Data Caching Server (DCS)

Plug-and-Cache Instant Data Acceleration Solution with Zero-Downtime Deployment

DCS (Data Caching Server) is a plug-and-play SAN based data acceleration product that provides instant relief to storage performance problems while generating vital I/O statistics for planning the next storage refresh cycle. DCS is based on our patented Transparent Datapath Intercept (TDI) technology, which allows the appliance to be installed in minutes and eliminates all the work and risk associated with in-band solutions. DCS can be installed on a live SAN without requiring any SAN environment changes. No downtime is necessary for deploying or removing DCS appliances. Just plug in the DCS FC ports to intercept existing data paths and DCS will discover all client hosts and LUNs. The DCS GUI automatically generates an accurate mapping of the existing storage LUNs/hosts, and tracks I/O performance statistics such as latency, throughput, IOPS, and queue depth. Based on the actual analytics, cache policies can be defined to make use of the DRAM or PCIE-SSD resources configured on the DCS appliances. Over time, the I/O statistics can be used to plan for a future storage farm redesign, or DCS can be kept as a permanent acceleration solution. DCS is an enterprise-class Linux server built on off-the-shelf hardware, such as PCIE-SSD, from leading manufacturers.


Trapped in the middle of a storage life-cycle? Speed up your SAN with Cache-as-a-Service (CaaS).

In addition to marketing the Data Caching Server (DCS) as a turn-key appliance solution through the channel, Cirrus Data Solutions also offers this solution as a Service. Customers who are experiencing storage performance problems can benefit from this Cache-as-a-Service (CaaS) by paying a small monthly fee as an operational expense (OpEx) rather than having to allocate capital budget. For those customers trapped in the middle of a storage life cycle, this is an ideal solution to immediately address performance issues while waiting for the budget and going through the procurement process for a new storage farm. In addition to immediately accelerating existing storage, DCS also acts as a storage I/O analyzer, providing performance data critical for accurate planning in the next storage refresh. Deployment and future removal of the DCS can be performed without making any changes to the existing SAN (no zoning, LUN masking, or host driver changes) and therefore, can be implemented anytime without downtime.

What Makes DCS Different?

Cirrus Data’s DCS appliance is a feature rich, plug and play Flash cache solution that is simple to install and that can be running in any SAN environment in less than 15 minutes. DCS is built on top of Cirrus’s patented Transparent Datapath Intercept (TDI) technology, which allows for rapid deployment in a live FC SAN without any changes to the clients hosts, FC switches, or storage.

Flash solutions for cache can be installed in 1 of 3 places in a SAN: at the application host, at the storage controller, or somewhere in between. Installation at the application host has the advantage of being the lowest in latency and therefore potentially yields the highest possible I/O rate. Cost, cluster support and downtime are traditional cache implementation issues. Some higher end storage frames have intelligent controllers that can make use of SSD disks within the storage frame, but each frame will need its own SSD,  and those SSD’s cannot be shared.

DCS can be inserted into a live production environment without updating drivers and/or rebooting hosts. Cache policies can be set after an I/O analysis is performed by the admin. Alternately, all available SSD capacity can be assigned to all LUNs, and the DCS will determine how best to cache the LUNs based on actual I/O activities.

A typical deployment is comprised of these simple steps:

  • Power up the DCS HA pair near the FC switch
  • Insert FC datapaths through DCS ports (about 5 seconds per path)
  • Review auto-discovered hosts, LUNs and I/O statistics
  • Create cache policy with a few mouse clicks
  • Watch I/O being accelerated!

No zoning changes, no storage changes, no host-side changes. Plug-and-play. It’s that easy!

Discover how Cirrus Data Solutions and Seagate Nytro SSD can help you increase your database performance five-fold in just a few minutes.

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