Intel Optane SSD P4800X 750GB sample testing with VMware Horizon

Being part of the VMware vExpert community has its perks. One of those is to take part in an Intel Optane sample program. There was a program run first in the US, unfortunately being from the EU, we were excluded to participate. Later on, there was an EU program started. Luckily I was chosen to take part in this epic test group 🙂 The EU group got 750GB drives instead of the 375GB drives! Thanks! This blog will be updated on the fly when more testing has been done!

17-05-2023, today 4 Intel Optane SSD P4800X 750GB landed on my doorstep!

Intel Optane SSD P4800X 750GB

So what are these drives? Intel Optane is a type of non-volatile memory technology developed by Intel Corporation that provides high-speed access to frequently used data. It is based on a new type of memory called 3D XPoint, which is designed to bridge the gap between traditional DRAM memory and slower, but more persistent, NAND-based storage.

Optane memory can be used in several different ways, including as a stand-alone solid-state drive (SSD) or as a cache drive that works alongside a larger, slower hard disk drive (HDD) to speed up data access. When used as a cache drive, it can significantly improve the performance of frequently accessed data by storing it in the Optane cache, which is much faster than a traditional HDD.

Optane memory has been particularly useful for applications such as database acceleration, high-performance computing, and gaming, where fast access to data is critical.



Supplemental Information

Package Specifications

Testing with VMware Horizon

Versions used in the lab are:

  • VMware ESXi, 8.0.0, 21203435
  • Horizon 2303
  • App Volumes 2203
  • DEM 2203
  • NVIDIA-GRID-vSphere-8.0-525.105.14-525.105.17-528.89

First of I went full filling all PCIE slots in my Horizon VDI machine. 4 drives fit including my NVME drive and my NVIDIA P4 GPU. This machine has two 10-core Xeon CPUs and 384GB of ram. Enough power to handle a few intel cards!

After that, I created 4 separate VMFS disks to spread my 4 desktops test pools over those 4 drives.

Testing will consist of 4 desktop instant clone pools, each on its own Intel Optane drive.
Testing on Windows will be done with ATTO, on Linux using the disks utility.
Do note that you might think, compared to today’s Gen 5 drivers, these benchmarks look slow. however, these drives came to market in 2017! At that time these speeds were crazy! They still out perform a lot of current NVME drives.

  • Windows 10 22H2 (VDI_01)
  • Windows 10 GPU 22H2 (VDI_02)
  • Windows 11 22H2 (VDI_03)
  • Windows 11 22H2 GPU (VDI_04)

Windows 10 22H2 (VDI_01)

First, I wanted to test in VM performance of a Horizon VDI on the Optane SSD P4800X.

Default ATTO settings:

After posting on Twitter Mr vSAN suggested changing the queue depth and disabling Direct I/O.
You can see this has a big difference in testing it with the ATTO application. reaching speeds on 3 GB/s within the VM.

Windows 10 GPU 22H2 (VDI_02)

Windows 11 22H2 (VDI_03)

Funny to see that compared to Windows 10, the Atto benchmark seems to get more performance out of the drive in Windows 11. Maybe due to the storage drivers?

Windows 11 22H2 GPU (VDI_04)

Also compared to a VDI with or without a GPU, the performance with a GPU is better?.


Before I go test these drives with vSAN ESA, I have to enable vLCM and update the drives to supported firmware. Need to figure out the proper way to update the firmware. So in this case I will start with vSAN OSA. This will create a disk group of an Intel Optane SSD P4800X 750GB drive as cache and a Samsung SSD as a Capacity drive.
As I said, I will blog later on vSAN specifically. One of the 4 drives has supported firmware the other 3 do not yet.

Now we end up with a single host, one disk group setup. Later on, I will swap these drives out to my vSAN cluster and test them properly but for now, I was looking into a quick test in my Horizon box.

And the vsanDatastore is healthy as can be for a single host setup 🙂

1 thought on “Intel Optane SSD P4800X 750GB sample testing with VMware Horizon

  1. Pingback: Intel Optane SSD P4800X 750GB sample testing with VMware vSAN OSA – vDrone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.