LSI looks to speed up Cisco blade server solutions

LSI partners with Cisco and EMC to optimize and improve datacenter storage performance
Written by David Chernicoff, Contributor

Be it big data, web-centric applications, or heavy virtualization, in the datacenter I/O throughput is often the bottleneck in optimizing performance. This can be especially true when IT wants to use general purpose or standardized computer systems to serve multiple purposes.

Working with Cisco for blade server hardware and EMC for their intelligent caching software LSI is deploying their Nytro WarpDrive application acceleration card with the Cisco hardware running the EMC software. The WarpDrive card is designed to drop into existing application environments and provide improved performance by reducing latency and decreasing the workload on the servers handling storage interactions. In this case, it will be optimize for EMC storage via the EMC VFCache solution.

The LSI cards combine flash storage and SAS hardware to offload much of the storage processing workload from the server CPUs. They use the processor technology acquired in the acquisition of SandForce to deliver the flash technologies necessary to provide enterprise level reliability with flash storage and caching.

Normally, LSI uses their own Nitro XD Caching software to enable the use of the WarpDrive hardware accelerated flash to fit into any server situation. Their software is self-tuning and identifies what they call hot spots in the storage transactions, optimizing the data transfers to minimize or eliminate these points of potential bottlenecking.

In this partnership, the software running on the LSI hardware, which will be installed in the Cisco blade servers, is the EMC VFCache server flash caching solution introduced earlier this year. The cache delivers improved performance for many of the EMC disk storage solutions currently available.

This partnership highlights the ‘best-of-breed" approach that Cisco is taking to their converged infrastructure product line. EMC does offer hardware caching support for the VFCache product, but in this implementation the EMC software will be running on the LSI hardware installed in the Cisco servers, handling much of the communication with the EMC storage hardware.

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