Condusiv Technologies Blog

Condusiv Technologies Blog

Blogging @Condusiv

The Condusiv blog shares insight into the issues surrounding system and application performance—and how I/O optimization software is breaking new ground in solving those issues.

V-locity 6.0 Solves Death by a Thousand Cuts in Virtual Environments

by Brian Morin 12. August 2015 08:04

If you haven’t already heard the pre-announcement buzz on V-locity® 6.0 I/O reduction software that made a splash in the press, it’s being released in a couple weeks. To understand why it’s significant and why it’s an unprecedented 3X FASTER than its predecessor is to understand the biggest factor that dampens application performance the most in virtual environments - the problem of increasingly smaller, fractured, and random I/O. That kind of I/O profile is akin to pouring molasses on compute and storage systems. Processing I/O with those characteristics makes systems work much harder than necessary to process any given workload. Virtualized organizations stymied by sluggish performance related to their most I/O intensive applications suffer in large part to a problem that we call “death by a thousand cuts” – I/O that is smaller, more fractured, and more random than it needs to be.

Organizations tend to overlook solving the problem and reactively attempt to mask the problem with more spindles or flash or a forklift storage upgrade. Unfortunately, this approach wastes much of any new investment in flash since optimal performance is being robbed by I/O inefficiencies at the Windows OS layer and also at the hypervisor layer.

V-locity® version 6 has been built from the ground-up to help organizations solve their toughest application performance challenges without new hardware. This is accomplished by optimizing the I/O profile for greater throughput while also targeting the smallest, random I/O that is cached from available DRAM to reduce latency and rid the infrastructure of the kind of I/O that penalizes performance the most.

Although much is made about V-locity’s patented IntelliWrite® engine that increases I/O density and sequentializes writes, special attention was put into V-locity’s DRAM read caching engine (IntelliMemory®) that is now 3X more efficient in version 6 due to changes in the behavioral analytics engine that focuses on "caching effectiveness" instead of "cache hits.”

Leveraging available server-side DRAM for caching is very different than leveraging a dedicated flash resource for cache whether that be PCI-e or SSD. Although DRAM isn’t capacity intensive, it is exponentially faster than a PCI-e or SSD cache sitting below it, which makes it the ideal tier for the first caching tier in the infrastructure. The trick is in knowing how to best use a capacity-limited but blazing fast storage medium.

Commodity algorithms that simply look at characteristics like access frequency might work for  capacity intensive caches, but it doesn’t work for DRAM. V-locity 6.0 determines the best use of DRAM for caching purposes by collecting data on a wide range of data points (storage access, frequency, I/O priority, process priority, types of I/O, nature of I/O (sequential or random), time between I/Os) - then leverages its analytics engine to identify which storage blocks will benefit the most from caching, which also reduces "cache churn" and the repeated recycling of cache blocks. By prioritizing the smallest, random I/O to be served from DRAM, V-locity eliminates the most performance robbing I/O from traversing the infrastructure. Administrators don’t need to be concerned about carving out precious DRAM for caching purposes as V-locity dynamically leverages available DRAM. With a mere 4GB of RAM per VM, we’ve seen gains from 50% to well over 600%, depending on the I/O profile.

With V-locity 5, we examined data from 2576 systems that tested V-locity and shared their before/after data with Condusiv servers. From that raw data, we verified that 43% of all systems experienced greater than 50% reduction in latency on reads due to IntelliMemory. While that’s a significant number in its own right by simply using available DRAM, we can’t wait to see how that number jumps significantly for our customers with V-locity 6.

Internal Iometer tests reveal that the latest version of IntelliMemory in V-locity 6.0 is 3.6X faster when processing 4K blocks and 2.0X faster when processing 64K blocks.

Jim Miller, Senior Analyst, Enterprise Management Associates had this to say, "V-locity version 6.0 makes a very compelling argument for server-side DRAM caching by targeting small, random I/O - the culprit that dampens performance the most. This approach helps organizations improve business productivity by better utilizing the available DRAM they already have. However, considering the price evolution of DRAM, its speed, and proximity to the processor, some organizations may want to add additional memory for caching if they have data sets hungry for otherworldly performance gains."

Finally, one of our customers, Rich Reitenauer, Manager of Infrastructure Management and Support, Alvernia University, had this to say, "Typical IT administrators respond to application performance issues by reactively throwing more expensive server and storage hardware at them, without understanding what the real problem is. Higher education budgets can't afford that kind of brute-force approach. By trying V-locity I/O reduction software first, we were able to double the performance of our LMS app sitting on SQL, stop all complaints about performance, stop the application from timing out on students, and avoid an expensive forklift hardware upgrade."

For more on the I/O Inefficiencies that V-locity solves, read Storage Switzerland’s Briefing on V-locity 6.0 ->

$2 Million Cancelled

by Brian Morin 22. July 2014 08:52

CHRISTUS Health cancelled a $2 Million order.

Just before they pulled the trigger on a $2 Million storage purchase to improve the performance of their electronic health records application (MEDITECH®), they evaluated V-locity® I/O reduction software.

