SanDisk Upgrades FlashSoft Caching Software

FlashSoft 3.2 improves scalability over previous versions and adds multiple SSD support and safe write-back caching. By Admin

Flash memory storage solutions innovator SanDisk Corp. has released a significant upgrade to its FlashSoft software for Windows Server and Linux operating systems.

According to the developer, many of the upgrades made to the server-side solid state caching software come in direct response to partner and end-user suggestions.

“SanDisk continually improves its software products based on feedback from customers, delivering features and benefits that address requirements for large-scale, business-critical applications,” says Tom Shea, SanDisk’s vice president and general manager of software solutions. “The advancements in the FlashSoft 3.2 software enable users to increase application performance, while reducing overhead on storage systems, at a lower overall capital expense.”

By caching frequently accessed data (“hot data”) on solid-state memory installed in the server, FlashSoft software enables read and write operations for hot data to execute via the solid state device rather than underlying storage. This is designed to optimize server performance by reducing input-output latency (“I/O latency”) from storage. The software dynamically allocates the cache space to volumes based on their I/O activity for optimal efficiency in SSD utilization, while minimizing use of server CPU and memory resources.

Feedback-Based Improvements

Among the improvements made to the latest FlashSoft iteration are:

  • Increased Scalability—SMBs are using FlashSoft for increasingly larger data sets. As such, SanDisk has improved the FlashSoft caching engine to meet requirements for accelerating data-intensive workloads. FlashSoft 3.2 enables four separate caches on a single server, with each cache on its own SSD. In addition, SanDisk has increased the maximum size of each cache from 1TB to 2TB, and the number of volumes supported by a single cache has increased from 255 to 2048.
  • Multiple SSD Support—In addition to supporting multiple caches on separate SSDs, FlashSoft 3.2 supports the concatenation (linking) of multiple solid state devices to provide one larger logical SSD. When a larger solid state cache is needed, FlashSoft software gives the option of simply adding more solid state devices for incremental growth rather than requiring replacement of the existing SSD. Additionally, when implementing multiple caches, an IT manager can employ higher performing or larger SSDs for caching higher priority workloads, and more economical solid state devices for less demanding applications.
  • Safe Write-Back Caching—FlashSoft software provides the option of a write-back mode for “read-write” caching, but FlashSoft 3.2 also supports data mirroring. Data mirroring uses two identical SSDs for “safe write-back” caching where data is written to both SSDs concurrently and is available even in the event of an SSD failure. If one SSD fails, FlashSoft automatically flushes the data from the other SSD and switches to write-through mode, providing read-only caching until the SSD failure is remedied.

Specifications & Availability

FlashSoft 3.2 specs include:

  • Operating System (Windows)—Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Operating System (Linux)—Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, Oracle Linux (Versions 5.5 and Above and 6.0 and Above)
  • Server Memory Overhead—140 MB.
  • Recommended CPU—Dual Core or Greater / 2GHz or Above / 64-Bit x86 Processor
  • Cache Size—8GB (Min) to 2TB (Max) per Cache
  • Total Cache Capacity—Up to 4 Caches per Server
  • SSD—Any SSD (SAS or PCIe Recommended)

FlashSoft 3.2 for Windows Server ($3,000 USD), FlashSoft 3.2 for Linux ($3,500), and FlashSoft 3.1 for VMware vSphere ($3,900) are available now and may be purchased from SanDisk or through authorized resellers. Software maintenance and support is available from SanDisk for all FlashSoft software products.