Intel’s Optane Technology Era Draws to a Close: A $559 Million Decision

August 31, 2023 – In a significant announcement, Intel has unveiled its decision to cease all operations related to its Optane technology by the end of September 2022. This strategic move encompasses the abandonment of their SSD solid-state drives and persistent memory products, resulting in a substantial loss of approximately $559 million.

Optane persistent memory, a truly revolutionary memory technology introduced by Intel, has stood out for its exceptional features, including substantial storage capacity, high-performance capabilities, and robust hardware encryption. Notably, it offers the flexibility of configuring between two distinct modes and has the remarkable ability to retain data even in the event of power loss, effectively combining the strengths of traditional DRAM memory and NAND flash.

However, the challenge that Optane persistent memory faced throughout its existence was its elevated cost and price point, along with the necessity for specialized development and adaptation. Intel’s own PerfMon tool’s associated code revealed a pivotal decision for their upcoming fifth-generation Sapphire Rapids, set to be launched by the end of the year. This new iteration of the popular Xeon processors is poised to discontinue support for Optane persistent memory. The fifth-generation Sapphire Rapids essentially serves as an upgraded version of the existing fourth-generation, maintaining the same manufacturing process, architecture, and interface. The focus lies in further enhancing performance and technology, with a particular emphasis on transitioning memory support to CXL 2.0, comprising three distinct types. This transition marks the direct replacement of Optane persistent memory.

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