Remote flash for ESXi Hosts and read cache for VMs using JBOD with SSD (JBOF) and ATTO Technology XstreamCORE 7500 series storage controllers
Adding flash to any system can improve performance. It’s usually getting the flash to the system that can be the challenge. In a standard ESXi system if you have internal slots available you can add SSDs internally, if you have an external SAS connection, you can buy a JBOF shelf and have lots of SSD flash and drives available for that server. But what if your bays are full and it does not make sense to buy 1 shelf per server plus add in a SAS HBA? For a few hosts this might be the most cost effective answer. For more than a few hosts, the options seem to be add in a large all flash array (I assume they virtualize all the drives and present them as remote flash either iSCSI or FC) or if there was a JBOF with FC connections that was cost effective…but then you have some limits as well since its one shelf. ATTO Technology can resolve this problem. TheXstreamCORE 7500 and 7550 storage controllers are high performance protocol bridging appliances (they can do a lot more but for this example it’s what they do). Four 12Gb SAS controllers allow for many shelves of flash to be connected and are presented as Fibre Channel storage via 16Gb Fibre Channel ports. The screen shots below show an example of assigning a single SSD across a FC Fabric to a host as remote flash and what can be done with it.
Enabling 1 or more drives as flash for a host
Here we can add flash for the host:
And finally an example of adding read cache to a virtual drive in a VM