Fusion-io Greases I/O Skids With ION Software-Defined Storage
The new software runs on standard x86-based servers, can deliver 1 million I/Os per second -- with up to 6Gb/s throughput -- and works inside the cache in shared ioMemory data acceleration appliances.Solid-state storage hardware maker Fusion-io took a strategic step into the software world Aug. 1 when it unveiled a new data greaser called an ION Data Accelerator. The new software runs on standard x86-based servers and works inside the cache in shared ioMemory data acceleration appliances.
Fusion-io CEO David Flynn told eWEEK that installed on a dedicated 1U-size, NAND flash-based server, the ION accelerator can deliver more than 1 million I/Os per second -- with up to 6 Gbps throughput and under 0.06 millisecond latency.
"This is the first wave of what we're calling software-defined storage," Flynn told eWEEK. "Storage networking is probably the last sore-thumb holdout for a real update in the data center. Storage networking is mechanical. In the past, enterprises have always looked to big companies like EMC to provide the heavy hardware to solve this. Now they don't have to. All the power in ION is embedded in the NAND flash memory, which can run anywhere." Fusion-io is best known for two things: making ultra-fast, NAND flash-based PCIe cards that fit into network interface slots in standard servers, and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who is the company's chief scientist. Fusion-io's main product, ioDrive, was the first direct-attached, solid-state server storage array to use PCI-Express, or PCIe, connectivity. The ioDrive is smallbarely larger than a typical handheld devicethat uses advanced NAND flash chip clustering to perform the same functions as a spinning disk storage array, only with much faster read/write performance and much less power draw. Most IT shops, if they use NAND flash, utilize it in purpose-built solid-state drives. Fusion-io's angle is that its units plug into the same sockets as hard disk drives and are much faster. For example, the company claims ioDrive is capable of 120,000 random read/write IOPSabout 100 times faster than a typical Serial ATA drive. In addition to creating the PCIe card, Fusion i-o developed its own software to run on the PCIe device. The release of ION amounts to a breakout of that software to run on standard servers. PCIe Background PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) was introduced by Intel in 2004. It is a computer-expansion card standard based on point-to-point serial links, rather than a shared parallel bus architecture, and is designed to replace the older PCI, PCI-X and AGP standards. PCIe has graduated from good idea, to promising technology, to trend, and now to near-standard status in the last three years. Facebook, for one example, uses an unspecified large number of Fusion-io's fast storage arrays in its data centers. Fusion-io, based in Salt Lake City, went public in June 2011. Pricing for ION is set at $3,900 per server instance, Flynn said. Chris Preimesberger is Editor for Features and Analysis at eWEEK. Twitter: @editingwhiz