Start-up Avere Systems has unveiled a tiered network-attached storage product that automatically moves data among four different types of storage to improve performance and minimise wasted disk space.
Avere's FXT Series NAS products combine SAS, RAM, SSD and SATA drives into one centrally managed system.
"We do tiering on the fly," says Avere co-founder and CEO Ron Bianchini. "It's 100% automatic. You don't have to set policies. We look at the blocks as they're moving between the application and storage server and we determine where they go based on access frequency and data characteristics."
One challenge facing customers is that disk drive capacity has been growing faster than performance, forcing them to buy more storage than they need to get the required performance, Bianchini says. Utilisation rates can be improved by intelligently moving data across different tiers based on changing needs, he says.
The FXT Series uses RAM for small reads and writes; SSD and SAS for large random reads and writes; and SAS drives for large sequential reads and writes. Archival needs are handled by SATA drives.
The FXT system itself includes the RAM, SSD and SAS. Customers buy SATA drives separately, and it all gets managed by the Avere software. The customer's normal backup and mirroring processes stay the same, Bianchini says.
Avere was founded in January 2008 and is led by Bianchini, a former senior vice president at NetApp and co-founder of Spinnaker Networks, a storage grid company acquired by NetApp. Avere is backed by US$15 million in venture funding from Menlo Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners.
The appliances are available in a 2U form factor and each one features 64GB of DRAM and 1GB of solid-state disk. One of the appliances includes 1.2TB of SAS disks and the other includes 3.6TB of SAS.