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Adaptec blows hot and cold for SSDs

As solid state drives (SSDs) gain more play in enterprise storage, the emphasis shifts from the drives themselves to the software used to control data on SSDs and hard drives.

That management capability was the impetus for Texas Memory Systems’ acquisition of Incipient’s storage virtualization IP, and for intelligent data placement software that EMC and IBM have pledged to deliver.

That is also the key to the MaxIQ SSD Cache Performance Solution that Adaptec rolled out today. Billed as a hybrid SSD-hard drive system by Adaptec, it is actually Adaptec’s MaxIQ SSD caching software combined with a 32GB Intel X25-E SATA SSD.

The software serves as a higher-performance cache by copying frequently accessed “hot” data directly into the SSD cache to improve performance. I/O for the hot data comes from the SSDs, while “cold” data goes to spinning disk.

“Our controller is an agnostic piece in the middle of the data traffic and does all the monitoring,” Adaptec marketing director Scott Cleland says. “If a read request meets the threshold of hot data, it gets copied to the MaxIQ SSD and subsequent requests come from the MaxIQ SSD.”

Adaptec claims it can deliver more than five times the IOPS of disk arrays. It also uses NAND flash instead of DRAM to keep down costs, much like NetApp did with the Performance Acceleration Module IIit launched last month.

MaxIQ will be delivered mostly through distributors and resellers, and Cleland says a MaxIQ SSD Cache Performance Kit costs $1,295 for a 32GB X25-E Extreme with the caching software.

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