This article discusses the differences between Random and Sequential NVMe storage performance, the types of applications that utilize each one, and which type of NVMe media is suitable for the task at hand.
By using NVMe storage tailored to maximize random performance, you can increase the responsiveness of file servers, databases, and virtualization solutions. These applications must be capable of accomodating a large user base simulataneously, likely carrying out a different sets of tasks (hence the term "random").
A high random performance is also ideal for the boot volume for a general use computing platform, such as home desktop/laptop running Windows 10 or 11.
General Use/bootable solutions
Applications that have very strict performance requirements and are designed to accomplish a very specific set of tasks, use NVMe storage solutions that are designed to maximize sequential I/O (most often write transfers).
For sequential I/O operation, data is transferred from start to finish, in a linear fashion. Some examples include an 8K video editing platform, a 3D design and animation workstation, and AI training and development systems for autonomous vehicles.
High-speed data acquisition
AI Training & Automation
Engineering & Data Analysis
High-end media production
For applications that require a high level of random/sequential write transfer performance for an extended period of time, the best match are U.2 SSDs. They feature enterprise reliability and lifespans, are up to 16TB of storage, and deliver excellent random and sequential performance
The next best option are datacenter class M.2 SSDs. Like U.2 SSDs, datacenter class M.2 SSDs are designed for 24/7 operation and are available in larger sizes.