Intel is close to releasing a new type of memory that could revolutionize how businesses handle data. This new technology, called Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory, is already generating excitement in the industry as it nears worldwide availability in early 2019.

What makes this new memory different? The name tells part of the story: it’s persistent. Unlike traditional DRAM, which can’t retain data through a power loss, Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory is non-volatile. Tired of waiting hours for your database to reload into memory after a restart? Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory can cut that restart time down from hours to minutes, according to Intel Vice President and General Manager of Intel Xeon products and data center marketing, Lisa Spelman.[1]

Another benefit? Capacity. Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory lets you increase memory density far beyond DRAM because it comes in capacities up to 512 GB per module—and up to 24 TB on an 8-socket system. That benefit alone is disruptive in an age where businesses are scrambling for new ways to handle massive datasets faster and more efficiently. Initiatives like machine learning (ML), high-performance computing (HPC), and high-speed analytics for financial-services institutions, healthcare, research, and enterprise businesses all rely on rapid processing of enormous quantities of data. Organizations that can move more of that data closer to the processor can get a competitive advantage. Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory lets businesses process more data faster because it handles higher capacities at near-DRAM speeds, and it is optimized to work efficiently with next-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors.

Some companies are already seeing the potential for this new memory media. In fact, SAP has been working closely with Intel for months to optimize applications for Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory. The SAP HANA platform, for example, has been rewritten to take advantage of the higher capacities, consistent low latency, and persistence offered by the new Intel memory technology.

In a recent video on the SAP website, Lisa Davis of Intel and Chris Hallenbeck of SAP discuss the long-term collaboration between the two companies that led to rewriting SAP HANA to natively recognize Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory. According to Hallenbeck, SAP HANA systems are now more scalable and resilient, with reduced downtime, when used with Intel’s new memory technology.

In the video, Hallenbeck gives several examples of how SAP customers are using SAP HANA with Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory to process more data faster and more reliably. In one instance, a large business was able to reduce its SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) footprint from seven systems down to one large 48 TB online transaction processing (OLTP) system, performing 150,000 reads per second with 0.1 ms latency on queries.[2]

In another dramatic example from Hallenbeck, a large hospital chain uses SAP software to process billions of image records for diagnostics. After switching to SAP HANA with Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory, the hospital chain was able to rectify 125 million errors down to zero errors due to the advanced processing capabilities.2

Disrupting the Memory-Storage Hierarchy

Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory has the potential for numerous use cases—some that are already being enjoyed by Intel early-adopter partners, and more that will become apparent after worldwide general availability in early 2019.

For example, in addition to improving performance for I/O-intensive queries and processing much larger datasets, Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory enables businesses to scale up applications and services through increased VM and container density. And by combining persistent memory with Intel Optane DC SSDs and 3D NAND SSDs, companies can better manage hot, warm, and cold data more efficiently across workloads. IT organizations will no longer need to choose between lower-capacity DRAM and higher-capacity but slower SSDs and HDDs. Intel Optane technology offers additional memory/storage tiers for organizations so they can process more data in less time with greater efficiency.

We’ll be closely watching how businesses put Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory to use early next year. Stay tuned for updates on this industry disrupter. And be sure to follow Prowess on our blog, Twitter, and LinkedIn to keep up on other emerging trends and technologies.

[1] Lisa Spelman. “Reimagining the Data Center Memory and Storage Hierarchy.” https://newsroom.intel.com/editorials/re-architecting-data-center-memory-storage-hierarchy/.

[2] SAP. “SAP HANA revolutionizes data management with Intel Optane DC persistent memory.” sap.com/assetdetail/2018/09/7094b5f7-1b7d-0010-87a3-c30de2ffd8ff.html.

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