Common protocols – iSCSI, iSER, NFS, and SMB3 – are proven to be inefficient for presenting flash over the network. Having a single short command queue, they were designed to connect HDDs, not flash. Due to such design, these protocols cut off most of PCIe SSD performance (up to 50%). Moneywise, such a severe performance loss means that you may need more PCIe SSDs at some point, which is overkill for SMEs and ROBOs!
To date, means for presenting PCIe SSDs to the entire Hyper-V cluster are under development. NVMe-oF, the protocol tailored for enabling VMs to talk effectively to PCIe drives, is a perfect alternative to the traditional protocols, but there’s no NVMe-oF software initiator for Windows yet, meaning that clients cannot effectively use the hardware. Yes, there are NVMe-oF-ready network interface cards (NICs) allowing Hyper-V VMs to talk to PCIe SSDs. But buying expensive NICs right after purchasing a couple of flash drives is quite a big investment.
NVMe-oF keeps the latency of NVMe drives connected via the network lower than 10ms. Applications basically feel no difference between drives presented over the network and ones connected locally. The single short command queue is replaced with multiple independent queues, up to 64K commands each. Such design allows getting all the performance a PCIe SSD can provide.
StarWind NVMe-oF Initiator is the only free software solution for Windows, allowing you to enjoy all PCIe SSD benefits. It is a software module that connects a host (i.e., a client) to a block storage target (i.e., remote server). The solution allows the client to talk to the target over RDMA, meaning that all I/O can bypass the CPU. As a result, there’s more spare compute resources for VMs.
Bring the full NVMe-oF support to your environment at no cost!
You can check out the latest updates for StarWind NVMe-oF Initiator in the Release Notes.