To address file performance problems most IT professionals are directed to the latest all-flash array and are forced to migrate to a new storage system. Even if those IT planners insist on keeping their current network attached storage system, vendors often push them toward a caching appliance of some sort. Both of these “solutions” are expensive and fail to address the primary problem impacting file system performance, metadata. Depending on the environment, metadata is responsible for seventy to eighty percent of file system IO, yet most vendors do little to resolve this issue.
One would think that an all-flash array resolves any metadata performance problems that the file system might have. Improper metadata handling though adds significant latency to operations, hindering much of the performance potential of an all-flash investment. Most file systems have challenges dealing with metadata IO, and almost all of them cannot separate metadata from the files themselves.
A Metadata Controller
Offloading metadata IO from the file system can provide a tremendous benefit in performance. Removing seventy to eighty percent of the IO going to the NAS means more performance for transactions that need to interact with actual data. If the metadata controller stores metadata in RAM then IO for these operations, it is incredibly fast as well. The challenge is how to offload that metadata without forcing the customer to switch file systems.
Metadata in most file systems is attached directly to the files within that file system. Most IT professionals assume that any metadata performance must come from the file system provider itself and only after a significant investment in development time. Infinite io takes a unique approach to solving the metadata performance problem. Instead of trying to change the file system, Infinite io is implemented inline in the network and utilizes deep packet inspection to capture metadata information as traverses the network. Other than a onetime scan, Infinite io does not need to interact with the file system.
The Power of Metadata
The metadata controller not only accelerates performance it also can use its metadata awareness to move data to various locations, like object storage and the cloud, seamlessly to the application or users. Most IT professionals resist moving their data to cost-effective storage like object storage or the cloud because of the performance impact. The metadata acceleration the controller provides by accelerating on-premises file systems, also aids object storage and cloud storage. The metadata controller keeps seventy to eighty percent of the IO requests from the cloud.
As we explain in our video “How to Optimize Performance and Capacity at the Same Time” metadata is the key to optimizing file systems which are being pushed to the brink thanks to the growth in unstructured data. The ability to seamlessly move data to less expensive storage, making that less expensive storage perform better while at the same time improving production performance brings an intriguing option for IT planners to consider.
To learn more watch our video or read our latest Infinite io Briefing Note “Enterprises Need a Metadata First Strategy“.