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Storage & Clustering Community Blog

Storage Foundation "SmartIO" feature - Smart choice for high performance servers

Created: 21 Oct 2012 • Updated: 11 Jun 2014
Bala Kumaresan's picture
+8 8 Votes
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We are working on "SmartIO" feature for the next release of Storage Foundation, which can save customers a ton of money.

How do customers save a ton of money with SF "SmartIO" feature?

SF “SmartIO” feature results in the following,

  1. Increases Server utilization by IO bottleneck elimination
  2. Support for low latency and high throughout IO, by using flash storage present in the server
  3. Reduction in the IO load on storage controllers, as most of the application IO needs is served by “SmartIO” layer.

As a result, the number of servers required for same application throughput is reduced, storage commoditization happens because there is no need for high end storage controllers and the number of storage controllers required is also reduced as IO needs from storage array is much lower. All of the above saves cost for SF customers - Savings on both Capital expenses and Operational expenses.

How does SF “SmartIO” feature achieve this?

In most of high performance application environment, application throughput is usually constrained by Storage performance and the server processing power is underutilized. EMC and NetApp wants our customers to buy high-end arrays, more of them, until the storage needs of the application is met. This is highly expensive, both capital expense and operational expense, for the customers.

Flash storage is an order of magnitude faster, 20-30 times faster than hard disks. Flash storage is also capable of delivering hundreds of thousands of IO operations per second, for a fraction of cost of high end storage controllers. These days, high performance servers have Enterprise class Flash storage built-in, whether it is PCIe based add-on or on the board.

Storage Foundation "SmartIO" feature implements a smart way to cache application data on the server side flash storage, by automatically analyzing the application data access patterns, decide what data items should be cached and cache them.  SF “SmartIO” feature also accelerates writes, by Highly Available write-back caching. This workload based caching is quite effective and results in most of the storage access needs serviced by the “SmartIO”, vastly reducing the load on the storage controllers.

In environments where there are IO bottlenecks, "SmartIO" feature will enhance the application performance by up to 10x in some cases and at least 2x performance improvement for most cases.

SF “SmartIO” feature will offer substantial differentiation against competition and native. SF is the only game in town that can achieve the above features in a highly available fashion, with cache coherency in a clustered environment as well!