Avere Systems provides NAS optimisation disk arrays and was founded in 2008. The Avere proposition is that customers with NAS based storage are likely to desire performance optimisation for a proportion of their data and workloads.

Scaling NAS Storage

The storage industry benefitted from customer’s demand for ever increasing capacity. NAS based customers were no different and the suppliers developed arrays that were highly scalable. Customers would typically grow their NAS by adding more ‘filers’ (called filers because data is accessed as files compared to block based disk arrays). The Avere FXT arrays are not intended to replace a customers’ entire NAS farm, but rather complement it by adding a performance optimised tier. This tier sits near the servers and in front of the bulk of the legacy NAS on the storage network.
This way I/Os can be satisfied quicker than in the traditional NAS model, and it applies to write as well as read requests. The FXT arrays are further enhanced for performance by incorporating DRAM as well as NVRAM. Customers then choose between Flash or SAS based drives for the underlying FXT capacity.

Specialised Niche providers

Although Avere is continually adding new functionality to its solution (most recently by adding movement and copying in the underlying 3rd party filers) the solution is a highly focused solution. As such, Avere Systems has the benefit of applying its focus as a niche provider without the need for servicing a broad portfolio of products.

We previously wrote about the plentiful supply of new storage innovators, matched by a healthy demand from customers ready to embrace new storage technology from unknown suppliers. The customer appetite for smarter IT gave innovators the opportunity to set up new VC backed ventures of which Avere is an example. Unsurprisingly, some of the Avere executives have a past in NetApp which pioneered the NAS market. The surge of new entrants we have observed do not mean a new tech bubble nor are they necessarily in it for a quick sell-out. But they do offer to re-invigorate the storage market.

Customer considerations

Experienced NAS customers are likely to have grown into a sizeable NAS estate suffering the pain points of performance bottlenecks. Avere proposes a way of re-architecting a NAS pool capable of delivering enhanced performance. The ability to re-balance capacity will be attractive, which could also extend the life of older NAS filers.

Image credit: Gerla Brakkee

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