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Dell adds Fluid Cache for Compellent

Fluid Cache for SAN brings low-latency server-based caching of hot data to Dell's Compellent storage arrays.

Dell today extended its flash caching capabilities with Fluid Cache for SAN, a year after it launched a similar product for direct attached storage (DAS).

Dell also upgraded its Compellent Storage Center management software and PowerVault VRTX converged system.

Fluid Cache uses PCI-based flash in PowerEdge servers as a cache to reduce latency. Dell launched Fluid Cache for DAS in early 2013 and demonstrated Fluid Cache for SAN last June at the Dell Enterprise Forum conference. Fluid Cache for SAN uses Dell Compellent arrays for back-end storage for the server-based flash cache. Hot data is stored in the cache and less frequently accessed data is moved to the array.

Bob Fine, director of product marketing at Dell Compellent, said Fluid Cache for SAN is integrated with the Dell Compellent Enterprise Manager to improve performance for applications that require fast access to data; including online transaction procession, data warehousing and virtual desktop infrastructure.

"Over the past year, we have been adding flash into storage," Fine said. "But what if you can extend the SAN and put most of the active blocks into the server? Fluid Cache makes all the servers aware of each other, this is for performance scale-up capability and data protection. We are building an N+1, so if you lose one server then the other can pick up the load. We are bringing that high availability in the server as well as storage."

Fine said the Fluid Cache has extended intelligent data placement in the SAN to the servers. For instance, the servers read certain blocks in database applications instead of the SAN, bringing data requests closer to the compute power.

Dell's new Compellent Storage Center 6.5 software supports Fluid Cache for application acceleration and synchronous replication in Live Volume to restore data non-disruptively. Dell also added block-level compression for inactive data placed in cold storage.

The software is also enhanced with a multi-virtual LAN (VLAN) tagging capability that allows service providers to offer service levels on secure virtual domains on the same Storage Center array. Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-3 encryption was also added for data security.

Dell also expanded its PowerEdge VRTX platform that includes servers, storage and networking in one box. VRTX is now available in a four-socket PowerEdge M820 configuration with an optional redundant PowerEdge RAID Controller, for RAID failover inside the VRTX chassis.

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