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Fusion-io: Improving storage performance by up to 1,000 times

COW Blogs : Ron Lindeboom's Blog : Fusion-io: Improving storage performance by up to 1,000 times

Well, it seems as if we just passed the 900,000 totally unique users a month marker (according to Google Analytics) and here we are, a month later and we are now past the 940,000 marker. Insane. It seems as if we are always buying more servers and adding more backbone infrastructure to the COW. How do we keep up with it all? Our technical director, Abraham Chaffin, is constantly researching new ways and ideas that keep us ahead of the rapid growth of Creative COW. In his latest foraging on the Net, he came across a powerful new technology that is likely to spur a huge leap forward in data serving. It is called 'Fusion-io" and it is one of the most remarkable new technologies that we have found.

Fusion-io is a PCI-e card that goes into your server and jacks up the drive access speeds to phenomenal levels. For sites like the COW, this is a giant leap forward as in the past we have had to keep adding more and more servers and extra bandwidth pipe to keep up with the growth -- this, as even our ultra-fast quad-Opterons with lots of RAM and the fastest drives, could only feed our ever-growing audience to their limits. Even our now-aging Medéa RAID arrays can only go just so fast. But with the new fusion-io cards in our server farm, we can serve up a LOT more data at far faster speeds using our existing server farm. Thanks Fusion-IO team!

This is what the Fusion-io team says about it all:

Designed around a revolutionary silicon-based storage architecture known as ioMemory, the ioDrive is the world’s most advanced NAND clustering technology with performance comparable to DRAM and storage capacity on par with today's hard disks — giving you the power to improve both memory capacity and storage performance by up to one thousand times. The ioDrive dramatically increases performance such that every server can easily contain the I/O performance of the world's fastest enterprise SAN.

  • Capable of over 120,000 random read/write IOPS
  • Allows for less than 50 microsecond access latency
  • Enables terabytes of Virtual Memory with near DRAM speeds
  • Eliminates service interrupts due to I/O contention
  • Save or resume virtual machine states in seconds
Today, we (read: Abraham) install the first card into one of our systems and will beging testing it in our server farm. We are really excited and look forward to putting this puppy through its paces.

We will keep you posted on the results.

Oh, and if you think this is all smoke and mirrors, consider this: Steve Wozniak (Apple co-founder) just joined their Board of Advisors because of his enthusiasm for what these guys are up to.

Posted by: Ronald Lindeboom on Oct 18, 2008 at 10:09:56 amComments (2) fusion-io, storage


by john philips
I must admit the technical server information is over my head but I'm impressed by the number of users. Good luck reaching a million per month. Looks like it will be soon.
Good stuff!
by Abraham Chaffin


I've really enjoyed watching the performance of the io card working in our server farm so far. I've put some heavy loads on it and it has responded with the ability to do what multiple machines with raided drives could not.

Over the years the COW server infrastructure has grown from a single server serving up the entire site to now about 15 machines doing various tasks. Over the last couple years we've had to scramble to keep up with the demand on our content. In the last year we've had to buy servers at an alarming rate as traffic has grown and our podcasts and video tutorials have gotten more popular.

This month we decided it was time to get a real file server or an array of file servers to handle the demand on the larger files and accommodate our projected developments. I looked into file servers, raid arrays using SAS and SSD technology, boxes of flash drives, and all sorts of other options. I finally stumbled on the fusion io and after I looked into it a bit I realized this was the answer to what we were looking for. Both in price and performance it fit our needs perfectly, instantly converting a machine with a pcie slot into a monster file server.

From what I read at other sites, forums, and blogs discussing the io drive there wasn't anyone who actually had a production report as the drive is still a relatively new product. One person even commented that it might be vaporware. I'll admit without finding anyone online who had this drive in a production environment I was a little nervous until the box finally arrived =o

Right now the first card that we got is screaming and I'm excited to see what the next set of drives does to our ad and database servers.




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