What are the hardware and software requirements for installing an I/O accelerator?
By submitting your personal information, you agree that TechTarget and its partners may contact you regarding relevant content, products and special offers.
Generally, the hardware requirements for server-agnostic I/O accelerators, or storage accelerators, are surprisingly light. In most cases, the server must support a second-generation PCIe slot with four data transfer lanes or more; you may see it marked PCIe 2.0 x 4, for example. Usually a server that provides a suitable PCIe slot will also handle the power and computing overhead the storage accelerator requires.
The only other issue is physical space. The accelerator can be large, so verify that there is enough space around the slot and adequate cooling airflow. The accelerator should not obstruct other devices in the server.
From a software standpoint, server-agnostic I/O accelerators provide drivers and support for a variety of major operating systems. For example, Fusion-io's ioDrive2 supports Windows Server 2012, 2008 R2, 2008 and 2003. It also supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6 and 5, along with other enterprise Linux and UNIX versions.
If the server is virtualized, the I/O accelerator must be compatible with the hypervisor -- this is critical for supporting consolidated workloads. The ioDrive2 supports hypervisors, including VMware ESX 4.0, 4.1, ESXi 4.1, 5.0, 5.1 and Windows 2008 R2 with Hyper-V.
OS and hypervisor support can become problematic with specialized hardware devices like an I/O accelerator -- OS and hypervisor vendors may not validate their updates against I/O accelerator hardware. Businesses considering the technology should perform extensive testing before rolling out the hardware to a production data center. In addition, IT professionals should test any OS or hypervisor patch or update to ensure the I/O accelerator remains accessible and stable before deploying the software changes.
Local storage can become a bottleneck that strangles application performance and responsiveness -- especially in databases and storage-intensive tasks like data analytics. Storage accelerators combine the speed of solid-state memory with the performance of PCIe bus architecture to provide servers with extremely low latency and high input/output operations per second (IOPS) storage, while drivers allow the OS and hypervisor to use the I/O accelerator as an ordinary block storage device that requires no application changes.
Dig Deeper on Enterprise data storage strategies
Related Q&A from Stephen J. Bigelow
Which Amazon WorkSpaces tools allow IT teams to easily package, deploy and manage applications for DaaS users?continue reading
We want to ensure a good desktop experience for DaaS users. How can we connect Amazon WorkSpaces and local resources to do this?continue reading
With Windows Server's updates to Group Policy settings and templates comes a danger for administrators: users flooding the help desk with tickets.continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.