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PernixData FVP adds RAM compression to server-side storage cache

PernixData FVP's latest version compresses data on RAM, and its server-side caching software pools flash and memory resources.

PernixData this week added the ability to compress data in RAM to its FVP software that caches server resources to improve performance.

FVP 2.5 uses Distributed Fault Tolerant Memory-Z (DFTM-Z) for data compression with RAM. That helps customers accelerate applications with a larger data footprint on RAM than the previous version. PernixData's DFTM-Z supports 1 TB of RAM per host in a VMware vSphere cluster.

PernixData FVP installs inside vSphere and aggregates server flash and RAM to make those resources available to any host in the cluster. PernixData launched in 2013, supporting server-side flash. The startup added the ability to also pool and cache RAM in version 2.0 a year ago.

Jeff Aaron, PernixData's VP of marketing, said version 2.0 allowed customers to accelerate workloads with small footprints and low latency on RAM, such as virtual desktops. He expects compression to enable them to run tier-one applications.

"RAM's performance is awesome, but capacity isn't as good," Aaron said. "We will compress on a VM [virtual machine] level, if there is overhead value. This makes RAM ideal for any application. We don't care if you use RAM or flash. We want to make RAM on par with flash as an enterprise storage medium."

Aaron said the RAM compression allows up to four times as much data to be served on RAM as in the previous version.

FVP 2.5 also adds intelligent I/O profiling and role-based access control (RBAC). Intelligent profiling allows the software to detect workloads that are not suitable for server-side acceleration because they include large sequential reads and writes. FVP bypasses local server media with those reads and writes, sending them directly to shared storage. The feature reserves server flash and RAM for workloads that benefit from acceleration.

RBAC provides multi-tenancy for service providers who use FVP for infrastructure as a service. RBAC lets administrators control who has access to the PernixData User Interface and what information they can see.

PernixData claims $9.3 million in bookings, and 350 customers in its first full year selling FVP.

"We believe the future involves using servers heavily for storage," Aaron said.

Payworks turns to PernixData FVP to reduce latency without downtime

Payworks, a workforce management service provider based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, uses FVP on its Web server cluster that runs its payroll, human resources and employee time management applications. Payworks infrastructure manager Bob Haldane said he installed FVP in early 2014 to reduce latency for those online apps, and now includes an FVP license whenever he installs a blade server with solid-state drives.

Haldane said he installed FVP because he knew he would need faster access to data as he added servers when the company's client base grew. He said he likes that he can install servers with FVP without downtime. "It doesn't require you to configure anything," he said. "It plugs into your VMware hypervisor. You get new storage, point an ESXi host to the new storage and FVP is aware of those changes."

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