Thursday, October 8th 2020

Marvell Launches Industry's First Native NVMe RAID Accelerator

Marvell (NASDAQ: MRVL) today introduced the industry's first native NVMe RAID 1 accelerator, a state-of-the-art technology for virtualized, multi-tenant cloud and enterprise data center environments which demand optimized reliability, efficiency, and performance. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is the first of Marvell's partners to support the new accelerator in the HPE NS204i-p NVMe OS Boot Device offered on select HPE ProLiant servers and HPE Apollo systems.

As the industry transitions from legacy SAS and SATA to NVMe SSDs, Marvell's offering helps data centers fast-track the move to higher performance flash storage. The innovative accelerator lowers data center total cost of ownership (TCO) by offloading RAID 1 processing from costly and precious server CPU resources, maximizing application processing performance. IT organizations can now deploy a "plug-and-play," NVMe-based OS boot solution, like the HPE NS204i-p NVMe OS Boot Device, that protects the integrity of flash data storage while delivering an optimized, application-level user experience.
The NVMe RAID 1 accelerator is compatible with Windows, Linux and VMware native OS NVMe host drivers and is based on a DRAM-less architecture which lowers power consumption. The NVMe RAID 1 accelerator is ideal for enterprise-class SSD boot applications as it naturally provides operating system and recovery data protection that is physically isolated in the server from volume user data. This isolation is critical for virtualized, software-defined storage and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) deployments that demand reliable access to logs and boot programs with no chance of being corrupted by user data. To meet high availability requirements, operating systems like VMware ESXi have traditionally relied on taxing the CPU for RAID 1 processing across two separate drives, consuming two server storage bays. The NVMe RAID 1 accelerator in the HPE NS204i-p NVMe OS Boot Device solves this problem by offloading RAID 1 processing to hardware and directly connecting to two NVMe SSDs allowing the HPE solution to consume a single PCIe slot.

"We are delighted to bring the industry's first hardware-accelerated, native NVMe RAID 1 to volume production together with the HPE NS204i-p NVMe OS Boot Device," said Thad Omura, vice president of marketing, Flash Business Unit at Marvell. "HPE is the first to bring reliable, self-contained NVMe OS boot capability to end users thanks to our RAID 1 offering that is easily deployed in volume with native OS NVMe host driver compatibility."

HPE has implemented a customized version of the NVMe RAID 1 accelerator and is the first to offer enterprise and hybrid-cloud providers this OS boot solution as part of its server infrastructure offering. The HPE NS204i-p NVMe OS Boot Device is a single PCIe card that includes two 480GB NVMe M.2 SSDs and enables customers to mirror their OS through dedicated hardware RAID 1. This "plug-and-play" OS boot device also has native OS NVMe host driver support for VMware, Windows, RHEL and SLES operating systems for simple deployment on HPE ProLiant servers and HPE Apollo systems.

"HPE has a decades-long collaboration with Marvell in delivering joint solutions that optimize storage, server and networking technologies to help customers transform their data centers and target growing workload needs," said Krista Satterthwaite, vice president, HPE Compute Product Management. "We look forward to continuing this collaboration by being the first to support Marvell's new accelerator solution in our state-of-the-art NVMe OS Boot Device, which is offered on the HPE ProLiant servers and HPE Apollo systems to target a range of workloads such as virtualization, AI, analytics, HPC, and HCI."

The HPE NS204i-p NVMe OS Boot Device is available today for select HPE ProLiant Gen10 and Gen10 Plus servers and HPE Apollo Gen10 and Gen10 Plus systems. For more information, please visit: www.hpe.com/info/serverstorage

"Marvell's approach at designing a hardware-optimized NVMe RAID 1 accelerator centers on an incredible level of optimization, providing accelerated performance coupled with lower power footprint compared with existing SATA/SAS RAID offerings," said Scott Sinclair, senior analyst at ESG. "This NVMe RAID 1 accelerator should be a top consideration for the mission-critical data center, mainly in cluster architecture, such as HCI, which requires high availability and quick recovery of data."

