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FlashSoft Extends SSD Support To Linux

10 Lessons Learned By Big Data Pioneers
10 Lessons Learned By Big Data Pioneers

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FlashSoft, which emerged from stealth mode in June with software that supported the use of solid state drives (SSDs) to provide a read and write cache, Thursday announced enhancements to its SE software. The software is presently in beta.

FlashSoft has recognized the need to provide a storage virtualization software layer in high-end servers, an issue caused by server virtualization and consolidation. By adding the virtualization layer along with a hardware tier of persistent solid state memory, the FlashSoft software can improve performance of all applications to the point that more virtualized workloads can be added, and I/O stress on shared storage systems is reduced. This makes the storage perform better without peaks in latency or response time.

The company shipped its first software in June, with support for Windows Server and Hyper-V. A second product, FlashSoft SE-V, was released in August 2011, which supported the VMware ESX platform.

[The problem with bundling storage is you are allowing yourself to be locked in. Learn more: Hypervisors May Break Storage Vendor Lock-In.]

This new version of FlashSoft SE 2.0 extends support to Linux-based applications and has a number of feature enhancements, including an increase of SSD cache support up to 1 TB. If two SSDs are present, a new RAID1 feature allows the detection of a failing drive and switches the cache to pass-through mode, eliminating the possibility of data loss.

SE 2.0 also implements an improved graphical user interface, which provides runtime data and statistics through the Windows Management Interface (WMI) API. This provides feedback to the customer regarding caching operations and provides controls for tuning application performance. During installation, an option for creating a read cache or a read and write cache is available. The latter is more appropriate to direct attached storage (DAS), while the former is more suitable for shared storage systems.

SSDs can be of either the PCI Express variety or hard disk drive form factor. FlashSoft will operate with any brand of SSD, giving customers flexibility in server configuration. Pricing begins at $2,000 and is based upon the number of servers deployed and types of SSDs used. The FlashSoft SE software is sold as a standalone product.

FlashSoft was founded by CEO Ted Sanford and CTO Serge Shats, both formerly with Baccel. The company, which competes with Velobit, STEC, and Fusion-io, was founded in 2009. There are also a few companies in stealth mode that are developing software like FlashSoft’s SE-V. The company has $3 million in Series A funding from Thomvest Ventures.

Deni Connor is founding analyst for Storage Strategies NOW, an industry analyst firm that focuses on storage, virtualization, and servers. (Storage Strategies NOW's James E. Bagley contributed to this story.)