PernixData Launches Its Flash Hypervisor In The UK

The software can considerably increase storage performance in virtualised environments

On Thursday, PernixData, the US start-up responsible for what it calls the industry’s first and only hypervisor for server-side flash, brought its FVP software to the UK.

Over the past few years, storage performance hasn’t really been able to keep up with the requirements of virtualised data centres. FVP solves this problem by virtualising all server flash, and creating a new clustered acceleration tier that allows management of storage performance independently from storage capacity.

“The beauty of our software is it will work with any SSD or PCI-E, it will work with any storage array. We don’t change the storage, we are not replacing it. And we are not changing anything in the VM. It’s up and running in five minutes, all you have to do is pick the flash you want to put in a cluster, choose if you want to accelerate reads or writes per VM basis, and you’re done,” told TechWeekEurope Jeff Aaron, vice president of Marketing at PernixDarta

In a flash

Founded by VMware veterans, PernixData came out of stealth mode at VMworld 2013, where it received the award for the Best New Product, and was the finalist in the Best New Technology category.

Hitachi Ultrastar SSD400M top“We saw that all these guys were jumping into the flash space, but they were either building another box, or putting it in a sever in a very incomplete way – especially when it came to virtualisation. And the problem was huge,” told us Poojan Kumar, co-founder and CEO of PernixData.

“We said, wouldn’t it be nice if people could really solve the storage problem as they grow their virtual infrastructure, in a scale-out manner, seamlessly, without any changes to infrastructure itself? And these sorts of questions led to us going out and starting this company.”

Since then, PernixData has headhunted some of the foremost experts in virtualisation and raised $20 million in its second funding round from investors including Kleiner Perkins and Lightspeed Ventures.

What makes FVP unique is it integrates itself directly into the hypervisor as part of the kernel, rather than running on top of it. “You don’t have fault tolerance issues that VMs have, and resource contention issue, where VMs have to fight with each other for access to the kernel. So there’s better performance,” explains Aaron.

“We are not doing a cache, we’re doing true clustering. This means every flash device can see every other flash device, so when you move to a different host, you don’t have to rebuild it. And since we are clustering, this enables us to do something that no one else can do – write acceleration. Everyone else is just doing read acceleration.”

In combination with flash memory, FVP promises to lower latency, decrease storage utilization and increase IOPS and throughput.

According to Kumar, PernixData also opens a previously inaccessible market to established flash memory vendors. The company encourages adoption of server-side flash, and its software is complimentary to hardware sold by the likes of Fusion-io and Violin. “That’s why all server flash vendors, both SSD and PCI-E, really love us – because for the first time, they can sell their stuff to people who run virtualised infrastructure.”

How much do you know about storage devices? Take our quiz!