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Flash Virtualization Software Unveiled

The company uses software to enable SSDs and PCIe flash memory devices as server-tier read-write cache and accelerate the overall performance of databases and other applications on servers.

The software addresses a general cost and performance problem in data centers. While flash processes data much faster than hard drives, the cost is often prohibitive. However, Flash virtualization can cut the amount of necessary Flash memory significantly, while increasing the application performance by a factor of four to ten, FlashSoft claims.

It basically manages the data is most often and most likely used in a limited capacity of flash. The company believes that only 10% of available data needs to be kept close to the server and on flash, while 90% of data that is more than 90 days old may never be accessed and does not need expensive flash storage. The management of Flash memory requires RAM horsepower. However, the company said that 100 MB of RAM is good enough to manage 1 TB of flash.

FlashSoft SE is available for Microsoft's Windows Server 2008 R2 now and is expected to be released for Linux later this summer. The software requires a minimum SSD size of 8GB and works up to capacities of 1 TB. A free demo version can be download from the company's website.

  • dalauder
    I've gotta get my Windows 2008 Server up and try this out! It sounds like it could be pretty awesome.

    Eh...maybe I'll just wait and do it on Linux. Then I can try it on my laptop...maybe.
    Reply
  • brandonjclark
    As a storage and virtualization architect for the 58th largest company in the world, let me tell you that we are excited about this.
    Reply
  • brandonjclark
    I should add that software such as this can reduce or negate the need for an enterprise filer, such as a NetApp or IBM Nseries.
    Reply
  • knowom
    So how is t his software any different than Supercache/Supervolume which have been around for awhile now and are very tweak able.

    Tom's Hardware needs to get with the program I've been using Supercache/Supervolume to do the same thing for a solid year now.

    One more thing Supercache/Supervolume works for any type of storage device partition including, but not limited to SD flash or USB flash which it can drastically improve to the point of astonishment.
    Reply
  • RazberyBandit
    The tech sounds a lot like Intel's SSD caching, only intended for server environments and database deployment.
    Reply
  • applegetsmelaid
    It's stuff like this that renews my faith in humanity.
    Reply
  • rpetersen
    Full disclosure: I'm with FlashSoft.

    @brandonjclark, you are right. When 75% of server IO runs to the SSD in the server over a PCIe or SAS interface, the load on the SAN is greatly reduced.

    @knowom, Supercache/Supervolume are good caching options, especially for a RAM disk. FlashSoft is designed specifically for caching on enterprise SSD architectures to accelerate server applications, so we never thought about caching on media like SD cards or USB drives.

    We haven't seen Supercache considered for the scenarios in which FlashSoft is used, so we haven't really investigated it. If there's any good documentation online for using Supercache with a SAS or PCIe SSD that's 128GB or larger, that would be the kind of scenario we'd want to compare against.

    @RazberyBandit, you are exactly right. The biggest issue for PCs is OS boot time and application launching, and Intel seems to be taking that on in a very smart way. On servers, we try to reduce IO latency to improve DB performance & workload, as well as VM performance and density. So server-focused caching may use different amounts of SSD and apply different algorithms to prioritize what should go in the cache.
    Reply
  • Big one step to SBC, I am expecting. Qestion is how to config RAID structure on the PCIe cold memory?
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  • @knowom, As rpetersen mentioned, it's for SSD.. not ram drives. I would be curious as to how well supercache peforms in a vmware environment given how memory is dynamically allocated... Although seeing as how they are microsoft partners, maybe it plays nice with hyper-v.

    Basically, better SSD caching would be a godsend especially to microsoft and their somewhat restricted 2008r2 storage server. It would be it something comparable to ZFS and the ability to utilize SSD as read/write cache rather then just having a fixed tier storage option. I would hope to get this to a similar level where you could in effect have the ability to move data amongst different tiers of data instead of just having SSD's act as cache as well. Say have being able to have raid1 SSD drives as fixed drives and raid 0 drives act as the cache.

    Something like this would be nice to match the abilities of say a compellent SAN we use, where you could conceivably setup things with generic equipment, have similar functionality of a ZFS storage but have the "nicer" gui of windows.

    I really do wish they did come out with more ram drives though.. You can never beat system memory serving up as a cache and its even nicer when you don't have to take away from your system memory to do it.
    Reply
  • RazberyBandit
    9297065 said:
    @RazberyBandit, you are exactly right. The biggest issue for PCs is OS boot time and application launching, and Intel seems to be taking that on in a very smart way. On servers, we try to reduce IO latency to improve DB performance & workload, as well as VM performance and density. So server-focused caching may use different amounts of SSD and apply different algorithms to prioritize what should go in the cache.
    Rpeterson, thanks for the reply. Can you explain how your tech is any different than say GridIron's Turbocharger? On the surface, all these SSD file caching techs seem just about the same...
    Reply