Last August, at VMworld, I discovered Infinio at the TechFieldDay Roundtables. Their pitch is actually quite different from other acceleration products (like PernixData et al), since they promise (NAS) storage performance increase without any additional hard- or software. Now, that sparked my interest, and I had intended to do a thorough follow-up with them after VMworld. Of course, live got in the way (still trying to figure out this 6-month old baby thing out), and I kinda lost track of them.

Until yesterday. On November 5th, Infinio announced the General Availability of their Accelerator product.

Get ready to get hands-on with Infinio Accelerator v1.0, the first GA release of our software-only downloadable storage performance solution.

Infinio Accelerator makes your NAS-backed VMs perform better, and you can try it free for 30 days. Best of all, you don’t have to install any new hardware or take your environment offline.

  • 100% software only – No new hardware, no reboots, no downtime
  • Accelerates all types of workloads – Every VM, every app, including VDI
  • Just $499 per socket – Budget friendly for any size organization. And don’t forget the free 30-day trial!
  • Easy to try, easy to buy – Download, install and be off and running in just 30 minutes

Ok ok, so where do I go to download the bits?

Their “downloadable storage performance” slogan made me giggle a little bit. I like products I can download and evaluate in my lab. It’s the best way to figure out how it works and spend evening after evening messing about in my lab. So today, I tried to download their storage performance to give it a spin.

Uhoh.

Unfortunately, the self-service portal for evaluation, purchase and download hasn’t gone live yet. The guys from Infinio feel that a pre-installation call with a product specialist will help you get the Accelerator running smoothly in your environment.

So it’s still downloadable, but only after a pre-flight check from the Infinio tech gods. That made me even giggle more… I’m a sucker for irony, I guess.

Why use it?

The product accelerates existing NAS datastores without requires additional hardware (like SSD or PCIe flash, storage controllers or dumb disks). It works on the vRAM assigned to the virtual Accelerator appliance and a local datastore to place the appliance’s virtual disks on.

One of the key aspects of the Accelerator, is that there’s an ‘uninstall’ button in the product. How’s that for confidence in your product. No, but seriously, what’s unique is that the product installs (and uninstalls) in only a couple of minutes, and requires no VM downtime or other service interruptions at all. It’s really plug and play, although I still have to test the product out in my lab to see if this really holds any truth.

The moment you flip the switch and let it accelerate a NAS datastore, it works for every VM and application running on that datastore. I plan to run the Accelerator in my klauwd.com non-profit IaaS project to accelerate my NAS datastore (currently provided by a Nexenta VSA) to test the various tenants’ VMs and applications for a real world comparison.

If you can’t wait for my hands-on experience, check out Brian’s post on how to install, configure and use the product. My good friend Arjan has posted  some technical details on how the product works. Please check his post out if you want the nitty-gritty architectural stuff.

Constraints

Please do take into account that the current v1.0 version of the Accelerator has a couple of constraints to be aware of.

For each host connected to a datastore you wish to accelerate:

  • The vmkernel port used for NFS traffic should be located on a separate subnet from other vmkernel ports
  • The vmkernel port used for NFS traffic should be on a standard vSwitch and have a static IP address
  • 12 GB of available storage on a local datastore
  • 8 GB of available memory

I will report back with more details on the do’s, don’ts, pitfalls and general report of the expected awesomeness of this product in a technical deep-dive post in the near future.