Gear6 hopes to boost NAS performance with a first-of-its-kind centralized storage caching solution.
The startup says it is the first to deploy high-capacity, high-performance cache as a scalable shared network resource, allowing data to be accessed and shared by multiple applications and hundreds or thousands of clients. The result is a dramatic acceleration of applications across the data center while reducing the cost of over-provisioned storage, the company says.
Gear6 marketing director Jack O’Brien notes that when it comes to IOPS, RAM is 100 times cheaper than disk storage, making it faster and cheaper than other options for speeding file access, such as over-provisioning and storage- and server-based caching.
The company’s products are currently in beta testing, with general availability and pricing expected to be announced in coming months. For now, the startup is focusing on NAS and NFS, and plans to add Fibre Channel and iSCSI later.
Gear6 says its solution provides high I/O throughput, reduces disk access time from milliseconds to microseconds and scales to terabytes of capacity. It installs transparently in the data center without the need for changes to applications or infrastructure.
The company says any application that is I/O-intensive or requires rapid data access will benefit from the technology. Transaction processing and other database workloads are well suited for Gear6 acceleration because they require a large amount of throughput, have stringent latency requirements and often experience heavy peak loads. Data-intensive industries such as energy and exploration, media delivery, biotechnology and animation are also targets.
“Gear6 technology not only delivers dramatic performance benefits, it does so in a way that does not upset existing infrastructure,” says Gear6 CEO Tom Shea. “By seamlessly complementing any NFS-based storage system, we have made it as easy as possible for customers to take advantage of our solution.”
The appliance-based solution “closes the performance gap created by decades of server and CPU advances that have left disk data access far behind,” the startup boasts.
Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst at StorageIO, notes that while other vendors are looking at increasing I/O performance bandwidth and storage capacity utilization, or reducing the amount of data that needs to be stored, “Gear6 is pursuing a different yet complimentary approach.”
“Market conditions and windows of opportunities are aligning themselves for vendors like Gear6 to address data center I/O performance bottlenecks particularly for file-oriented data,” says Schulz. “The challenge that Gear6 is addressing is to minimize or eliminate the I/O performance problem associated with storage capacity consolidation and increased storage capacity utilization.”
Increasing storage capacity utilization can lower costs but can also increase I/O performance demands, says Schulz, and boosting I/O performance can result in low storage capacity utilization and more components and complexity to manage.
“For vendors like Gear6 looking to address I/O performance bottlenecks, the trick is to enable IT infrastructures to rapidly adjust to changing workload and I/O patterns without the cost of over-provisioning storage capacity or incurring delays associated with identifying and migrating data to different tiers of storage,” says Schulz.