by Anton Shilov
03/06/2013 | 11:50 PM
OCZ Technology Group, a leading make of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, this week announced the general availability of the next release of its popular VXL cache and virtualization software.
“Our customer base has been a great resource in making sure that VXL’s functional roadmap is built around the specific real-world caching and virtualization needs when deploying flash in the enterprise. This release of VXL Software continues to evolve ‘the next frontier’ of flash virtualization by providing enhanced capabilities to enterprise caching and advanced support for virtualized services,” said Dr. Allon Cohen, vice president of software and solutions for OCZ Technology.
VXL 1.3 has evolved its synchronous data mirroring capabilities and automatic server failover mechanisms to enable ‘SAN-less’, highly available, fault tolerant environments based entirely on virtualized host flash. The ability to provide uninterrupted service for business-critical applications even during severe system failures is a requirement for IT managers of any sized data center, and ideally suited for virtualized database deployments, email servers, or cloud computing applications.
Another innovation in this new version of VXL allows IT managers to pre-load the cache with critical data at pre-determined schedules to ensure that important data is available on SSD flash at the precise time it is required by the application. This advancement is particularly well suited for business intelligence and data analysis applications, and in particular, for columnar database deployments where the periodic collection of data to a distributed flash cache enables real-time online analysis. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) applications benefit as well with the ability to alleviate boot storms or expected peak usage at specific times.
“We have been deploying OCZ’s VXL Software (with OCZ Z-Drives) to enterprise data centers since their very first version, and have seen IT administrators resolve an expanding range of data access requirements with this solution. We are very pleased with this latest release of VXL and its expanded functionality addresses the real-world needs of our enterprise customers who are transforming their data centers through the use of on-host flash,” said Alexander Ruebensaal, managing director of ABC Systems AG Switzerland.
Enhanced capabilities within VXL 1.3 Software enable OCZ Z-Drive R4 PCI Express (PCIe) SSD flash volumes to be virtualized and synchronously mirrored, so they are continuously available to support advanced high availability (HA) and end-to-end fault tolerance (FT) services from within the virtualized host without the need for any back-end SAN or storage appliance. This approach yields no data loss and no virtual machine (VM) downtime even during complete server failures.
To enable ‘SAN-less’ virtualized services, VXL 1.3 Software synchronously replicates flash data through mirroring between Z-Drive R4 PCIe cards residing on redundant servers, keeping two live identical copies of the VM data, down to the last bit. The net impact of this SAN-less, flash-only infrastructure is that the virtual environment becomes significantly simpler to manage, and since all data is stored on Z-Drive R4 SSD flash inside of each server, flash-level storage performance and lower power and cooling is enabled.
For enterprise caching, VXL Software features a unique ‘business-rule’ pre-warming cache engine that adapts the flash cache to the activity cycles in the data center to determine peak I/O performance needs at certain times. This enables IT managers to automatically pre-warm the cache in advance of important and demanding jobs, assuring that relevant application data resides on the cache when the application needs it. VXL 1.3 Software evolves this capability even further with a new cache warm-up scheduler that enables IT managers to identify repeated access patterns and set periodic time schedules to preload critical data to cache, assuring that the critical data on SSD flash is available at the exact time it is needed by the application.