Storage middleman

I had a chance to chat with Wayne Karpoff from YottaYotta today at SC05. Although YottaYotta has been relatively under the radar until now, it seems that they're ready to move into the mainstream market with their newest product, the GSX3000. I got the rundown from Wayne on what the box does, and a brief pre-show demo of the solution in action. The GSX3000 is a dual-Opteron 1U system with 12 2Gb/s FC ports, four

I had a chance to chat with Wayne Karpoff from YottaYotta today at SC05. Although YottaYotta has been relatively under the radar until now, it seems that they're ready to move into the mainstream market with their newest product, the GSX3000. I got the rundown from Wayne on what the box does, and a brief pre-show demo of the solution in action.

The GSX3000 is a dual-Opteron 1U system with 12 2Gb/s FC ports, four Infiniband ports, two gigabit NICs, and Ethernet and serial out-of-band management ports that is designed to sit between servers and storage. Functioning as a shim in this fashion, The GSX3000 decouples physical storage from the servers, allowing servers to use storage anywhere within the enterprise as if it was local. For instance, two storage arrays might exist in two completely separate geographic areas, linked via two GSX3000s across gigabit Ethernet, an OC3, or even a T1. The GSX3000s then are able to virtualize that storage to allow local servers to access storage at either site seamlessly, providing instant failover in the event of a local failure, as well as providing up to 32GB of local cache. Since the GSX3000s function at the block level, a failure event isn't seen by the servers, as all transactions move transparently to the companion array. Multiple sites are handled, and even cache-only sites are possible.

Their demo was simple, but impressive. A multi-million row SELECT statement from a SQL database ran on a system dubbed "Site 1", and the storage for that database server existed at "Site 2", connected via gigabit Ethernet saddled with an artificial 5ms latency delay to simulate distance.

When the FC ports connecting the storage array for the database were shut down, the GSX3000 at Site 2 switched all transactions from the database server to the array at Site 1, causing a 12 second delay in the SELECT statement output. A subsequent failback showed even less of a delay. Rebuilding the original array from the filesystem journal at the remote site then took place and all returned to normal. Very cool.

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