The Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X with Intel Memory Drive Technology increases the size of memory pools, or allows a portion of the DRAM to be displaced. But in addition to acting as a substitute for NAND for storage, the drive can also act as a main memory source in tandem with a server's DRAM. Along with speed improvements, Intel and memory partner Micron (NASDAQ: MU) said past year they hoped to convince potential enterprise customers that XPoint memory platforms are more durable than current NAND flash technology as well as providing as much as a ten-fold increase in storage density for persistent data compared to DRAM.
The company's 3D XPoint technology (pronounced "crosspoint") was first unveiled in July 2015, and is supposedly up to 1,000 times faster than current NAND architectures. Memory Drive manages this combined storage pool and allocates data to the physical RAM or Optane SSD automatically and transparently.
The latest Optane series can help data centers deliver new solutions in cloud computing and other cutting-edge service areas.
First products based on 3D Xpoint were originally expected in 2016 but Intel had run into problems during manufacturing. That's due to two separate issues; 1) decreases in the price of conventional DRAM (volatile memory) that make it more financially feasible to use it to speed applications and workloads, including in-memory databases, and 2) the performance boost that non-mechanical NAND Flash-based solid state drives (SSDs) deliver to traditional data storage operations and processes.
The P4800X will initially be available in AIC form factor at a capacity of 375GB, albeit in limited quantities. Intel said it expects the cost structure to be closer to that of NAND than of DRAM. Intel is calling its 3D XPoint SSDs Optane drives, Taking into account hardware and software overhead as well.
Intel is also planning to release 750GB and 1.5TB PCIe models, as well as 375GB, 750GB and 1.5TB U.2 parts over the course of this year. Intel has stated earlier that these drives will be eight times faster than the ordinary SSDs that are available in the market.