by Kevin OBrien

Fusion-io Launches ION Data Accelerator Networked Flash Appliance

Fusion-io has entered the networked flash appliance space today with the launch of their new ION Data Accelerator software. Pairing commodity server hardware with ioMemory devices, ION pushes Fusion-io into the networked flash-acceleration market with the likes of industry leaders such as Violin and Texas Memory Systems. ION offerings include either fully integrated solutions from Hyve using HP or Supermicro servers, or users can build their own platform with support from HP, IBM, Dell, Cisco, and others. ION is able to push up to 6GB/s in throughput with latency as low as 0.06ms and supports all major network standards, including Fibre Channel, InfiniBand and iSCSI giving ION wide-spread compatibility with existing datacenters.

With many major SAN providers locking customers into proprietary hardware and software configurations, Fusion-io is hoping to break that model with the ION Data Accelerator array. Instead of being limited to a specific flash appliance, users can pick and chose what best suits their environment - be it a blade or standard 1U, 2U, or 4U rack-mount server from a qualified hardware vendor. On top of this, the ION software is networking interface agnostic, putting the choice in the customers' hands on how best to configure their flash appliance.

Leveraging the features of the ioMemory line, the ION software brings with it enterprise-grade capabilities not found in other appliances. ION platforms can run without battery-backups since data is committed to NAND immediately, without needing large pools of system memory that need equally large power backups to flush data out in the event of a power failure. For organizations that already use ioMemory devices another benefit is the ION software can be managed through the same ioSphere interface allowing for an integrated support platform.

Fusion-io ION Data Accelerator Features:

  • Open Systems Deliver Customer Choice: ION software transforms tier one servers into a shared data acceleration appliance, allowing enterprise IT professionals to build solutions tailored for their expert knowledge, experience, and resources
  • Software Defined Fusion-io Performance: ION provides 1,000,592 4K random IOPS with up to 6 GB/s throughput and 56 microsecond latency in a 1U server
  • Enhanced High Availability: The ION High Availability software option achieves enhanced high availability and data protection by synchronously replicating data between multiple ION systems
  • Power Fail Safety:  The Fusion ION Power Cut Safety feature ensures data is not at risk in case of an unexpected power outage or server failure. ION software uniquely delivers this power fail safety without battery backups, UPS systems or supercapacitors
  • Industry-leading Reliability and MLC Flash Optimization: With ION, customers leverage sophisticated Fusion ioMemory features for enterprise flash management, such as configurable overprovisioning, which allows customers to optimize ioMemory for capacity or performance according to their needs, Wear Leveling to extend flash endurance, as well as Adaptive Flashback, which provides intelligent self-healing through complete, chip-level fault tolerance, enabling ioMemory products to self-heal after a single chip or a multi-chip failure without interrupting business continuity 
  • Fusion ioTurbine and directCache Interoperability:  ION enabled systems are fully interoperable with Fusion’s powerful host-based caching solutions, providing the needed balance of read caching with storage network-based write acceleration
  • Customized Visibility: Customers can choose to operate ION software using Fusion’s ioSphere management tools, providing centralized control from a single graphical user interface (GUI) or a Command Line Interface (CLI)
  • Enhances Current SAN Performance: Hot spots and bottlenecks created by demanding applications slow down every existing shared storage system.  By moving these hot spots to ION, the storage array can provide faster, more predictable performance, allowing the storage array to focus on managing large capacities of enterprise data

Fusion ioMemory Family Shown (ioDrive2, ioDrive2 Duo, and Octal Supported by ION)

Fusion-io offered both a supported server and hardware requirements list at launch to help customers interested in rolling their own ION appliance. At launch, servers from Cisco, Dell, HP, and Supermicro are qualified, with more from IBM and others still being processed. Basic hardware requirements were also given, with ION currently supporting networking interconnects from QLogic for Fibre Channel, Mellanox for InfiniBand, and Intel, Emulex, Mellanox, and Broadcom being supported for 10GbE.

