NVELO Dataplex SSD Caching Software Review – Seven mSATA SSDs Prove An Amazing Concept

One of the largest voids consumers have spoken of in storage technology has been the inability to combine our new found speed of SSDs with the capacity of the hard drive.

Our latest review of the Toshiba Portege Z830 Ultrabook reached new heights with SSD speeds of 550MB/s now possible in laptops as light as 2.4lbs and just over 1/2″ thick but this still leaves a question of capacity.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the speed of the SSD combined with the capacity of a hard drive in a notebook solution without breaking the bank?  Well, it is not a possibility with our Z830 but for the Lenovo X220 and any other notebook with mSATA and HDD storage combined, this may not be such a far reach.

Lets take this one step further.  Today’s review will not be your typical quick one off of what most likely will be a reality in the near future, but rather, an initial break in of our Lenovo X220 laptop in testing NVELO Dataplex with every mSATA that we could muster up.  We think this will probably be the leading collection of mSATA SSDs on the web today with manufacturers such as Intel, Samsung, Toshiba, Kingston, AData, Runcore and Renice all taking part.

THE EVOLUTION OF NVELO AND DATAPLEX

NVELO was formed in 2010 when Cadence Design Systems acquired Denali Software and a few Denali employees saw the viability of a new design in caching software as a great solution in today’s storage environment. NVELO subsequently became its own entity and is now in the business of marketing Dataplex, a storage caching software that just makes too much sense to believe it is anything less than a breakthrough.

DATAPLEX CACHING SOFTWARE

Dataplex simply uses a SSD to create a ‘high performance’ cache for your hard drive.  This cache can be used from an SSD as small as 32GB and gives your hard drive very close performance to that of your SSD.  OCZ was the first to support NVELO and our recent reviews of both the RevoDrive 3 Hybrid PCIe SSD and the Synapse Cache SSD show that this software is going to open some eyes.

HOW DATAPLEX WORKS

Dataplex manages the entire hard drive and caches the ‘hot’ data while leaving the ‘cold’ data on the hard drive.  The software actually learns and remembers which applications and data are used most and retains that information on the SSD.  A great example of this occurs during system start up.

The typical computer might start at over a minute with a hard drive alone, whereas it starts in 15 seconds with an SSD.  With Dataplex, it not only starts the cached hard drive at the time of the SSD, but also, you can turn your system off and come back tomorrow for that 15 second start up once again.  Dataplex remembers and retains the files that are used most.

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John LyuLes@TheSSDReviewMarco PennaMohdaliMRFS Recent comment authors
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John
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John

I have a question after some background information. I have an aging Dell Vostro 1500 notebook originally built to run Win Vista. It will allow use of a flash cache module (FCM) connectable using what appears to be a miniPCI connection. These miniSATAs appear to be miniPCI cards, but unlike the FCM that may have available drivers, I am unaware of drivers to make these miniSATAs work. If all the above is correct information, can I add one of these miniSATA’s cards to my Dell and have this caching software work with it to achieve this same goal. Or am… Read more »

Christopherkr
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Christopherkr

I’m wondering the same thing as John. I have a latitude D630 which has the same FCM port, and I’ve not found out what it supports.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Are you really trying to tell me that a cached drive writes data faster than the SSD drive that is doing the caching???? This makes absolutely NO sense. Please explain. You can’t just throw out test results like that and then just expect people to accept the test’s veracity. What is the Dataplex software doing to the data that would cause this increase in write performance over a bare SSD? Is it some kind of compression? What am I missing? Also, I’m confused about bus speed. A SATA 3 SSD on a SATA 2 controller has to be slower than… Read more »

Les@TheSSDReview
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The tests results are exactly as they are stated in the charts. As far as SATA 3 speeds on a SATA 2 controller, all SATA 3 SSDs are backwards compatible and we never found anything unusual in those results as well. We really don’t know what there would be to exlplain that might assist. All tests were done from the same laptop, all with the same HDD and caching software. The tests were simply the SSD scores and then the HDD cached scores from the specific SSD.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Am I being punk’d? Where is Ashton Kutcher? Did you even read my questions? What’s the difference whether the SSD is caching the data or just writing the data as a ‘normal’ SSD when it comes to write speed? Isn’t caching and writing the same thing? Obviously not, if the speed increases, but that then leaves the question regarding what is different unanswered. The only variable is the Dataplex software. So, I ask again…what is the Dataplex software doing that would increase write speed (higher than a standalone SSD)? How do you get BOTH increased access times AND increased sustained… Read more »

Les@TheSSDReview
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I would like to help you but am afraid that there is really no way to do that. The results are the results and were consistent through a few tests, most commonly with the SF drives with respect to the increased write speed. Tx ahead.

Les@TheSSDReview
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We have a bit of a return regarding the write speeds.

This is all in the noise. From the results, it looks like NVELO varies 5-10% better in some cases and 5-10% worse in other cases. With caching, the software write location/pattern is unique, such that sometimes it can outperform the SSD. In the future, it may be possible to do better more consistently based on the fact that the software recognizes that it is writing to SSD while the application thinks it’s just writing to some random storage device.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

If this is the case, I would assume that as SSDs become more prevalent many software developers will begin to optimize their code for these drives.

Also, is there any way for The SSD Review to run tests to discern the difference in read/write speeds between a SATA 3 SSD running on a SATA 2 controller from a SATA 2 SSD running on the same SATA 2 controller. I’m trying to figure out if the controller or the drive is the main contributor to performance. Thanks.

Gerald Monroe
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Fairly simple explanation : the writes are being performed by both the SSD and the HDD at the same time, each of them splitting the task respective to their relative speeds. Eventually the part of the data that was cached to the SSD will be moved to the hard drive, probably during either the next reboot or when the file system is not as busy.

NVELO is a software company with tens of employees and millions of dollars. It isn’t surprising that their product is more complex than you might expect.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Thanks for the info. Do you work for Nvelo? Could you point me to a website where this information is documented so I can read more about it? I’m curious how the software is able to write to two channels at the same time and how this ends up being faster than simply writing to the SSD. I didn’t know the bus speed was the weak link in the data storage process.

Les@TheSSDReview
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I don’t work for NVelo and might suggest you contact them for additional information.

Lori
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Lori

I got subscribed to an email list and don’t even know how…can’t find a way to unsubscribe and any attempts by email fell on blind eyes I guess

Craig
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Les, I appreciate your team’s reviews, they are informative & I learn something useful every time I visit your site. Regarding the ability to cache data on a PC to increase performance: Any plans on reviewing other cache software other than Dataplex? Romex Software has a product in beta testing called FancyCache that uses System RAM as Level-1 cache & unseen RAM or an SSD as Level-2 cache. The performance is amazing. Unlike Dataplex, the Romex software is highly user adjustable & they have built in many safeguards to prevent system crashes & hang-ups (write flushing, etc). The Romex software… Read more »

Les@TheSSDReview
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If you can put us in touch with this company or this company in touch with us, we would definitely be interested in taking a closer look.

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