At SNW, I enjoyed briefings from two vendors the most. The enthusiasm of IBRIX executives for their product was contagious. And, simplicity of Storewiz product had me jump at the first opportunity to meet with company executives, JF Van Kerckhove and Jon Ash.
Storewiz product fits into two of the three themes, I observed at SNW, Global data reduction and Special-purpose appliances. It is a single-purpose appliance that helps you reduce the data footprint on storage devices with better predictability than what you get from data de-duplication products. Storewiz product provides real time on the fly compression, transparent to end user, easily added in front of the existing storage devices, and in some cases may improve performance.
What! that was my reaction when I first heard the performance improvement claims. Over the years, we all have been programmed to believe that compression slows things down and takes too many CPU cycles. My first reaction to performance improvement claims was no way! compression is an overhead, most probably slowing everything down. What is the first question that pops in to your mind when you hear compression?
The compression/decompression activity is performed by CPUs in Storewiz appliance eliminating the need to run compression process on storage devices or hosts. The strategy is similar to hardware compression in storage devices but with a twist (explained later in another post) that makes Storewiz implementation very resource efficient.
Storewiz execs also claimed that their appliance doesn't increase latency by more than 50 - 100 microseconds. I believe as long as the latency caused by compression process doesn't exceed the net decrease in time to write "compressed" data to the disks, you could potentially see the performance improvements during write operations. Same is true for reading the data from disk and decompression process which is also enhanced by read cache. Storewiz patented resource efficient compression implementation also reduces the need to compress/decompress too much data.
Checkout the image below showing NetApp read/write performance and CPU utilization with and without Storewiz appliance listed in one of their case study.
To be continued …