Blockbridge Version 5.0 is the second major release of the AnyScale architecture. The major feature of this release is Multi-Complex.


Multi-Complex provides in-the-box performance scalability designed to take advantage of dense NVMe systems and server platforms with high core-count processors, with a specific focus on AMD EPYC Naples and Rome. In IOPS dense environments, a multi-complex system can reduce hardware footprint by 8 to 1 or more! Multi-Complex boosts efficiency by extracting additional performance from your hardware.

Conisder multi-complex when you need to:

  • Reduce hardware costs when scaling storage performance
  • Reduce hardware costs for dedicated multi-tenant scenarios
  • Implement classes of storage with independent QoS guarantees
  • Maximize performance density

Multi-complex configurations maintain full compatibility with your existing applications and deployments (i.e., VMware, Kubernetes, OpenStack, etc.).


Release 5.0 includes several improvements in the visibility into dataplane performance and tenant usage:

  • New Datastore Statistics: Administrators now have a system-wide view of task duration and queueing from the Datastore Statistics tab.
  • Improved Visibility into Tenant Usage: The tenant usage reports available under nodes and accounts now include the datastore, as well as a translation of the virtual service serial number to the tenant’s selected label.
  • Performance and Usage Visualizations: From the administrator’s view of the Infrastructure, select the heading of any of the elements under Global Usage (e.g., Read Bandwidth, IOPS, Snapshots, etc.) to toggle a per-datastore breakdown that updates in real-time.


ATS Concurrency (VMware)

Release 5.0 brings substantial concurrency improvements to the VAAI atomic test-and-set (ATS) command, SCSI COMPARE AND WRITE. VMware uses this command for cluster heartbeating and to coordinate VMFS updates between cluster members. In this release, our implementation of the ATS primitive no longer detectably impacts other reads and writes to the volume.

Portal Filter (OpenStack)

Advanced filtering options in this release allow for more flexible network selection capabilities when provisioning Blockbridge storage from OpenStack.

Data Mobility

Inter-Dataplane Clones

Read-through “thin” clones within the same virtual storage service (VSS) have been supported for some time. Release 5.0 extends support to include cross-VSS and cross-dataplane read-copy clones of snapshots. This new type of clone copies data on demand, as needed by user I/O operations. Read-copy clones may also be copied in their entirety via a background task.

(Block clones were available starting in version 4.3 as part of our early access program.)


GCC8 with LTO

We now build all Blockbridge software written in C or C++ with the improved gcc8 toolchain. We’ve seen small performance improvements across the board, not to mention improved static checking. Additionally, our dataplane I/O processor now compiles with link-time optimizations that provide a notable boost in performance.

Segment Cache Hugepages

The segment cache is a foundation of our low-latency dataplane. The cache typically reserves between four to eight GiB of memory and is used to store metadata for recently accessed locations on disk. We now allocate this cache from a pool of 1 GiB “hugepages”, resulting in fewer TLB misses and improved performance.

Read Performance Improvements

The memory management function used to allocate scatter-gather buffers for read operations uses an improved algorithm for sourcing contiguous regions of memory. This new cache-friendly technique reduces random memory references significantly, increasing performance.

Compound Operations

Older versions of the dataplane software chopped I/O’s smaller than 128 KiB into 4 KiB chunks for processing through the storage stack. In this release, the dataplane now handles most typical cases of I/O’s that are between 4 KiB and 128 KiB as a single unit. This optimization reduces the length of the internal task queue significantly, resulting in far lower latencies.

Improved IRQ Routing

The 5.0 release includes improvements in how the dataplane balances NIC and NVMe interrupts to achieve ultra low latency. Interrupt routing for ethernet attached NVMe is now managed according to the current role of the cluster member. And, the IRQ pattern matching logic has improved to allow for smaller, simpler configuration.

Metadata Encryption Offload

The dataplane provides at-rest encryption for all metadata. Previously, encryption processing happened in the context of processing user I/O. In this release, the dataplane offloads metadata encryption to other CPU cores. This optimization improves concurrency during write operations significantly.


The dataplane was updated to use Zstandard version 1.4.3 for the Economy and Adaptive Economy data reduction modes. This version offers not only faster compression and decompression performance but also improved compression.


AMD EPYC Naples & Rome

Blockbridge now implements optimizations for the AMD EPYC line of server processors. Release 5.0 provides tight integration with the onboard SP5100 watchdog and improved handling for complex NUMA layouts.

Encrypted Cluster Heartbeating

By default, Blockbridge 5.0 installs with encrypted cluster heartbeating, using a pre-shared key unique to each cluster. Blockbridge data links have always been encrypted. Now by encrypting the cluster heartbeating, we’re protecting against rogue nodes and providing an additional line of defense against configuration mistakes.

Linux Kernel 5.4

Blockbridge now ships and supports our own kernel version based on the latest Long Term Support (LTS) linux kernel version 5.4. This kernel provides improved NVMe support, the latest network drivers, support for the latest server platforms, and the latest bug fixes from upstream linux. The bare-metal and cloud images include the blockbridge kernel built-in.

Centos 7.7

The latest CentOS 7.7 release is now the base for all Blockbridge pre-built bare-metal and cloud images.

Cluster Upgrade Performance

Client I/O interruption during an update is now less than half of what it was in early 4.x series releases. Two significant changes contribute to the performance here. First, the dataplane now uses multi-core optimized memory allocation to initialize the buffer cache on process restart. Second, clusters now upgrade their services in-place, prioritizing the quick restart of the dataplane controller and avoiding failover.

Volume Check Scheduling

The HEAL volume manager now has tight integration with the disk-level data consistency checker. You can specify a time range for each day of the week when it’s acceptable to run consistency checking, in addition to the permissible check bandwidth and the number of concurrently checking volumes. Planning metrics allow you to tune your desired check SLA with a predictable performance impact.