NVMe: 2.5" SFF drives working in a normal desktop

Continuum

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Jun 5, 2015
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I had the same problem as you with the shorter ASUS converter card... I ordered it for the supermicro D-1540 motherboard, but the M.2 connection doesn't have a standoff close enough to securely mount the M.2 to U.2 ASUS card. The MSI version is definitely longer and I'm sure it will line up with the will do the trick for me once I have a moment to give it a shot. :)
Have you had a chance to test the card for compatibility? (I know the form factor should work. I am more concerned about the NVMe drive being recognized.)

I am seriously considering a supermicro d-1540 motherboard and whether this card works with the motherboard might be the deciding factor.
 

RchGrav

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Aug 21, 2015
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Here is a little mod I just made... What do you guys think?
Funtin NVMe V2.0 Card + Rosewill RDRD-11003 + Dremel & Solder

 
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RchGrav

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Aug 21, 2015
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Have you had a chance to test the card for compatibility? (I know the form factor should work. I am more concerned about the NVMe drive being recognized.)

I am seriously considering a supermicro d-1540 motherboard and whether this card works with the motherboard might be the deciding factor.

Seems to work just fine...
 

CableGuy

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Oct 1, 2015
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CableGuy wrote>"... see here: Cable Kit for 2.5″ PCIe NVMe SSD Drives - CS Electronics
We have limited availability currently, which will be improving in the near future.
Current Web price will be ~$200/kit. ..."

This looks like an expensive solution to a temporary problem. That is the scarcity/cost of SFF-8643 to SFF-8639 (aka U.2) cables.
Furthermore more connections is usually worse. Your approach adds a board with two connections: SFF-8643 and SFF-8639 (aka U.2)
These 'extra' connection is not needed if one has a direct SFF-8643 to SFF-8639 (aka U.2) cable.
No one wants to have to purchase the Intel 750 NVME 2.5" SSD just to get its included SFF-8643 to SFF-8639 (aka U.2) cable.
The group purchase here I think got the price for this cable to $40. The $200 you suggest for your kit would be better used to purchase five cables! And you would save introducing another connection your kit uses.

Question: Couldn't you use your resource to provide low cost SFF-8643 to SFF-8639 (aka U.2) cables. Its just wire and two connectors. Once this temporary scarcity situation is addressed, the price for the cable will probably come down to less than $10!

Actually, if the U.2 2.5" NVME SSDs are going to be the accepted way, rather than the M.2 NVME SSD cards, then a well designed, quiet, 5.25 inch bay form factor which provided for four 2.5 inch SSDs would be the way to go since the Intel\Supermicro NVME capable backplanes is expensive. Make a quiet fan equipped $50 5.25 inch bay accessory that allowed 4x2.5 inch NVME SSDs and people would beat a path to your door!

PS: I sent you a PM message, but you never answered. You need to click on your profile and look at "COMMUNICATIONS".
 

CableGuy

New Member
Oct 1, 2015
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My apologies to member 'IQ100' for not responding........ I'm new to the forum and haven't got it dialed in yet.

In the meantime - we have IN STOCK..... some 'Cable Kit's for connecting a 2.5" PCIe SSD to a mother board - much like the ones that come w/ the Intel '750' series drives - only we accomplished it w/ a 2-part 'kit' - a pcb adapter, and an HD SAS cable (w/ the same SFF-8643 connector that comes on the Intel cable - that connects to the Mother board).

We have a spattering of cables for this kit in .3m (12"), .5m, .75m, and 1m.

Pricing is lower than the initial $200 we first thought - it is $145 to $155 (depending on cable length).

please contact me directly
Chris Schwartz
CS Electronics
chris@cselex.com
Cable Kit for 2.5″ PCIe NVMe SSD Drives - CS Electronics
949) 475-9100

thanks
 
Jun 24, 2015
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Google "NVMe RAID controller"
(and expect to be disappointed)

Meanwhile (back at the ranch), see this Q&A:

The Performance Impact of NVMe and NVMe over Fabrics – Q&A | SNIA on Ethernet Storage

[begin quote]

The Performance Impact of NVMe and NVMe over Fabrics – Q&A
...
Q. Are there APIs in the software interface for device query information and device RAID configuration?


A. NVMe includes an Identify Controller and Identify Namespace command that provides information about the NVMe subsystem, controllers, and namespaces. It is possible to create a RAID controller that uses the NVMe interface if desired. Higher level software APIs are typically defined by the OSV.


[end quote]

The Performance Impact of NVMe and NVMe over Fabrics

[begin quote]

The Performance Impact of NVMe and NVMe over Fabrics
NVM Express™ is the optimized, high performance, scalable host controller interface designed for NVM-based storage. NVM Express is changing data center storage delivering reduced latency and faster performance. NVM Express over Fabrics enables end-users to connect remote subsystems with a flash appliance to achieve faster application response times and better scalability across virtual data centers. While the ability to access remote solid state drives over fabrics, exists today, typically a SCSI-based protocol is used. This results in increased latency. In this Webcast, you’ll hear:

•An overview of the NVMe over Fabrics initiative
•NVMe support for multiple fabrics including Ethernet with RDMA (iWARP)
•How NVM Express end-to-end eliminates SCSI translation latency
•Achieving performance benefits comparable to hundreds of SSDs – local and remote
Join SNIA experts to hear how NVMe and NVMe over Fabrics are impacting data center storage performance.

