Adaptec Series 6Q with maxCache 2.0 FAQs

Contents:


How are the 6Q products with maxCache 2.0 different from earlier maxCache products?
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The Series 6Q offers improved performance in read caching mode as well as offering the capability to perform write caching.  Read caching performance has increased from 11x in earlier generation products to 13x with maxCache 2.0.  The addition of write caching broadens the range of application workloads that will benefit from SSD caching technology by utilizing the increased write performance capability of SSDs in combination with the extensive read performance advantages.

What is maxCache 2.0?   top of page

maxCache 2.0 is the evolution of Adaptec's industry-first read-only SSD caching technology. With improvements to the learned-path algorithm in read-only caching mode, read caching performance has increased from 11x in the first generation products to 13x with maxCache 2.0 in highly read-intensive applications. maxCache 2.0 also introduces the capability to perform write caching. Targeted at data center and cloud computing environments, write caching broadens the set of application workloads that will benefit from exploiting the performance capabilities of SSDs while continuing to leverage the capacity of HDDs.

What are the benefits of using Adaptec storage adapters with maxCache 2.0 SSD caching?   top of page

Adaptec Series 6Q storage adapters with maxCache 2.0 SSD caching provide the following benefits for customers building SSD/HDD High-Performance Hybrid Arrays:

  • Up to 13X faster than HDD-only solutions: Adaptec maxCache 2.0 SSD caching software improves the learned-path algorithm that identifies frequently-read ("hot") data, and optimizes "reads" by copying this data directly into an SSD cache pool for faster retrieval in future requests.

  • Capability to deploy write caching: Adaptec maxCache 2.0 SSD caching software offers write caching capability for expanded application workload benefits. Evolving from the industry-first read-caching solution, maxCache 2.0 will utilize the write performance benefits of SSDs to provide additional workload performance advancements.

  • Reduced capital expenses by up to 70%: Adaptec maxCache SSD Caching reduces capital expenses by increasing IOPs with less hardware – thereby significantly cutting energy and maintenance costs.

  • Reduced Cost and Increased Flexibility for SSD Selection: Adaptec 6Q storage adapters with maxCache 2.0 SSD caching allow the use of any standard SATA or SAS SSD as a cache, allowing a wide range of vendors and lower cost. These adapters have been qualified with some of the most recent SSD products to leverage improved performance as well as enterprise features and durability.

How does maxCache 2.0 SSD caching software work?   top of page

By leveraging its unique presence in the data path, Adaptec maxCache 2.0 SSD caching software introduces a learned-path algorithm that identifies frequently-read data, and optimizes "reads" by copying this data directly into an SSD cache pool for faster retrieval of future requests. Adaptec maxCache 2.0 SSD caching also updates "hot" cached data on subsequent writes to the same blocks to maximize storage efficiency. maxCache 2.0 introduces the capability to cache write data in the SSD cache as well, utilizing the performance benefits of SSDs to perform write operations as well. Because this is done at the adapter level, these processes are completely transparent and do not require any changes to storage architectures, application software or operating systems.

How is using Adaptec maxCache 2.0 SSD caching different from using a standard SSD with SATA/SAS connectivity or a PCIe-based flash card which can be plugged into a server?   top of page

To get maximum performance when using a standard SSD or a PCIe-based flash card, applications must be tuned to store data that requires higher IOPs on the high-performance SSD. This requires that an administrator have intimate knowledge of that specific application and understand how it will benefit by routing data that requires higher IOPs to the SSD. Adaptec maxCache 2.0 SSD caching software eliminates this need by transparently analyzing and routing the read and write data and eliminating the need for application-specific tuning.

Additionally, standard SSD storage capacities are very small (about up 200GB in most enterprise-class devices) compared to those of rotating disk drives. Therefore, a larger number of SSDs are needed, which will increase capital expenditures significantly. With Adaptec maxCache 2.0 SSD caching, one can still benefit from the larger capacities of rotating media (HDDs), while gaining the improved I/O performance benefits of the SSDs.

Which applications will likely benefit most from Adaptec 6Q storage adapters with maxCache 2.0 SSD caching?   top of page

Adaptec 6Q storage adapters with maxCache 2.0 SSD caching are ideal for data centers running applications with high "read" demands such as web serving, file serving and databases, as well as workloads that require an amount of write operations such as online transaction processing (OLTP).

Which SSDs can be used with Adaptec 6Q storage adapters with maxCache 2.0 SSD caching?   top of page

In general, any standard SATA or SAS SSD may be used, though performance and durability will vary based on SSD selection. For a list of SSDs that have tested by Adaptec for compatibility, please visit here.

