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CacheIO

CacheIO, founded in 2012, develops a portfolio of all-flash storage systems including all-flash cache and all-flash array.

Combining patent pending flash optimization software with commodity hardware, CacheIO has demonstrated unprecedented performance and cost per gigabyte for both IOPS-intensive applications (databases and virtual machines) and bandwidth-intensive applications (uncompressed 4K media production and big data analytics). For more information, visit www.cacheio.com.

see also:- CacheIO's blog
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Who's who in SSD? - CacheIO

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - June 2014

CacheIO was founded in January 2012 by Bang Chang and Bruce Mann who had worked together (as CTO and GM respectively) in an earlier storage company called SeaChange International- which had introduced an SSD based server to the video on demand market in 2006.

CacheIO shipped their first product in January 2013 - an SSD based block level caching appliance to accelerate application performance.

Bang told me in May 2013 the new product had good reviews in customer product trials at a number of world leading user companies in various industries (which he named but didn't want me to disclose publicly) - where they were accelerating Oracle RACs and VMs.

In those days (just as now) I was aware of hundreds of vendors which were doing auto-tiering or caching with hybrid arrays using COTS SSDs (FYI - CacheIO uses the M500 - which are 2.5" SATA SSDs from Micron) - and I didn't create a listing for CacheIO at that time - because I was focusing my content on pure SSD companies and on SSD software companies which had industry wide ambitions - and technologies which would change entire markets.

I thought I'd wait to see how CacheIO's business model matured and wait until they were able to talk publicly about some of those customers. Which is what brings us here.

CacheIO has products which intersect with these markets CacheIO's Flash Cache product has a regular RAM cache (800GB battery backed DRAM) which front ends a 48TB array of COTS SAS SSDs. The company says "it is designed to be plugged into an existing SAN to accelerate its performance without causing application downtime. There is no need to replace the existing storage, the existing switches, or the existing HBAs."

Editor's comments:- in functional terms CacheIO's product (like many others) superficially resembles the very first SSD ASAP appliance which came to market in 2009 - the XcelaSAN from Dataram. But in important respects it's completely different.

The most important respect being that the concept of using arrays of COTS 2.5" SSDs - provides a degree of market roadmap symmetry and scalability - which proprietary flash arrays from SSD market newcomers can promise but can't guarantee.

The other difference - as we're seeing in the SSD software market - is that there are hundreds of permutations of cache management policy which arise from a handful of fundamental design decisions rooted in the cache data architecture.

Which means that while many FC SAN caching products look similar - in reality - some work better than others when installed in favored cache-aware applications.
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Editor:- June 10, 2014 - CacheIO today announced results of a benchmark which is described by their collaborator Orange Silicon Valley (a telco) as - "One of the top tpm benchmark results accelerating low cost iSCSI SATA storage."

CacheIO says that the 2 million tpm benchmark on CacheIO accelerated commodity servers and storage shows that users can deploy its flash cache to accelerate their database performance without replacing or disrupting their existing servers and storage.

Editor's comments:- The only reason I mention this otherwise me-too sounding benchmark is because although I've known about CacheIO and what they've been doing with various organizations in the broadcast and telco markets for over a year - I didn't list them on StorageSearch.com before.

That was partly because they didn't want me to name the customers they were working with at that time - but also because with SSD caching companies becoming almost as numerous as tv channels on a satellite dish - I wanted to wait and see if they would be worth a repeat viewing. (And now I think they they are.)

PS - I asked Bang Chang, CEO of CacheIO if he had a white paper which talked more about the company's cache architecture and philosophy. He sent me this - CacheIO High Availability Deployment (pdf) - from which I've extracted these quotes...
  • re network cache appliances - "At CacheIO we believe that network cache appliance is the best storage architecture to decouple performance from capacity and achieve the best of both worlds.

    Once deployed as a "bump in the wire" performance accelerator, our network cache appliance can also deliver additional value added services... Compared to server-side Flash cache, our network cache appliance is a shared resource that is more scalable, more reliable, supports clustered applications, and most importantly allows customers, especially cloud service providers, to monetize performance by dynamically allocating resources based on changing SLAs."
  • re operational transparency - "Implementing CacheIO network appliance requires no change to existing applications, servers, or storage. CacheIO can be slotted in, turned on to accelerate applications, and turned off if necessary, often without needing to stop the applications."
I found it interesting to see that in addition to conventional connections (SAN and InfiniBand) their HA paper also mentions emerging PCIe fabric.



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