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Need faster storage? These 2 technologies are better than 1

Peter Krass's picture

by Peter Krass on 12/17/2020
Blog Category: cloud-and-data-centers

Sometimes 2 technologies really are better than 1. Your data-center customers can clear storage bottlenecks, boost I/O performance and increase server utilization by combining Intel Optane SSD storage with Intel Cache Acceleration Software (CAS).
In Intel’s own test with a single-node configuration, the company found that for about $300, a user organization can take advantage of the smart caching of Intel CAS along with the high write endurance and speed of an Intel Optane SSD.
Intel also found that this dynamic duo can boost transactions per minute by an order of magnitude on a hard-disk drive (HDD) system, and by up to 1.8x on a SATA SSD system.
That’s important because storage bottlenecks are a serious problem. They can slow applications and online transactions, hurting the overall user experience. 
The low cost of this solution is important, too. Many companies try to clear storage bottlenecks by adding costly hardware, only to find that with slow storage media such as a HDD or a SATA-based SSD, even the best processor can fall short. By comparison, the combination of Intel Optane SSD and Intel CAS boosts storage performance a whole lot more simply, affordably and quickly. 
Longer life
Using an Intel Optane SSD can also extend the life of your customers’ capacity tier SSDs, in some cases by more than 4 years. It does this by caching data and taking pressure off the SATA SSDs. 
The same approach can also lower your customers’ need for DRAM. Intel Optane SSDs essentially function like a cross between long- and short-term storage. That can bring data closer to the CPU without increasing the DRAM footprint, even in some cases allowing that footprint to shrink.
By contrast, a more traditional setup stores all data, both hot and cold, on the same SATA drive. That’s how bottlenecks form. To avoid this situation, Intel CAS is smartly accelerates storage by shifting hot data to Intel Optane SSD performance storage while retaining the cold data path through the HBA [host bus adapter] controller, and then to SATA (or HDD) capacity storage. 
The result: Better performance than an all-SATA solution, as measured in transactions per minute. And performance approaching the levels of an all-NVMe SSD, but at a considerably lower cost. 
Intel CAS lets you specify what you cache. That might be specific directories, disks or files. Also, several caching modes are supported, including write-back (Intel’s top recommendation), write-through and write-around. 
3 steps to faster storage
Now is a good time to mention that Intel CAS is available to businesses using Intel SSDs at no cost. It’s also easy to install, requiring just 3 steps:
1. Install an Intel Optane SSD DC P4801X storage device into an empty M.2 slot on your server.
2. Download and install Intel CAS. The Linux version is free if you’re using an Intel SSD. The Windows Server version is free, too, if used with an Intel SSD: Intel CAS Entry Edition for Windows (server OS support).
3. Configure Intel CAS.
That’s it!
If that sounds simple, powerful and quick, it is. Tell your customers about a new dynamic duo for their storage: Intel Optane SSD + Intel CAS.

Learn more:

> Intel Optane DC SSD Series

> Intel CAS explained simply (video)

> Intel Technology Provider point promotions

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