If 282-page doc on new NVMe drive spec is tl;dr, you're in luck

What are we getting? Endurance

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NVMe drives could last longer because of a feature in the new NVM v1.3 specification (282-page PDF).

The spec's new features are:

  • Sanitise to erase SSD-stored data – optional
  • Virtualisation to assign SSD storage to virtual machines – optional
  • Streams: optimise data placement to increase endurance for NAND-based SSDs – optional
  • Device self-test – optional
  • Boot partitions – optional
  • Telemetry – optional
  • Management enhancements – optional
  • Identify namespace: return list of Namespace Identifiers to host – mandatory
  • Host-controlled thermal management: mechanism for host to configure controller to automatically transition between active power states or perform vendor-specific thermal management actions – optional
  • Timestamp – optional
  • Emulated controller performance enhancement: not typically supported by a physical/hardware-based NVMe controller – optional

For the virtualisation feature, the NVMe model has primary controllers (which may be SR-IOV Physical Functions) and secondary controllers (which may be SR-IOV Virtual Functions) that may be used to flexibly assign resources, like queues, from a primary controller to a secondary controller.


Streams is the first implementation of a new Directives feature. It means a host can tell an NVMe drive to group (store together) data blocks from a drive user (app) and keep them separate from other users. This can reduce write amplification and so lengthen the drive's endurance.


We may have to wait until 2019 for products supporting the v1.3 spec to arrive. Download the 282-page specification here and a v1.3 changes document here. Slides from an NVMe v1.3 webcast can be seen here. ®

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