Earlier this week EMC announced a new server Flash caching solution called VFCache, a hardware and software solution that leverages PCIe Flash technology to extend performance based caching from the storage array to the server. VFCache (codenamed "Project Lightning") increases throughput and reduces latency with a focus towards read intensive workloads including Microsoft SQL Server.
When used with an EMC Flash enabled array, VFCache can actually increase throughput up to 3x which means customers can extend the benefits they are seeing on the EMC array since the use of an embedded SSD on the PCIe card helps to bridge the performance gap between the server and storage. VFCache reduces the need to access data across the network from the storage array which is what helps to decrease the response times and increase the performance of the application. VFCache automatically determines which data is being frequently accessed and promotes this to the server Flash cache so reads are being serviced by VFCache while writes are being directed to the storage array.
(for an excellent and highly detailed overview on VFCache, I strongly recommend you read VirtualGeek's blog post on this subject)
In a recent white paper entitled EMC VFCache Accelerates Microsoft SQL Server, we tested an online transaction processing (OLTP) database on SQL Server 2008 using a 90% reads to 10% writes workload. After establishing a baseline, the VFCache was enabled and testing proved an increase of transactions per second (TPS) from 1.0 TPS to 3.6 TPS – an increase of 260%!!!
The test results also displayed a reduction in latency from 1.0 read latencies to 0.13!
So what's next? Well EMC has already indicated that another announcement called Project Thunder will be out in Q2 of 2012 and you know what they say…when you see Lightning, Thunder is close by! Stay tuned!