by Brian Beeler

QLogic Announces Mt. Rainier Server-Based SSD Caching

QLogic has announced the Mt. Rainier project, code name for their upcoming server-side caching solution which is designed for enterprise application acceleration. The solution combines QLogic's SAN HBA technology with server-based flash storage and software to deliver OS-independent caching in a variety of configurations. Mt. Rainier centers around the QLogic PCIe HBA base adapter card for logic and cache management, which then connects to the flash tier in a variety of potential ways including PCIe, SAS/SATA or as a daughter card if the PCIe BUS can support a 50W power draw. 

QLogic has also endeavored to simplify the entire solution using a single QLogic adapter driver. The SSD and filter drivers run within the Mt. Rainier host adapter, rather than on the compute system, which not only makes the caching solution more compatible with host operating systems, but lowers overhead as well and makes deployment more striaght forward. QLogic also supports a wide range of SSDs, giving customers flexibility when selecting SATA, SAS or PCIe flash storage for the cache. 

Shared Cache
Where one cache server is good, more are better. In this case QLogic compounds the benefits of caching by offering shared caches across the network. Many clustered enterprise applications and virtual server environments require shared storage resources. This is a problem for server-based caching solutions in that these applications generally cannot take advantage of the local direct attached storage cache on each server. Mt. Rainier is unique in that the architecture makes the shared cache available across multiple servers, all transparent to the host. Each Mt. Rainier card knows which LUNs have been cached offering support for clustered environments like VMware, Exchange, database applications and the like. Additionally flash storage can be provisioned into storage LUNs from a shared pool across multiple servers, affording even more flexibility and performance. 

Cache Mirroring
To address high availability concerns QLogic offers synchronous peer-to-peer mirroring across two Mt. Rainier adapters, providing an additional layer of data protection for mission-critical applications. As part of the mirroring feature, QLogic offers write-through and write-back caching modes. The write-back option is nice bonus for heavy write workloads where transactional performance can be substantially improved by the cache. 

Availability
QLogic Mt. Rainier availability details and pricing will be forthcoming; though an 8Gb FC version of the solutions is planned for early 2013.

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