How do I deploy maxCache 2.0 SSD caching?   top of page

The Adaptec 6Q storage adapters with maxCache 2.0 SSD caching offer both read and write caching. Read caching is available on all 6Q products and can be configured upon purchase. Write caching benefits specific data center and cloud computing environments so please contact your Adaptec representative to confirm your infrastructure will qualify.

What is Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection (ZMCP)?   top of page

Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection is a revolutionary advancement that solves Lithium Ion BBU deficiencies by providing full protection to cached data with no monitoring, maintenance, disposal or replacement costs. It utilizes flash memory and super-cap technology to deliver an advanced and superior adapter cache protection solution. The super-cap charges while your system boots offering backup protection immediately, while 4GB of flash memory dedicated to protecting the data in adapter cache offers continued protection that never needs to be monitored or replaced after installation. Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection removes the hardware maintenance associated with other adapter cache backup solutions.

The Adaptec 6Q storage adapters with maxCache 2.0 SSD caching are offered with ZMCP standard. This allows the cache pool mapping to be saved in instances of a 'dirty' shutdown or sudden power loss, and prevents the need to rebuild the cache pool in this scenario.

Why do I need to protect my adapter cache?   top of page

Adapter cache should always be protected whenever it is enabled to guard against loss of data stored in the cache if system power goes out. Enabling the adapter cache offers benefits in performance – especially RAID 5 and RAID 6 performance – and extends the duration and cost savings of Adaptec's Intelligent Power Management by storing data rather than writing it to a spun-down drive.

ZMCP is also needed when deploying maxCache 2.0 to maintain the mapping data for the SSD cache pool and prevent the need to rebuild cache pool in the instance of a 'dirty' shutdown or sudden power loss.

I currently use a battery backup module to protect my adapter cache. How is Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection an improvement?   top of page

Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection (ZMCP) eliminates the inefficiencies of the Lithium Ion BBU protection model, resulting in cost savings over the life of the product and the lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). By offering data protection that doesn't degrade over time, ZMCP removes the costs of monitoring, maintaining, replacing, and disposal associated with the Lithium Ion BBU model. With the data stored in flash memory, the 6Q products store protected data for years in case of power loss – a monumental improvement over the Lithium Ion BBU model which maintains data only for up to 72 hours before the battery power depletes. This extended data accessibility allows for less constrained disaster recovery plans, relieving remote data center response times from the 72 hour Lithium Ion BBU threshold.

What is the cost of Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection (ZMCP) and how much will I save from a Lithium Ion BBU model?   top of page

ZMCP is a standard feature on the Adaptec 6Q product line, with all maintenance savings directly improving your bottom line. The actual cost of the Lithium Ion BBU protection model varies by use case, but there are several contributing variables to the Lithium Ion BBU cost equation. Battery charge reduces over time, requiring replacement during the system installation life. This replacement adds hardware costs and installation costs to physically replace the Lithium Ion BBU. Additionally, the system may suffer from unplanned downtime to replace a failed battery, resulting in loss of system resources that can be avoided with ZMCP. Old batteries need to be disposed of, usually adhering to hazardous material standards, adding even more cost. By adding up the hardware, maintenance, and disposal costs, savings can accumulate to thousands of dollars per year by implementing a Adaptec 6Q solution.

What RAID levels do the Adaptec 6Q storage adapters with maxCache 2.0 SSD caching support?   top of page

The Adaptec 6Q storage adapters with maxCache 2.0 SSD caching support standard RAID levels 0, 1, 1E, 5, 5EE, 6, 10, 50, 60, and JBOD.

What operating systems are supported?   top of page

The Adaptec 6Q storage adapters with maxCache 2.0 SSD caching support a long list of operating systems including Windows, Linux, VMware, Solaris, and FreeBSD. Please consult the Adaptec support site for a complete list of available operating systems and drivers.

What management utilities are included with the Adaptec 6Q storage adapters with maxCache 2.0 SSD caching?   top of page

Adaptec Storage Manager™ - One-view utility which centralizes management of all Adaptec RAID products. Adaptec Storage Manager enables remote RAID management, monitoring, and configuration through secure, encrypted communication.

ARCCONF (Command Line Interface - CLI) - Text-based command line interface that provides the same functions as Adaptec Storage Manager in environments where a GUI is not available.

BIOS configuration utility (ACU) - used for quick and easy local setup without booting the OS.

How compatible are the Adaptec 6Q storage adapters with maxCache 2.0 SSD caching?   top of page

Adaptec adapters are tested and supported on all the major vendors' motherboard, enclosures, and disk drives. Please visit our website at www.adaptec.com/compatibility for a list of tested components.

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