Greybeards talk server DRAM IO caching with Peter Smith, Director, Product Management at Infinio

Welcome to our sixth episode. We once again dive into the technical end of the pool with  an in-depth discussion of DRAM based server side caching with Peter Smith, Director of Product Management at Infinio. Unlike PernixData (checkout Episode 2, with Satyam Vaghani, CTO PernixData) and others in the server side caching business, Infinio supplies VMware server side storage caching using DRAM for NFS VMDKs. It got a bit technical fairly fast in the podcast, sorry about that.

This months podcast comes in at a little over 40 minutes and was recorded on 20 February 2014. The overall sound quality is much better than Episode 5 but we are still working out some of the kinks, so bear with us.  

Peter comes from a number of different IT infrastructure and co-location services and brings a wealth of knowledge on IO caching within a VMware server environment. With all the DRAM supplied in ESX servers these days and the increasing compute power that’s now available, the time seems ripe to implement a deduplicated, DRAM cache for VMware IO.

Infinio clusters together segments of ESX DRAM, across nodes in a VMware cluster to supply an IO cache. The software installs across the VMware cluster non-disruptively (~ = Vmotion) and Infinio clusters can be expanded without operational impact.

There was some discussion on the odds of a (random) SHA-1 hash collisions happening in our lifetimes (as Greybeards our lifetimes may be shorter than yours). I tried to get Peter or Howard to give me commensurate odds on this happening but alas, no takers.

Listen to the podcast to learn more…

Peter Smith

peter-smith-headshotDirector of Product Management. Peter brings more than 10 years of expertise as an infrastructure architect and IT operations director. In previous companies such as Harvard Business School and Endeca Technologies, Peter managed full-service datacenters and colocation spaces. Most recently Peter led infrastructure services for Endeca, and has also directed operations of customer-hosting infrastructure for clients including American Express, Fidelity UK, Bank of America, and Nike.

GreyBeards year end storage trends wrap-up

Welcome to our fourth episode. In this year end wrap-up Howard and Ray talk about the three trends that have emerged over the last year or so which are impacting the storage industry in a big way and will continue to affect the industry in the the years to come.

First up is scale-out storage. Howard and Ray were part of Storage Field Day 4 (SFD4) where we met with at least 5 different vendors of scale out storage. All the blogger participants were starting to call this the “Scale-Out” field day. It turns out that the compute requirements for storage are starting to increase, for many reasons not the least of which is the performance of SSDs. This rising compute requirement generates a need for scale-out storage.

Second is software defined storage. Howard took a stab at defining it and in our view software defined storage is delivered as a software only solution that provides storage and compute services together in one server environment. With a 2U server, one can have a couple of SSDs and a gaggle of HDDs and still only use 4 of the 24 cores to supply storage services, leaving the other 20 for compute. What with VMware’s VSAN and the other software defined storage players, this is becoming another hot trend this year.

Finally, whither the disk drive? Drive capacity continues to grow with no end in sight, with helium, HAMR, and shingled magnetic recording. SSD is not killing them off as quickly as we thought, even though SSD costs on $/GB basis keep coming down. The net effect of this is that both of us believe disks are going to be around for the near term (5 yrs or so) but we differed on the long term prospects of disk.

Listen to the podcast to learn more….