer early innovators and adopters the chance to easily access and play with Intel® Optane™ SSDs.

Originally announced at the 2016 Intel Developer Forum (IDF), this new testbed was created for existing market applications to deliver disruptive services while offering emerging, disruptive technologies a preview of the Intel Optane™ SSD’s advantages. Early customers expressed interest in testing Intel® Optane™ technology in use cases such as DRAM replacement or extension device, either as a cache layer or as a traditional (but extremely fast) storage device, getting storage out of the critical path to performance. Applications customers wanted to include blockchain, quantum compute simulations, cloud-assisted autonomous navigation workloads, high frequency trading, real time analytics/databases, cloud gaming, and more.

The Innovator Testbeds are powered by Lenovo servers running in IBM’s world-class cloud data centers. Lenovo is an early OEM adopter of Intel® Optane® technology. In the second half of 2017, IBM will feature a broad services suite fueled by Intel Optane™ SSD-powered services and hosted on the IBM Bluemix platform.

The testbed is available free of charge for a limited time. Sign up now to get more information on the testbed—and to be among the first few to get a hands-on taste of this technology.

Sign up at

1 IBM, Intel reserve the right to determine access to the Intel™ Optane SSD Innovator testbed.
2 In an SSD optimized database such as RocksDB on our prototype drives vs Intel’s P3700 NAND based drive. Intel® Optane™ SSD 140GB prototype compared to the Intel® P3700 SSD 140GB (NAND) Intel tested. Using RocksDB Test 5. Quanta Leopard base board, 2x Intel Haswell CPUs (2.5 GHz, 12 core, HT Enabled, 8 DDR4 DIMMs, 256GB, 32GB Used, CentOS* 7.2, no OS changes XFS FS with FB build/mount opts, TRIM enabled, P3700 (50% capacity used) and Intel Optane Based Prototype (75% capacity used).

IBM Cloud Marketing Leader - VMware

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