Fusion-io Steps Up Virtualization Investments

Fusion-io has introduced an upgrade of its ioTurbine software that improves performance, control and choice to enhance the value of virtualization investments. The new release of  Fusion ioTurbine delivers virtualization-aware caching, dynamic reallocation of cache memory during live migration of virtual machines in VMware vMotion, and unified management of caching across virtual and physical environments.

Fusion ioTurbine software enables enterprises to work with a range of server and storage systems, including Fusion ION Data Accelerator and the Fusion-io NexGen hybrid storage system. Fusion ioTurbine software supports multiple operating systems, including VMware ESXi, Windows, and Linux. The software also includes Fusion ioSphere monitoring software for local monitoring of multiple deployments of the software throughout a datacenter, as well as a plug-in for VMware vSphere to provide unified management across physical and virtual servers.

There are three main trends in the enterprise market that have prompted the improvements in ioTurbine necessary, Gary Orenstein, VP of Products at Fusion-io, told 5 Minute Briefing. First, virtualization is not only growing as a trend but companies are also interested in deploying virtualization in areas where they have previously been unable to do so.  The second trend is that with the new CPUs that are coming out the gap between CPU capabilities and conventional legacy storage solutions to deliver the data to those CPUs is growing even wider. And third, is that database licensing models are changing to being licensed by core which is causing customers to be more concerned with whether they are getting the maximum potential from each licensed core - the maximum database transactions per core. “The last thing you want to have is a licensed database core that is not generating its full potential,” notes Orenstein.

One of the solutions to these trends is to deploy caching solutions based on flash memory and sophisticated software to manipulate the data for dramatic acceleration gains, says Orenstein. “And that is the essence of the ioTurbine suite – to deliver acceleration to critical applications using various methods of caching.”

Addressing these issues, Fusion ioTurbine virtualization software provides intelligent virtualization-aware guest VM caching, which brings performance closer to applications to streamline data requirements. “We can intelligently determine what we should cache or not cache. Knowing the ‘color’ of data and having some intelligence there is critical and that is a unique aspect of the ioTurbine solution,” says Orenstein.

A second key capability in the new release is the ability to do dynamic reallocation of cache in support of vMotion as virtual machines move around. Automatic rebalancing of cache capacity from live VMs accommodates newly deployed or migrated VMs, dynamically provisioning all available cache capacity to live VMs when VMs power off or migrate from the host, efficiently utilizing full cache capacity.

And a third area that is unique for ioTurbine, says Orenstein, is a unified management infrastructure for managing caching processes across virtual and physical servers, allowing customers to deploy the same ioTurbine suite across virtual servers with VMware or on a physical server that is just running Windows with, for example, SQL Server without being virtually enabled. This is important because many customers would like to go from a physical setup to a virtual setup but have been afraid of the performance implications, he notes. Once ioTurbine is deployed on a physical server to support the SQL Server database, says Orenstein, “we know the color of that data and the color of that workload for that SQL Server database.” This helps a customer to attain the same level of performance when they move to a virtual environment that they have in a physical environment.

Fusion ioTurbine is available as stand-alone software or bundled with the Fusion ioCache data accelerator platform for virtualization. The ioCache platform features 750GB of Fusion ioMemory capacity for low latency application acceleration. The ioTurbine software caches data to the ioCache platform for rapid processing of critical application data, while non-critical data moves across the network to slower, high capacity storage arrays.