Nutanix Enterprise Cloud solutions employ a variety of advanced mechanisms designed to deliver the highest possible application performance and ensure that the underlying infrastructure remains invisible. Because storage plays such a vital role in the performance equation, server-attached solid state storage, also referred to as flash storage, is used both as a high-performance read cache, as well as a persistent data tier. While flash storage densities continue to climb, a lack of price parity between enterprise flash and traditional hard disk means that “tiered” configurations using both types of storage continue to yield the most optimized capacity without compromising performance.
To make the most efficient use of flash, Nutanix systems use Intelligent Data Tiering to automatically place data in either the flash or hard disk storage tier and move data between the tiers depending on how frequently it’s accessed. As access frequency diminishes, data is automatically migrated to the higher capacity hard disk tier for more efficient utilization of cold storage. This ensures that high performance flash capacity always remains available for application needs. To ensure that data migration itself doesn’t impact real-time performance, web-scale, distributed, MapReduce technology is leveraged for data placement across all nodes.
Even with this optimized configuration, Nutanix recognizes that many environments include a business critical application or two that requires no compromise performance. To fulfil these requirements, in AOS 4.5, we introduced the ability to override Intelligent Data Tiering on a selective basis and keep virtual disk data in the cluster-wide flash tier for highest performance. This new Flash Mode meant that designing for “worst case” scenarios or creating resource silos for these applications were things of the past. Nutanix administrators could offer additional piece of mind to the customers of the IT department: application owners and end users.
Customers love the increased control of their virtual disks and we are happy to announce at the .NEXT On-Tour event in Chicago that Nutanix is planning to debut, in the Asterix software release, the ability to view and configure Flash Mode not only at the virtual disk level but at the VM level as well. Best of all, full functionality is planned to be available directly within the Prism UI. Once released, Flash Mode status will be viewable alongside all other VM and vdisk parameters in the Prism table view and in typical “1-click” fashion, Flash Mode will be configurable from the standard VM and vdisk Update dialogs. We think this will enable customers to more easily leverage the fine-grained control over storage performance that Flash Mode provides. Please continue the conversation on the Nutanix Next Community and let us know what you think.