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NetApp rolls out first DAFS-enabled storage products

NetApp rolls out the first storage products to utilize the Direct Access File System (DAFS). Many have demonstrated DAFS technology but NetApp is the first to bring products to the street.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Network Appliance Inc., has unveiled the first product that puts database-speeding Direct Access File System (DAFS) technology into commercial use, changing the equation for storage attachment.

"The DAFS Database Accelerator brings the ease of use of filers into the most demanding OLTP environments," said NetApp's David Dale, co-chair of the DAFS Collaborative. "The [DAFS Database Accelerator] represents a leapfrog in performance for high-end database environments."

Randy Kerns, a partner at the Evaluator Group, a Greenwood, Colo., analyst firm, said in a recent report that the performance numbers for the DAFS Database Accelerator were "stunning," and proved the value of DAFS.

The Database Accelerator with a VI/Ethernet NIC scored 70 microseconds per operation. An application enabled DAFS client with the VI/Ethernet NIC configuration performed at a rate of 28 microseconds per operation.

Kerns also stated that DAFS will change the way businesses think about the size of the server required for deployment of transaction processing applications, and will quite possibly damage the argument for iSCSI in the transaction processing world.

The argument for iSCSI is that it uses the existing Ethernet infrastructure. However, the Evaluator Group said the NetApp DAFS technology does the same thing without the performance sacrifices for iSCSI using TCP/IP.

DAFS is a network file system, similar to NFS and CIFS that has been optimized for high-bandwidth, low-latency networks like InfiniBand. DAFS does not specifically require InfiniBand because it can be run atop any interconnect that supports the Virtual Interface (VI) architecture.

The DAFS protocol was designed to use standard memory-to-memory interconnect technologies such as VI and InfiniBand in clustered data center environments. The result, according to the DAFS Collaborative, is a significant increase in application server CPU cycles available for application processing, together with high-performance, low-latency shared file access between application servers and storage systems.

More than 85 vendors participated in developing DAFS through the DAFS Collaborative, which was formed by NetApp and Intel Corp. Many of the participants have already demonstrated their DAFS products and are expected to roll them out this year.

NetApp also debuted a new version of its NetCache product line. The NetCache is designed to speed performance of remote office applications, specifically web-based applications through deployment of caching and content delivery technology, according to Amit Pandey, director of NetCache marketing.

The DAFS Database Accelerator will hit the streets by the end of April.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor


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