First look at Infinio Accelerator with SuperServer cluster shared Synology iSCSI datastore

Posted by Paul Braren on Oct 22 2015 (updated on Oct 23 2016) in
  • ESXi
  • Virtualization
  • Storage
  • Review
  • I recently saw Scott Davis, CTO of Infio, speaking at the Virtualization Group - Boston. It was held right at VMware's location in Cambridge, MA, right near Boston. It's the same place Scott used to work actually. He did an amazing job bringing the audience through a brief history of computer storage technology, then gave us a glimpse at what Infinio does for the enterprise, seen right here:

    VirtG Boston September 2015 - Infinio - Disruptive Innovations in Enterprise Storage from Peter Larson on Vimeo.

    It got me thinking.

    Infinio Accelerator works with NFS and block storage like iSCSI or a SAN, not with my local SATA datastore in my home lab.

    Both file (NFS) and block (Fibre Channel and iSCSI) storage protocols are supported.

    I had just recently received a basic Synology NAS with 2 3TB drives. Modest performance, given the 2 spinny drives in the default mirrored config:

    BC214se_2300

    What if I blew away this NAS's CIFS/SMB shares. Scratch that, how about blowing everything away? Rebuild with pure RAID0 (striped) for speed. I decided to go all in, and make it just one big iSCSI VMFS datastore of the "Block-Level - Single LUN on RAID" type, for the best performance this little affordable NAS could possibly deliver. This way, I could get a feel for iSCSI on ESXi 6.0, and get a look at Infinio.

    My thinking was to configure my Supermicro 5028D-TN4T SuperServer, and the 2 temporary identical loaners, to see that shared iSCSI datastore. Finally, if I had everything installed, I'd be ready to test the speed of Infinio Accelerator, and see how it impacted the overall vSphere performance. Pinched myself, then went and did it.

    So much for what ifs. I had the gear, so what the heck, let's tinker! Yep, that's right, in late September, I briefly had a chance to use 3 identical SuperServers in a vSphere 6.0 cluster. Lucky me! I only had about 2 hours before I had to return the loaners to get this basic testing completed. You'll sense that urgency as the video wraps up. Made it to UPS 2 minutes before closing time, no problem!

    I got a good feel for the Infinio Accelerator install, UI, and performance. This is not a benchmark, and not a head-to-head comparison with vFlash Read Cache. It's just a video of me giving Infinio a try in my home lab, learning a bit about how it works along the way. Yeah, it went pretty well, giving me a sense of what it could do for an enterprise SAN.

    A first look at Infinio Accelerator install, configure, test, and uninstall, on my Supermicro SuperServer vSphere 6 cluster.
    Hosts-validated-ready-to-accelerate

    Just because I did this in a home lab doesn't mean it's intended for licensing in a home lab, or even practical or affordable in such a scenario. It's meant for the enterprise. I like learning enterprise stuff this way.

    Lab testing always recommended to get the feel for any such product. Glad I had a chance to get a hands-on trial, taking what I learned from Scott, and seeing it in action, on real gear, not some nested virtualization simulation.

    I learn by doing, and hopefully you'll pick up a thing or two watching the video of my tinkering. But I would encourage you to also give it a try, with all the trial links right below. Let us know what you think by dropping a comment here at TinkerTry, right below this article, no login required!

    Infinio_and_ATTO_Disk_Benchmark_Before_and_After_Infinio
    ATTO Disk Benchmark run in a Windows 10 VM, using ESXi 6.0 Update 1. Click twice for a closer look.
    INFINIO-CACHE-LAYER
    Click to view Datasheet.

    This test was performed with a cluster of 3 Supermicro SuperServer 5028D-TN4T systems that have incredible storage capabilities in a compact and efficient design. These are the benefits of Intel's System on a Chip design. Soon, I'll have a cluster of 2 of these SuperServers servers running with a 10GbE link between them!

    Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Infinio, and have no discount codes or affiliate links. This is just me checking out an interesting bit of software engineering!

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