NAS optimization vendor Avere Systems‘ FXT 3800 hybrid edge filer contains both Flash/Solid State Drive (SSD) media and Serial Attached SCSI hard drives (SAS HDD), and enables automatic data tiering across four media types: RAM, SSD, SAS and SATA HDDs. “This is our first hybrid device, and also the first time that NAS has been a hybrid and tiered across four different media types,” said Ron Bianchini, President and CEO.
The company also announced record SPECsfs2008 NFS results for the new filer, with significant benefits to NAS users with very large geographic footprints. An Edge filer is a NAS filer server architected to harness limited quantities of solid state memory, flash, and SAS disk to handle read and write requests from clients at the edge of the network. Reads and writes are processed without incurring high latencies. It also updates the Core filer so that it and other Edge filers remain in sync as processing time permits.
Colm Keegan, Senior Analyst, Storage Switzerland, called Avere’s approach the fountain of youth for legacy NAS. By introducing a modest amount of flash or SSD, Avere claims they are able to offload 98% of all NAS file access requests through the Edge Filer. The benefit to users of legacy NAS platforms is extended usefulness of their existing NAS assets to front-end their NAS storage with Avere’s NAS acceleration appliance.
In addition to the tiering breadth and a 40% speed improvement over the company’s previous top performer on the SPECsfs2008 NFS benchmark test, the FXT 3500, the 3800 is far less costly than flash-only solutions, he said. For the new SPECsfs2008 NFS test, Avere inserted 150ms of latency – equivalent to a cross-continental wide area network (WAN) link – between the edge and core filers that comprised the system under test. What’s significant here, said Bianchini is that NAS environments over large geographic distances can reduce cost and footprint by up to 80% in comparison to legacy NAS solutions.
Avere said the only way to use cloud storage for anything other than backup or archive is to eliminate the WAN latency inherent in legacy storage solutions by moving to an edge-core design where the active data is held closest to the end users or compute farm. When it comes to geographically dispersed networks, IT managers need to be constantly aware of three things: performance, flexibility and efficiency, the company said. Classic NAS architecture often struggles with delivering all three. Improvements in one, often sacrifice another.
Bianchini, who was CEO of Spinnaker and clustered file system fame, which was bought by NetApp 8 years ago, said its focus was on targeted capacity scale out, while Avere looks at the other half of the equation, targeted performance scale-out. “Prior to Avere, NAS was one single monolithic box. You had to optimize NAS for competing functions, capacity and performance. Usually when you optimized for one, you destroyed the other.
Due out at the end of the month, the 3800 should appeal most to Avere’s core customers, early adopters in performance-driven industries like media and entertainment, oil and gas, and financial modeling, said Bianchini. He believes customers looking to address cost issues will be attracted by the opportunity to drive down their space footprint and use Avere to make up the performance. The third market opportunity is cloud.
“This is where the world is going, the flexibility of running your company anywhere, putting your storage anywhere, the processing anywhere.”
Bits and bytes:
-144GB of DRAM, 2GB NVRAM and 800GB of SSD;
-7.8TB of 10k SAS HDDs;
-2x 10GbE and 6x 1GbE ports; and
-each unit can be clustered to other FXT Edge filers with scaling of up to 50 nodes for linear performance and high availability.