Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Startup StorSpeed Applies Intelligence To Application Caching

StorSpeed, a startup company fresh out of stealth mode, has introduced
a cache appliance that makes the company calls "application aware" to
balance transfer speed and I.T. costs in medium-sized companies. Spinning disks are, in the grand computer-system scheme of things, slow. It takes time for the mechanical platters to spin around to the proper spot for data to be read. Speeding storage access means moving data off spinning disks to faster (but more expensive) technology.

Mark Cree, chairman and CEO of StorSpeed, says that the company's approach has meant a lengthier time in development. "We could have built a cache in a fraction of the time, but we've applied for 8 patents on the application-aware part of this," Cree explains. He says that the application-aware technology is not only within the appliance, but also in the analysis and reporting software StorSpeed provides as part of the complete system.

Cree says, "Customers don't know which applications are requesting data in specific patterns, but they know that only about 10% of data is actually active. We can report on this as well as analyze the traffic in addition to doing the acceleration." He says that applying intelligent caching allows low-cost storage to be used as the data repository for even high-performance networks. We allow private cloud storage or low-cost dense storage to be used behind us and still get solid performance.

One of the environments Cree expects to be a heavy use case for intelligent caching is in virtualized storage and server deployments. The device provides both sides of the picture. "Virtual machines are interesting because, if you think about the way they perform, they all share a single network adapter out of the hardware. We look at the IP address and can accelerate the performance back to a single address based on the requirements of the application," Cree says. We can tier storage behind us, but also provide IOPS between filers. On the network side we can tie storage access back to a particular IP address or range, regardless of who's providing the storage.

When an I.T. department begins deployment, Cree points out that the system should not require significant change to the storage subsystem. "You drop us in, we spoof ID to both the file system and clients, and there's no operational change," he says. Deploying the appliance is designed to be fast and simple. There are no changes on either side - the appliance is a bump on the wire. There's no optimization required on the back end.

  • 1