Unigroup's September 2011 Meeting Announcement

NFS and NFS Caching for Performance

Larry Boucher, Founder, President & CEO,
Chris Harrer, Managing Director of Software Development,
Alacritech Inc.

Thursday, 15-SEP-2011      (** 3rd Thursday **)

The Cooper Union
School of Engineering   (*** NEW BUILDING ***)
41 Cooper Square    (3rd Avenue @ 7th Street, between 6th & 7th Streets)
East Village, Manhattan
New York City, 10003
Meeting Room: LL101_CS   (LL=Lower Level, Note: Room Changes Month-to-Month)
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6:15 - 6:30 PM Registration
6:30 - 6:45 PM Ask the Wizard - Questions, Answers and Current Events
6:45 - 7:00 PM Unigroup Business
7:00 - 9:30 PM Main Presentation

Please see the Fee Schedule below.


Unigroup is pleased to announce our September 2011 meeting on NFS and NFS Performance. Our speakers are from Alacritech Inc, a company specializing in NFS Caching Appliances.

If you have been around computers for a long time, you will note some interesting items on Larry Boucher's bio, which includes: Founder of Alacritech, Auspex and Adaptec, a Director at Shugart, and Author of the SCSI Standard.

If you have been attending Unigroup for a while... do you recognize the name Auspex?... 16 years ago, Unigroup's September 1995 Unix Expo meeting on NFS was presented by Auspex Systems.


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      The Cooper Union  (http://www.cooper.edu)
      School of Engineering  (*** New Building ***)
      41 Cooper Square (3rd Avenue @ 7th Street, between 6th & 7th Streets)
      East Village, Manhattan
      New York City, 10003
      Meeting Room: ** (See Above, Room May Change Month-to-Month)

   Located on the East side of Cooper Square.  Look for the
   new building with the non-traditional appearance.
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Topic: NFS and NFS Caching for Performance

Introduction & Description of Talk:

The advent of affordable flash memory has provided a new opportunity for second-level caching in NAS/NFS environments. Traditionally, NAS appliances would employ large amounts of DRAM to cache frequently accessed data. Requests for data that could not be satisfied from cache would need to be fetched from much slower hard drives. While the read latency time for DRAM is much faster than hard disk - 100's of nanoseconds versus milliseconds - it is also far more expensive per byte of storage. NAS vendors wishing to design high performance systems were forced to choose between deploying large amounts of DRAM, at considerable expense, or a very large number of disk drives, oftentimes only using a portion of the latter to minimize the actuator's range of motion on the hard drive (so-called "short stroking"). Flash memory offers a mid-point between DRAM and hard drives. Today's SSD drives provide latency roughly fifty times faster than hard drives, yet roughly ten times cheaper per byte than DRAM. This discussion explores the various ways that flash memory can be deployed to improve NAS/NFS performance and explains why specialized cache appliances can provide the most optimal use of flash memory, yielding the highest performance improvement with the lowest latency.

Outline of Talk:

The development of NFS to share files among many users has undoubtedly impacted the way "computing gets done" over the last 25 years. It has gone from sharing files for convenience to sharing files out of necessity, and let's not forget about the need for speed. The continued demand for performance has created opportunities for engineers to build NAS solutions to address performance needs.

Our meeting on NFS and NFS Caching will cover the following topics:

References & Web Resources:

   Alacritech Inc.


   NFS - Network File System


     See links on the Wikipedia page for:
       NFSv2   - RFC1094
       NFSv3   - RFC1913
       NFSv4   - RFC3010, RFC3530
       NFSv4.1 - RFC5661


  1. Larry Boucher, Founder, President & CEO, Alacritech, Inc.:

    (See: http://www.alacritech.com/about-us/management-team)

    Larry Boucher, has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in Silicon Valley as a recognized leader in the areas of server, storage and networking technologies. Mr. Boucher foresaw the convergence of networking and storage and the large amount of processing power and bandwidth consumed when moving data across the network. To solve this problem, Larry pioneered the movement of storage capabilities into silicon. He's now applied the vision of accelerated storage/NAS solutions and the 54 patents he's developed into pioneering the next generation of enterprise storage which will allow companies to accelerate their existing storage/NAS infrastructure resulting in a dramatic increase in application performance, increased infrastructure stability and drastically reduced cost.

    Prior to Alacritech, Mr. Boucher was Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Auspex Systems, Inc., a manufacturer of network file servers, where he revolutionized the networked file system design that is the basis of today's network attached storage (NAS) model.

    Prior to Auspex, he was Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Adaptec, Inc. and director of design services at Shugart Associates, where he conceived the idea of the SCSI interface and authored its initial specifications. Mr. Boucher received his Master's in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and his MBA from San Jose State University.

  2. Chris Harrer, Managing Director of Software Development:

    Chris Harrer has held the title of Software Engineering Manager at Alacritech since 2003 and has over 15 years of management experience in product development engineering. This includes 8 years at Unisys Corporation (Burroughs Corporation) as Manager of the Advanced Networking Group before joining Alacritech. Prior to that, Mr. Harrer was a senior member of the engineering staff at Unisys Corporation working on a multitude of different Networking Architectures (BNA, SNA, TCP/IP). Mr. Harrer holds a BS in Computer Science from Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia PA.


Alacritech is the leading provider of storage network acceleration solutions that dramatically improve the performance of the existing enterprise network storage infrastructure resulting in an increase in application performance, infrastructure stability and drastically reduced capital, power, cooling and rack space costs.

Alacritech eliminates corporate storage/NAS sprawl by extending the life of the enterprise's existing storage framework while reducing the dependency on growing pools of over-provisioned and underutilized disk drives. Only Alacritech allows enterprises to drastically increase application performance without having to replace the investment made in the NFS-based storage network.

Alacritech was founded in 1997 by technology pioneer Larry Boucher, the author of the SCSI standard and founder of both Auspex and Adaptec. Larry and his team of fellow entrepreneurs foresaw the convergence of storage and networking and the large amount of processing power and bandwidth consumed when moving data across the network. To solve this problem, the team designed Dynamic TCP Offload and cast it into silicon and has now taken it a step further by leveraging this technology in the form of an NFS acceleration appliance. By applying its vision of accelerated storage/NAS solutions and leveraging its 54 patents in the area of network acceleration, Alacritech is redefining the next generation of enterprise storage, allowing companies to accelerate their existing storage/NAS infrastructure.

For more information, please visit the Alacritech web site: http://www.alacritech.com/about-us/


Addison-Wesley Professional/Prentice Hall PTR, and O'Reilly have been kind enough to provide us with review copies of some of their books, which we will continue to raffle off as giveaways at our meetings. The publishers always ask that the persons receiving the books provide a review and/or feedback about their books.

Unigroup would like to thank both companies for the support provided by their User Group programs.

As always, all of the books will be available for review at the start of the meeting.

We have some Solaris Related CD-ROMs from our friends at the local NYC Sun Microsystems Office.

We hope to have some Intel giveaways too.


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Complimentary Food and Refreshments will be served. This includes "wraps" such as turkey, roast beef, chicken, tuna and grilled vegetables as well as assorted salads (potato, tossed, pasta, etc), cookies, brownies, bottled water and assorted beverages.

Alacritech will be sponsoring the food service for this meeting.
Thanks Alacritech!

Please join us for this meeting, you won't want to miss it!

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