More information about Marvell's 88NR2241-B, the silicon device that powers the NVMe RAID 1 accelerator, is located here.
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24 Comments on Marvell Launches Industry's First Native NVMe RAID Accelerator

#1
kiriakost
To start with, I do not trust NVMe and anything else with out platters.
They better invest making SSD RAID 1 than NVMe RAID 1.
In a sense they will have a larger number of customers in the retail market.
Posted on Reply
#2
JAB Creations
Is this card PCI-Express 4.0 or 3.0? In my early days of buying parts I learned that if something wasn't explicitly stated by the manufacturer (as in you don't need to make any effort to reach out and ask) then it was guaranteed to be not what you're looking for.

I'm all for NVMe though I see them currently topping out at 8TB and I'm interested in going to 16TB which is only available right now via SATA or SAS.

Additionally there is no way that I know of to get more than seven NVMe drives in my rig (three on the motherboard, four on a PCI-Express addon card). I really want five (C:\ 1x, D:\ 2x, E:\ 3x) for OS/data/mass storage segregation purposes.
Posted on Reply
#3
mashie
kiriakost
To start with, I do not trust NVMe and anything else with out platters.
They better invest making SSD RAID 1 than NVMe RAID 1.
In a sense they will have a larger number of customers in the retail market.
SSD is a technology while NVMe is one of the electrical interface used for SSD's (SATA being the other common version).

So in this case NVMe RAID 1 is SSD RAID 1.
Posted on Reply
#4
kiriakost
mashie
SSD is a technology while NVMe is one of the electrical interface used for SSD's (SATA being the other common version).

So in this case NVMe RAID 1 is SSD RAID 1.
There is no any theoretical argument on that.
Its all about SSD product format and of how long this is going to be used?
HDD storage solution this is almost 24 years available and unchanged.

Is it SSD a fashion which will be sort lived (five years the most) ?
Posted on Reply
#5
JAB Creations
kiriakost
There is no any theoretical argument on that.
Its all about SSD product format and of how long this is going to be used?
HDD storage solution this is almost 24 years available and unchanged.

Is it SSD a fashion which will be sort lived (five years the most) ?
NVMe SSDs are as fast as some version of DDR RAM (I can't find a reliable version though there are some sources that say the latency is not as low as RAM). I've been using SATA SSDs in RAID 1 for my work for redundancy for years now without any problem. I'll be migrating to at least 8TB in RAID 1 before the end of this year to replace those older SATA drives. I also do full drive cloning for backup purposes. That being said I've had great luck with both mechanical and SSD based hard drives. However I'm not constantly rewriting the drives which I think is what you're making a big deal about. If you're worried your feet won't touch the bottom ask yourself this: will you be writing terabytes of data each day for the next three years straight? If not your SSD drives will be fine. I highly recommend you research SSD reliability, 1/2/3/4 bit cells, etc. Even with full drive clones if I encounter issues I'll make it clear on my own website and YouTube channel. There are other factors to consider (not putting your data on the OS drive in example) so a lot of issues come down to user choice, informed or not.
Posted on Reply
#6
kiriakost
JAB Creations
If you're worried your feet won't touch the bottom ask yourself this: will you be writing terabytes of data each day for the next three years straight? If not your SSD drives will be fine.
I will keep my text short in length.
In my world when some asks an advice for a specific job this is called application.
The application could be challenging, or rare or pointless or worthy.

