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How Disk Aggregation improves NVMe performance

Storage aggregation, aka disk aggregation, is a method of combining multiple independent disks (physical SSDs or hard drives, or partitions thereof), into a single logical disk, either via a hardware device, such as a RAID controller, or software driver or application, such Software Defined Storage suite (VMware vSAN, Linux CEPH), with the goal of maximizing transfer performance and/or storage capacity, and data reliability (redundancy).

Storage aggregation solutions may incorporate one or more storage/connectivity devices, such as a PCIe HBA (host bus adapter) or AIC (add in card). Such devices can be used in conjunction with or the host platforms built-in storage interfaces, or configured to support an independent storage pool.


NVMe Media can maximize the potential of Storage Aggregation Technology


Although most storage applications benefit from aggregation solutions, modern computing platforms that can make use of NVMe media will experience the greatest gains from this technology. Unlike SAS/SATA storage devices, NVMe media is designed to interface directly with the host platforms central processor (or processors), via the PCIe interface. This direct to CPU design minimizes access times and delivers transfer speeds that are close to theoretical limits of PCIe connectivity.

HighPoint’s novel hardware design pushes the performance envelop even farther, and enables NVMe media to fully utilize available host bandwidth for maximum throughput. The performance-focused architecture enables administrators to aggregate SSDs hosted by one or more controllers, to deliver upwards of 55,000MB/s of transfer bandwidth!


HighPoint Disk Aggregation Solutions for NVMe Applications


HighPoint NVMe RAID AICs and HBAs are ideal platforms for storage aggregation solutions due to the performance-focused PCB hardware architecture, versatile port configurations, and compact form factor.


High-Performance PCB architecture


First and foremost is the PCB design. HighPoint’s field-proven NVMe hardware architecture enables SSD7000/7500 and Rocket 1000/1500 controller cards to allocate up to x4 lanes per NVMe device port; this ensures that all x8 or x16 lanes worth of bandwidth are available at all times.

This is a key advantage of HighPoint NVMe solutions. PCIe bandwidth is assigned automatically, and can be adjusted on the fly, by the controller itself; it does not require any oversight by the host platform, unlike solutions that rely on bifurcation. This design also allows high-port count controllers, such as the 8-port SSD7540, to reassign unused bandwidth to occupied device ports. Due to PCIe host interface design, which limits bandwidth to x16 planes per PCIe device, most 8-port NVMe controllers hardwire x2 lanes to each device port. Unless all ports are occupied, such cards will be unable to deliver maximum throughput. However, HighPoint AICs and HBAs can assign up to 4x lanes if any bandwidth remains unallocated; this enables the controllers to deliver up to 14,000MB/s (PCIe Gen3) and 28,000MB/s (PCIe Gen4) with as little as 4 SSDs


High-Port Count AIC/HBA Solutions


HighPoint NVMe RAID AICs and connectivity HBAs can host up to 8 individual NVMe SSDs. The forementioned PCB architecture is ideal for customers looking for a scalable solution. NVMe SSDs can be added as the need for more capacity or performance arises.

Our M.2 models are ideal for compact computing, as they directly host the NVMe media – no additional hardware is required. Our U.2/U.3 series can be quickly configured to support industry standard sever and rackmount platforms equipped with a variety of 2.5” drive bays, mobile racks or backplanes via a selection of cabling accessories.


Compact Form Factor


All HighPoint NVMe AICs and HBAs utilize compact PCB architecture. They are no larger than a standard video card, can be easily installed into industry standard server and workstation platforms with a free PCIe 3.0 or 4.0 slot with the corresponding lane count (x8 or x16). In fact, the single-width design enables most platforms to host two or more controller cards, which can be configured to operate independently, or aggregated to function as a single large pool of NVMe storage (

In addition, Half-height (low-profile) options are available for custom built chassis, mini-PCs and rackmount applications.

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