Back in February, Compellent released their latest revision of their Storage Center software (version 4.0). In this revision is a great new feature called "Fast Track". Seems a pretty obvious name given what it does. Fast Track is on-disk "automated tiered storage". As I explained in a previous post, Compellent's Automated Tiered Storage, called Data Progression, intelligently manages inactive data across tiers of storage. My clients are always having to meet increasing performance requirements, but can't always add more drives due to costs. When we are now upgrading them to the latest version of software for Storage Center we are suggesting the Automated Tiered Storage with Fast Track. Why? Fast Track dynamically places the most frequently used data on the fastest, or outer, tracks of each drive. The result is a system that requires fewer drives to manage their data - delivering a big payoff in cost savings and power consumption without sacrificing performance.
So as blocks become used over time, they move out to a faster performing track on the drive. The most awesome part of this is that this happens automatically on a daily basis without manual intervention!!!!! By continually optimizing data placement on each disk, the combination of Fast Track and Data Progression boosts the performance of every drive and reduces the total number of drives required.
If you are like some of my clients you are asking does this work on all drives in the enclosure? Good question. Yes, it does. Fast Track works on everything from Fibre Channel to SATA. It also takes advantage of the "thin provisioning" ability thereby writing only actual data to the fastest tracks on the drive, further improving disk utilization.
I haven't seen this from any other SAN vendor in the industry (yet), and this is one of the many reasons I'm stoked about what Compellent brings to the table. They are constantly working on innovation in Storage and for the time being are staying one-step ahead of their competition.
I'm hopeful that Compellent will announce that they are part of the Citrix Ready program for XenServer. I know that they have a Storage Center unit in San Jose being run through its paces, so I'll keep my fingers crossed for something soon.
Check Compellent out here.