Avere makes cloud NFS fast & safe for the enterprise

by Robin Harris on Tuesday, 8 April, 2014

This is big. In new SPECsfs2008_nfs.v3 tests Avere’s FXT 3800 clustered edge filers achieved something remarkable: performance using Cleversafe and Amazon S3 cloud backends that were every bit as good as local backing stores.

Avere tested 4 systems:

Avere architecture in brief
From a StorageMojo post a year ago, here’s a refresher on Avere’s salient features:

  • Avere’s appliance is a read and write cache, so hot data I/O is handled directly and not routed to the backend filers. Typically only 1 out of 50 I/Os leave Avere for backend NAS, and for some workloads it is as little as 1 out of 200.
  • Avere’s file system is the client of the backend filers, so it always knows where the data is. Furthermore, Avere is certified with vendors like NetApp to handle the inevitable corner cases.
  • The system moves data across 4 tiers – DRAM, SSD, SAS and the backend filers – to achieve high performance, unlike products that rely on fast backend performance.
  • They also manage blocks within files, so a change in a file doesn’t require rewriting the entire file, a popular feature in large file applications.

Results
Each of the 3-node clusters achived strikingly similar results: ≈180,000 ops/sec with an overall response time of less than 0.9msec. Remember, two of those configs are using different cloud backends, while one use local storage.

The 32-node cluster using the simulated WAN round-trip 150ms latency achieved over 1,100,000 ops/sec with 1.3ms overall response time.

These results are among the highest ops/sec and lowest ORT of any on the SPEC nfs tests.

The StorageMojo take
Avere not only makes cloud object stores fast enough for enterprise use, they also make it safe enough. Those massive object stores rely on something called eventual consistency – where “eventual” is not defined – which means active files could be borked if an old copy is retrieved after a newer copy has been written but not fully disseminated.

Avere eliminates that problem because they keep the latest version at least until the cloud is consistent. Active files will be served by Avere for maximum performance.

Avere is also cloud-agnostic if they support S3 semantics. With a few mouse clicks you can start moving from one provider to another. No more Nirvanix-type surprises.

EMC and NetApp are no doubt hoping no one notices Avere’s results. But with the recent cloud price wars every enterprise needs to go back and check out the economics of Avere + cloud. You can be sure your CFO has noticed.

Courteous comments welcome, of course. Saw the Avere folks at NAB 2014 yesterday. They seemed pretty chipper.

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