Thursday, 03 April 2014 13:06

Fusion-io squeezes databases in a flash


Flash storage specialist Fusion-io says its new compression interface can double the useable capacity of its ioMemory storage without the usual performance hit.

ioMemory is the branding applied to Fusion-io's various ranges of PCIe flash memory cards. The company offers software that allows the use of ioMemory cards as storage as well as memory.

Fusion-io has now announced NVM Compression, a new interface that can double the useable capacity without the performance hit associated with using flash storage in conjunction with compression algorithms designed for hard disks.

Tests using MariaDB showed that NVM Compression did indeed double the useable capacity without affecting performance, and that in some situations it improved performance.

According to Fusion-io officials, very little application code needs to be changed to take advantage of NVM Compression.

The scheme reduces write amplification (essentially an artefact of the need to erase flash memory before it can be rewritten), and when used in conjunction with Fusion-io's Atomic Writes interface the net effect is to improve flash endurance fourfold.

Atomic Writes is an extension for MySQL that ensures operations are completed without requiring the use of MySQL's double write buffer. This improves performance and storage endurance.

"Flash-aware interfaces like NVM Compression and Atomic Writes underline the significant divide between flash as a memory and flash SSDs," said Fusion-io chief technology officer Pankaj Mehra.

"The value of enterprise flash memory is maximised as a memory tier that enables unique optimisations for cloud computing, big data, in-memory databases and high volume transactions."

The NVM Compression and Atomic Writes interfaces are in early access testing with MariaDB 10 and Percona 5.6. Fusion-io officials gave no indication of when the features will be generally available.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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