Infinite I/O

Storage offload — It’s not just for spindles

Posted by Matt Brender on Mar 27, 2014
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Sure, Infinio offloads requests from your storage array to accelerate your workloads. That portion of the server-side cache story is well understood. But what is less understood is how other elements of storage systems benefit from Infinio.

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I often talk to customers about disk spindles, and how Infinio offloads work from the disks using the DRAM in your servers to create a distributed cache. Infinio’s caching system can then provide a more effective throughput (expressed in IOPS) because your spindles don’t have to do as much work.

But the disks aren’t the only part of your data center that benefits from storage offload.

I was recently on a call with a customer who needed storage offload in a big way. He said his storage controller normally would run at around 60 to 80% CPU utilization. Most vendors I’m aware of would consider that high. Most system administrators would consider that a risk they need to remediate immediately.

When the customer installed Infinio, CPU utilization dropped to between 5 to 20%.

Our goal was to offload storage IOPS, which we did, but this customer didn’t know we could alleviate his secondary issue as well.

So he put it to the test. Using our one-click removal, the customer removed Infinio from the data path (without interruption to his workload, btw) and immediately saw the CPU pain return.

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Sometimes I forget how interconnected the data center truly is. A great deal happens while data flows from spindle to cache and back again. What I love about this particular customer case is that it highlights how server-side caching with Infinio complements your entire storage system investment.

Before this experience, I only focused on IOPS. Today I am reminded that we don't just offload disks, we also offload the network, the storage controller, and everything else on the data path.

Before you make changes to your data center (like, say, installing a free trial of Infinio) it’s worth noting storage metrics like CPU utilization in addition to IOPS. You may find we achieve the same benefit for you.

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Matt is a Sales Engineer at Infinio

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