As flash transitions from a costly storage enhancement to a mainstream method of optimizing an organization's strategy for managing and accessing its data, Fusion-io's moves to make its flash-aware APIs available could help the company make greater inroads within the flash storage space.
"As solid-state moves from a specialist to a generalist tool, it's in the entire industry's best interest to first make it a desirable, functional, integrated and easy-to-use tool, and flash-aware APIs [application programming interfaces] are a key tool to do that," said Mark Peters, a senior analyst at the Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG).
According to Fusion-io, a flash-aware application is able to take advantage of NAND flash, available in a memory hierarchy to optimize data movement and processing, which the company claims will improve performance and manageability. The company said such APIs allow developers to use less application-level code to offer more consistent low latency, better NAND flash durability and better throughput. The company announced it has made three of its flash-aware APIs -- designed to better manage the flash and use it more efficiently as part of an overall storage system -- available to the developer community.
Fusion-io said that since it submitted its Atomic Writes API to the T10 Technical Committee on SCSI Storage Interfaces, it is being used by the following MySQL databases: MariaDB 5.5.31, Percona Server 5.5.31 and the upcoming Percona Server 5.6.
Atomic Writes enables a processor to write simultaneously to multiple independent storage sectors in a single transaction, which the company said allows the API to improve throughput by as much as 50%, and prolongs flash memory's useful life.
EGS' Peters called Fusion-io's Atomic Writes API "interesting" because it can lead to lower writes and higher performance for a given workload. He said it also marks another step in Fusion-io's efforts to be seen as a "full" storage market participant rather than a "provider of turbo-chargers," and noted the acquisition of NexGen as another example.
Analyst Greg Schulz, founder of the Minnesota-based StorageIO, said Fusion-io's APIs will allow the company to have a larger footprint in Unix and Unix-like environments.
"We are seeing a growing trend of vendors moving as quickly as possible to get their APIs and software tools placed or seeded into software stacks, ranging from *nix distributions to OpenStack or VMware, among others," Schulz said. "[It] makes perfect sense; get your technology support plugged into the applications or tools to make it easier for customers to integrate your hardware or software solution into their environments."