Scality’s SOFS in Azure makes Blobs blindingly fast

Scality has reached 1Tbit/sec in technical previews of its SOFS (scale-out file system) software on Azure.

According to a Scality FAQ, SOFS in Azure has “really massive performance that is typically achievable only by specialised HPC file systems on costly direct  attached storage. The real power here is that linear scaling of cloud VMs lets SOFS achieve essentially any level of performance. This is very powerful, and can be used to solve key use cases in energy research, media and  entertainment, big data analytics, AI/ML and more.” 

The object storage supplier suggests many other cloud file services can only use capacity allocated to the local virtual machines they sit on. For example, Microsoft Azure Files has limitations in single file system size (100TB storage capacity) and maximum throughput per file system (300MB/sec). 

Scality SOFS on the other hand scales out to hundreds of petabytes with over 80GB/sec of performance.

The preview code has been measured at 1 terabit per second (c125,000MB/sec) on Azure premium flash storage, and the performance scales out linearly for both read and write workloads. Azure SOFS scales to over 650Gbits/sec (81,250MB/sec) throughput on Azure’s Blob Hot Access Tier.

SOFS in Azure

Giorgio Regni

Scality announced the Azure SOFS development in February. File system metadata is stored in the Azure Cosmos DB and file data payloads are kept as objects in Azure Blob storage.

Giorgio Regni, CTO, said: “In late 2019, we decided to port our proven SOFS code base to Azure. … some of Azure’s differentiated features, such as a single API for storage tiers and Azure Data Lake Storage (ADLS), enabled us to quickly deliver an integrated solution on top of Azure Blob storage.”  

By using the Blob service for data, instead of the Azure Files service,  customers get charged $0.0184 per GB per month. Azure Files costs more – $0.24/GiB/month for the premium Files service, $0.06/GiB/month for transaction-optimised and $0.0255/GiB/month for general purpose (hot) files, and $0.015/GiB/month for cool tiers.

Scality Azure SOFS diagram.

SOFS in Azure supports SMB 3.0, and NFS v3 and v4.1. Data remains in native Azure format and is fully accessible by any Azure service.

Target customers need 100TB or more of storage capacity, GB/sec to 100 GB/sec of throughput, and on-demand, bursty use cases (applications do not require 100 per cent full-time processing).

SOFS in Azure is stateless and delivered as a software image that can be deployed on Azure cloud Virtual Machine (VM) instances. It is hosted in a customer’s Azure subscription and connects to the customer’s Azure Blob storage accounts. Any number of virtual machines can be spun up on-demand to linearly scale performance, and SOFS tiers data across Azure Blob to optimise performance and costs.

SOFS in Azure is available for selected customers.