[end quote]

MRFS
 

RchGrav

Member
Aug 21, 2015
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Nice!

Is the fan bracket attached to the drive using the drive's side mounts?
Yeah.. I had to trim a bit of PCB to get it to fit that way.. but there isn't anything on the board anywhere near there. Here is a view of that side.

 
Jun 24, 2015
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Bootable RAID-0?

Samsung 950 Pro SSD Review:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/samsung-950-pro-ssd,4313.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/samsung-950-pro-ssd,4313-2.html

[begin excerpt]

We also ran two 950 Pro 512GB drives in RAID 0 using Intel's Rapid Storage Technology. Z170 motherboards like the ASRock Z170 Extreme7+ have two or more M.2 slots capable of PCIe 3.0 x4 bandwidth. To use RST RAID 0 and still boot, the M.2 slots must come from the PCH, RAID Mode must be enabled in the BIOS and the array must be configured either inside the operating system or at the BIOS level. RST RAID 0 supports TRIM and SCSI UNMAP commands, so your array operates at high speed over extended periods of use.
...
ASRock's Z170 Extreme7+ motherboard has three Ultra M.2 slots that support up to 22110 form factor drives. The trio routes through Intel's PCH, so performance is limited by the DMI. This interface is shared with SATA, USB, HD Audio and any other peripheral attached to the hub's I/O. PCIe switches are used to increase the number of available lanes, but bandwidth does end up getting shared by quite a few devices.

[end excerpt]

MRFS
 
Jun 24, 2015
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Comment by Matt Ritter at Silicon Mechanics in Bothell, Washington State,
re-posted with his permission:

"I know that there are several controller manufacturers working on HW RAID support for NVMe, but cannot disclose more specific details" (10/22/2015)

Matt works here: Servers, Storage, and High Performance Computing | Silicon Mechanics

Here's Matt's video presentation:
"Inside Silicon Mechanics: Intel SSDs"



My reply to Matt (same day):


> I know that there are several controller manufacturers working on HW RAID support for NVMe, but cannot disclose more specific details

Many thanks, Matt, for responding so promptly.

(I just learned of your company the first time today.)

That's what I'm waiting for: HW RAID support for NVMe

/s/ Paul


My request for Matt's permission to re-post here (10/24/2015):

Hi Matt,

I'd like to quote and credit you with your statement below about
"several controller manufacturers" -- at the Forum linked below.

Thanks in advance.

/s/ Paul


Matt's reply (10/25/2015):

Hi Paul,

That sounds fine. Thanks for reaching out before posting!

Best,

Matt


 
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Jun 24, 2015
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Intel Shows Off 3D XPoint Memory Performance (10/28/2015)
by Timothy Prickett Morgan


Intel Shows Off 3D XPoint Memory Performance

[begin quote]

Krzanich said that Intel will have working Optane DIMMs ready later this year for early testers, and will combine the performance of DRAM with the capacity and cost of flash. What this means is that a mix of DDR4 and Optane DIMMs in a two-socket server with a total of 6 TB of addressable memory, “virtually eliminating paging between memory and storage, taking performance truly to a whole new level.” Krzanich added that data encryption in the DIMM, so that data at rest on the DIMM – it will take us all a while to get used to that – is secured.

[end quote]

MRFS
 

T_Minus

Build. Break. Fix. Repeat
Feb 15, 2015
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Of course right after I get the 6Gb/s SAS ASROCK motherboard the new 12Gb/s comes out... oh-well, more to play with later :D
 
Jun 24, 2015
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I took note of this limitation, in particular:

"There are two PCI-e 3.0 slots on the motherboard;
one x16 slot and one half-size x8 slot (both running at x8 mode)."


Thus, the one x16 slot only operates in x8 mode.

That rules out this board as a candidate for a full x16 NVMe RAID controller
with 4 ports @ 4 x1 PCIe lanes.

Hey, gals and guys, LET'S START A LETTER WRITING CAMPAIGN
TO ALL MOTHERBOARD MANUFACTURERS, requesting
motherboards with 4 x U.2 ports and support for all modern RAID modes.


Tell them to forget SATA-Express because it's DOA.

The proper cabling should be provided, as is the case with SATA cables now.

And, the User Manual should explain whether or not those integrated
U.2 ports are controlled by the CPU, or by the PCH (Platform Controller Hub).

Lastly, the User Manual should provide sufficient information for a DIY
builder to add an NVMe RAID controller to any of the available x16 slots
without sacrificing raw bandwidth.

Finish by saying that we don't want to wait for PCIe 4.0 to arrive,
in order to build RAID arrays with NVMe SSDs.

(My 2 cents, fwiw.)

MRFS