Getting to know Infinio – Putting RAM to work like never before

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infinio-ga-ad_125x125If you haven’t already seen Infinio Systems, it is time to stop and take a look. This is a significant new vendor, with a significant product. Infinio Accelerator is doing something different from we have seen up to now.

Oh…and did I mention that the product is officially in General Availability as of right now!

Cache is King

The advantage to host caching is that the read caching is as close to the workload as possible and you are able to maximize the benefit. With so many hardware-based flash cache products entering the market, and software products that can leverage hardware flash and SSD hardware for host-side read caching, Infinio could turn the market on its side with what they are doing.

I participated in a pre-launch demo of the Infinio Accelerator which gave me an early view of the deployment and management of the product. I was absolutely impressed. This has the potential for a significant customer market because of the ability to leverage host RAM as a distributed flash cache without the need for retrofitting your storage array with potentially expensive flash drives, or adding PCI flash hardware at the hosts.

How does it all work?

Infinio Accelerator is a software-only NAS offload engine. It deploys using an OVA on each host and utilizes local RAM (8GB by default) for its cache storage and the virtual appliance is held on local storage with the host.

01-install

Once deployed, you can pick which of your hosts you want to accelerate, and which NFS volume and then you are off to the races. The wizard ticks away nicely in the background as it imports the OVA into your environment and loads the IP configuration that you’ve specified during the install.

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The bonus of Infinio is that it intercepts traffic, but does not put itself in between the host and the NFS workload. In other words, if something goes wrong with your Infinio Accelerator environment, the only thing that will happen is that your vSphere environment loses the extra advantage, but no production stoppage occurs. That’s comforting if you ask me!

Any workload applies too. This isn’t isolated to VM guests running a specific OS or anything. Any VM, vApp or VDI workload on NFS will see the benefit. If you decide you need to try it and then back out, just de-provision the accelerator using the install wizard and it cleanly backs out the Infinio tools. No reboots. No leftovers.

It’s as easy as 1-2-3!

1-2-3

Image source: http://www.infinio.com/about-our-product/what-is-it

And yes, I speak from experience. I’ve installed and uninstalled multiple times to be sure how the process works. No impact to my active workloads other than becoming more awesome!

Acceleration for the rest of us

I think this is a great fit with organizations at every level from SMB to big Enterprise and it is great foray into accelerating workloads without having to take the steps to architect hardware SSD solutions into your datacenter. A little more RAM is a short step away for many and you will see the benefit immediately to judge if you want to put Infinio to work as a production solution.

There are a few requirements which you have to meet which are highlighted during the deployment wizard:

04-verify-accelerator-resources

Standard vSwitches? Not a problem. In fact, it’s a requirement. With the 1.0 release of Infinio Accelerator, Distributed vSwitches are not supported so that will have to be a consideration for your design.

The win in this case is that you don’t have to be running Enterprise+ with vDS in order to use the Infinio Accelerator. That’s a big differentiator for many customers. Many advanced storage I/O tools require vDS, which requires Enterprise+ licensing on the vSphere host. Not a concern in our case now.

Just like the Queen song: I want it now!

There is a reason that we have been chatting up this product up to now and that’s because it has been brewing for a while in Beta and now with the GA launch you will see much more great info coming out. Head on over to http://www.infinio.com/ and you will be able to sign up for the download.

Once you’re signed up, you get a 30 day trial for free and you can turn that into a production product at only $499 USD per CPU socket for a perpetual license with one year of maintenance included. Yes, you read correctly! Perpetual licenses are my favorite kind of license 🙂

Join the live technical Q&A at 3:00 PM Eastern time today (November 5th just in case you are reading this after the launch) by registering here: https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/10295/90639

Don’t let your lack of SSD be a barrier to putting performance into your vSphere and NFS environment.

DiscoPosse

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