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Dell Debuts Flashy Fluid Cache for SAN

By Pedro Hernandez

The server maker targets enterprise cloud and VDI environments with a new data-prioritizing product based on the company's PCI Express Flash SSDs.

Dell has jumped on the software-defined, server-side storage bandwagon.

The server and storage systems maker this week unveiled Dell Fluid Cache for SAN, an intelligent data placement solution that leverages the company's Dell PCI Express Flash solid-state drives (SSDs) to boost application performance. Dell PCI Express Flash SSDs, available in select PowerEdge servers and in capacities of 175 GB and 350 GB, employ enterprise-grade SLC NAND flash chips and deliver read and write speeds of up to 1.8 GB per second and 1.2 GB per second, respectively.

Dell is now using the technology to bridge the performance gap between storage area networks (SANs) and application servers, a strategy used by VMware's Virtual SAN software and Virident's FlashMAX Connect platform.

The new the new data management platform targets demanding workloads, like online transaction processing (OLTP), virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and the cloud. In essence, Fluid Cache for SAN pools highly utilized application data and parks it on the company's PCI Express Flash drives, which sit relatively close to the server CPU.

As a result, organizations can slash the time it would otherwise take data to traverse the network, leading to snappy applications.

Dell boasts that in tests, Fluid Cache for SAN reached a random read input/output per second (IOPS) rating of 5 million. In terms that matter for users and IT managers, the company said that the tech "improved database average response times capable of 99 percent while allowing a more than six-fold increase in the number of concurrent users – increasing from just 2200 to 14000 users."

Organizations can also expect big cost savings. Fluid Cache for SAN "can reduce cost per user by up to 71 percent," said the company in a statement.

"The solution brings data closer to compute while dramatically reducing response times," said Kishore Gagrani, Global Product Director of Dell Fluid Cache, in a blog post. "Businesses and organizations can add concurrent users while benefiting from significant performance increases as well as storage latency reduction."

High availability (HA) is also part of the deal, added Gagrani. When used with the company's flash-enabled Compellent storage systems, the tech "ensures data integrity to safeguard data from server to SAN with no single point of failure," he said. "By protecting both read and write data in the cache pool, the solution’s write-back caching ensures high availability as data processing can continue even in the event of a compute node outage."

Dell expects to ship Fluid Cache for SAN during the second half of June 2014.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

  This article was originally published on Wednesday Apr 16th 2014
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