The only question than cant be pointless this is how much they worth in cash the terabytes of data that you are safeguarding ?
Posted on Reply
#7
JAB Creations
kiriakost
The only question than cant be pointless this is how much they worth in cash the terabytes of data that you are safeguarding ?
I'm far from typical; my reasons are that SSDs are proven, that I have redundancy and backups and that my time is extremely valuable where I can justify spending thousands of dollars on fast access combined with high capacity. People rely on my technology and on me to keep it running. It's like walking on a bed of nails: you don't get hurt because all of the pressure of your body/foot is distributed and there are lots of nails. However in computing we deal with bottlenecks such as the computer waiting on slow storage. In real life that is very few people who can accomplish a lot. If I have to setup my rig from scratch (OS and software) it will take me three days whereas if I simply clone I'll be working in less than an hour. At the money I charge that is hundreds of dollars a day worth of productivity that I can't afford to lose. It is not an option for me, it's a requirement. My first SSD, a Corsair 128GB is in a friend's laptop which used to take five minutes to boot, now it boots in less than 20 seconds. Time is money and there are only so many people on Earth who are truly improving the lives of everyone else through things such as technology.
Posted on Reply
#8
hat
Enthusiast
kiriakost
There is no any theoretical argument on that.
Its all about SSD product format and of how long this is going to be used?
HDD storage solution this is almost 24 years available and unchanged.

Is it SSD a fashion which will be sort lived (five years the most) ?
SSDs are here to stay in one form or another, until something better comes out. HDD will probably be around for a while yet because they're still king where raw capacity is important, though.

As far as M.2, it's just a physical connector for an SSD. It can either be PCI-E, SATA, or both. Even if M.2 slots go away, PCI-E cards that have them should still be available. If anything, I expect to see more M.2 and less SATA in the future.
Posted on Reply
#9
kiriakost
JAB Creations
I'm far from typical; my reasons are that SSDs are proven, that I have redundancy and backups and that my time is extremely valuable where I can justify spending thousands of dollars on fast access combined with high capacity. People rely on my technology and on me to keep it running. It's like walking on a bed of nails: you don't get hurt because all of the pressure of your body/foot is distributed and there are lots of nails. However in computing we deal with bottlenecks such as the computer waiting on slow storage. In real life that is very few people who can accomplish a lot. If I have to setup my rig from scratch (OS and software) it will take me three days whereas if I simply clone I'll be working in less than an hour. At the money I charge that is hundreds of dollars a day worth of productivity that I can't afford to lose. It is not an option for me, it's a requirement. My first SSD, a Corsair 128GB is in a friend's laptop which used to take five minutes to boot, now it boots in less than 20 seconds. Time is money and there are only so many people on Earth who are truly improving the lives of everyone else through things such as technology.
I did not get an answer in coins value which this is something that I can understand.
Youtube content this is not priceless especially if you consider of how it worth every next month.
In order to keep that simple, all that I am saying this is that even consumers they should start thinking as business man.
This equals to better finance control and wise decisions for making any new investment.

In the end of the day if your files worth a fortune then buy cloud storage.
Posted on Reply
#10
Xuper
no Heatsink on other chips?
Posted on Reply
#11
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
kiriakost
The only question than cant be pointless this is how much they worth in cash the terabytes of data that you are safeguarding ?
No datacenter is putting cloud storage data onto NVMe drives. A solution like this is much more likely for boot drives on rackmount servers so the machine doesn't go down if a single boot disk fails, even if all of your data is in a SAN or on a RAID in the same box. A lot of times servers will use eMMC cards that go into mini PCIe slots as boot disks and I've seen them fail and they fail often. Something like this could significantly reduce downtime due to those kinds out outages. Simply put, this is not intended to be a consumer product from what I see.
Posted on Reply
#12
kiriakost
Aquinus
Simply put, this is not intended to be a consumer product from what I see.
Simply put, my first message was a recommendation or personal wish-list for a product this be more compatible to consumer needs.

Two Days ago, Microsoft decided to create in Greece Athens , their new data center , three buildings in a distance of 20Km apart, all of them wired to its other (earthquake protection planning).
This is to serve East Europe.
Microsoft president told us, that Greece will have Cloud storage for cheap.
I am clueless of what hardware they plan to use, but the sad news are that they will need less than 100 people for it maintenance.
Posted on Reply
#13
lexluthermiester
What, no RAID 0, 5 or 6 offerings? WTH?

Additionally, this offering can not be called an "accelerator " because it doesn't accelerate anything. RAID 1 is a mirroring methodology, so nothing is sped up, it's just copied. RAID 0, 5 and 6 would qualify as accelerators as they actually speed up performance.

