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VMware Gets Virtualized I/O Boost via SSD/Flash

Clogged-up I/O plumbing can be particularly nettlesome in high-performance virtualization environments, and IO Turbine has taken heed by announcing software using SSD/Flash that runs on the compute server and specifically targets I/O bottlenecks in VMware environments. Accelio works by transparently selecting the highest priority data and shifting IOPS from primary to Flash, where it delivers performance straight to designated VMs.

Laying the groundwork for Accelio's advantages, IO Turbine describes the all-too-familiar problems caused by I/O chokepoints in virtualization environments: subpar efficiency and application latency, which result in the twin bugaboos of mis-managed virtualization infrastructures -- cost and complexity -- not to mention bogged-down storage access. After noting the failures of competing alternatives (adding even more storage, via spindles or solid state) I/O Turbine lays out the Accelio approach:

"Accelio software addresses the issue at the source of the problem, i.e. at each machine, increasing application performance and throughput, host server utilization for higher VM density, improving overall storage performance, and providing optimum control for managing I/O."

The company goes on to note how enterprise-class storage vendors offer automatic tiering with data migration to and from the SSD storage, pointing out that such solutions typically occur well after the need for I/O acceleration has passed, and often add to an already stressed storage array. "Accelio software eliminates this problem by intelligently and automatically directing I/O requests away from overburdened primary storage to SSD/Flash for the most frequently accessed and critical data."

Following the new trend of quoting analysts who make generic product category endorsements without mentioning vendors by name, IO Turbine reeled in the following statement by Gartner guru/research vice president Chris Wolf: "Read and write caching can substantially improve VM performance and increase consolidation densities for both virtual server and virtual desktop workloads. Storage I/O acceleration in virtual environments is not a checkbox."

Accelio Software is available for testing here.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 06/23/2011 at 12:48 PM


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