Scaling and optimizing hybrid network-attached storage (NAS) performance gets a boost today with the general availability of the Microsoft Azure FXT Edge Filer, a caching appliance that integrates on-premises network-attached storage and Azure Blob Storage. The Azure FXT Edge Filer creates a performance tier between compute and file storage and provides high-throughput and low-latency network file system (NFS) to high-performance computing (HPC) applications running on Linux compute farms, as well as the ability to tier storage data to Azure Blob Storage.
Fast performance tier for hybrid storage architectures
The availability of Azure FXT Edge Filer today further integrates the highly performant and efficient technology that Avere Systems pioneered to the Azure ecosystem. The Azure FXT Edge Filer is a purpose-built evolution of the popular Avere FXT Edge Filer, in use globally to optimize storage performance in read-heavy workloads.
The new hardware model goes beyond top-line integration with substantial updates. It is now being manufactured by Dell and has been upgraded with twice as much memory and 33 percent more SSD. Two models with varying specifications are available today. With the new 6600 model, customers will see about a 40 percent improvement in read performance over the Avere FXT 5850. The appliance now supports hybrid storage architectures that include Azure Blob storage.
Edge filer hardware is recognized as a proven solution for storage performance improvements. With many clusters deployed around the globe, Azure FXT Edge Filer can scale performance separately from capacity to optimize storage efficiency. Companies large and small use the appliance to accelerate challenging workloads for processes like media rendering, financial simulations, genomic analysis, seismic processing, and wide area network (WAN) optimization. Now with new Microsoft Azure supported appliances, these workloads can run with even better performance and easily leverage Azure Blob storage for active archive storage capacity.
Rendering more faster
Visual effects studios have been long-time users of this type of edge appliance, as their rendering workloads frequently push storage infrastructures to their limits. When one of these companies, Digital Domain, heard about the new Azure FXT Edge Filer hardware, they quickly agreed to preview a 3-node cluster.
“I’ve been running my production renders on Avere FXT clusters for years and wanted to see how the new Azure FXT 6600 stacks up. Setup was easy as usual, and I was impressed with the new Dell hardware. After a week of lightweight testing, I decided to aim the entire render farm at the FXT 6600 cluster and it delivered the performance required without a hiccup and room to spare.”
Mike Thompson, Principal Engineer, Digital Domain
Digital Domain has nine locations in the United States, China, and India.
Manage heterogeneous storage resources easily
Azure FXT Edge Filers help keep analysts, artists, and engineers productive, ensuring that applications aren’t affected by storage latency. And storage administrators can easily manage these heterogeneous pools of storage in a single file system namespace and through a single mountpoint. Users access their files from a single mount point, whether they are stored in on-premises NAS or in Azure Blob storage.
Expanding a cluster to meet growing demands is as easy as adding additional nodes. The Azure FXT Edge Filer scales from three to 24 nodes, allowing even more productivity in peak periods. This scale helps companies avoid overprovisioning expensive storage arrays and enables moving to the cloud at the user’s own pace.
Gain low latency hybrid storage access
Azure FXT Edge Filers deliver high throughput and low latency for hybrid storage infrastructure supporting read-heavy HPC workloads. Azure FXT Edge Filers support storage architectures with NFS and server message block (SMB) protocol support for NetApp and Dell EMC Isilon NAS systems, as well as cloud APIs for Azure Blob storage and Amazon S3.
Customers are using the flexibility of the Azure FXT Edge Filer to move less frequently used data to cloud storage resources, while keeping files accessible with minimal latency. These active archives enable organizations to quickly leverage media assets, research, and other digital information as needed.
Enable powerful caching of data
Software on the Azure FXT Edge Filers identifies the most in-demand or hottest data and caches it closest to compute resources, whether that data is stored down the hall, across town, or across the world. With a cluster connected, the appliances take over, moving data as it warms and cools to optimize access and use of the storage.
Get started with Azure FXT Edge Filers
Whether you are currently running Avere FXT Edge Filers and are looking to upgrade to the latest hardware to increase performance or expanding your clusters or you are new to the technology, the process to get started is the same. You can request information by completing this online form or by reaching out to your Microsoft representative.
Microsoft will work with you to configure the optimal combination of software and hardware for your workload and facilitate its purchase and installation.
Azure FXT Edge Filer preview blog
Azure FXT Edge Filer product information
Azure FXT Edge Filer documentation