Deploy Next Generation Storage with Confidence

Intel® VMD is an Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor feature that enables direct control and management of NVMe SSDs from the PCIe bus without additional hardware adaptors. This robust NVMe SSD functionality allows a seamless transition to NVMe storage while limiting the downtown of critical infrastructure. Intel® VMD brings enterprise reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features to NVMe SSDs, enabling you to deploy next-generation storage with confidence.

Transition to NVMe with Intel® VMD

Intel® Volume Management Device (Intel® VMD) is specifically designed for enterprise-grade management of NVMe SSDs connected to Intel® Xeon® CPUs. Each Root Port consists of a x16 grouping of Intel® Xeon® PCIe lanes that create a single Intel® VMD Domain. Root Ports act like an integrated HBA to provide a robust foundation for supporting the NVMe ecosystem with the below functionality:

  • Error isolation from the Host OS
  • Hot-plug and surprise removal support
  • Standardized LED Management
  • Bootable RAID

Please reference Intel® Virtual RAID on CPU (Intel® VROC) and Direct Assign information below for Intel® VMD implementations and product brief details.

Supported Processors

  • Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors (Generation 1, 2 and 3, All SKUs)
  • Intel® Xeon® W processors
  • Intel® Xeon® D processors

The number of VMD Domains on a given CPU is a function of the number of PCIe lanes. For every 16 PCIe lanes, one Intel VMD Domain is available.

  • 48 PCIe lanes = 3 Intel VMD Domains
  • 64 PCIe Lanes = 4 Intel VMD Domains

Note: Some platforms may support an additional Intel VMD Domain off the chipset, which is not included in the above calculation. This instance is primarily used for boot to preserve CPU PCIe lanes for higher performance devices.

Integrated RAID: Intel® Virtual RAID on CPU

Intel® Virtual RAID on CPU (Intel® VROC) is an enterprise RAID solution that unleashes the performance of NVMe SSDs. Intel® VMD hardware allows Intel® VROC to provide bootable RAID without a discrete HW RAID HBA.

Intel® VMD and Intel® VROC drivers are delivered together as part of an enterprise storage stack through platform providers. In Windows and Linux environments, these packages deliver LED Management and Hot-plug capabilities for direct attached RAID0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays. If RAID is not needed, then Intel® VROC can be used in pass-through mode to turn on Intel® VMD Domains only.

In VMware environments, Intel® VMD can be used in both vSAN and direct attached storage modes, with the added benefit of RAID1 for a redundant boot volume.

Learn more about VROC

NVMe for HCI: Intel® VMD Direct Assign

As modernized data centers continue to transition a Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) architectures, new tools are needed to support higher density and performing platforms. Intel® VMD Direct Assign allows an Intel® VMD Domain to be directly assigned to a VM, completely bypassing the hypervisor, for reduced storage latency and increased bandwidth. The Guest OS inherits the Intel® VMD primary function allowing HCI implementations to take advantage of NVMe storage performance while maintaining necessary storage and virtualization functionality.