Dell Fluid Cache Pools Multiple Servers' PCIe Flash For Fast App Performance


Dell this week provided new details and updated availability of its Dell Fluid Cache for SAN, a new technology that ties the flash storage of multiple servers into a pool of high-performance storage for mission-critical applications.

Dell unveiled a major new version of its Dell Compellent Storage Center software, which supports live volume movement of application data between storage systems and servers using Dell Fluid Cache. It also introduced new capabilities in its Dell EqualLogic and VRTX storage solutions.

Dell Fluid Cache for SAN targets the elimination of the performance bottleneck between traditional storage and server technologies as a way to increase application efficiency, said Brian Payne, executive director for Dell server solutions.

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"If you have a system with servers, storage and networking working together, you can eliminate the bottlenecks," Payne said. "With Dell Fluid Cache for SAN bringing servers, storage and networking together, customers are able to ensure data is available for the best performance."

Dell Fluid Cache for SAN is a caching software that runs across a minimum of three Dell servers, each of which includes a Dell PowerEdge Express Flash PCIe flash storage device, Payne said. Up to eight servers can be tied together with Dell Fluid Cache for SAN as long as at least three are Dell servers with the Express Flash PCIe devices, he said.

"It creates a new caching layer across up to eight servers, all of which are connected by a low-latency, RDMA over Ethernet networking," he said. "That allows the servers to share application data without the need to go to the shared storage network."

Fluid Cache, which brings solid state storage to the server bus, is an order of magnitude faster than solid state storage in the SAN, said Paul Clifford, president of Davenport Group, a St. Paul-based solution provider and longtime Dell channel partner.

"Solid state storage is changing everything," Clifford said. "By moving it to the server bus, you can build a pool of cache large enough to move data while keeping it in cache, mirror it in cache, and then flush it out when needed. Now applications are no longer waiting for data. And all this is offered in such a way that the solution won't bog down."

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