Yes, I get that it's marketing jargon, but it should be accurate at the very least.
Posted on Reply
#14
theoneandonlymrk
kiriakost
To start with, I do not trust NVMe and anything else with out platters.
They better invest making SSD RAID 1 than NVMe RAID 1.
In a sense they will have a larger number of customers in the retail market.
You should realise enterprise don't tend to use such for long term storage, no but for databases with hundreds using them on the drive or cacheing.
As for home nvme raid I'm on it, it's totes pointless but man's gota mess with something and hopefully the direct Io Microsoft brings out could give it purpose.
PC's damn fast in use though, and 6 months in the drive's are healthy despite perma usage, my nervous auntie turns stuff off, not I.
Posted on Reply
#15
kiriakost
lexluthermiester
RAID 1 is a mirroring methodology, so nothing is sped up, it's just copied. RAID 0, 5 and 6 would qualify as accelerators as they actually speed up performance.

Yes, I get that it's marketing jargon, but it should be accurate at the very least.
All true, by the decision of me using RAID 1, I have the awareness that my pair of Raptor 10K RPM HDD this will slowdown.
But if I was using a pair of regular 7K RPM ones instead, they would slowdown more.

If you are up to for RAID 4 or above, you better start thinking as investor, and make any decision by taking in mind the total cost of ownership.
I am using Win7 Pro, I have a copy of NVMe driver just for safekeeping.
But I am unwilling to follow this route as I will have to pay for a new major motherboard upgrade.

I am content creator, within past 15 years I did create 8.7 GB of valuable content, I will never need any terabytes storage solution.

Some product solutions they are mostly for surveillance footage recording.
This is a rare application at least for the majority of TPU visitors or members.
Posted on Reply
#16
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
kiriakost
I am content creator, within past 15 years I did create 8.7 GB of valuable content, I will never need any terabytes storage solution.
In the past 6 years I've accumulated 68GB of photo and video just from my phone alone. I'm sure there are content creators that use far more than that.
lexluthermiester
What, no RAID 0, 5 or 6 offerings? WTH?

Additionally, this offering can not be called an "accelerator " because it doesn't accelerate anything. RAID 1 is a mirroring methodology, so nothing is sped up, it's just copied. RAID 0, 5 and 6 would qualify as accelerators as they actually speed up performance.

Yes, I get that it's marketing jargon, but it should be accurate at the very least.
That's half true. For writes it's definitely the case, but read performance is similar to RAID-0 because either drive can read each block of the RAID which can actually help performance (at least for rotational media drives,) where the disk that has the read head closest to the data gets used (reduced seek time,) but for SSDs, I'd expect RAID-0 like performance on read, just not on write.
Posted on Reply
#17
kiriakost
Aquinus
In the past 6 years I've accumulated 68GB of photo and video just from my phone alone. I'm sure there are content creators that use far more than that.
You seem unfamiliar of the total size of 20 pages product review plain text, in the form of a MS Word document.
The phone this is also a poor way, of taking quality pictures for public demonstration, following the path of amateur photographer with a camera worth above 1200 Euro, it might be a better solution.

Food for thought.
Posted on Reply
#18
JAB Creations
Aquinus
In the past 6 years I've accumulated 68GB of photo and video just from my phone alone. I'm sure there are content creators that use far more than that.
Anyone with an iPhone (and I'm not sure if there are any scumbag apps on Android that do this) should know that Apple intentionally bloats the space taking pictures uses by creating short videos. They have some lame excuse though the point is so that people don't know that their phone is not legitimately full. As we're obviously a much more technically inclined group here at TPU we know that we can go in and delete that garbage but the point is we shouldn't have to.
Posted on Reply
#19
lexluthermiester
Aquinus
That's half true. For writes it's definitely the case, but read performance is similar to RAID-0 because either drive can read each block of the RAID which can actually help performance (at least for rotational media drives,) where the disk that has the read head closest to the data gets used (reduced seek time,) but for SSDs, I'd expect RAID-0 like performance on read, just not on write.
While that is possible, I have never seen it implemented or even documented on anything but the highest end RAID controllers, certainly not something like the card in the article above. Very greatly doubt Marvell has implemented such functionality for NVMe drives.
Posted on Reply
#20
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
lexluthermiester
While that is possible, I have never seen it implemented or even documented on anything but the highest end RAID controllers, certainly not something like the card in the article above. Very greatly doubt Marvell has implemented such functionality for NVMe drives.
Do you even try to do research?
superuser.com/questions/228302/does-software-raid-1-in-windows-7-improve-read-speeds/279133
superuser.com/questions/385519/does-raid1-increase-performance-with-linux-mdadm