We actually heard the story first hand from the NetApp® reseller in the deal at a UBM Xchange conference. He thought he had closed the $2 Million deal only to find out that CHRISTUS was doing some testing with V-locity. After getting the news that the storage order would not be placed, he met us at Xchange to find out more about V-locity since "this V-locity stuff is for real."

After an initial conversation with anyone about V-locity, the first response is generally the same – skepticism. Can software alone really accelerate the applications in my virtual environment? Since we are conditioned to think only new hardware upgrades can solve performance bottlenecks, organizations end up with spiraling data center costs without any other option except to throw more hardware at the problem.

CHRISTUS Health, like many others, approached us with the same skepticism. But after virtualizing 70+ servers for their EHR application, they noticed a severe performance hit from the “I/O blender” effect. They needed a solution to solve the problem, not just more hardware to medicate the problem on the backend.

Since V-locity comes with an embedded performance benchmark that provides the I/O profile of any VM workload, it makes it easy to see a before/after comparison in real-world environments.

After evaluation, not only did CHRISTUS realize they were able to double their medical records performance, but after trying V-locity on their batch billing job, they dropped a painful 20 hour job down to 12 hours.

In addition to performance gains, V-locity also provides a special benefit to MEDITECH users by eliminating excessive file fragmentation that can cause the File Attribute List (FAL) to reach its size limit and degrade performance further or even threaten availability.

Tom Swearingen, the manager of Infrastructure Services at CHRISTUS Health said it best. "We are constantly scrutinizing our budget, so anything that helps us avoid buying more storage hardware for performance or host-related infrastructure is a huge benefit."

Read the full case study – CHRISTUS Health Doubles Electronic Health Record Performance with V-locity I/O Reduction Software

Announcing V-locity version 5

by Robert Woolery 28. February 2014 03:10

 It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.” - Bruce Lee

Removing the nonessential is a key element of simplicity and efficiency, yet it is deceptively difficult to accomplish. We need reminding. And then more reminding.

When I get too caught-up in what’s on my desk, in Outlook, on the calendar, I get on the phone with one of our V-locity customers and I remember what we’re doing here. Why I pull into the Condusiv parking lot every day. We hack away at the inessentials, and in doing so, we enable our customers to work better, faster, more efficiently, without buying more hardware to achieve it.

We’re very pleased to announce V-locity version 5. In this release, V-locity is now bundled with the V-locity Management Console, giving IT organizations the visibility, command, and control to optimize applications and maximize users’ efficiency—proactively managing I/O and its impact on performance across the entire environment.

Enterprise-class and cloud-ready, the V-locity Management Console enables seamless deployment and centralized management of V-locity on-premises in a virtual or physical environment, or in the cloud. With central control of assets, configuration, and performance management, admins can deploy V-locity to thousands of VMs and physical servers in just five clicks, manage a large number of licenses, and support various pricing models.

The highlights:

  • Central command and control with web-based management from a single pane of glass across geographic locations
  • Fast, non-disruptive deployment to even the most complex multi-site and hybrid environments
  • Auto-detection of virtual and physical server environments for easy asset and license management
  • Flexible pricing options from site licenses, subscription, or perpetual volume licenses
  • Single solution for virtual and physical servers
  • V-locity alert management with email notifications based on customized I/O performance profiles for any application
  • Ongoing performance validation of V-locity for ROI reporting capabilities


No more needle-in-the-haystack approach to troubleshooting. No more contending with a disjointed view of the environment. No more lack of understanding what’s happening from server to network to storage.

Maybe you’ve virtualized, maybe you’ve gone cloud, maybe you’re using VDI to ease management of so many endpoints… whatever the case—in any of these scenarios—the marketing message is always simplification.

And while simplification might be partly real, each of these strategies comes with an inherent problem: I/O. More and more I/O, which leads to serious performance degradation, more hardware to throw at the problem, increasingly formidable data centers, and more hours spent troubleshooting and stressing out. The root of the problem is I/O.

And V-locity is software that dramatically reduces I/O—literally overnight. And now it comes with the V-locity Management Console to make managing complex environments more efficient than ever.

So today I channel Bruce Lee and his thoughts on simplicity, on hacking away at the inessentials. That’s what we’re doing at Condusiv. That’s the vision of V-locity version 5. Enabling organizations to perform faster, better, simpler, happier.

Learn more about the V-locity version 5 release »

The Student Enrollment Blues

by Scott Thomas 21. January 2014 06:58

It was a bad day for Steve Bettoni, Tech Support and IT Procurement Officer of Stockport College. Steve is responsible for the infrastructure that supports the college's enrollment apps, SAP, and Exchange, so you can imagine his level of anxiety on enrollment day—the busiest day for any education institution—when the system crashed and the finance director got involved.

Steve's team had already spent hours, days, and weeks troubleshooting helpdesk calls related to poor application performance. The team virtualized to get more from legacy systems, but with the increase in I/O traffic, application response time began to suffer.

Steve heard about Condusiv’s V-locity acceleration software and its ability to solve the toughest application performance challenges without adding new hardware. A bit skeptical, he decided to evaluate the solution—and dropped enrollment processing times from 15 minutes down to 5. Convinced of what V-locity could do for their applications, he deployed on other VMs and saw a 522% improvement with SAP and 85% improvement with Exchange.

Read the full story: Stockport College case study.

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