Liqid, Intel Optane Take Aim at DRAM with New Fabric Package

NEW PRODUCT LAUNCH: Liqid's PCIe Fabric and Intel Optane software bridge the gap between SSD and DRAM in supercharging industry-leading solid-state package for memory-centric workloads.


New-gen IT infrastructure provider Liqid and old-school chipmaker Intel have combined forces to produce a new alternative, solid state-based storage memory fabric in an effort to dislodge conventional DRAM (dymanic random-access memory) and bring better efficiencies to data centers.

At the Gartner IT Infrastructure, Operations and Cloud Strategies Conference 2018, Liqid, which makes trendy composable disaggregated infrastructure (CDI) and NVMe (non-volatile memory) solutions, on Dec. 5 demonstrated its own and Intel’s Optane solid-state drive solutions that combine the performance of Intel Optane SSDs with Liqid’s new-gen PCIe fabrics to offer projected new levels of performance.

Liqid Grid is a package that uses an intelligent PCI-Express (PCIe) fabric switch with Liqid’s Command Center software to enable bare-metal composable infrastructure.

What is composable architecture?

Composable infrastructure is a trendy architecture that was helped along by HPE's entry into the genre in 2015. It is designed to ensure that the exact amount of computing resources—from processing power and storage to network fabric and virtualization—can be rapidly pulled together from a single resource pool to support an application, and then returned to the pool when they're no longer needed for the workload. It’s a just-in-time approach that enables optimization of resources at all times.

Liqid Grid enables static legacy infrastructure to scale up on demand to better manage the explosion of data pouring into data stores from cloud, enterprise, high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, edge computing and Internet of Things (IoT)-driven environments.

The solution, called Liqid Composable, uses industry-standard data center components to deliver a flexible, scalable architecture built from pools of disaggregated resources. Computing, network, storage and graphics processing devices are interconnected with PCIe storage cards to deliver configurable bare-metal servers sized with the exact physical resources required by the application being deployed, the company said.

Liqid Grid, a managed fabric switch, allows core system resources to be instantly interconnected into bare-metal servers through a PCIe fabric and dynamically reconfigured as needed. Liqid Command Center is the management software that automates, orchestrates and composes physical servers from pools of bare-metal resources.

The Liqid and Intel Optane solution suite, capable of DRAM memory-like speeds, is available in capacities of up to 1.5 TB for high-performance workloads, Liqid CEO and co-founder Sumit Puri told eWEEK. This is all designed to support the coming artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, high performance computing (HPC), cloud and edge computing environments, he said.

First Intel product to combine memory and storage

“The Intel Optane P4800X SSD is the first Intel product to combine the attributes of memory and storage, which is leading to a shift in how storage and memory are deployed in the data center,” said James Myers, Director of Storage Solutions Architecture, Intel.

“By partnering with Liqid, we can offer Intel customers the ability to flexibly deploy Optane SSDs solutions into a Liqid Grid composable system, or within the Liqid Element SSD consolidating multiple Optane SSDs into a single SSD with significantly increased capacity and bandwidth, effectively doubling the data speeds that Optane can achieve for the most demanding applications for which lighting fast data manipulation is imperative.”

Intel Optane technology represents a combination of Intel 3D XPoint memory media with Intel-built advanced system memory controller, interface hardware and software IP. Combined with Liqid PCIe fabric, these building blocks deliver an NVM technology that presents new system architecture and computing possibilities.

When coupled with Liqid’s PCIe fabric technology, Intel Optane can achieve performance enhancements and features that include:

  • Up to 7GBps throughput and 1.5 million IOPs
  • HighCapacity design up to 1.5TB
  • Multiple form factors: HH-HL AIC or 2.5” U.2
  • HH-HL AIC supports Gen3x8 interface
  • Single or dual port U.2, Gen 3 x4 interface
  • Dual Port U.2 supports active/active mode
  • Plug-n-Play & UEFI compatibility
  • Active monitoring and thermal throttling
  • Supports Intel Memory Drive technology (IMDT)

You can go here to schedule a demo.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...