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VMware is pleased to announce the support for Intel® Optane™ PMem 100 series technology in “App-Direct” mode as well as “Memory” mode.

App-Direct Mode (AD)

vSphere 6.7 EP10 enables Intel® Optane™ PMem 100 series in “App-Direct” mode. Customers are free to take advantage of the large capacity, affordability and persistence benefits offered in this mode and deploy in production any supported 3rd party application without any restriction with full VMware support. VMware encourages its customers to leverage this technology in the “App-Direct” mode. VMware recommends to leverage vSphere 6.7 EP14 for newer deployments.

Memory Mode (MM)

Memory Mode (MM): vSphere 6.7 EP10 and later versions enable Intel Optane PMem 100 series in Memory Mode. vSphere usage of Intel Optane PMem 100 series in Memory Mode can offer increased memory capacity and TCO improvements for relevant workloads. Initially, VMware will support Memory Mode in production deployments for configurations and use cases as shown below.

VMware will support customers’ production deployment of Intel Optane PMem 100 series in Memory Mode when both of the conditions below are met.

  1. Customers are running the server platform with Balanced Profile BIOS setting from server OEMs. For more information, please contact your server OEM vendor.
  2. Customers use one of the following 2-socket* server platform memory configurations:
    • 1TB Intel Optane PMem + 384GB DRAM (8x128GB PMem + 12x32GB DRAM) – Medium
    • 1.5TB Intel Optane PMem + 384GB DRAM (12x128GB PMem + 12x32GB DRAM) – Large
    • 3TB Intel Optane PMem + 768GB DRAM (12x256GB PMem +12x64GB DRAM) – Very Large
    • 6TB Intel Optane PMem + 1.5TB DRAM (12x512GB PMem + 12x128GB DRAM) – Very Very Large

Note: If any of the above-stated conditions are not met, contact your VMware representative for approval to get production support for your deployment. For all platform configurations, VMware highly recommends customers ensure the Active Memory as described in Understanding the Memory Active and Memory Usage indicators on the Performance tab (1002604) of the host steady-state at no time exceeds 50% of the available DRAM in the host, for their specific workload use-cases.

For 4-socket platforms, scale the configuration accordingly.

Where do I find the vSphere compatible server hardware for this technology?

To find the compatible servers with this technology, please consult VMware Compatibility Guide (VCG). VMware VCG lists compatible servers for this technology under the “Persistent Memory” feature. Please consult the associated KB article for more specific configuration and technology compatibility, listed under footnote on VCG listing. If you don’t see the server of your choice in the list, please contact your server vendor for availability.

What specific editions of vSphere support this technology?

vSphere Enterprise Plus Edition™ and higher version only.

What is the maximum host capacity of Intel® Optane™ PMem 100 series enabled in vSphere?

Specific limits of Intel® Optane™ PMem 100 series available on specific OEM server SKUs is listed on VMware Compatibility Guide (VCG). vSphere is certifying the following maximum capacity for vSphere 6.7 release as follows:

  • Up to 6TB for 2-socket and 12TB for 4-socket of Intel® Optane™ PMem 100 series in memory mode
  • A combination of DRAM and Intel® Optane™ PMem 100 series in App-Direct mode with a combined limit of 6TB for 2-socket and 12TB for 4-socket

For specific limits for your server platform, please consult VMware Compatibility Guide (VCG).

What is the maximum VM capacity of Intel® Optane™ PMem 100 series enabled in vSphere?

A VM can be configured with the following limits in various configurations:

  • Up to 6TB of virtual RAM backed-up by Intel® Optane™ PMem 100 series in memory mode
  • Up to 6TB of virtual RAM and vNVDIMM in total, where vNVDIMM is backed-up by Intel® Optane™ PMem 100 series in App-Direct mode

For specific limits for your server platform, please consult VMware Compatibility Guide (VCG).

How do I get pre-approval to run Intel® Optane™ PMem 100 series in memory mode with vSphere?

Customers should contact a VMware representative. VMware representative will provide the formal approval from VMware to run this technology in memory mode with a specific customer’s configuration and use-cases. Please note, any deployment without formal approval will not be supported by VMware support teams.

How do I get pre-approval to run Intel Optane persistent memory in Memory Mode with vSphere?

No pre-approval is needed as long as both of the conditions specified above are met. Otherwise, you can contact VMware representative who will provide the formal approval via the Request for Product Qualification (RPQ) process from VMware to run this technology in memory mode with a specific configuration and use-cases.

Note: Any deployment without formal approval will not be supported by VMware.

Can I use vSAN with this technology?

VMware vSAN does not have support for “App-Direct” mode as cache or as a capacity tier device of vSAN. However, VSAN will work with vSphere host equipped with Intel Optane(TM) PMem 100 series in App-Direct mode.

Also, VSAN will work with Intel Optane(TM) PMem 100 series in Memory-mode as long as such deployments are pre-approved by VMware as mentioned above.

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