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OCZ Technology Group, a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs), and Mellanox Technologies, a leading supplier of high-performance, end-to-end interconnect solutions for data center and storage systems, have collaborated together to deliver flash I/O storage performance and complete fault tolerance (FT) to VMware clusters on top of on-host server flash and hard disk drives (HDDs).

 The combination of the Mellanox ConnectX-3 EN 40 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) network interface card (NIC) with OCZ’s VXL software replicates VMware datastores in virtualized SAN-less clusters. The combined solutions deliver industry-leading Ethernet connectivity, intelligent and efficient cache and flash volume distribution of PCI Express (PCIe) flash resources while enabling High Availability (HA) and Fault Tolerance (FT) services of VMware clusters.

To achieve this innovative capability, a virtualized environment containing two servers (with OCZ VXL 1.3.1 Software, OCZ Z-Drive R4 PCIe flash cards and Mellanox ConnectX-3 EN NICs in each) run virtualized enterprise loads that include such applications as Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Exchange Server. SAN-less HA and FT of this environment is maintained by VXL Software storage network sharing, high availability and mirroring capabilities using the high-speed, low latency Mellanox NIC to the secondary server.

“This industry-first solution enables VMware virtualized data centers to benefit from flash-level performance while retaining network accessibility and fault tolerance using our 40GbE NIC interconnection to handle the server-to-server enterprise storage loads. We are very pleased to extend our collaboration with OCZ enabling virtualized environments to benefit from highly available, low latency SAN-less deployments,” said Motti Beck, director of enterprise market development for Mellanox Technologies.

The Mellanox ConnectX-3 EN 40/56GbE NIC delivers high-bandwidth and industry-leading Ethernet connectivity for performance-driven server and storage applications in enterprise data centers, High Performance Computing (HPC) and embedded environments. Its low power and application acceleration for converged I/O infrastructures eliminate the need for multiple Ethernet connections to the server while maximizing server and storage performance throughput. This results in reduced operating costs and network complexity.

OCZ’s VXL Caching and Virtualization Software efficiently distributes randomized data between all available flash cells locally on-host while delivering a complete virtual performance system that accelerates Virtual Machine (VM) applications. It creates a flash virtualization layer on top of the virtualization hypervisor (such as ESXi) to enable IT managers to dynamically deploy flash resources exactly to the needs of VMs when the VMs need them. This approach enables intelligent and efficient on-demand distribution of flash resources between all connected VMs so that the Z-Drive R4 PCI SSD can be virtualized as a highly available network resource to be shared amongst any VM in the cluster. The result is that no VM inefficiently occupies flash when it can be better used elsewhere in the environment.

“The combination of on-host flash with our VXL Software enables lower TCO in the software-defined data center by increasing VM density and server utilization. Our collaboration with Mellanox to enable lower latency and increased bandwidth connectivity between servers enables these environments to enjoy the TCO and performance gain improvements while retaining all of the benefits of a SAN-less, software-defined deployment without compromises or limitations,” said Allon Cohen, vice president of software and solutions for OCZ Technology.

Tags: OCZ, SSD, Mellanox, SAN, VMware

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