Startup CacheIQ Unleashes NAS Acceleration Appliance

RapidCache appliance uses DRAM and solid-state storage to improve performance for network-attached storage devices.

September 21, 2011

3 Min Read
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Analytics Slideshow: Data Deduplication Report

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Storage startup CacheIQ came out of stealth mode this week with an appliance that provides higher-performance for network-attached storage (NAS) devices.

CacheIQ's RapidCache appliance sits in front of existing NAS storage and file servers and accelerates network file system (NFS) data between them and client workstations. RapidCache makes no configuration changes to the client, file server, or NAS device. It finds or discovers active data and places it in DRAM and SSD.

The RapidCache appliance consists of a Flow Director switch, multiple Data Server Nodes, the IQ OS operating system and RapidView management software.

[Will flash-based solid-state drives replace DRAM? Read one opinion in The Death Of DRAM?]

Included in the RapidCache appliance is a switch and Data Server Nodes. The Flow Director switch (FD24) connects to the network with 24 10-Gpbs/1-Gpbs ports supporting 10GBase-CR, 10GBase-SR, 1000Base-SX, and 1000Base-TX. The switch is capable of processing 360 million packets per second at a latency of under 600 nanoseconds. The Flow Director manages data flows to Data Servers and balances workloads. If a Data Server fails, the Flow Director bypasses the Data Server and directly connects clients to file servers so access to data isn't interrupted.

The Data Server nodes within the RapidCache are responsible for inspecting packets sent between clients and file servers, caching data and building metadata tables. Each Data Server incorporates, 144-GB of DRAM and as much as 3.2-TB of solid state drives. Individual Data Server Nodes, which are based on x86-server technology, can be clustered and perform at 500,000 IOPs per node.

The IQ OS is the operating system that runs on all Data Servers and Flow Directors. It maintains communication between clients and file servers and collects statistics and enforce policies regard migration of data in and out of cache.

The RapidCache is managed with RapidView management software, which runs on a separate Linux-based system. IT can set policies to control the type of data to be cached. RapidView inspects each packet and lets IT managers configure the devices and troubleshoot problems.

Neither the RapidCache, Data Servers, or Flow Director switch require upgrades to present NAS systems.

The company's product competes with Avere System's FXT Series caching appliances and Violin Memory's vCache NFS. Unlike the Avere appliance, RapidView does not require changes to mount points in applications.

CacheIQ has received $6 million in Series A funding from angel investors. The company derived its product from intellectual property purchased from the defunct StorSpeed.

The RapidCache is in limited availability now starting at $100,000-$120,000, including switches.

Deni Connor is founding analyst for Storage Strategies NOW, an industry analyst firm that focuses on storage, virtualization, and servers.

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