Preliminary Test Server Configurations List

  • Cisco UCS C460 M1
  • Dell PowerEdge R720
  • HP ProLiant DL370 G6, ProLiant DL380 G8, ProLiant DL580 G7
  • Supermicro Superserver 1026GT-TRF

Fusion-io ION Hardware Requirements

  • OS: Server must be capable of running a SUSE Linux-based operating system
  • Controllers:
    • Fibre Channel requires QLogic Host Bus Adapters (HBAs)
    • InfiniBand requires Mellanox InfiniBand HCAs Host Channel Adapters (HCAs)
    • iSCSI requires 10Gbit iSCSI NICs from Intel, Emulex, Mellanox or Broadcom
  • Flash Memory:
    • ION only supports ioMemory flash, including ioDrive, ioDrive Duo, ioDrive2, ioDrive2 Duo, and ioDrive Octal
    • All ioMemory products within each ION system must be identical in type and capacity
  • Server Model: ION software is supported on specific servers. Contact Fusion-io Customer Support for a list of supported platforms
  • RAM: The amount of RAM ION requires varies according to the average block size written to the devices
  • Hard Drives: Fusion-io recommends servers have mirrored hard drives for boot and applications

At launch, Fusion-io listed two ION Fully Integrated Software Appliances from Hyve using HP and Supermicro servers. The HP solution is based around the 4U ProLiant DL370 Gen6 and the 1U appliance around the Supermicro 1026GT-TRF. While customers can still build their own specific solutions, these give potential buyer a great starting point on what level of performance they could expect from an ION Appliance.

HP ProLiant DL370 Gen6 ION Appliance

  • Storage Capacity (Maximum)
    • JBOD+ - 19.2TB (8 ioDrive2 Duos)
    • RAID-0 - 16.8TB (7 ioDrive2 Duos)
    • RAID-10 - 8.4TB (7 ioDrive2 Duos)
  • Storage Medium Maximum - Eight ioDrive2 Duo MLC
  • Performance
    • 4K Random Read - 1,000,592 IOPS
    • 4K Random Write - 792,820 IOPS
    • 512k Peak Bandwidth - 6GB/s
    • Read Latency - 73 microseconds
    • Write Latency - 56 microseconds
  • Power Consumption
    • Typical - 750 watts
    • Max - 810 watts
  • Networking Interconnects
    • Fibre Channel - 8 ports, 2 controllers
    • QDR InfiniBand - 4 ports, 2 controllers
    • 10GbE iSCSI - 4 ports, 2 controllers
  • Manageability
    • LUNs Supported - 128
    • SNMP
  • Optional HA High Speed Interconnect - 40Gb Ethernet

Supermicro 1026GT-TRF ION Appliance

  • Storage Capacity (Maximum)
    • JBOD+ - 4.8TB
    • RAID-0 - 4.8TB
    • RAID-10 - 2.4TB
  • Storage Medium Maximum - Two ioDrive2 Duo MLC
  • Performance
    • 4K Random Read - 518,321 IOPS
    • 4K Random Write - 357,848 IOPS
    • 512k Peak Bandwidth - 4.19GB/s
    • Read Latency - 108 microseconds
    • Write Latency - 70 microseconds
  • Power Consumption
    • Typical - 500 watts
    • Max - 600 watts
  • Networking Interconnects
    • Fibre Channel - 4 ports, 1 controller
    • QDR InfiniBand - 2 ports, 1 controller
    • 10GbE iSCSI - 2 ports, 1 controller
  • Manageability
    • LUNs Supported - 128
    • SNMP
  • Optional HA High Speed Interconnect 40Gb Ethernet


Fusion-io ION Data Accelerator software will be available for purchase in October with a starting price of $3,900. 

UPDATE 12/31/13 - Fusion-io ION Review Posted

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