Or maybe mdadm with two NVMe drives in single drive, RAID-0, and RAID-1 in a read-only PostgreSQL test.

www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=samsung-960-raid&num=4
kiriakost
You seem unfamiliar of the total size of 20 pages product review plain text, in the form of a Wold document.
The phone this is also a poor way, of taking quality pictures for public demonstration, following the path of amateur photographer with a camera worth above 1200 Euro, it might be a better solution.

Food for thought.
I'm well aware of that. I'm considering a good DSLR for the holidays or something. My phone is an iPhone 11 Pro Max. It's good enough, but you're right, I need something better. Also I do have multi-page documents as well. They're not that bad.
JAB Creations
Anyone with an iPhone (and I'm not sure if there are any scumbag apps on Android that do this) should know that Apple intentionally bloats the space taking pictures uses by creating short videos. They have some lame excuse though the point is so that people don't know that their phone is not legitimately full. As we're obviously a much more technically inclined group here at TPU we know that we can go in and delete that garbage but the point is we shouldn't have to.
You can turn that feature off and I do. Some of the features with the iPhone 11 Pro can't be used with live motion turned on anyways. The things that take up the most space are the videos. The 4k shots probably could be re-encoded to use less space without sacrificing any image quality, but we digress.
Posted on Reply
#21
lexluthermiester
Aquinus
Do you even try to do research?
No, never.
Aquinus
Does software RAID 1 in Windows 7 improve read speeds?
Rubbish link. Let's see manufacturer documentation and data.
Aquinus
superuser.com/questions/385519/does-raid1-increase-performance-with-linux-mdadm
Or maybe mdadm with two NVMe drives in single drive, RAID-0, and RAID-1 in a read-only PostgreSQL test.

www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=samsung-960-raid&num=4
Those are all linux software implementations with custom configurations. Let's see some actual default, driver based implementations.
Posted on Reply
#22
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
lexluthermiester
Those are all linux software implementations with custom configurations.
My god man, learn how to read.
As some fresh Linux RAID benchmarks were tests of Btrfs, EXT4, F2FS, and XFS on a single Samsung 960 EVO and then using two of these SSDs in RAID0 and RAID1. Tests were done using the Linux 4.16 Git kernel on 24 March and using the latest file-system user-space tools found in the Bionic archive for the upcoming Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

During the testing each file-system was tested with its default mount options. This multi-disk Linux benchmarking should serve for some complementary figures to the recent Linux 4.16 HDD/SSD EXT4/F2FS/Btrfs/XFS testing from those slower storage devices.
Basically, this is what you would get with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS out of the box. :slap:
www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=samsung-960-raid&num=1
Posted on Reply
#23
lexluthermiester
Aquinus
My god man, learn how to read.
Oh, I'm sorry. It would seem that once again one of us has missed something..

Allow me to rephrase;
lexluthermiester
Let's see some actual default, WINDOWS driver based implementations.
There ya go..
Posted on Reply
#24
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
lexluthermiester
Oh, I'm sorry. It would seem that once again one of us has missed something..

Allow me to rephrase;

There ya go..
I have provided several things saying that it's possible and that it doesn't work as you suggest. How about you find something that's evidence to the contrary. I've made my point and it's not my problem if you're unwilling to accept it.
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