Fusion-io Boosts Virtual Machine Performance With Updated ioTurbine

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New version of ioTurbine brings benefits of flash memory to virtualised datacentre

Enterprise flash memory expert Fusion-io has launched what it calls the industry’s first virtualisation acceleration software suite.

The upgrade to ioTurbine enables hypervisor caching, “virtualisation-aware” caching in the guest Virtual Machine (VM), dynamic reallocation of cache memory during live migration of virtual machines using VMware vMotion, and unified management of caching across both virtual and physical environments.

When used in combination with an appropriate flash accelerator, the new version of ioTurbine claims to offer up to 40x faster database performance, double VM density and reduce SAN workloads by up to 96 percent compared to a system with no flash-based acceleration.

The use of software is not limited to Fusion-io hardware – it allows enterprises to work with the server and storage systems of their choice, and runs on VMware ESXi, Windows, and Linux.

Virtual machine On steroids

The ioTurbine software has been on the market for a few years. It uses large chunks of NAND memory to cache active, critical data to the ioCache platform, while non-critical data moves across the network to slower, high capacity storage arrays.

FusionioTurbineandioCache“We’ve seen customers who are very excited about deploying virtualisation, but when they move to consolidate physical machines under virtual machines, when they need to support those new virtualised servers with storage, it gets very hard for the conventional disk-based storage systems to provide enough IO capacity to keep all the VMs going,” Gary Orenstein, senior VP of Products at Fusion-io told TechWeekEurope.

This is where ioTurbine comes into play. It can improve performance on three different levels, the first being “virtualisation-aware” guest VM caching. Here, ioTurbine can integrate with a particular virtual machine to improve application performance by identifying the application’s most immediate data requirements.

On a higher level, the new hypervisor-only mode enables enterprises and cloud service providers to deliver dynamic, high performance caching on a wider scale.

And of course, ioTurbine still features physical server caching, which can elevate the performance of a server as a whole.

The software suite includes Fusion ioSphere for local monitoring of multiple deployments of the software at the datacentre, as well as a plug-in for VMware vSphere to provide unified management across physical and virtual servers. It offers full support for vMotion server migration without manual scripting or disruption to cache functionality, as well as VMware snapshots.

There’s also a hidden benefit to ioTurbine: it not only maximises virtualisation productivity, but also extends the lifespan of a customer’s storage investments by reducing the load on hard drives.

“As adoption of virtualisation is at different stages at different companies, ioTurbine provides customers with the option to cache in the guest VM or the hypervisor. Caching at the guest brings performance to the application where it is needed without costly and ineffective storage sprawl. Fusion ioTurbine makes it possible to further streamline the stack with optimised software to accelerate the adoption of flash in virtual environments, while giving customers flexibility and control over their infrastructure,” said Vikram Joshi, chief technologist and vice president at Fusion-io.

ioTurbine is available as stand-alone software priced at $3900 (£2540), or bundled with 750GB of Fusion ioMemory for $7500 (£4880).

The company currently runs a free ioTurbine Profiler service which can tell customers what to expect when moving from a physical to virtual infrastructure. “If you want to do a physical to virtual move, we can tell you exactly what kind of cache setup you need to maintain the same level of performance,” said Orenstein. Fusion-io consultants are available at ioTurbineProfiler@fusionio.com.

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