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QLogic Corp.'s first product release from its Mt. Rainier server-side PCI Express (PCIe) flash cache-pooling technology is our 2013 storage infrastructure Product of the Year. Our judges scored the QLogic FabricCache 10000 Series host bus adapter (HBA) highest in innovation and performance among the four category finalists to give QLogic the top prize for a second year in a row.
The Mt. Rainier adapter, which QLogic calls the industry's first SAN adapter, combines the HBA driver, solid-state drive (SSD) driver and filter driver on one card along with caching intelligence and I/O management, although the server operating system sees it as a typical adapter.
The network-connected FabricCache cards can discover and communicate with each other to share and mirror caches and data pools across servers. The storage pools can then be carved into smaller volumes. Users can migrate virtual machines between physical servers while maintaining the cache since there's only one active cache copy in the cluster.
"QLogic has [shown] some innovation here to support using flash technology for server-side caching," one judge said. Other judges commented on the adapter's on-card cache and flash-cache management and "bang for the buck."
This first-generation product supports 8 Gbps Fibre Channel (FC) SANs, but 16 Gbps FC and 10 Gbps Ethernet cards are also on the roadmap.
The QLogic FabricCache HBA also scored highest in performance among our judges and tied for the highest score in functionality, usability and management. The adapter can be managed with the command-line interface, QLogic console or with plug-ins for VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer hypervisors.
QLogic sells the adapters by themselves or bundled with 200 GB or 400 GB PCIe single-level cell flash cards attached with PCIe cables. Certification with industry-standard solid-state cards is also planned.
EDITOR'S NOTE:Only one award is presented in the Storage magazine Products of the Year 2013 storage infrastructure category.