Avere has extended is its FXT multi-tiered filer accelerator box to aggregate filers together inside a single global name space.
The FXT has many tiers of storage, from DRAM, though NV-RAM, SSD to SAS disk drives on which it caches file reads and writes to/from back-end filers, and provides substantial I/O acceleration. An FXT appliance can be clustered and connect accessing servers to many back-end filers, such as ones from EMC, NetApp and Oracle. Each filer has its own mount point and there are multiple file silos visible to the accessing servers.
With the latest release of Avere's FXT O/S, AOS v2.0, a group of filers can be seen by accessing systems as a single logical filer with a single name space for all the files on the actual physical filers, and a single mount point and IP address. The logical view of the files is user-defined while the physical view is automatically generated.
The filers can be in the same data centre as the FXT appliance. Some or all of them could be in a remote data centre which could be a cloud service provider's facility. In other words the FXT has taken on some cloud gateway functionality. The FXT, with its caching, can fix some file access latency and delivery performance problems.
The Avere O/S delivers reporting functionality so that hot spots can be identified, enabling files to be moved from filer to filer to fix hot spot bottleneck problems. However, the FXT is not a data mover and files being migrated from filer to filer do not travel through the FXT.
We can view the FXT as becoming analogous to a NetApp V-Series controller, virtualising the heterogeneous filers behind it. It seems pretty clear that Avere will add more functionality to extend the FXT's role further in this direction. ®