Avere Operating System (AOS) 3.0 can turn FXT into what the vendor calls an edge filer that can be positioned in front of NAS located at remote sites or in the cloud.
FXT appliances use global namespace and a combination of DRAM, NVRAM, solid-state drives (SSDs) and hard drives to accelerate performance on other vendors’ NAS nodes, which Avere Systems calls core filers. Avere first launched its FXT in 2009.
Avere’s FXT appliances still optimize NAS devices instead of replacing them as primary filers. But AOS 3.0 gives Avere FXT cluster filers more control over the namespace and core NAS protocol commands, such as the ability to handle data creation and deletion requests. This reduces latency because the Avere cluster doesn't have to get permissions from the core NAS systems to manage data.
“3.0 is the release we always wanted to build. We knew it would take us time to get there. We’ve fundamentally changed the latency profile within the Avere layer. Now all synchronous operations are turned around locally in Avere cluster.”
Ron Bianchini, Avere Systems' president and CEO
“Previously, when the file was created or deleted, we would have to go to the core filer and that took time. We don’t have to do that anymore,” said Rebecca Thompson, Avere’s vice president of marketing.
AOS 3.0 supports two types of replication, FlashMove (asynchronous) and FlashMirror (synchronous). Ron Bianchini, Avere Systems' president and CEO, said FlashMove and the new low latency give FXT devices the ability to move primary data to the cloud.
FlashMove allows administrators to move data nondisruptively between core filers. Besides moving data to the cloud, this allows load balancing and the ability to migrate data to a new core filer. FlashMirror replicates data on primary and secondary filers. It keeps both sources in sync and can switch to the secondary filer if the primary becomes unavailable. Avere Systems claims FlashMirror can replicate to any vendor’s NAS systems, and is useful for disaster recovery and content distribution.
Bianchini said “3.0 is the release we always wanted to build. We knew it would take us time to get there. We’ve fundamentally changed the latency profile within the Avere layer. Now all synchronous operations are turned around locally in Avere cluster.”
Russell Fellows, an analyst and senior partner at Boulder, Colo.-based Evaluator Group, said Avere built in more of the NFS commands into its AOS so the FXT devices act more like “full-featured virtualization appliances that can sit in front of NAS devices.”
“Before, they had to go to the back-end storage filer for some metadata. Now, because they do more, it enables a new use case. In terms of functions, this expands their use cases. You have local storage in the data center and the Avere FXT in the front, and you get improved performance.”
AOS 3.0, with the ability to do file creation and deletion, is available as a free upgrade to current customers but the replication features are separate licenses. FlashMove costs an extra 15% of the price of an FXT node, while FlashMirror is an extra 25% of the price of an FXT node.