Infinio is demo’ing their brand new product today at Tech Field Day #9. I was briefed by Infinio a couple of weeks back and figured I would share some details with you. Infinio is releasing a product called Infinio Accelerator and describes it as a “downloadable storage performance” solution. That sounds nice, but what does that mean?
Infinio has developed a virtual appliance that sits in between your virtual machine storage traffic and your NFS datastore. Note I said “NFS datastore” and not just “datastore”, as NFS is their current focus. Why just NFS and not block storage? Currently that is because of the architecture they have chosen, or better said due to how they intercept traffic going to or coming from the datastore.
The Infinio virtual appliance enhances storage performance by caching IO. Their primary use case is to do caching in memory. So what does it look like? Basically every host in the cluster gets an Infinio appliance installed. This appliance has 2 vCPUs and 8GB of memory by default and from that memory a shared caching pool is created to accelerate read IO. (Yes there is a downside to using an appliance, read this article by Frank.) The nice thing is that this pool of memory is cluster wide deduplicated, considering though the appliance holds 8GB of memory that deduplication is a requirement if you ask me. (Just revealed at TFD is that the appliance will get deployed with 4, 8 or 16GB memory based on the amount of memory in the host.) The other key word here is “read IO”, for now Infinio Accelerator is a read cache solution, so no write back, but that might change in the future, who knows. The video below also mentions SSD caching, the Tech Field Day session revealed that this is something that is being worked on to be included in the future.
One thing where Infinio definitely excels is the installation / configuration process, and even the purchase options are simple. You download a simple installer, point it to your vCenter Server, do a couple of “next / next / finish” actions and that is that. You want to buy the product? It will be even easier then installing, just hit the website, grab your creditcard and that is it. Definitely something I always appreciate, companies keeping it simple.
One thing I want to call, I asked this question during the TFD broadcast, as that today there is no direct integration with vCenter Server or with VC Ops. In my opinion a missed opportunity, especially considering the product is focused on the virtualization market.
How do they compare to other caching solutions out there? Well that is difficult to say at the moment, if I can find the time and get some proper SSDs in my lab I might test and compare the various solutions at some point. If you ask me there are benefits to both SSD/Flash and “in memory” caching. What will determine their success is: how it is implemented (product quality), where they sit in the I/O stack, how resilient the solution is and what kind of caching they offer. As I said, maybe more in the future on this.
That is all about I can share for now, for some more details I suggest watching the 8 minute pitch by their Co-founder and CEO Arun Agarwal all the way at the bottom or the Tech Field Day introduction videos and deepdive.
When will it be available? The public beta is scheduled to be available around VMworld, and Infinio is aiming for a GA release in Q4 of 2013.
Tech Field Day – Introductions
Tech Field Day – Demo
Tech Field Day – Deepdive / How it works
8 Minute Pitch