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FlashSoft Adds Linux, ESX Support

FlashSoft is looking to significantly expand its addressable market with a new release of its software that enables enterprise SSD (solid-state drive) or PCIe as a persistent read-write cache in the server, with performance improvements and the addition of Linux support. FlashSoft SE 2.0 will reportedly accelerate server performance from three to 10 times, and supports concurrent workloads three to five times greater for applications running on Windows and now Linux. In total, there are more than 800 feature enhancements to increase performance, manageability and resiliency, including an increase in maximum cache size to 1 Tbyte and an improved GUI.

The company burst on to the storage scene at the end of June with what it called the first commercial offering for "flash virtualization." FlashSoft SE for Windows Server 1.1.0 was an all-software, hardware-independent, "tier-minus-one" caching approach that eliminated the I/O bottleneck without the cost of putting all data onto flash memory and without disrupting server-tier applications, data structures or underlying storage infrastructure. But the Microsoft environment was a little more difficult than we expected, says Ted Sanford, co-founder and CEO of FlashSoft.

"Part of our model was to leverage partners, and it turns out the best way to take it to the Microsoft ecosystem is through a bundle" [which FlashSoft is currently working on]. "We believe that effort will accelerate our sales."

He is much more optimistic about the Linux opportunity. "The pipeline for Linux and our early betas is just a much faster sales cycle and adoption curve. We think the uptake on the Linux side will be significantly faster; progress has been solid." Sanford says that once the software is installed, the performance impact is so big, the sale is almost automatic. The key is to get more customers to try it, he adds.

Currently in beta testing, version 2.0, which also supports VMware ESX, is expected to ship later this month. Pricing begins at $2,000 and is based on the number of servers accelerated and types of SSDs employed. Customers can take the software for a free 30-day test-run through the Try Before You Buy program.

"With regards to slow Hyper-V adoption, I think it is a tougher ecosystem to get through the qualifications in a short time, while Linux and many VMware shops are much more comfortable in the early adopter mode," says Jim Bagley, senior analyst and business development consultant, Storage Strategies Now. He says other notable enhancements include a "RAID-like" self-healing capability that allows a pair of SSDs installed on the server to be used as an integrated array. Installation procedures have been streamlined, and they have an installation option for read-only caching or read and write caching.

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