Last week the Tech Field Day group met with Infinio Systems Inc. to talk about their downloadable storage performance product.
Infinio is a VMware only – NAS offload engine. It is an in-memory software cache that is intelligent enough to figure out what data is accessed and when so that it minimizes on the read/write impact on your storage array. The product (as of this posting) is a 2 vCPU / 8GB RAM virtual appliance and acts as an accelerator that talks to your NAS directly. It uses a cache pool that the entire VMware cluster shares and it leverages to deal with service vMotions and host failures. When this occurs, the host cache will act locally and stop using the pool from neighboring ESX hosts.
When a datastore is selected to be accelerated, the Infinio product deploys a single virtual appliance. Sounds like the process is very straight forward and I am anxious to try it myself. I can see SMB’s benefiting from this acceleration for some of their high I/O workloads on file-based volumes.
During the demo part of the presentation, we were able to see the administrator UI that had an interesting “savings” display that shows how many disks you didn’t have to buy which was a nice ROI touch for upper management.
Infinio’s Core principles are: “easy to try and easy to buy”. While the presentation was commencing, I reviewed some of their marketing material on the website and found the section entitled “SSD performance without SSD’s” rather interesting, especially the graph on the chart that depicted the six fold response time improvement. Something that I have yet to test in the lab.
Since the product assumes you have NFS for your datastores, no topology discovery between nodes is necessary for the current version of their software. Not sure what would occur if you had block storage, but it is not supported nonetheless.
Also, SIOC is fully supported in this product since it dynamically adjusts the NIC policy. This keeps in line with their “no changes to your existing infrastructure” statement.
I have yet to test this product in the VMbulletin lab, but I will do a follow up to this post once those tests are complete.