On February 25, 2015 PernixData released the latest version of PernixData FVP. Even if it’s only a .5 release, FVP 2.5 adds some really cool features and improvements. New features are:
- Distributed Fault Tolerant Memory-Z (DFTM-Z)
- Intelligent I/O profiling
- Role-based access control (RBAC), and
- Network acceleration for NFS datastores
Distributed Fault Tolerant Memory-Z (DFTM-Z)
FVP 2.0 introduced support for server side memory as an acceleration resources. With this it was possible to use server side memroy to accelerate VM I/O operations. Server side memory is faster then flash, but also more expensive. With FVP 2.5, the support for adaptive memory compression. was added. DFTM-Z provides a more efficient use of the expensive resource “server side memory”. Some of you may think “Oh no, compression! This will only cost performance!”. I don’t think that this is fair. ;) The PernixData engineers are focused on performance and I think that they haven’t during the development of DFTM-Z. DFTM-Z is enabled on hosts that use at least 20 GB memory for FVP. With increasing memory used for FVP, the area used for compression in the memory is also increased. So not the whole memory area used for acceleration is compressed, it’s only a part of it. With 20 GB contributing the FVP cluster, the compressed memory region is 4 GB. With more than 160 GB, the region is increased to 32 GB.
Intelligent I/O profiling
A VM usually has a specific I/O profile. Sometimes this I/O profile changes quickly, e. g. when doing backups (large sequential I/Os). With intelligent I/O profiling, such workloads can now be bypassed. This doesn’t disable acceleration! The active FVP footprint of the VM remains active and is used to accelerate I/O. The intelligent I/O profiling can be enabled on a per-VM basis using PowerShell.
Role-based access control (RBAC)
The access to FVP can now be controlled with a role-based model. For this, three different roles can be used.
- Read and Write – View and change configuration, view performance charts
- Read-Only – View configuration and performance charts only
- No Access – no access
vCenter users with administrator permission have read/ write access to FVP. Users without administrator permission have only read-only access. All other users have no access to FVP.
Network acceleration for NFS datastores
In the past it was not possible to use the VM footprint, the “hot data”, after a vMotion, if the VM was stored in a NFS datastore. Now this VM footprint can used for read I/O over the network.
The update process
The update from FVP 2.0 to 2.5 is really easy:
- Transition the VMs to write through mode
- Update the FVP Management server
- Remove host extension on the hosts
- Install the new host extension on the hosts
- Enable vSphere Plugin (C# or Web Client)
- Transition the VMs to write back mode
I have performed this update in my lab, and the process went smooth. Be sure to take a look into the upgrade guide. Sometimes there are interesting things in it. ;)
Overall, I’m still totally convinced of PernixData and I hope to place it in a customer project soon.
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