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


Four years ago the storage industry introduced consumers to the world of SSDs and SSD technology has jumped by leaps and bounds since.  Today, I write this article on a 2.47 lb Toshiba Portege Z830 Ultrabook that is just over .5″ think and contains a SSD that is pushing out 500MB/s transfer speeds and has access times 90 times above that of a hard drive.  Beat that.

In this barrage of SSD releases however, the consumer has been very clear in the fact that there are three factors that must be met in their storage needs; performance, capacity and value.  Solid state drives have speed but no value when considering capacity whereas hard drives have capacity and value without the performance of the SSD.  Where do we go from here?

NVELO seems to have found that key element where we have shown, with just about every mSATA available today, that performance, capacity and value are within reach.  If you are lucky enough to have a Lenovo, Dell or any other Latop that can utilize both mSATA and a hard drive, we are within steps of finally finding having that performance and capacity at a price easily below $200.

blankWe have tested Dataplex on two available OCZ products and seven additional mSATA products and the resulting performance of the hard drive cached is very similar to that of the SSD in each instance.  In addition, the ‘hot data’ that is cached remains on the SSD even after the system is shut down resulting in lightning fast start times and just as fast performance the next time you turn the system back on.

The problem seems to now fall on the shoulders of NVELO.  OCZ was quick to latch on to Dataplex and their sales of both the RevoDrive 3 Hybrid PCIe and the Synapse SSD are phenomenal.  They have the desktop crowd.  But what about laptop users? Unfortunately, NVELO is not ‘yet’ available to the consumer.  I can take a very educated guess, however,  that laptop manufacturers are looking Dataplex over very carefully and the thought of a consumer release Dataplex software package is being thrown around that company.  It is simply too smart of a decision as far as we are concerned.

At the end of the day, as much as I would like to award this product with Editors Choice, its lack of consumer availability is a huge consideration that NVELO should try to overcome.  I am happy to present our Innovation Award and this report will be revisited and updated as soon as this product is available to consumer!


Thoughts or Opinions?  Ideas? Comments?  Questions?  Remarks?


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    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 I still in need of a miniSATA driver?

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    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.

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    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 straight SATA 3…at least for sustained read/write speeds or what would be SATA 3s reason for existence?

    There are lies, damn lies and then there are disk speed benchmark results. Where did all the cached drive performance go (relative to a standalone SSD) in your ‘real world’, actual usage tests? Either I’m reading the results incorrectly (quite possible) or you got some ‘splaining to do Lucy.

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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.

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        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 write speeds without compression? Is the data being written on two channels at the same time? You can say you don’t know but don’t act like these write results make sense in the absence of an explanation.

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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.

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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.

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        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.

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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.

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        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.

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

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    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

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    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 also allows the end-user to utilize the SSD of their choice & they are not limited to an OCZ product.

    There are also a few other software vendors out there offering something similar, but the Romex version looks to be the most flexible & robust (to-date anyway).

    Any interest in reviewing something like this?
    It should be incredibly useful to those of us that follow your site.


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    how were you able to get the dataplex software on to the other SSDs??I thought it was just installed on the OCZ?

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      We have a close relationship with NVELO who have provided us with open copies of the software for the purpose of such reviews.

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        So I’m guessing I can’t get my hands on that software right now. I have a Intel 525 mSATA SSD installed in my notebook with a 1TB 3 gb/s/5400RPM HDD as the main drive. I can’t use IRST because my notebook does not have RAID mode available. If I can’t use that special copy of the software can you recommend one that could give me caching abilities for my ssd?

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        Unfortunately there is none…sorry.

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        Thanks for the reply. I was able to purchase a Intel 520 6GB for less than $1/gb so I don’t think I’ll need a caching software.

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    FYI: there’s a thread here which started out discussing SuperCache 5,
    and then migrated into a discussion of FancyCache:



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    I already have my Dell Precision running on 128GB SSD drive from crucial
    Will I get any benefit by deploying another SSD as cache and installing the dataplex software ?

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    question: I am using Dataplex. Does the data just migrate from HDD to SSD or is it copied there while remaining safely on my HDD? Many people are reporting a Win7 loss or system crashing while using this software.

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      Only the ‘hot’ data is moved to your SSD and the hard drive remains unchanged. The drive needs to be uninstalled properly to gain access to the hard drive alone as it was prior to its use with the caching software however.

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