Dell Fluid Cache for SAN

Our storage development team is focused on bringing organic innovation that is disruptive in today’s technological environment. We are very excited about the recent launch of our new Dell Fluid Cache for SAN solution, which we announced two weeks ago. This application acceleration technology is designed to address issues customers face with low latency databases and virtualization, often found in the retail and financial industries. These industries need to handle rapid transaction response times in online and mobile shopping environments. This new high-performance solution can bring a positive experience for the growing numbers of
e-commerce users and enable real-time data mining to support better customer targeting, retention and support.
We recently sat down with Kishore Gagrani, Global Product Director,
Dell Fluid Cache, and talked to him about Dell’s latest innovation that is disrupting the storage industry. Below is an excerpt of our recent interview with Kishore.

KF: What is Dell Fluid Cache for SAN (Storage Attached Network)? Is it hardware or is it software?

KG: Both. Dell Fluid Cache for SAN is a fully integrated hardware and software solution optimized to bring workloads closer to the application for maximum performance. Holistically, it’s an integrated solution that integrates Dell servers, Dell Compellent storage and Dell networking to uniquely deliver transformative performance that reduces storage latency and dramatically increases application performance. With open architecture, it can also support non-Dell servers as part of the solution.

KF: How does it solve the data latency problem?

KG: Dell Fluid Cache for SAN brings the data which is more heavily used to the compute layer itself, into the server. Previously, data access required traversing a path from the application, through the switch to the storage array. Bringing the most actively used data to the compute layer solves multiple issues with storage latency including tiered storage and SAN network connectivity controller bandwidth. Think of it as getting instantaneous results without having to wait on the “hourglass” while you attempt to retrieve data.

KF: Why is this differentiated?

KG: Both from pure performance and the level of integration. The unique capability that allows this type of processing speed is the write caching. We combine write-back caching and the speed of Dell servers with the intelligence of our Compellent storage product which turbo charges application and speeds transaction processing. The solution has produced over 5 million IOPS in Dell lab tests*. In addition to the write caching capability in our offer, we can also pool multiple servers with cache together and keep adding capacity as demand grows (this is called pooled caching). No-one else in the industry can do this. It’s Dell IP that allows this intelligence to automatically execute.

KF: How was Dell Fluid Cache for SAN developed?

KG: The solution is all on Dell IP. We saw the problem in the marketplace by talking to our customers. Our direct relationships with our customers give us an advantage in identifying their biggest challenges. Our customers want and need more speed. We put a team in place, asked them to come up with a solution for our customer’s and we are extremely happy and excited about the end result.

KF: What are some of the workloads that are most affected by SAN latency? Who are some of the customers that we are really trying to reach with this solution?

KG: Think of any data intensive application for example, general OLTP (on line transaction processing), CRM (customer relationship management), ERP (enterprise resource planning), VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure), these are all workloads that can benefit by using Dell Fluid Cache for SAN. In an OLTP Dell lab test environment we reduced the average response time by 99%, and simultaneously increased the number of concurrent users from 2,200 to 14,000, that’s a 6.4x increase! That’s the kind of power Dell Fluid Cache for SAN can bring.

KF: Kishore, congratulations to you and your team on this disruptive innovation and thank-you for taking time to talk to us about it.

KG: Anytime.

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* A 2013 Dell lab test of Dell Fluid Cache for SAN achieved over 5 Million IOPS using a random read workload with a 4 KB sized block with a hardware stack consisting of: eight Dell PowerEdge R720 servers each containing two Dell Express Flash 350 GB PCIe SSDs, one Mellanox ConnectX®-3 40GE RoCE card, and Fluid Cache software; all connected to Dell Networking and Dell Compellent Storage solutions. Actual performance will vary based on configuration, usage and manufacturing variability.