Dell launches virtual storage accelerator, aims to boost SAN performance

Dell released a new virtualized storage accelerator appliance called Fluid Cache for SAN on Tuesday, designed to help customers keep data-intensive applications working quickly under load.

The announcement, which was made at Dell’s Enterprise Forum in Germany, outlines a virtual appliance meant to eliminate some of the performance problems associated with using SANs for responsive, customer-facing applications. Fluid Cache uses the Flash memory inside a server to act as an I/O cache for SAN systems, boosting throughput.

The company specifically cited online transaction processing and virtual desktop interfaces, among other things, as potentially apt use cases.

That’s corroborated by Forrester Research analyst Henry Baltazar, who adds that the applications may be broader still.

“This can work for database and application acceleration for midrange and enterprise customers,” he said. “It would appeal to financial services and anyone with latency sensitive applications, but it’s not really just for vertical markets.”

IDC analyst Laura DuBois said that the continued price decrease for flash storage could help boost Fluid Cache’s appeal.

“The increased feasibility of using flash combined with storage innovations around data placement, efficiencies like dedupe and compression are really making it quite feasible to use for key performance constrained workloads,” she said.

Fluid Cache, along with an updated version of Dell’s Compellent storage center software (boasting security and performance upgrades) will go on sale sometime in the second quarter of this year. The announcements were just two of many at the Enterprise Forum, which saw the company roll out a new partnership with Red Hat for an OpenStack-based private cloud solution, as well as several new security updates.

Fluid Cache for SAN will go on sale at some point in the second quarter of the year. It will cost $12,000 for a license for the minimum three server nodes, plus $4,500 for additional nodes.