Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Storage Vendors to Watch: Gear6

Last October, Gear6 came to my attention. But it didn't really hit home until a well-informed end-user talked to me about them at SNW. He was very excited about Gear6 product to address NFS performance issue with transaction databases. Based on what I understand, the product is a caching appliance, conceptually very easy to understand.

Excerpts from Gear6 website:
… keeping frequently accessed data in a very large central memory pool … This enables high performance data access by avoiding time-consuming disk operations and accelerates applications due to dramatically decreased response times and increased data throughput.

This innovative approach complements existing NAS/NFS deployments and installs transparently in the data center without requiring changes to current applications or infrastructure.
Actually, it was quite amusing at the conference. Most probably, I steered few end-users to Gear6 by suggesting to check out G6 caching appliance. These end users told me that they are using Oracle databases with NFS and performance being one of their pain points. I found three simple questions that can quickly tell whether someone may want to investigate G6 product.
  1. Are you using transaction databases?

  2. Do you use NFS mounts?

  3. Do you have performance issues?
G6 product seems to be one of those products that require 10 minutes for presentation, 20 minutes for answering follow-up questions, 30 minutes for demo and then the question When do you want a unit for evaluation? Following is a clean version of a picture with G6, we drew at SNW. Is it feasible?
I will categorize Gear6 caching appliance as product that does only one thing but does it very well. With singular focus on NFS performance, Gear6 also made a good choice to attend Collaborate 07 an Oracle Community Event.

BTW, you may want to hop over to Thoughtput blog maintained by Gary Orenstein at Gear6 for more caching related information. Also check out these presentations from Gear6.

Share your thoughts on Gear6 and its caching appliance approach.


  1. I'd question the NetApp provided numbers, but then I would and that's another conversation, but what I'd be interested in knowing is how point in time copies are handled?

    I decide I want to take a snap or checkpoint of my production volumes; do I have to flush the cache appliances to ensure consistency?

  2. Mark,

    Good Question. Sorry didn't get in-depth with the product.

    As a startup with limited resources, most probably first focus was on developing core functions and getting the product roll-out.

    Hopefully moving forward, G6 will address such questions on their blog.


  3. Anil, Thanks very much for the great writeup. You've got a lot of worthwhile content on your blog and we would also welcome readers to checkout www.THOUGHTput.com. (I think there is a typo in the blogname/link in your post.)

    Unfortunately we couldn't attend SNW AND the Oracle Users Group event, but we're glad you were able to hear the story from a happy end user. We like conspiracy theories as much as anyone, but rest assured there were no "planted agents" on our behalf.

    Great question on how point-in-time copies are handled. We'll have all of that and more info available at our upcoming product announcement. Watch www.thoughtput.com for more details.

    Gary Orenstein | Gear6

  4. Gary,

    Thanks for your comment. Looking forward to more info on G6 products. Do you have an early user of G6 in Northwest?


  5. i assume the cache product only accelerates read requests and not writes - just pass through those NFS operations. i just wonder if this cache's file metadata, since it is read-like operations/queries.