Frequently Asked Questions

Historically, memory and storage products have been limited by density, performance, and cost. PMem fills those gaps in the hierarchy.

Native persistence – the ability to store data even when powered off. Large capacities at lower than DRAM prices – With the advent of larger persistent memory capacities, larger datasets can exist closer to the CPU for faster processing, which means greater insights. Higher capacities of Intel® Optane™ persistent memory create a more affordable solution, which is accelerating this industry-wide trend towards real-time data processing. Delivered on the 2nd and 3rd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, large memory-bound workloads will have significant performance increase for rapid data processing.

Operational Modes - The Intel® Optane™ persistent memory has two operating modes: Memory Mode (Memory Mode is great for large memory capacity and does not require application changes as the memory is treated as volatile) and App Direct Mode (provides large memory capacity and allows enabled applications to talk directly to PMem as a 2nd tier memory). With distinct operating modes, customers have the flexibility to take advantage of Intel® Optane™ persistent memory benefits across multiple workloads.

Hardware encryption – Intel® Optane™ persistent memory has industry standard AES-256 hardware encryption so you can rest easy knowing your data is more secure. The encryption key is stored in a security metadata region on the module and is only accessible by the Intel® Optane™ persistent memory controller. If repurposing or discarding the module, a secure cryptographic erase and DIMM over-write is utilized to help keep data from being accessed.

While both Intel® Optane™ persistent memory (PMem) and Intel® Optane™ SSDs use the same Intel® Optane™ memory media, they are very different products. Intel® Optane™ persistent memory is in a DIMM package, operates on the DRAM bus and can be used as volatile or persistent memory. Intel® Optane™ SSDs, on the other hand, are strictly used for fast storage residing in standard NAND package models (AIC, M.2, U.2, EDSFF), reside on the PCIe bus using the NVMe* protocol and are always persistent for storage reasons.

Intel® Optane™ persistent memory (PMem) has some similarities with DRAM in the following ways: Packaged in DIMMS, resides on the same bus/channels as DRAM, and can act in the same way as DRAM storing volatile data. Where Intel® Optane™ persistent memory (PMem) differs with DRAM is that it offers many new and exciting features. PMem comes in much higher capacities than traditional DRAM. PMem modules come in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities, vastly larger than DRAM modules that typically range from 16GB to 64GB, though larger DRAM capacities exist. PMem also can operate in a persistent mode storing data even without power applied to the module and comes with built-in hardware encryption to help keep data at rest secure. The TCO of PMem is greatly improved compared to DRAM on a cost per GB basis and the ability to increase the capacity to beyond DRAM’s capabilities.