Fusion-io Debuts ION Software Defined Storage Acceleration

By Pedro Hernandez

Software defined networking (SDN) is rewriting the rules for interconnecting systems in the data center. Fusion-io is hoping to do the same for SANs with its new ION software.

The PCIe flash add-on server card pioneer today unveiled ION, software that in combination with the company's ioMemory flash storage products and servers forms the basis for data acceleration appliances. In some respects, Fusion-io is doing for Fibre Channel, InfiniBand and iSCSI storage infrastructures what its flash acceleration cards do for servers by transforming "tier one servers into a shared data acceleration appliance," says Fusion-io.

"Powerful software can be the foundation for incredible innovation, especially when it's also an open system that shares resources," said Steve Wozniak, Fusion-io Chief Scientist and Apple Co-founder, in a statement.

"I am excited that our new ION software shares ioMemory acceleration across the data center to help customers keep meeting the data demands they face on the application side of the Internet," added Wozniak.

Currently, ION is being put through its paces by early access customers, and according to Fusion-io, they're witnessing big performance gains. Some organizations are getting up to a 40x improvement in application performance, depending on the workload.

The news is particularly good for databases. According to Fusion-io, ION is yielding a 25x improvement SQL Server performance. Similarly, multimedia and video production firms can blaze through big jobs with an 8x improvement on media transcoding rates.

ION is also being billed as a cure for SAN hot spots and bottlenecks.

Transferring hot spots to ION allows storage systems to provide faster, more predictable performance, says Fusion-io. When installed on a 1U server, ION can deliver 1,000,592 4K random IOPS and throughput rates of up to 6 GB per second while incurring latency of just 56 microseconds.

Other features include ION Power Cut Safety, which ensures data integrity in the event of a power or server failure without battery backups or conventional UPS equipment, and support for ioTurbine and directCache, the company's host-based caching technologies.

A High Availability software option provides synchronous data replication data between multiple ION systems for enhanced data protection. ION also extends ioMemory's self-healing, fault-tolerance and wear-leveling flash management features to stretch the useful life of MLC-based solid-state memory used by the appliance.

Fusion ION will be available in October 2012. It is priced from $3,900.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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This article was originally published on August 02, 2012