The storage subsystem has undergone tremendous innovation in order to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for throughput. Non Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) based solid state devices are the latest development in this domain, delivering unprecedented performance in terms of latency and peak bandwidth. NVMe drives are expected to be particularly beneficial for I/O intensive applications, with databases being one of the prominent use-cases.
This paper provides the first, in-depth performance analysis of NVMe drives. Combining driver instrumentation with system monitoring tools, we present a breakdown of access times for I/O requests throughout the entire system. Furthermore, we present a detailed, quantitative analysis of all the factors contributing to the low-latency, high-throughput characteristics of NVMe drives, including the system software stack. Lastly, we characterize the performance of multiple cloud databases (both relational and NoSQL) on state-of-the-art NVMe drives, and compare that to their performance on enterprise-class SATA-based SSDs. We show that NVMe-backed database applications deliver up to 8× superior client-side performance over enterprise-class, SATA-based SSDs.