The more I read up on options in the server-side caching domain, the more I see solutions complementing each other as opposed to competing. The difference between View Storage Accelerator (formerly CBRC) and Infinio is interesting, as is the fact they could work in tandem to the benefit of the whole infrastructure.
Basics of View Storage Accelerator
View Storage Accelerator (VSA) is a caching solution included in VMware View starting in 5.0 to provide read request offload on a per host basis. The best resources I’ve read that explain the feature are VMware View 5.1 documentation, Andre Leibovici‘s post & the VMware Blog. Users can update their golden image in a way which allows VSA to keep up to 2GB worth of the image in memory on each host, allowing boot storms to be offloaded.
Infinio accelerates storage in your virtual environment by deploying light-weight virtual machines on each of your ESXi hosts. The DRAM allocated to each of these VMs is aggregated into a single pool of cache that’s used across the cluster as a write-through read cache layer. This cache dynamically updates based on data patterns and stays up-to-date across the cluster. Each cluster stores unique content only once, leading to a significant deduplication rate.
The quick summary is that VSA is great for a small amounts of static content while Infinio offers universal benefit to dynamic content.
The difference comes from from static and real-time updates. VSA does not reindex its cache content while VMs are in use. The I/O that will be offloaded must already be hashed and part of the golden image. On Infinio, every write updates our content in cache dynamically, ensuring the highest possible read-hit ratio. This behavior is referenced to as write-through read caching. To list it out, it has:
- 8GB per host by default (vs 2GB on VSA)
- Globally distributed read caching (vs islands of caching)
- globally deduped data (vs local dedup)
- real-time updates to written content (vs static)
- Accelerates all workloads (vs only VMware View)
It’s worth hitting home the importance of universal read cache. With VSA, if you have 10 nodes, then you have 10 copies of common files. On Infinio 10 nodes only keeps 1 copy of any files.
VSA is a great addition to the VMware architecture and could offer some real benefits to those looking to prevent bootstorms in VDI environments. While it hits the mark on integration, many may find VSA to not absorb the significant I/O server-side caching. Infinio feels like a natural step up from VSA for customers looking for a holistic, efficient, dynamic caching solution to improve VMware performance across all clusters in their environment.