Fast object storage is becoming a growing trend, especially targeted at AI and analytics use cases that use object data stores.
NVMe super-fast flash storage hit a peak in hype terms a couple of years ago. Promises were big, and fast. But since then things have quietened down a bit. While the big storage players bided their time, the startups often came and went, or least modified what they do. And eventually NVMe became mainstream, and is an option at the very least in the arrays of the big storage players.
But some of the startups continue to plough a specialised furrow, and one of these is Pavilion, which offers multi-protocol NVMe-based storage with multiple controllers that service block, file and now object storage, all at blistering speeds and throughputs.
Object storage has not always had performance as a primary concern, and hasn’t necessarily been able to deliver it. Now, advances in solid state storage and in particular NVME, have allowed suppliers to marry object storage and fast media. This is particularly useful for use cases that want object storage close to where it is being processed in AI/ML, analytics and the internet of things.
In Pavilion’s HFA multiple controllers – up to 20 of them – are the thing that allow numerous protocols to be supported at once, with failover possible between controllers as long as they are running the same protocol.
Pavilion makes a big deal about connectivity. “We started with the [NVMe-over-fabric] network and built the storage platform on top of it,” said co-founder and vice-president Sundar Kanthadai in a recent online briefing to the IT Press Tour. “That’s how we can make Pavilion small, fast and dense at the same time. And with a many-controller architecture we can keep it cache-less and keep costs down,” said CEO Gurpreet Singh.
The company can pack up to 1PB in 4U of rackspace, with between 18 and 72 NVMe drives. There are two multiple controllers, configurable as block, (NFS-only for now) file, and the recently added S3 object storage. Block storage can be NVMe-over fabrics connectivity via iSCSI, TCP, ROCE or RDMA.
Each controller can be block, file or object and is dedicated to one of these. Controllers can be active for one volume while acting as a standby controller for another volume, or in fact multiple volumes. The key restriction is that a controller is restricted to one protocol.
Pavilion claims up to 20 million random read IOPS with five million writes. Throughput is claimed at 120GBps for reads and 90GBps for writes while latency is cited as 100µs for reads and 25µs for writes.
In terms of file access protocols Pavilion is currently restricted to NFS, but SMB will be added, although not straight away. “The pull hasn’t reached critical level,” said Kanthadai.
Likewise, there is only U.2 connectivity for NVMe drives fitted to Pavilion for now, although more choice is planned.