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

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Fusion-io introduced software that allows its high-performance PCIe-based flash memory technology to be used as shared memory over a network.

The company also sees its software as an early step into software-defined storage, a part of the software-defined data center concept wherein all the virtualized storage, server, networking and security resources required by an application can be defined by software and provisioned automatically.

With the new ION Data Accelerator software, solution providers can install Fusion-io's ioMemory modules into any industry-standard server, and it becomes available to multiple users over the network with almost no loss in performance, said David Flynn, CEO and chairman of the Salt Lake City-based company.

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Fusion-io's ioMemory products are flash-based devices that plug into a server's PCIe connector where it can run an application and some or all of that applications data at nearly the same speed as the server's memory.

However, sitting on a PCIe bus typically limits its use to applications running on that server, Flynn said. "The challenge is people like to share data over multiple applications and systems and make it available for replication," he said.

Fusion-io's answer is to use its ION Data Accelerator software to allow the ioMemory module to sit in a separate server where it can be accessed by multiple applications, Flynn said. "It's the culmination of a lot of effort to make shared non-volatile memory available over a traditional network with almost no loss in performance," he said.

With the software, solution providers can take any off-the-shelf industry-standard server, install the ioMemory and software, and connect it to a network, at which point it looks and behaves like a SAN, Flynn said.

Because Fusion-io does not provide the server, solution providers can work with their vendor of choice and can upgrade the server as new technology becomes available, he said. The software offers over 1 million I/Os per second with up to 6-GB-per-second throughput and a latency of under 0.6 milliseconds.

"This is the fastest-performing networked flash device on the planet," he said.

NEXT: Storage For The Software-defined Data Center

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