Dell puts RNA Networks assets to use in new product

Dell releases Fluid Cache 1.0, which accelerates application performance via efficient caching

Dell has released a new software product designed to make solid-state-drive caching on servers more efficient, resulting in improved performance of applications such as databases.

The company's Fluid Cache 1.0 technology is the first product to be released with the technology acquired from memory virtualisation company RNA Networks in June 2011. Dell was expected to implement RNA technology when it introduced its 12G servers last year, but no announcement came.

Dell has since moved slowly with RNA, taking more than a year-and-a-half to incorporate its technologies into servers. More products based on RNA will come in the future, a Dell spokeswoman said.

The Fluid Cache 1.0 software technology sits between the Express Flash solid-state drives attached directly to the PowerEdge 12G servers. The software essentially is an application accelerator that creates a high-speed caching pool to facilitate quicker reading and writing of data from SSDs.

The software layer replicates data in cache, which improves response time without compromising the data. Dell in a blog entry claimed that the software can boost database response times by up to 95 percent, and allows for the addition of more concurrent users accessing the database.

Caching technology has been prevalent in the form of read-only cache, said Kishore Gagrani, senior product manager at Dell, in a video explaining the technology that was posted on YouTube .

"Fluid Cache... can also rewrite cache. With the write caching comes data protection. We make sure data in the cache is protected," Gagrani said.

The software can scale caching performance as more Express Flash SSDs are attached to multiple servers. Fluid Cache 1.0 works only with Linux servers for now, but the company plans to add support for more operating systems such as Windows, Gagrani said. The technology will also be expanded to network-attached storage products, and will also be optimized for Compellent, which virtualizes storage.

Customers do not need to learn any new management tools, and applications do not need to be rewritten to work with Fluid Cache, Gagrani said.

Pricing and availability information for Fluid Cache wasn't immediately provided by Dell.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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