Intel Optane Memory is a technology that was presented as the storage “revolution”. Developed from the ground up by Intel and Micron, it arrived in 2016 promising to combine the performance, density, power, non-volatility, and cost advantages of all available memory technologies. Five years later has not met the objectives and says goodbye at least in the consumer market.
Individual Intel Optane solutions, which primarily act as a data cache for SATA hard drives or SSDs, will be discontinued. Intel will stop manufacturing the Optane Memory M10, 800P, 900P and 905P series and there are no plans to market any such replacements in the future, we read on tom’s hardware.
Flash memory caching had been around for quite some time as a way to get higher performance, but still take advantage of the capacity and cost advantages that older solutions such as hard drives still offered. If all current SSDs have additional cache, small in size, but very fast, Intel’s goal with Optane was take that concept to its full potential.
The problem is that these types of solutions they don’t make any sense nowadays and Intel does the right thing by turning the page. Expensive, low-capacity, and exclusive to Intel platforms, its future was uncertain from the start and sales have been residual. Although five years ago they could be used as a fast cache drive between storage and memory to speed up machines with hard drives, PCIe SSDs have taken this technology out of the game.
Simply replace hard drives with SSD was and is a much more profitable investment need to purchase an Intel Optane separately to speed up the first few. Any PCIe SSD offers much higher performance and let’s not say anything new for PCIe 4.0.
Intel Optane yes, but with storage
The discontinuation discussed only affects individual Optane drives (those that provide only cache), not Intel SSDs that offer massive storage capacity although they also use this technology as data cache and that Intel will continue to market.
In this regard, remember that more than a year ago we had the opportunity to analyze the Intel Optane Memory H10. A standard M.2 module that uses the PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4 interface, combining the storage capacity of an SSD with QLC 3D NAND memories, with the advantages of the fast cache that Optane provides.
In the Intel Optane Memory H10, Optane memory is used as a high-speed, low-latency repository for the most frequently accessed data blocks (not necessarily entire files), while QLC NAND is configured as the volume boot and for mass storage. The usage patterns on the QLC SSD are monitored and the most frequently accessed bits are copied from it and automatically into Optane memory.
We liked it a lot. Beyond synthetic test performance results, your ability to maintain a high performance while operating under multiple and simultaneous workloads it was spectacular. This is where Intel Optane solutions for the future should go. Cache-only ones have become meaningless compared to current PCIe NVMe and Intel does the right thing by turning the page.