The Edge Filer uses the Avere Operating System (AOS) 3.0 and works with legacy filers in the network. It also implements a new architecture for NAS, which places a global user namespace across all the filers and assumes control and management of the NAS systems.
Avere started out with a scalable NAS cluster, which consisted of a legacy NAS filer operating behind a cluster of Avere FXT appliances. The FXT cluster provided NAS acceleration because the working set of data resided on the cluster and reads and writes of data could be handled quickly from solid state drives or DRAM contained within it. Version 2.0 added a global namespace over the cluster, but still required a NAS filer that operated behind the Avere cluster. Now, with version 3.0, the Avere Edge Filer is the point of management that accesses other filers and interacts with them in a manner that is transparent to users.
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The Edge Filer determines whether data is stored on the FXT cluster, where it can be accessed quickly, or is stored on legacy filers, which can be reconfigured with low-cost, high-density SATA drives. The Edge Filer aims to reduce network latency by placing data on the proper system. Frequently-accessed data would be put on the Edge Filer and FTX cluster, with less frequently accessed data residing on SATA drives.
Version 3.0 also offers the ability for the Edge Filer to act as a standalone filer if the amount of data to be stored fits within it. Version 3.0 also adds two new data management features called FlashMove and FlashMirror. FlashMove, a feature of the Edge Filer, is used to move data between legacy filers non-disruptively during hardware upgrades.
FlashMirror allows data to be copied simultaneously to two different filers. If one filer becomes unavailable, users are pointed to the other filer. Again, this FlashMirror capability is part of the Edge Filer management.
Avere Systems was founded in 2008 by Ron Bianchini and Michael Kazar, both formerly of NetApp and Spinnaker Networks, which was acquired by NetApp. The company is funded with $32 million from Menlo Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, and Tenaya Capital.
The Edge Filer is expected to be available this month. Costs for the Edge Filer are not determined at this time. FlashMove and FlashMirror are optional components.
Deni Connor is founding analyst for Storage Strategies NOW, an industry analyst firm that focuses on storage, virtualization, and servers.
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