Eye-opening storage performance

Startup Third I/O blows RamSan away

Third I/O has Iris Linux-based software that turns a 64-bit x86 multi-core or multi-CPU server into a Fibre Channel-connected storage device that can outperform Texas Memory systems’ RamSan-400 RAM-based solid state drive (SSD).

Iris is a Linux-based application that takes over a server and turns it into a lightning fast embedded storage processor. In a benchmark using an HP DL585G2 server, with an AMD 64-bit Opteron CPU and just 512MB of RAM, the Iris system attained 7,964MB/sec throughput whereas a TMS RamSan-400 recorded 3,005MB/sec, two and a half times slower.

In I/Os per second terms the Iris system achieved 778,000 IOPS, nearly twice as many as the RamSan-400.

The Iris system software requires particular hardware to attain these extraordinary results. It needs a server with either multi-core CPUs or multiple CPUs. These CPUs should access a NUMA (non-universal memory access) memory resource and not an SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) one. They should be fiited with X4 PCIe bus slots and use a 64-bit addressing scheme.

Iris comes on a bootable CPU so the servers are running a Linux O/S and single application. The Iris software can use either the system’s RAM or attached hard drives or storage array as storage but the RAM provides the fastest access and throughput. Lastly the Iris server conects to accessing clients via 4 or 8Gbit/s Fibre Channel, specifically via certain Emulex LightPulse HBAs (host bus adapters).

Third I/O has announced more recent storage performance results at even higher levels. Three Dell PowerEdge 850S servers were used and achieved 800,000 random IOPS. This was 14 times more than twenty JBOD arrays containing 280 hard drives which recorded 56,000 random IOPS.

Third I/O claims that each Fibre Channel port on an Iris system can equal 500 hard drives in terms of random I/O performance.

The company suggests that Iris can be used in R&D and enterprise storage testing environments. Server, workstation, FC switch and HBA vendors are potential R$D facility owners which could use Iris. Oddly it is not suggesting that Iris be used in real life storage environments, for example, as a database or application I/O accelerator in financial trading environments where very fast SSDs from TMS are used.

It also says that the Iris FC ports could be changed to 1 and 10 gigabit Ethernet ports so that Ethernet switch and NIC vendors could use the system in their R&D and test environments.


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