I love my Synology DS211+ and I would love to increase the performance but that is expensive if you want a one or more SSD in a NAS. But what if you can port the Fusion Drive concept to a NAS?
The term Fusion Drive is used by Apple and I would like to start this article by saying that the Fusion Drive is not one hard disk that is a hybrid between a flash storage and an ordinary mechanical hard drive. Actually the Fusion Drive is two storage devices: a flash storage and a mechanical hard drive. But Mac OS X see both storage devices as one storage unit.
It is possible to configure one of the new 2012 iMac’s from Apple with a Fusion Drive. With a Fusion Drive in your iMac you get a 128 GB flash storage and 1 TB or 3 TB mechanical storage. So you will get a 1.1 TB data storage og 3.1 data storage when choosing Fusion Drive.
How does Fusion Drive works?
Mac OS X Mountain Lion is stored on the 128 GB flash storage along with some preloaded applications and can then be accessed very quickly. The whole idea is that Mac OS X will detect the files that are most used and place them on the flash storage and the less used files will be placed on the mechanical storage.
A 4 GB buffer is used for writing data and that should be sufficient for most write operations. But when you write data that is larger than 4 GB you will see a performance decrease compared to an entire flash drive.
The whole concept is actually very interesting.
Fusion Drive concept and NAS
I would love to port the Fusion Drive concept to a NAS device and see how it performs. It should be possible for a NAS vendor like Synology to create a NAS device that would have a Fusion Drive setup. A NAS with a flash storage and one or more mechanical storages. But many files that are stored on a NAS could be very large so the write buffer would be filled very quickly and thereby work overtime.
So the questions is: Would the Fusion Drive work on a NAS with the same performance as on a normal computer like an iMac? It should not be hard to port the Fusion Drive algorithms to a Linux distribution so that part should be easy enough.
I would love to hear from some one that has heard or seen a working flash/mechanical storage setup on a NAS device.