Gear6 updates software to tackle bottlenecks

By Kevin Komiega

—Gear6 has announced software upgrades for its high-speed caching appliances that promise improved problem resolution and accelerated I/O performance.

The latest release of the company's Reflex OS operating system features a suite of integrated profiling and analysis tools. Reflex OS, the brains behind Gear6's CACHEfx caching appliances, provides a centralized view of data traffic between NFS clients and servers, giving administrators visibility into workload profiles to diagnose and correct performance problems in real time.

According to Gear6 director of marketing Jack O'Brien, profiling tools are often restricted to identifying performance issues, but require separate problem resolution through manual intervention. He claims the combination of granular statistics and intelligent caching gives the CACHEfx appliances the ability to identify and fix I/O performance problems on-the-fly.

"The added functionality provides a global picture of what's going on with application I/O profiles," says O'Brien. "The integration of the analysis tools offers a centralized view of data traffic that allows administrators to tune appliance configurations to correct bottlenecks."

Reflex OS provides a view of application behavior and workload statistics, including latency, I/Os per second (IOPS), and bandwidth consumption. The CACHEfx appliances record specific and granular application data requests, giving administrators an understanding of the active data set size, requested files, and cache hit rate.

CACHEfx appliances are deployed as shared network resources and provide visibility for all accelerated NFS servers and clients. The appliances also provide aggregate I/O profiles across multiple applications, storage devices, and up to thousands of clients.

The appliances operate with existing NAS systems by offering a centralized pool (up to 1TB) of coherent memory that serves data 10x to 50x faster than mechanical disks.

The appliances support a baseline of 250,000 IOPS, 16Gbps of throughput, and microsecond response times, and can scale linearly to handle millions of IOPS. The Reflex OS software virtualizes memory into a single cache pool and optimizes data delivery through parallel I/O channels.

Centralized storage caching solutions support NFS-based file systems, including clustered file systems. They attach to the network using standard Gigabit or 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections, and no changes are required for existing applications or systems. Gear6 also provides a Management Information Base (MIB) and supports SNMP so users can tap into statistical data and integrate with existing enterprise management frameworks.

The new version of Reflex OS is included with new purchases and is available as a free download to existing customers with maintenance agreements. The CACHEfx appliances are currently available in two models: the 250GB G200 and the 500GB G400. A CACHEfx implementation is priced from $400,000.

This article was originally published on January 30, 2008