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New era for enterprise flash technology

01 Mar 2012

Global leader EMC Corporation has revealed details of a hardware and software solution leveraging PCIe Flash technology. The combination of VFCache and EMC Flash-enabled storage systems dramatically improves application performance by leveraging intelligent software and PCIe Flash technology. The result is an impressive 300 per cent increase in throughput and a 60 per cent reduction in latency. The decision to extend Flash technology to the server and evolving the benefits of PCIe Flash technology that can power mission-critical applications such as Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP. Now databases (CRP, ERM), OLTP, email, Web, and reporting – any read-intensive workloads with cacheable working sets – can benefit from the powerful performance benefits of PCIe Flash.Marketing manager,storage platforms ANZ, for EMC, Mark Oakley, told IT Brief it VFCache offers customers two benefits in particular that are significant. "It provides them with the data protection they require, including high availability, reliability, and disaster recovery. Second, it facilitates a complete FAST (fully automated storage tiering) data tiering strategy. VFCache can be thought of as tier -1 storage, helping to deliver the hottest data in the server (closer to the application) while EMC FAST in the array coordinates the tiering of the rest of the data optimizing the investment in infrastructure.”VFCache is the latest in a line of enterprise Flash innovation firsts, beginning in 2008 when EMC was the first to integrate Flash drives into an enterprise storage array. Putting Flash drives into the storage array achieved an order of magnitude better performance – 300 times faster data access than 15K HDD. Now, placing Flash technology in the server on a PCIe card can accelerate performance up to another order of magnitude – 4000 times faster data access than 15K HDD."EMC identified very early on that Flash technology would change the industry forever, and became the first to bring Flash to enterprise storage,” Oakley says."EMC has become the first to implement PCIe Flash in a way that ensures mission-critical applications reach new levels of performance, at the right cost, and with the level of protection and intelligence that customers demand.”Residing in the server and eliminating the need for hot data to travel through the network to the storage array, VFCache is the fastest PCIe server Flash caching solution currently available. With throughput performance boosted in some cases up-to 3X and latency reduced by 60 per cent, the PCIe Flash cards use four times less CPU and memory resources than competing solutions. Over the next 12 months, EMC plans to add deduplication technology to VFCache, enabling customers to achieve even more efficiency from Flash technology. Additional Flash capacity and form factors will also be supported. VFCache will also more deeply integrate with EMC storage management technologies, and additional integration with FAST architecture. EMC’s vision for VFCache is delivering the industry’s most comprehensive, efficient and intelligent I/O path from the application to the data store. The result will be a networked infrastructure that is dynamically optimised for performance, intelligence, and protection for both physical and virtual environments.Also underway are plans for an early customer access program for 'Project Thunder' in the second quarter of this year. "Project Thunder”, optimised for high-frequency, low-latency read/write workloads, will build upon the advanced PCIe technology delivered in VFCache to leverage the power of Flash through a dedicated server networked Flash-based appliance.