back to article Looking for super speed from Optane? It's doable but quite difficult

Intel’s Optane DC Persistent Memory DIMM can make key storage applications 17 times faster, but systems builders must navigate ‘complex performance characteristics’ to get the best out of the technology. Researchers at UC San Diego put the Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory Module through its paces and found that application …

  1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
    WTF?

    Confused...

    Sorry, but maybe its because its Monday, Or because I need more caffeine... this article didn't make a lot of sense.

    I mean I get that YMMV in terms of performance depending on how Optane is used, but overall the article didn't make sense.

    I mean using NVMe or Optane as a fast persistence layer for your apps so that the app can flush LRU from memory, would allow for the application to support a larger amount of data. Or is there a better way? The article wasn't clear about that. So what am I missing?

    1. Chris Jasper

      Re: Confused...

      Near as I can figure it boils down to Optane: You cant polish a turd but you can roll it in glitter

      1. Paul Hargreaves

        Re: Confused...

        Obligatory Mythbusters polishing episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiJ9fy1qSFI

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Confused...

      "I mean using NVMe or Optane as a fast persistence layer for your apps so that the app can flush LRU from memory, would allow for the application to support a larger amount of data. Or is there a better way? The article wasn't clear about that. So what am I missing?"

      The best I can figure out is that basically you can use it as anything you like. It's just extra RAM but has the ability to survive a power cycle. Whether you treat it as RAM or another level of cache seems to be the primary choice for most users. Some of the laptops we look after could possibly start arriving with optional Optane installed and the likely uses means we've been told to go into the BIOS and disable it before doing any repairs as the persistence usage means it could corrupt the HDD if anything changes so I guess in this instance it's being used as a fast disk cache. I can't quite work out if in that instance, it would simply be faster to use an NVMe SSD and skip the expense of the Optane altogether.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Confused...

      Performance: DRAM >> Optane > NVMe > SSD

      Price: SSD < NVMe << Optane << DRAM

      Optanes potential advantage is blurring the line between volatile memory and non-volatile storage, but Intel is targeting servers (where that requirement is likely niche and requires) versus portable devices (which likely won't tolerate the premiums Intel is wanting).

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Performance tests

    "Not surprisingly, replacing DRAM with uncached Optane DC reduces performance by 20.1 and 23 per cent for memcached and Redis, respectively, whereas enabling the DRAM cache means performance drops between 8.6 and 19.2 per cent.

    Reducing performance may sound undesirable, but it enables applications to work with a much larger in-memory dataset, as the test server could accommodate 1.5TB of Optane DC memory per socket, compared with 192 GB of DRAM."

    Optane's challenge is cost/performance vs DRAM or NVMe. A quick comparison shows NVMe is around £400/TB vs Optane at £1000/TB and DRAM at £16,000 @64GB

    Depending on what you are doing (i.e. is the server a VM or physical, how important is ECC/redundancy, what is the cost of managing servers vs the business benefit of the additional performance), I'm not sure the market it will be addressing will be that large for the applications mentioned (databases/caching).

    i.e. would you take a server with 192GB RAM and mirrored 1TB Optanes or a server with 256GB RAM and mirrored 1TB NVMe drives? Particularly if the next step up maxs out Optanes at 1.5TB/slot versus 2TB/4TB NVMe if running large queries. YMMV but in 90% of the cases I would probably take the additional RAM, knowing that it will give me the most performance/flexibility for the majority of the workloads.

    1. overunder

      Re: Performance tests

      Maybe. Well maybe if somebody, anybody, can clearly prove Optane is indisputably desired in any use case. Admittedly, I don't know a lot about Optane, but all these articles to me leave a cloud over what it's actual application is for, thus I think that part is intentionally being obfuscated.

  3. jms222

    Obsolete

    When NVDIMM really goes mainstream Optane will simply be a proprietary incompatible and ultimately more expensive system. So yes they'd like you to invest in Optane before that happens.

    Strangely enough as things stand one good way to make use of Optane is with Ryzen and the storage product StoreMI motherboards come with.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I got sucked in and have to suffer

    Recient rebuild of my gaming machine (AUD $4500 recyled case, power supply, hd rack,), led to an optaishit hd on the PCIeand a M2 to speed up existing spinning rust,

    HD works ok, still wish i had got sammys stuff, when new 4 second boot, 5 months down the track 18-20 sec's

    the M2 had to be removed as the inturd software just fouled all sorts of shit up, had to get a much, MUCH more skilled tech to sort it out.

    I belived the hype and now i'm beeing punshed, 3 years of substandard proformance, and crashes, like busy roundabouts in the rain.

    Anony'mouse becouse of shame

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