EMC XtremSF (formerly VFCache) is a PCIe flash card deployed in the server to dramatically improve application performance by reducing latency and accelerating throughput. XtremSF can be used as a local storage device (think RAM disk) to accelerate read / write IO/s, but on a persistent Direct Attach Storage (DAS) that exists only on the individual server. Coupled with XtremSW, the solution becomes an ultra high performance Read Cache allowing writes to pass to back-end shared storage arrays and providing incredible performance with data remaining part of the enterprise data protection solution.
One of the issues with server-side caching is that administrators have yet another user interface to deploy to get performance statistics and availability alerts.
With XtremSF, EMC has integrated the communication channel with existing intelligent arrays like the EMC VMAX to provide statistics and reporting through the existing Unisphere user interface storage administrators are already using. As seen in the screenshot above, Unisphere detects and displays the performance metrics associated with the server-side cache in addition to the metrics associated directly with the VMAX array. In addition, the XtremSF cards will leverage this communication channel with the VMAX to send out EMC dial-home event notifications in case of trouble.
Expect to see more of this “vertical” integration between the Xtrem family and the VMAX and VNX families in the future. The vision is to provide not only a common user interface, but also a vertically integrated Fully Automated Storage Technology (FAST) solution that places the right data in the right place, just before the right time that it’s needed (predictive).