Montilio looks to reduce file server latency

Storage start-up Montilio is set to announce a network adapter and software it says will accelerate file server performance by as much as three to six times.

At Storage Decisions in Chicago this week, the company will unveil RapidFile, a PCI-Express adapter, which loads proprietary File Server Re-Director (FSRD) software that bypasses the server memory and PCI bus, thus reducing latency and speeding file-server processing, Montilio says.

CEO Michael Tsuk says that traditionally two activities are involved in file serving - processing client requests for data and moving data between the storage subsystem and client - both of which cause latency. The latter process takes considerably more bandwidth.

Companies such as Alacritech and Neterion have attempted to alleviate this burden by using Remote Direct Memory Access and TCP Offload Engines, approaches Tsuk says are more designed to accelerate network traffic than make file processing more efficient.

FSRD creates an alternate data path between the client and storage and redirects traffic across it, thus alleviating the server memory from processing file data.

Arun Taneja, founder of Taneja Group, says RapidFile could reduce the need for customers to put in faster, more efficient, network-attached storage (NAS).

"What Montilio offers is a way for a Linux file server to deliver NAS-like performance, using standard server software," Taneja says. "The add-in card is a simple way to jazz up thousands of general-purpose servers that are being used as file servers. RapidFile could reduce, if not eliminate, the need for many to buy NAS boxes."

The RapidFile adapter has two Gigabit Ethernet ports that connect to the network and two 2G-bit Fibre Channel ports for connecting to the storage system.

RapidFile, which works in Linux file servers, costs US$3,900. A Windows version could be available in the fourth quarter.

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