Software-Defined Storage: Fusion-io Software Creates Shared Flash Storage


Keith Norbie, vice president of sales and vendor management at Nexus, the Minnetonka, Minn. office of Stratos Management Services, an Atlanta-based solution provider and Fusion-io partner, said he sees the ION Data Accelerator software as a move towards the software-defined data center because it makes Fusion-io's application acceleration technology available on demand as a shared resource.

"A lot of people will say, I want CPUs in one rack, disk in another rack, flash in another rack, and then scale from there," Norbie said. "The devil is in the details. Kudos to Fusion-io for taking the next step with this technology. The software-defined data center is where people want to go."

Fusion-io's ION Data Accelerator is in line with how VMware in May laid out its concept of the software-defined data center, Norbie said.

"Software will define the resources and how to use them," he said. "People won't want resources provisioned in traditional packages. Instead, they'll want more dynamically provisioned, pay-as-you-go resources."

Fusion-io's Flynn said the ION Data Accelerator provides software-defined storage in that it plays the role that large storage vendors' storage systems currently play.

"It defines cloud computing and big data with a pool of servers that use software alone to define their behaviors to perform network and storage functions," he said. "We're moving storage into open server systems with the right software to perform the data center storage function."

Woody Hutsell, senior director of product management for Fusion-io, said data protection in the ION server comes from the company's Virtual Storage Layer (VSL), with features that ensure data coming into the ION server is synchronously committed to the ioMemory device before sending out the acknowledgement it was received. Data stored on the ioMemory devices is also protected by error code correction (ECC) technology.

Options include a RAID-10 storage pool for mirroring data between multiple modules and mirroring two ION servers for redundancy, Hutsell said.

The software is available in limited release at $3,900 per server regardless of how much capacity it controls. General availability is slated for October. Flynn said solution providers can add the ioMemory modules and ION Data Accelerator software to their own servers, or they can work with Greenville, S.C.-based distributor Synnex, which will do the integration.

PUBLISHED AUG. 2, 2012