All of our extensive testing with Iometer is, at the end of the day, merely synthetic testing. A program such as this is no easy task to benchmark, especially when using synthetic measurements. The main thrust of the testing is to reproduce situations that are similar to real world applications and how they would behave.
I feel that, if anything, our tests have under-emphasized the performance of this product in the server application. I understand this may be hard to believe considering the absolutely massive gains that we have seen here, but one cannot underestimate the power of write caching. Simply put, it is very hard to synthesize results that can show just how much the small random writes can paralyze HDD arrays under certain scenarios. If you add RAID 5 or RAID 6 into the mix, you can see some drastic slowdowns. Any Raidset with parity on an HDD array can be painful to deal with.
Here I will acquiesce to an LSI document that shows some of the results from standard real world application benchmarks. This is a graphic comparing the acceleration results between the previous version of CacheCade, which is read-only caching, and the current Pro version.
A FINAL CONSIDERATION
One thing that raid sets with parity bring is data security. Another thing that they bring is degradation and rebuilding periods. Unfortunately these scenarios can hobble any storage subsystem regardless of how busy it is. A degraded or rebuilding array simply does not care how inconvenient it is for the users or administrators. Such is life in a data center, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a parachute of sorts? With so many features of CacheCade Pro and the multitude of great things that it can accomplish, this is just yet another value-added proposition for one to consider. One of the most important metrics is up-time and solid, sustainable performance during usage. Nothing is more frustrating than a degraded or rebuilding array.
Here we can see the tremendous amount of stability that having a fast, nimble cache flash layer can provide. When the storage solution is under duress, the flash caching can raise to the occasion to smooth out the transition period. A click of the chart will provide an up-close view of the graph.
With our last CacheCade review, we closed noting that there was only one drawback to CacheCade, that being that read data is not kept upon reboot. While this is still an issue, luckily there is hope in sight! The write data in this version, being of great importance for data integrity, has to be maintained. They have come up with a way of preserving the write tables. We are happy to report that they are currently working on retaining the read tables as well, and LSI is including read data retention in the next incremental upgrade for CacheCade Pro. Along the same timeline this capability will be extended to the flagship 9265 controller along with RAID 5 capabilities for the caching volumes. Did we forget to mention Caching Volumes being extended up to 2 TB?
We are also happy to report that the upgrade to CacheCade Pro 2.0 is going to be free for the current users of CacheCade V1.0!
This is great for users that already have implemented this into their systems. With the exciting upgrade that Pro is and the future upgrades that are in the pipeline, this product is simply the cream of the crop when it comes to the caching alternatives available today.
Simplicity and ease-of-use are really the hallmarks of this application. Once configured, the software handles all of the parameters with absolutely minimal human intervention. There is now a CLI command method of sampling caching statistics, and this is soon to be included in the GUI. The management software is easy and unobtrusive, and truly is plug-and-play. Pop in some SSDs, upgrade the card, and off you go. It really is just that simple.
I remember the performance that we were dealing with just a few short years ago with HDD arrays and, in particular,RAID 5 and RAID 6. Sluggish and painful, R5 and R6 have led many to frustration, especially when they are in sub-optimal states. Usher in the SSD revolution, and things are notably different. The capability of these devices is bringing about new and exciting opportunities for datacenters and administrators everywhere.
The findings included in this review, and soon in a data center near you, all point to the same thing. CacheCade Pro is the perfect fusion of HDD and SSD technology, and allows for great price points for those in need of more performance. At just $270 the price for the upgrade itself is very small considering that most of the infrastructure, in most cases, is already there. There is no need to do massive restructuring and you can still gain some very large performance gains. One server can essentially begin to do the work of several, just by a topical upgrade.
Once the data is considered and the benefits weighed, it is quite simply the best upgrade that one could make to an existing server in need of acceleration. Best of all, with the fast pace which LSI is moving at, there will be many more exciting possibilities with CacheCade Pro in the future!
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