FAQS

FORSA is an In-Memory Storage virtualization platform for resource-intensive applications that require microsecond latency, extreme I/O performance, and increased memory capacity.

  • FORSA is installed as a software package on Linux distributions and enables demanding applications such as databases, ERPs, and CRMs to run in memory, without having to upgrade or modify the application — a common requirement for Oracle and SAP based environments.
  • The KVM-based hypervisor and containers in FORSA support remote access, management, and allocation of virtual hardware resources across many different application environments using a GUI-based management console and RESTful APIs.
  • FORSA is the only software platform that enables data to persist in memory that avoids the performance bottlenecks associated with virtualizing peripheral storage, a method used by all other vendors.
  • FORSA identifies patterns in data and encodes the data into a smaller physical footprint. This patented technology may enable the consolidation of multiple datasets and workloads onto a single machine.

FORSA is best suited for customers who are looking for a more performant virtualization, container-based, and bare-metal solution for the most I/O-intensive applications.

  • The speed and performance improvements realized by running all workloads in memory translates into significant hardware and software cost-savings and increased productivity for IT Administrators, Database Administrators, Data Analysts, and Product Teams.
  • For customer-facing web and mobile applications, FORSA enables business leaders to deliver a more responsive end-user experience with lower latency.
FORSA is designed to operate on any commodity x86-based server with Cascade Lake, Skylake, Broadwell, or Haswell processors.
  • The minimum memory requirement is 128GB of memory per socket.
  • Memory requirements may consist of standard DRAM or Storage Class Memory (SCM), such as Intel Optane persistent memory (PMem).

The typical install takes approximately 17 minutes.

Of course, simply click here and we can get you started down the path to performance gains without the pain.

First, let us outline some of the issues with utilizing many of the available RAM disk options:

  • Some RAM disks support emulation of a block device, or an actual disk, while others only support being mounted as a file system.
  • To resize a RAM disk you often have to delete the original RAM disk instance and then recreate the RAM disk in the appropriate size.
  • You must manually COMMIT the data stored on the RAM disk to storage or provide a predetermined ‘COMMIT’ schedule. The data can be committed automatically on shutdown… (and when is the last time you downed a server on purpose, other than for maintenance?)
  • During the data COMMIT process, performance reverts to that of the storage subsystem until the COMMIT process completes.
  • There is no protection of data during power outages, if you lose power, you lose data.
  • There are different RAM disk options for Windows hosts and Linux hosts.

Now let’s look at FORSA Logical Extensions of Memory (LEMs):

  • FORSA LEMs appear as block devices for Linux hosts, Windows, and Linux VMs.
  • LEMs can be expanded on demand on the fly.
  • LEMs support instant cloning, which allows for assignment of the LEM clone to a different virtual machine.
  • LEMs support instant snapshot capability, allowing for on-demand or scheduled data protection. Just as clones, snapshots can be promoted to full LEMs and then provisioned to a virtual machine instance.
  • There is no manual data COMMIT required, FORSA persists data as a background process.
  • FORSA LEMs support scale-out (aggregate LEMs) and HA modes.
  • FORSA provides UPS integration to detect power loss. When power loss is detected by the UPS, FORSA will initiate a graceful shutdown with a full Application Consistent Blink (backup) for recovery on power-up.
  • RAM disks hold data in memory in the original large format, which limits the amount of data that may be stored. Through the use of our patented Formulus Bit marker in-line deduplication technology, FORSA allows for both applications and data to operate purely in memory in a smaller encoded format.

FORSA has been designed to operate on typical x86-based hardware from manufacturers such as Lenovo, Intel, HPE, Dell, and SuperMicro. The minimum requirements for FORSA are:

  • Typical x86-64bit hardware platforms configured with Intel Cascade Lake, Skylake, Haswell, or Broadwell processors.
  • The minimum memory requirement is 128GB of memory per socket.
  • Memory requirements may consist of standard DRAM or Storage Class Memory (SCM), such as Intel Optane persistent memory (PMem).

Any application that operates on the Intel x86-64bit platform can benefit from performance gains utilizing FORSA. FORSA supports any application that operates on a Linux host server, or any application that can operate on a Linux or Windows virtual machine. For example, multiple instances of the following applications may be run on a single FORSA host server:

  • Database Applications: Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, MongoDB, Postgress, MySQL.
  • Enterprise Applications: Splunk, Apache Spark, SAP, Infor, Microsoft Dynamics, Tableau Server, Cognos BI, MicroStrategy, QLIK.
  • Custom Applications and Web Services.

The short answer is YES. If your application runs on typical x86-64bit hardware, your application can run with FORSA.

FORSA is currently limited by the density of the DIMMs or Storage Class Memory (SCM) installed in the host system.

  • Current dual-socket ‘Intel-based’ servers may have as much as 3TB of physical system memory installed, 24 DIMMs @ 128GB each.
  • Server platforms that support Intel Optane PMem may have 12TB of physical capacity.
  • Formulus Black Bit Marker (FbM) In-line deduplication technology enables more data to persist in memory than the physical memory capacity of the server, further extending the useful life of servers that are not fully populated to their maximum physical capacity. We describe this more efficient use of memory as Amplification.

FORSA is very efficient at identifying repetitions, redundancies, and patterns in data, from nearly identical copies, to data with minimal similarities. We have realized Amplification of data stored in memory that is between 1.2x – 24.x the physical memory capacity on a server. Of course, the degree of memory Amplification will depend on the data.

FORSA is system-level software that enables any standard application and the associated data to persist and run in memory without application changes.

  • FORSA can be easily installed into existing environments.
  • FORSA can be managed via an easy-to-operate GUI and RESTful API.
  • FORSA enables memory Amplification capabilities via our patented BitMarker (FbM) in-line deduplication technology.

You could nest VMware vSphere within a KVM virtual machine; however, it is not an efficient or practical solution. In a documented competitive scenario, FORSA enabled a database application to run on a virtual machine with 75% fewer cores compared with running the same database application on a VMware virtual machine instance, while dramatically improving query performance. As an alternative, port your virtual machine instances to KVM and execute them with more performance using FORSA.

BLINK functionality allows for an application consistent memory state capture of the entire system for data protection and recovery. The capability also provides protection for the virtual machine and virtual machine resources.

  • FORSA is designed to monitor UPS instances and detect any risk of power loss. When power loss is detected by the UPS, the FORSA middleware ‘Central Fault Tolerance Manager’ will initiate a graceful shutdown with a full Application Consistent BLINK for data protection that can be used for recovery on power up.
  • FORSA can utilize Storage Class Memory (SCM), such as Intel Optane persistent memory (PMem), to persist data.

 

For virtual machine resources, FORSA LEMs (Logical Extensions of Memory) — equivalent to a LUN with an in-memory data structure — feature Snapshot capability. A FORSA Snapshot is an independent, point-in-time read-only backup of a LEM.