Dell has announced the first release of its Fluid Cache application accelerator technology for direct attached storage, providing a hot storage tier within the server itself. The Fluid Cache for DAS 1.0 combines Fluid Cache software and PowerEdge servers with Express Flash PCI Express SSDs and optional PowerVault storage, and is designed to dramatically accelerate Linux-based applications with a "hot" tier of storage inside the server itself. Dell has been slowly teasing its Fluid Cache application technology since last October, when it announced its Active Infrastructure offering, which combined a whole lot of elements—Dell’s PowerEdge M1000e chassis and 12th generation blade server, Dell Compellent or EqualLogic storage (including the EqualLogic blade array), and a new plug-and-play blade I/O module, the PowerEdge M I/O aggregator—into the Dell Active System 800. In December, the company announced specific reference designs for Active Infrastructure, adding rapid provisioning software that it had acquired from Gale Technologies into the mix. Basically, Dell is adding the Fluid Cache technology to both its servers as well as its storage technology, blurring the line between SAN and server, Dell executives said last month. Application acceleration solutions are available from several vendors including Cisco and A10 Networks; Web hosting company GoDaddy shocked some in the market when it recently bought more than 50 A10 AX Series application delivery controllers (ADC) to support its Web-hosting and DNS businesses, replacing Cisco's Application Control Engine (ACE) in the process. For its part, Dell believes that its combination of hardware and software—including the memory-pooling technology acquired from RNA Technologies in June 2011—makes for a superior solution for accelerating applications (such as Oracle OLTP databases) at the heart of many ERP or CRM systems. Dell said that implementing the Fluid Cache technology would require no code changes or tuning, and can scale across additional Express Flash drives as application needs increase, with no hardware downtime. "Accelerating both data reads and writes, Fluid Cache delivers performance that is simply not available from read-only caching solutions," Brian Payne, executive director of Dell's PowerEdge line," wrote in a blog post. "Using Fluid Cache, we can increase the concurrent users of a database by over 60 percent while at the same time doubling the number of transactions per second.” He added: “This allows your business to address seasonal spikes in online transactions, significant new user onboarding, or any organizational challenge quickly, easily and cost effectively.  And by journaling and replicating all data in cache, Fluid Cache can reduce database average response times by up to 95 percent without compromising data integrity." Future improvements to Dell’s Fluid Cache technology will go beyond Dell's SAN storage, such as Dell Compellent, by extending automated tiering beyond storage arrays to include servers for greater performance and optimization of storage resources, the company said.   Image: Dell