PRIDE Enterprises Selects Proximal Data’s AutoCache to Improve VM application performance

Proximal Data, the leading provider of hypervisor I/O intelligence software solutions, today announced that PRIDE Enterprises, a nationally recognized training company, has selected Proximal Data’s AutoCache software to improve application responsiveness and performance in its virtualized environment. PRIDE was able to reduce the response time of user applications by 80 percent. AutoCache is a server-side caching solution with I/O Intelligence that removes I/O bottlenecks and increases virtual machine (VM) density by up to three times to attain maximum performance for business-critical applications.

With 500–600 users in 13 locations across Florida, PRIDE’s frequently used business applications were generating a large amount of disk storage activity and high IOPS demands, a load that overwhelmed its Storage Area Network (SAN) and diminished application performance. A performance analysis indicated the need for additional disks or Flash storage to achieve the response time PRIDE needed for these critical applications.

“We need a stable, continuously running environment, but when you have a sloppy or demanding workload, it can impact performance across the entire environment,” said Roman Diaz, infrastructure manager at PRIDE Enterprises. “We could do some segmentation to lessen or mitigate that performance impact, but that consumes additional resources, as we would be dedicating disk pools to specific workloads and VMs, and that costs more money.”

PRIDE’s search for a solution involved reviewing nine different Flash storage options. When PRIDE tested AutoCache, it immediately saw dramatic improvements in application response times and IOPS. PRIDE turned AutoCache off to see exactly how it impacted performance and found that without AutoCache the response time was 10–18 milliseconds (ms); with it on, the response time was 2–3 ms — an 80 percent time reduction.

“We liked the AutoCache interface and excellent vCenter integration better than the other solutions we tested,” said Diaz. “The AutoCache interface had a very nice plug-in and worked across the entire environment. Other products offer a single plug-in on a specific machine, whereas AutoCache runs a central management server to which data reports back. AutoCache also has cache pre-warming to move data between servers faster. Other products have this feature but cost two to three times more. Choosing AutoCache really came down to cost, performance and integration.”

AutoCache conducts hypervisor caching within VMware ESXi hypervisors along with a modest amount of Flash storage, providing a more efficient and cost-effective solution for PRIDE than the other Flash storage options it tested.

“AutoCache helps things run faster by smoothing and balancing out the workload,” said Diaz. “A lot of companies are buying bigger and bigger SANs and faster disks to get greater performance, but the amount of floor space and electricity required to support all those disks is a tough pill to swallow. With AutoCache, I automatically got a terabyte and a half of usable storage for half the price of the other solutions which gave me only 400 GB of useable storage. From that point on, I was hooked. It’s a very good product.”

PRIDE tested and now uses AutoCache with the Intel® SSD 910 Series, an add-in MLC PCIe card. The higher endurance and performance provided by the Intel SSD 910, along with AutoCache software, enables servers and storage to be more responsive as more data is transferred in less time.