Seven months after acquiring clustered file system vendor Avere, Microsoft is unveiling the public preview of Avere vFXT for Azure, which now allows customers to integrate Avere's high-performance clustered file system with Azure cloud workloads.
The public preview was announced by Rebecca Thompson, principal program manager for Microsoft Azure, in a Sept. 4 post on the Microsoft Azure Blog.
Avere vFXT was already available for use with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) but was not previously available to Azure users.
The new preview offering will allow Azure users to connect on-premises infrastructure to Azure compute or to move their file-based workloads in the Azure Cloud to Azure blob storage, wrote Thompson.
"Organizations have long struggled with how they can leverage the cloud for high-performance, file-based workloads," she wrote. "Moving petabytes of data to the cloud is not a quick or simple operation, and organizational buy-in for wholesale moves of these workloads can be challenging."
But by using Avere vFXT for Azure to run enterprise high-performance computing (HPC) applications in the cloud, customers can leverage data stored on-premises or in Azure Blob, which can simplify their configurations and processes, she wrote.
To do that Avere vFXT enables edge computing as a virtual high-performance file caching appliance that runs in Azure Compute, according to Thompson. "With Avere, these critical workloads can access thousands of cores on-demand, increasing business agility by processing smarter and faster without adding extra cost."
The public preview is starting now and the company expects general availability of the new services in the fall of 2018, according to the post. It will be available through the Azure marketplace.
Some of the main features of Avere vFXT for Azure include:
- High-performance file caching: Avere vFXTs will support several common brands of network-attached storage (NAS) as well as Azure Blob API.
- Enabling large numbers of processor cores: Compute farms with anywhere from 1,000 to 40,000 processor cores work well with Avere vFXTs. These compute farms usually are facing fluctuation in demand as well as growth, according to Microsoft.
- Read-heavy workloads: Workloads running with Avere vFXT clusters are heavy on data reads, while not writing data nearly as much—about 70 to 30 percent less compared to other systems, Thompson wrote.
- Hybrid or all-in Azure support: Organizations in any stage of a cloud strategy can take advantage of Azure for HPC by using the Avere vFXT.
- Support for multi-cloud providers: Avere vFXT is also available for both AWS and GCP, but when used in Azure, the cost for Avere vFXT nodes is zero.
To join the preview, users can visit the Avere vFXT for the Azure public preview page or look for Avere in the Azure Marketplace. After reviewing the installation documentation, users can launch an Avere vFXT cluster.
There is no charge for Avere vFXT for Azure licensing, but users will be required to pay the normal costs for running their deployments, according to the post.
Avere was acquired by Microsoft in February 2018 as a strategy to deepen Microsoft's commitment to HPC for enterprises. Avere also builds network-attached storage devices for use with a variety of cloud platforms.