A really cool new capability that was introduced in vSphere 6.7 is the support for the extremely fast memory technology known as non-volatile memory (NVM), also known as persistent memory (PMem). Customers can now benefit from the high data transfer rate of volatile memory with the persistence and resiliency of traditional storage. As of this blog post, both Dell and HP have Persistent Memory support and you can see the list of supported devices and systems here and here.
PMem can be consumed in one of two methods:
- Virtual PMem (vPMem) - In this mode, the GuestOS is actually PMem-aware and can consume the physical PMem device on the ESXi host as standard, byte-addressable memory. In addition to using an OS that supports PMem, you will also need to ensure that the VM is running the latest Virtual Hardware 14
- Virtual PMem Disks (vPMemDisk) - In this mode, the GuestOS is NOT PMem-aware and does not have access to the physical PMem device. Instead, a new virtual PMem hard disk can be created and attached to a VM. To ensure the PMem hard disk is placed on the PMem Datastore as part of this workflow, a new PMem VM Storage Policy will be applied automatically. There are no additional GuestOS or VM Virtual Hardware requirement for this scenario, this is great for legacy OS that are not PMem-aware
Customers who may want to familiarize themselves with these new PMem workflows, especially for Automation or educational purposes, could definitely benefit from the ability to simulate PMem in their vSphere environment prior to obtaining a physical PMem device. Fortunately, this is something you can actually do if you have some additional spare memory from your physical ESXi host.
Disclaimer: This is not officially supported by VMware. Unlike a real physical PMem device where your data will be persisted upon a reboot, the simulated method will NOT persist your data. Please use this at your own risk and do not place important or critical VMs using this method.