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PernixData FVP Review
By adding storage intelligence at the server tier, it enables an architecture decoupling storage performance from capacity to utilize high speed server media in conjunction with any shared storage.


Originally posted at http://www.freeitdata.com/era-serverside-storage-intelligence.

Virtualization has revolutionized the modern datacenter. However, with increasingly capable servers increasing the virtual machine (VM) density, I/O traffic becoming more randomized, heavy congestion on the network fabric, and storage controller cycles not scaling proportionately with capacity, traditional storage systems are struggling to keep pace. In fact, in a survey of more than 350 IT professionals ranging from C-level executives to hands-on administrators, four out of their top six priorities were either directly related or attributable to storage performance.

Much of this is due to the shared storage array being forced to deliver fast access to active data (performance), retain inactive or “cold” data (capacity) while providing value-added data services at the same time. The end result is wasted capacity, higher cost and an environment not optimized for VMs.

What if you could solve this storage performance challenge by installing a powerful new piece of software? What if this software let you scale-out storage performance in a predictable manner, while avoiding the purchase of unnecessary storage hardware? And what if it was installed in minutes, with no changes to your existing applications, hosts or storage environment?

That’s what PernixData FVP software delivers. By adding storage intelligence at the server tier, it enables an architecture decoupling storage performance from capacity to utilize high speed server media in conjunction with any shared storage to deliver the maximum virtualized application performance at the lowest cost. Installed in the hypervisor kernel in minutes with no reboots or configuration changes required, FVP accelerates both read and write operations using flash and/or RAM to speed any I/O-intensive workload. As a clustered solution, it’s transparent to VM operations (e.g. vMotion, DRS, HA), and provides performance on-demand simply by adding more server resources to the FVP cluster.

Tata Steel saw Oracle query times balloon from 12 to 30 minutes after virtualizing their database. With PernixData FVP software and Intel DC S3700 series SSDs installed in the existing hosts, latency dropped 73% (reporting completing in 8 minutes vs. 30 minutes) to enable the virtualized environment to outperform bare metal. The remarkable increase in performance with the in-place hardware obviated the need for a redundant pair of all-flash arrays.

An early adopter of Citrix XenDesktop, Southern Waste Systems found itself unable to expand the virtual desktop deployment until the storage latencies were under control. Leveraging the spare RAM footprint in the ESXi hosts to create a clustered layer of acceleration using PernixData FVP software, the latency spikes reaching upwards of 500 ms were eliminated to provide consistent sub-millisecond service levels without the need to make a trip to the colocation facility. The seamless installation was done 100% remotely, during the day, in the production environment without a service interruption.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We implement PernixData FVP software for our customers.
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