SSD Caching Software

IBM Adds Server-Side Caching

IBM's FlashCache Server-Side Caching SoftwareIBM today announced its FlashCache Storage Accelerator, a software product that supports flash caching in a broad range of systems.  FlashCache operates over three families of IBM servers (System x, BladeCenter and Flex System) and a variety of flash types to accelerate any back-end storage, including non-IBM storage arrays.

Although the cache’s data is dynamically updated to match the random workloads of virtualized systems (i.e. to accelerate VMware), it also improves the performance of Windows and Linux environments.

The cache uses a Write Through policy to solve a number of Continue reading

OCZ Launches Database Accelerator

OCZ ZD-XL GraphicOCZ has just introduced a new software/hardware combination aimed at accelerating the performance of Microsoft SQL Server.  The OCZ ZD-XL SQL Accelerator combines a custom PCIe SSD with caching software optimized for the SQL Server workload.  The company boasted that this product won the “Best of Interop 2013″ award, a distinction certainly worth crowing about!

How does this product differ from standard caching software?  OCZ tells us that the key elements required to Continue reading

SanDisk Upgrades FlashSoft Cache

SanDisk's FlashSoft Enterprise Caching SoftwareSanDisk has rolled out a new revision of its FlashSoft server-side enterprise caching software that includes multiple improvements over the prior versions.  The new release adds:

  • Support for multiple SSDs of mixed sizes and types
  • Concatenation of two or more SSDs into a single caching volume
  • SSD mirroring for “Safe Write-Back” caching
  • A maximum cache size increase from 1TB to 2TB
  • 2,048 accelerated objects can be stored in each cache, up from the earlier release’s 255

The company prides itself in the ease with which the software and a server-side SSD can be added to a system without otherwise changing its storage architecture.

With the “Safe Write Back” feature the FlashSoft software has been upgraded Continue reading

IBM Makes Flash Even Faster

IBM Edge ConferenceAt IBM’s Edge 2013 conference last week the company not only extolled the values of flash, as does anyone who has had a flash experience, but it also showed how flash could be made even faster than it already is.

You’re probably already thinking: “Flash is about 1,000 times as fast as HDD – how do you make it even faster?”

The answer is actually pretty simple: compress the data.  If there is a limit to how much bandwidth you have going into and out of a piece of storage, you can speed it up if you can reduce the size of the data that consumes that bandwidth.

Of course, that’s not always easy.  Compression often slows data access down, even for HDDs, and it could Continue reading

PC Caching Software is Not All the Same

NVELO Dataplex Benchmarks Consistently Outperform Intel iSRTThe folks at NVELO recently provided The SSD Guy with some benchmark data comparing their Dataplex software’s performance against the Intel iSRT caching software that is becoming prevalent among Ultrabooks.

For those unaware of these two technologies, they are both caching software that automatically maintains “Hot” data within a low-capacity SSD while leaving “Cold” data on the system HDD. The end result is that the PC performs as if it boasts a large SSD when, in truth, it uses Continue reading

SSDs and Server Consolidation

Consolidating Servers with SSDsA topic The SSD Guy often brings up in presentations is the fact that SSDs can be used in enterprise applications to reduce server count, a phenomenon often called: “Server Consolidation.”  This is a confusing issue, so it bears some explanation.

There are lots of ways to accelerate an I/O-bound application.  The most direct one is to speed up the I/O.  In the past this has involved some pretty elaborate ways of using HDDs in arrays with striping and short stroking.  Many of these arrays cost a half million dollars or more.

Another is to hide the slow I/O speed by Continue reading

OCZ: Three Solid State Storage Products in Three Weeks

OCZ's PCIe Z-DriveSSD maker OCZ has been on something of a tear recently, introducing three new solid state storage products in three weeks:

  • Two weeks ago the company introduced the Z-Drive R4 CloudServ PCIe SSD, designed for the data center, in single-card capacities ranging from 300GB-16TB.  This product can transfer data at multiple gigabytes per second rates to deliver over a million IOPS.
  • Last week saw the introduction of the OCZ-SANRAD VXL enterprise storage accelerator, after OCZ’s January acquisition of SANRAD.  This product is flash cache acceleration software for VMware ESX and Citrix Xen virtualized environments that allows Continue reading

New Seagate Hybrid Drives: 2x the Flash, 2x the I/O Speed

Seagate's Momentus XT Hybrid HDDSeagate has just announced an upgrade to the company’s Momentus XT hybrid HDD family.  Seagate announced in August that the company had already shipped over one million units of its first generation Momentus XT since its May 2010 introduction.

For those unaware of what a hybrid HDD is, the short answer is that it’s a way to get HDD capacities and SSD speeds at a price marginally higher than that of an HDD. Continue reading

SSDs and Caching

IBM: Effect of Data Placement on SSD EffectivenessOne of the SSD Guy’s favorite subjects is caching and SSDs.  This is because I wrote a book on processor caches in the early 1990s, and the advent of SSD caches in storage systems hearkens back to the technology detailed in that book.

Caching works well whenever there are two layers in the memory hierarchy since the fast expensive layer can replicate data in the slow inexpensive layer to accelerate the processor’s performance. Continue reading

An HDD Cache for an SSD?

University of TorontoA colleague – Isilon’s Rob Peglar – pointed out an interesting paper written by researchers at the University of Toronto in collaboration with Microsoft.  The paper makes a case for using an HDD to cache writes to an SSD to improve storage system performance.

“Wait a minute!” you say.  “An HDD as a cache for an SSD?  This can’t be possible!” Continue reading

Contact

Jim Handy
Objective Analysis
SSD Market Research
+1 (408) 356-2549
Jim.Handy (at) Objective-Analysis.com

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