XIV Gen 3 modules are built on a new generation of Intel microprocessors based on the Nehalemmicro-architecture. Nehalem is the most profound architecture change that Intel has introduced in the 21st century. Some of the key changes and their benefits are:
- Integrated memory controller: The memory controller now sits on the same silicon die as the processors. It runs at the same clock-speed as the processors instead of at the lower speed of an external front-side bus. This dramatically improves memory performance and therefore overall system performance.
- No need for buffered memory: Previously, buffered memory was required to improve the performance of the memory sub-system. Buffered memory is relatively expensive and energy hungry. With the faster Nehalem integrated memory controller, the system can deliver improved performance without needing buffered memory, saving cost as well as energy. XIV Gen 3 will be faster and cooler at the same time using unbuffered DDR3 RAM. And since the memory is cheaper, we can put more in.
- Increased memory capacity: Nehalem supports more memory chips at higher speeds. In XIV Gen 3 this translates into a 50 to 200% increase in system cache, significantly lifting the performance headroom of an already stellar performer.
- No more front-side bus: Memory, second CPU package and peripherals no longer have to share and wait on a single bus to communicate. The connections are now direct or switched, enabling increased parallelism and the ability to do more work simultaneously.
- PCI Express Generation 2: The I/O sub-system doubles in speed with the introduction of PCI Gen-2. This enables faster network and I/O adapters for XIV Gen 3:
- 8 Gbps fibre-channel host connections.
- More iSCSI host connections (including at the entry configuration of 6 modules)
- Multi-channel, low latency infiniband as the inter-module connection.
- A slot for solid state disk (SSD).
- Better systems management instrumentation: The system supports increased monitors for sub-systems for more sophisticated self diagnostics and healing. Remote management capability has also been improved.
Furthermore, the new motherboards have additional expansion capacity (more processors, memory and I/O) that can be utilized to deliver future improvements in performance and increased software functionality.
XIV Gen 3 is not the first storage sub-system to adopt the Nehalem architecture. Some of our competitors (EMC and NetApp for example) have already done so with their dual-controller arrays. XIV Gen 3 takes the Nehalem architecture advantage forward, not twice, but six to fifteen times.
Many thanks to Patrick Lee for writing up this great summation.