Avere Systems – is it a cache, is it a tier, does it even matter?

One of the things I’ve learned pretty quickly in Enterprise IT, words matter a lot. Just say the word “on-premise” to someone if you haven’t experienced yet. Especially in IT, where many problems are less purely technological and come down to communication issues, I can understand the need for precise language. I generally take a more lenient view of it, I like to focus more on being understood, no one has ever accused me of being a strict grammarian.

That’s what I enjoyed about Ed Morgan’s piece on Avere Systems’ Hybrid Cloud system. Was it a tiered file system with caching, or a cached file system with tiers? Based on what I read, I’d say it’s tiered caching. Regardless, it looks like a pretty interesting system. With the so-called Tiered File System, Avere is able to increase performance across devices, as well as dynamically move data between mediums based on heat mapping. Hot data lives in RAM, warm data lives on SSDs, and old data is put on nearline NAS, as well as the ability to offload to the cloud. This allows for quick access to frequently used data, while being able to use more efficient storage to hold the bulk of cold data. Ed was impressed by how well this pairs with Avere’s C2N, which serves as the NAS/object storage device that can easily integrate to the public cloud.

In this case, I don’t think the potentially confused language causes a problem. This issue often comes up in the dense thicket of marketing buzzwords. Companies are more than happy to create their own novel philologies than maintain the norms of common parlance. I think Ed Morgan’s willing to let it slide this time, so who am I to be a stickler?

Read more: Avere Systems – is it a cache, is it a tier, does it even matter?

Very early into Avere’s presentation, after Avere referring to themselves as a ‘tiered file system’, the question was posed to them whether they really were providing tiering, or whether it was just a caching mechanism.

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.