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SanDisk Announces FlashSoft 4 Integrated In VMware vSphere

By - Source: SanDisk

SanDisk and VMware collaborated for 18 months to provide full FlashSoft integration in VMware vSphere 6 as a virtual data service through VMware vSphere APIs for IO Filtering (VAIO). FlashSoft software combines the performance of flash with the economics and capacity of HDDs by utilizing strategically placed SSDs inside the server.

Full VAIO integration introduces write-back caching capabilities for all VMware datastores, including VMware Virtual Machine File System (VMFS), Network File System (NFS), VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVOL) and VMware Virtual SAN. Previous versions of FlashSoft supported only write-through caching with VMware, and introducing write-back caching significantly expands the capabilities of the software.

SanDisk designed FlashSoft to reduce storage latency and offer a path to boosting existing infrastructure performance without disruptive forklift upgrades. FlashSoft caching software enables server-side SSD caching, which boosts the performance of underlying storage mediums by accelerating applications, thus increasing overall server utilization.

VMware is one of the most demanding applications for storage subsystems (hence the "I/O Blender" moniker), which makes it a particularly attractive target for caching software vendors. Intelligently identifying and accelerating hot data also boosts VM density and helps alleviate network SAN traffic. Full VAIO integration ensures the software will work seamlessly with not only VMware, but also with other VAIO APIs. 

vSphere 6 is the first version to enable third-party "IO Filters" for integrating data services, which provides an expanded menu of fully supported software. vSphere 6 includes both write caching and replication filters, and FlashSoft 4 is now a VMware-native data service installed, managed and maintained by vCenter. Certified VMware Ready status ensures compatibility, and the API is integrated through VMware Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM).

The green arrows above indicate the normal path that third-party storage solutions must traverse when interacting with VMware, and the yellow arrow indicates the shortened path provided by the VAIO framework. Full integration eases management tasks, increases usability features and offers increased performance by cutting straight through the different abstraction layers to the physical storage device.  

In the past, SanDisk had to wait for new versions of vSphere to roll in new software features, but now it can decouple its upgrade cycle and offer new features on a speedier cadence. The API support also ensures that VMware will support FlashSoft as a native feature.

SanDisk and VMware will present VAIO and FlashSoft at VMworld 2015, and FlashSoft 4.0 will be available through vSphere 6 later this year.