Nutanix Support for Intel Optane Persistent Memory in Memory Mode


Intel® Optane™ persistent memory (PMem) bridges the gap with an innovative memory technology. This new memory delivers a unique combination of affordable large capacity and support for data persistence. With 3rd Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors and Intel Optane PMem 200 series workloads can optimize performance and cost by creating a 2-tier hierarchy in memory and storage. Supported for these processors on 2-socket platforms, PMem is helping to turn more data into actionable insights.

Intel Optane Persistent Memory Overview

Intel Optane PMem 200 series coexists side-by-side with system memory, occupying existing DRAM slots. It delivers an average of up to 32 percent more memory bandwidth than the previous generation. Available in 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB modules, it offers both large capacity and persistence that enable new platform architectures to:

  • Help accelerate large-memory computing by keeping more data closer to the CPU
  • Reduce power consumption for large-memory nodes

3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors and Intel Optane PMem 200 series create a powerful foundation for optimizing platforms for multiple types of workloads. With 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors for 2-socket platforms, each memory channel can support one Intel Optane PMem 200 series module (eight channels on 2-socket platforms). Each module draws only a maximum 15 watts of power, offering high capacity without high power demand and creating large-memory platforms to power data-centric businesses.

Data-intensive and compute-intensive workloads, from cloud to databases, in-memory analytics, virtualized infrastructure, content delivery networks, and more, can easily take advantage of large-scale and persistent memory. Enabling these large memory pools helps speed time to insights that may form the basis of critical business decisions, cost savings, and new revenues.

Migrating to or adding new systems built on 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors with Intel Optane PMem 200 series is seamless and transparent to the software designed for the previous generation. With the industry-standard persistent memory programming model, developers can build simpler and more powerful applications to prepare their data center investment for the future.

Intel Optane PMem offers an optional memory configuration that provides greater capacity, lower cost hardware solution and support for data persistence. The recommended use case is to reduce total memory cost with PMem for VDI workloads.

Intel Optane PMem in Memory Mode

The Intel 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor, code named Ice Lake supports the next generation of PMem called Intel Optane™ persistent memory 200 series (codenamed Barlow Pass).

The key advantage of PMem in Memory Mode is a lower cost platform with the same memory footprint and similar performance to a platform configured with DRAM only.

Both VDI and Database workloads are supported with PMem in Memory Mode on Nutanix. Currently, the hypervisor supported is VMware ESXi.

Configuration Support

DRAM & PMem Configuration

This Best Practices configuration guide outlines support for Memory Mode and how Nutanix will support customers that deploy 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor platforms with Intel Optane PMem 200 series.

The table below lists the configuration that is supported. For VDI workloads the most popular configuration is with 1TB or 2TB memory with a PMem-to-DRAM capacity ratio of 4:1. Workloads will only support balanced configurations to ensure optimal functionality and data transfer speeds. In the server BIOS, the PMem performance setting must be set to balanced mode. The PMem QoS setting was disabled during benchmark testing and is disabled by default. By enabling this setting, results will vary. The administrator should determine whether to enable or disable this setting. The VMware PMem support setting must be enabled.

The table below highlights the supported configuration per node.

Config per node







VDI, Database




VDI, Database

* It is recommended to use DRAM at 3200MHz to enable optimal performance. Using slower memory may impact system performance.

Component Support Requirement




Memory Mode (MM)


Intel 3rd Gen Intel Xeon CPU (Ice Lake)

Intel Optane Memory

128GB Intel Optane persistent memory 200 Series (Barlow Pass)


16GB @3200MHz

Nutanix AOS

6.0.2 or greater


ESXi 7.0U2 or greater


Dell XC 15G, HPE Gen10 DX, Intel DCS, Lenovo HX

Best Practices

For VDI and Database workloads, lab results using Intel Optane PMem in Memory Mode with ESXi showed a similar performance compared to only using DRAM only. During very high CPU usage in steady state, there may be a slight drop in performance. In general, system performance may be slightly lower when the load increases using PMem in Memory Mode than when compared to using a similar platform with DRAM only.

Nutanix supports using only the configurations listed in this document when deploying platforms with DRAM and PMem. Customers interested in deploying Intel Optane PMem in Memory Mode for any configurations not listed in this document should contact the Nutanix account team prior to deploying the solution.

Refer to documents below for additional information about Intel Optane persistent memory.

Reference Documents