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CacheBox rebrands, becomes VMware VAIO partner

PrimaryIO, formerly known as CacheBox, is among four vendors using VMware's software development kit to build vSphere APIs for I/O Filters.

Flash cache startup PrimaryIO, formerly known as CacheBox, is among a handful of storage vendors tapped by VMware to develop vSphere APIs for I/O (VAIO) filters.

VMware introduced VAIO in 2014 and identified its seven early access partners, including PrimaryIO, at VMworld 2015 in September. VAIO filters are expected to be generally available by the first quarter of 2016.

Vendors use the VMware VAIO framework to integrate pluggable software in vSphere 6.0. The plug-ins directly access a virtual machine's (VM) I/O path and apply data services before committing the data to physical storage.

VMware said VAIO filters are designed to boost the performance of storage hardware to perform tasks such as enabling backups to run more efficiently.

"On a high level, VAIO is another way to further our software-defined storage vision. It's about making sure that every application gets the exact data services it requires -- nothing less, nothing more," said Juan Novella, a product marketing manager in VMware's storage and availability business unit.

Caching, replication are early goals of VAIO

We work at the host level. That's one of the reasons VMware selected us.
Glenn Rhodeschief marketing officer, PrimaryIO

PrimaryIO develops Application Performance Acceleration (APA) software that sits in the I/O path and selectively caches data in local flash storage. The APA tool examines an application to pinpoint potential storage bottlenecks.

"We work at the host level. That's one of the reasons VMware selected us," PrimaryIO Chief Marketing Officer Glenn Rhodes said. "Our software analyzes the components of an application to determine what's causing a bottleneck and recommend specific database tables or indexes to be accelerated."

VMware said initial use cases for VAIO center on caching and replication. PrimaryIO is one of only two startups -- VMware-centric caching vendor Infinio is the other -- endorsed by VMware to develop customized caching APIs for VAIO. SanDisk Corp. and Samsung Semiconductor also are developing VAIO filters for caching.

VMware named Asigra, EMC and StorageCraft as development partners to develop vSphere plug-ins for backup software.

VMware early access partnership comes amid PrimaryIO rebranding

"PrimaryIO has a nice application-centric acceleration approach, where they can accelerate specific components of an application. They do this using in-guest visibility and pass this through to their I/O filter so it will cache specific blocks," said Vijay Ramachandran a director of product management in VMware's storage and availability business unit.

PrimaryIO's software is a bare metal caching layer for Linux and Windows operating systems. Its software provides read and write caching on physical and virtual servers and applies intelligence at the block level to manage I/O traffic from high-availability storage.

The vendor first launched as CacheBox in 2014 but rebranded itself this year as PrimaryIO. Rhodes said the company needed to redefine its identity with customers.

"The CacheBox name wasn't frictionless. It was taking too long to explain what we do," Rhodes said. "Because we had 'box' in our name, a lot of people thought we were a hardware company. Plus, even though we do caching, that has a bit of a negative connotation in the industry. We wanted people to understand that what we're trying to do is impact I/O performance."

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