WD debuts FlashSoft 4 software for VMware vSphere 6; new flash virtualization system for non-disruptive acceleration

Western Digital released this week two new virtualization solutions designed to improve virtual machine performance and density in VMware vSphere environments. These include the availability of the new FlashSoft 4 software for VMware vSphere 6, and the introduction of the Flash Virtualization System, a new flash-based hardware and software solution. FlashSoft 4 leverages a Western Digital and VMware VAIO co-design partnership for vSphere 6.

FlashSoft 4 software is based on an architecture that uses the new VMware vSphere APIs for IO Filtering (VAIO), providing the highest level of usability and performance with vSphere 6. FlashSoft 4 is a host-based caching software to achieve VMware Ready certification for guaranteed compatibility, reliability and support.

It also introduces support for VMware-supported datastores, virtual disk acceleration, improved performance and stability, and integrated management through the vSphere web client GUI.

FlashSoft software increases virtual machine (VM) performance and efficiency by enabling any solid-state device as a host-level complement to existing storage. Serving requests for VMs’ most frequently accessed data from flash storage attached directly in the server, FlashSoft increases application performance for all data stores including VMFS, NFS, VVol, and Virtual SAN.

Through the VAIO framework, IO acceleration may be configured on a per-virtual disk basis. FlashSoft software 4.0 offers acceleration configuration options from the cluster level to the virtual disk level. The FlashSoft software does not install any agent components in the guest VMs’ operating systems, so there is no limitation on the type of OS that can be run in the VMs. All VMware-compatible guest OSs are supported.

FlashSoft software 4.0 accelerates application performance for VMware-supported data stores including VMware vSphere VMFS, NFS, vSphere Virtual Volumes, and virtual SAN.

FlashSoft software automatically ensures optimal cache usage per virtual disk, assigning cache space dynamically as new virtual disks are accelerated. With FlashSoft software deployed, the majority of IO requests are fulfilled from the server-

side flash rather than the backend storage system, alleviating much of the burden from—and extending the usable life—of existing storage systems. With the live cache assignment capability, users can assign and re-assign caching to virtual disks without VM or host restart.

The Flash Virtualization System builds on the benefits of the latest FlashSoft software by pairing it with SanDisk ION Accelerator software and Fusion ioMemory PCIe solid-state accelerators in a flash-provisioned server capable of delivering over a million IOPS2 to accelerate storage I/O across the VMware environment.

Without disrupting current server and storage infrastructure, the easy-to-deploy solution offers cluster-wide flash acceleration in existing VMware environments. The cost-effective solution also enables customers to get more performance and efficiency from existing storage and compute infrastructure, resulting in significant hardware and software savings.

“The VAIO framework represents the next generation of integration for third party data services integration in vSphere environments, enabling leading software solutions providers to align with VMware’s vision for the software defined data center,” said Yanbing Li, senior vice president and general manager, Storage and availability Business Unit, VMware. “Western Digital’s support as a design partner for VAIO and the introduction of their new FlashSoft software illustrates the important role that our partners play in delivering on the promise of the software-defined data center.”

“The FlashSoft 4 software for vSphere 6 using the VAIO API is in-line with Dell’s vision for the software-defined data center. Using server-tier flash technology with FlashSoft host-based caching software is an innovative and cost-effective way to increase application performance in virtual environments,” said Ravi Pendekanti, vice president, Server Platform Development, Dell Inc. “We are excited to see VMware’s support for host-based caching through the VAIO program, and VMware Ready certification will give customers the confidence to broadly adopt and deploy this innovative solution.”

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