NVMe® 2.0 Specifications: Support for Fabrics and Multi-Domain Subsystems


By Fred Knight, Principal Standards Technologist at NetApp

NVMe® over Fabrics (NVMe-oF™) technology defines a common architecture that supports a range of storage applications for NVM Express® block storage protocol over networking fabrics. NVMe-oF technology features are usable in all markets – ranging from client to cloud to enterprise. Continue reading to learn more about how NVM Express is supporting the development of NVMe-oF capabilities.

Restructured for Simplicity and Improved Performance

With the release of the NVMe 2.0 Specifications, the NVMe-oF specification merged into the base specification and the fabric specific transports – the TCP Transport, RDMA Transport and PCI Express® (PCIe®) Transport – were broken out into their own specifications. The individual transport specifications allow NVM Express to isolate and independently adapt transports for evolving memory and fabric transports. The newly restructured NVMe base specification includes fabric commands that are specific to managing fabric devices, like discovery controllers and others.

The NVMe-oF specification was restructured to facilitate adding new capabilities and revisions to the specifications, allowing developers to only reference the parts of the specification relevant to the product they are developing. Developers no longer need to look at other transports when implementing a fabric device for a particular transport, which enables simpler adoption and deployment of NVMe technology.

New Features Increase Security Capabilities for Fabric Connectivity

Multiple new security and management-based features were introduced with the release of the NVMe 2.0 specifications in June 2021. For example, in-band authentication was added to increase security and prevent spoofing by allowing the host to verify to the storage that it is who it claims to be and vice versa. Also, transport level security (TLS), which is used by HTTP for TCP traffic, is now up to version 1.3 and secures communication between host and NVMe over TCP fabric storage devices.

New capabilities have been added to enhance and automate the process of discovering NVMe over Fabric devices. The first simplifies the actions performed by a host during discovery. Another new capability allows NVMe over TCP devices to be automatically discovered by hosts; much like network-based printers are discovered by hosts. Finally, we created the capability for a centralized management point (CDC) for controlling access to NVMe over TCP devices.

Get Involved with NVMe over Fabrics Technology Today

Learn more about Fabrics and Multi-Domain Subsystem support in the new NVMe 2.0 library of specifications by visiting the NVM Express website and watching my recent video interview.

NVM Express Contributor members can also join the Fabric and Multi-Domain Subsystem Support task group that I chair. Members of the task group review technical proposals and help develop the latest fabrics related features.