FalconStor, Violin accelerate SANs with flash appliance

By Kevin Komiega

-- FalconStor Software has partnered with Violin Memory to develop a solid-state storage appliance that uses flash memory to accelerate I/O performance in SAN environments.

The FalconStor NSS SAN Accelerator combines FalconStor's Network Storage Server (NSS) Gateway software with Violin's 1010 Flash Memory Appliance to create a virtual SAN on top of a solid-state caching platform with automated tiering capabilities.

Fadi Albatal, FalconStor's vice president of marketing, says the appliance brings a performance boost to existing SAN environments without requiring changes to the underlying storage infrastructure.

"This will work with any infrastructure at any speed, whether it's iSCSI or Fibre Channel. Implementing solid-state memory arrays as a caching tier can yield intelligent, predictable acceleration to all SAN resources," says Albatal.

Albatal says the appliance provides both read and write acceleration using two FalconStor technologies – SafeCache and HotZone.

SafeCache devotes segments of the solid-state memory array to application writes so that all disk writes can be received and acknowledged with low latency. The software then writes data transparently to the destination storage volumes on the SAN.

FalconStor's HotZone accelerates the read process of random-access database applications by monitoring disk access patterns and copying the so-called "hot data" to a HotZone cache on the solid-state memory array for faster read access. When the data is no longer heavily used, it is deleted from the cache and referenced back to its original location in the SAN to make room for other active datasets.

The FalconStor software runs on Violin's 1010 appliance, a 4TB flash device that supports Fibre Channel and Ethernet via a network head and direct attachment through a low latency PCI Express (PCIe) connection.

FalconStor NSS SAN Accelerator is available through FalconStor's reseller channel for a list price of $32,000, which includes one solid-state memory array with 500GB of RAID-protected storage capacity.

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This article was originally published on March 01, 2010