QLogic's New FabricCache: Performance Boost Made Easy

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QLogic Thursday unveiled a flash-based caching SAN adapter targeted at connecting flash storage in multiple servers into a high-performance, shared pool.

The new QLogic FabricCache 10000 adapter is the first iteration of QLogic's Mt. Rainier family of high-speed flash storage-based technology that allows multiple servers to share their flash-based cache.

The QLogic FabricCache 10000 adapter is aimed at adding performance to applications that can benefit from high-speed flash storage but increasingly do not run on a single server, said Chris Humphrey, vice president of corporate marketing for the Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based vendor.


[Related: QLogic's New Mt. Rainier Tech Uses HBAs, Turns Flash Storage Into Shared Cache]

PCIe flash cache in servers is great for adding performance but suffers from a need to add additional software drivers and from the fact that applications today want to run across multiple servers, Humphrey said.

"PCIe flash is server-captive," he said. "It's direct-attached storage, set up only for applications that run on one server. But most data center applications today are clustered. You can't run server-side applications on such cards."

The QLogic FabricCache 10000 overcomes that limit by combining a standard Fibre Channel adapter with SLC flash memory and QLogic's FabricCache software, Humphrey said.

The software combines the cache from multiple adapters over a Fibre Channel network into a pool. For instance, Humphrey said, with a standard PCIe flash adapter, 400 GB of flash storage in a server means that an application can only use 400 GB. However, with a QLogic FabricCache 10000 adapter with 400 GB of flash storage inside four servers, an application can take advantage of up to 1.6 TB of flash cache, he said.

QLogic decided to base its first QLogic FabricCache 10000 adapter on a standard 8-Gbps Fibre Channel adapter because of the huge installed base of servers running 2-Gbps and 4-Gbps Fibre Channel.

"For the installed base out there running enterprise-class applications using clustered shared storage, 2-Gbps to 8-Gbps Fibre Channel is still the primary storage protocol," Humphrey said. "We want to bring this performance acceleration to a large installed base."

That said, QLogic plans to introduce a 10-Gbps iSCSI version some time this calendar year, Humphrey said.

NEXT: FabricCache Targeting Large Installed Base, Easy Deployment

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