Gear6 offers entry-level caching appliance

By Kevin Komiega

—Gear6 recently introduced the CACHEfx G100, a trimmed-down version of its centralized caching appliance designed to extend the reach of its products into new environments by making the technology more affordable.

Gear6 has packaged the G100 as a relatively low-cost, compact version of its high-end CACHEfx appliances, targeting companies with moderate I/O performance and bandwidth requirements.

The CACHEfx appliances complement existing network-attached storage (NAS) systems by centralizing a large pool (up to 1TB) of coherent memory that serves data 10 to 50 times faster than mechanical disks, eliminating I/O bottlenecks.

The G100 performs at 125,000 I/O operations per second (IOPS) and throughput of 800MBps, according to Gear6, and features the same Reflex OS software as the rest of the company's product line. The system comes with an initial cache capacity of 128GB in 11U of rack space. Reflex OS 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 Jack O'Brien, Gear6 director of marketing, the price of the G100 puts caching appliances within reach for smaller customers—smaller, that is, than Gear6's typical user.

"We've been selling to power users with demanding performance requirements. They have thousands of clients with multi-core processors accessing huge data sets," says O'Brien. "However, there are other companies with lower performance requirements, and we hope to broaden the reach of centralized storage caching to those environments."

The new G100 appliance is priced from approximately $149,000, while Gear6's bigger boxes offer higher levels of performance for a higher price. The G200, for example, which represents the low-end of the product line, provides 250,000 IOPS for about $350,000.

CACHEfx appliances scale as modular building blocks, allowing customers to start small and build up the system as performance requirements increase. The G100's performance can be expanded in increments of 125,000 IOPS.

O'Brien claims that the concept of centralized storage caching is changing the way users design their storage infrastructures and is shifting the focus from a price-per-gigabyte proposition to a price-per-IOPS or price-per-watt approach.

"Sophisticated customers are thinking in terms of different metrics," says O'Brien. "It's no longer about cost per gigabyte. It's about the amount customers need to spend to get the IOPS they need. The primary metrics are becoming performance in a given footprint and how much power is being drawn to achieve that performance."

The G100 appliance is available from Gear6 and members of its Accelerate Partner Program.

This article was originally published on March 25, 2008