InterSystems IRIS Cloud Services with Volumez: Latency Normalization

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InterSystems is leveraging AWS technologies to bring to the world its first core technologies SaaS offerings. InterSystems is the engine behind the world’s most important data-centric applications, providing high- performance, cloud-first platform for better data & decisions making. To learn more about InterSystems, click here.

InterSystems IRIS Cloud Services

InterSystems IRIS Cloud Services is a next generation data platform that encompasses a rich semantic data usage with its multi-modal engine. With these initial SaaS offerings, InterSystems aims to support developers with the data models and the extensions they feel more comfortable with. More services will be added during the year that will attract a wider audience accustomed to use other models and that will want to create their data fabric solution.

InterSystems IRIS Cloud SQL is InterSystems high-performance SQL engine that is fully SQL-compliant and fully managed. InterSystems IRIS Cloud IntegratedML is an add-on that is implemented with a simple extension to SQL DML.

InterSystems sees these offerings as foundational services in the InterSystems Cloud portfolio and complement several successful earlier service offerings for the healthcare and financial services markets. They are building blocks for a composability approach to implement solutions that are easy to provision, scale, and operate in today’s fast-moving technology landscape.

Volumez: Cloud block storage management

Volumez is a new block storage composition service for databases and other data-intensive applications in the cloud.  Volumez combines ultra-fast, guaranteed performance and enterprise-grade data services into an embedded structural component of a cloud offering such as InterSystems IRIS Cloud SQL. You can easily relocate your high-performance workloads to AWS for 10X faster transactional throughput and sub-millisecond latency enabling you to meet your performance and app modernization objectives. With Volumez, your workloads on AWS run faster than any alternative storage solution.

With its innovative controller-less architecture, Volumez tackles latency and scalability challenges by establishing direct Linux data paths, ensuring exceptional performance and resiliency. Driven by cutting-edge technology and a customer-centric approach, Volumez offers comprehensive solutions that streamline data workflows, enhance data quality, and drive informed decision-making.

The problem

Performance for a multi-modal database has always been the focus for anyone who has taken the time to design and integrate these systems into a customer environment.  Moving these systems into the cloud adds additional issues that can be summarized into one word: Control.  By moving your systems into a cloud platform, the customer is (by nature of the cloud) giving up a large amount of control tied to componentry, placement, availability, latency, and noisy neighbors.  Variability in performance now becomes somewhat dependent on time of day, physical placement within a particular datacenter, and the cost that you are willing to pay for performance.

The solution

The Volumez solution uses standard cloud compute systems with attached storage to create a system that produce consistent and powerful results.  In AWS, these are EC2 instances (ex: i4i xlarge) that are used for compute (for the application nodes) and also as NVME storage targets (for the media nodes).  The storage can be purchased in multiple variations based on application and media needs.  Volumez uses these application and media nodes to architect a Linux based block storage solution that has a dedicated datapath that can produce high throughput, IOPS, and low latency for the consumer. 

The process of selecting these nodes is also very important, and this is something that Volumez has built into their product.  Volumez uses proprietary technology to compose the datapath from the application node to the media node to establish predictable performance, as well as to assist with the placement of those nodes to make sure that their proximity is beneficial to performance.  This process is called Infrastructure as Code by Volumez because it can be established through a yaml file (or by other means) and executed directly to the cloud provider with minimal time and effort by the cloud platform architect.  A sample of this is shown below.

*Figure 1: Composable Infrastructure as Code
*Figure 1: Composable Infrastructure as Code

Another factor that was considered was the need for complete control over the storage environment.  Using the Volumez solution, InterSystems can now control the storage without limitations on resize actions, time restrictions imposed on modifications, or imposed wait times to ensure that a volume is made available.

Volumez was selected after a rigorous testing exercise by InterSystems in their quest to find a reliable solution that would allow them to meet their latency and performance needs while also allowing them the needed control over changes made to their storage environment.

Creating latency normalization and predictability of performance

By embedding Volumez into the InterSystems IRIS Cloud Services, InterSystems has found that they are not only able to better manage the storage components, but they have been able to see a stabilization and normalization of the latency numbers.

Figure 2:  Sample representation of latency across thousands of instances over time
Figure 2:  Sample representation of latency across thousands of instances over time

In the above figure, we see the normalization of the latency numbers across InterSystems IRIS Cloud Services deployments.  It is important to note, that these numbers were created during testing of onboarding and offboarding of customers.  These numbers are expected to normalize even further downward as consistency in the workloads will become more of the norm.


InterSystems IRIS Cloud Services with Volumez can provide customers with consistent and predictable performance in AWS while not having to worry about unnecessary restrictions or delays typically imposed by cloud storage solutions.  This partnership has enabled InterSystems to stabilize latency and IOPS across their IRIS Cloud Services solution while also allowing InterSystems the necessary control needed to seamlessly manage that experience.  The design and architecture of using Volumez inside IRIS Cloud Services will result in the predictable performance and consistency that InterSystems customers are expecting.