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PernixData FVP server-side cache tool expanded

PernixData FVP server-side cache supports VMware vSphere 6 and a call-home feature. Analytics and free software for RAM read caching were also added.

PernixData today upgraded its FVP server-side cache software to support VMware vSphere 6.0, and added analytics software and a free version of FVP for read caching.

The new products are PernixData Architect analytics software for sizing virtualized storage and FVP Freedom that supports only read caching in RAM and will be supported via the open source community.

PernixData FVP is a kernel module that installs in VMware vSphere. The software pools RAM and flash to accelerate block and file storage. The vendor uses a Distributed Fault Tolerant Memory-Z technology to compress data in RAM.

FVP 3 includes an HTML5 interface designed to streamline the management of shared virtual storage. Previous releases of FVP managed virtual storage only through vSphere Web Client.

FVP 3 also includes an optional call-home feature known as PernixPlus to collect and analyze a customer's storage metadata.

PernixData vice president of marketing, Jeff Aaron, said FVP 3 supports vSphere version 5 or later.

Aaron also said FVP 3 customers can configure and monitor FVP clusters directly from the HTML5 interface across vSphere and vCenter clusters. FVP 3 will continue to support plugins for vSphere Web Client.

What Architect does is to marry VM intelligence and storage intelligence in a way that decouples management from the underlying storage hardware. The whole goal is to let you proactively design your data center so problems don't arise in the first place.
Jeff Aaron, PernixData VP of marketing

PernixPlus collects forensic data on a customer's storage to help predict failure points and troubleshoot service calls. Aaron said PernixPlus is also an enabling feature for Architect, which provides details on virtual machine storage, including recommended ratios of flash to disk. Aaron said Architect can help customers determine how much flash they need for a specific application.

"What Architect does is to marry VM intelligence and storage intelligence in a way that decouples management from the underlying storage hardware," Aaron said. "The whole goal is to let you proactively design your data center so problems don't arise in the first place."

FVP Freedom works across any number of hosts and VMs, but lacks the full version's write caching. PernixData is making it available at no charge to build brand awareness, Aaron said. There is also a chance a customer will try the free version and then upgrade to the full PernixData FVP.

"Read acceleration has been commoditized," he said. "We're willing to give read caching for free so people can see how it works. It's a nice way to show the world that server-side acceleration is the way to go."

Like FVP, Architect and Freedom run inside vSphere.

FVP 3 is generally available now. Architect is available in beta and expected to be commercially distributed around November.

PernixData claims about 500 paying customers and estimates its caching software has accelerated about 300,000 VMs, including SQL Server and Oracle database workloads. Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Co. uses FVP server-side cache software to accelerate reads on about 100 TB of consumed primary storage.

Before installing FVP, Charlotte Pipe had budgeted nearly $200,000 to upgrade its storage hardware, said director of technology services Adam Mann.

"If we didn't have FVP, we would have had to buy expensive all-flash storage for performance and then add performance disk to balance the load," Mann said. "With FVP, we learned that we could solve the performance issue and be able to consider lower cost mechanical disk arrays. We're actually going to downgrade our storage, because for us, it's all about capacity, not performance."

David Russell, distinguished analyst for storage at IT analyst firm Gartner Inc., said PernixData is trying to move beyond its server-side caching roots.

"I don't want to give them too much credit too soon, but at a high level they are going from trying to optimize components to now being a management layer for virtual storage," Russell said. "They've got a very impressive list of customers. Maintaining that growth will be the trick, which is why we're seeing them move up the stack and branch out as a portfolio company."

PernixData FVP is priced per physical host, with no limit on the number of supported VMs per host. Customers also could purchase FVP as a yearly subscription. Pricing for Architect has not been set.

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