SanDisk is supersizing server-side caching and addressing the application and data storage challenges of application servers that churn through massive data sets with the release of FlashSoft 3.2 for Linux and Windows Server. SanDisk acquired FlashSoft, a solid-state drive (SSD) caching software and data protection specialist, in early 2012.

New to SanDisk’s FlashSoft storage software product is “support for multiple SSDs on one server and multiple caches in one server,” said Peter Crosby, product manager for FlashSoft at SanDisk. The capability allows organizations to not only pack more solid-state drives (SSDs) into a server, including PCIe, SAS or SATA, but also mix-and-match them to expand flash capacity and boost application performance.

Crosby told InfoStor that FlashSoft 3.2 enables IT shops to “add up to four logical devices and have each one support a cache” and allows organizations to tier their SSD caching resources. Naturally, the software works with SanDisk’s own PCIe-based add-on cards and SSDs, but it is also compatible with enterprise flash storage offerings from other providers.

Multiple SSDs can appear as one larger logical SSD thanks to concatenation support. The software also supports mirroring without OS or hardware RAID.

In total, FlashSoft now provides acceleration for up to 2048 volumes per cache, up from 255 previously. Each cache can also handle double the data, up to two terabytes (TB) according to the company.

Also new is a write-back caching mode that employs SSD mirroring to immunize applications from read and write errors. Should FlashSoft encounter an error, it recovers all metadata from (and since) the last valid snapshot and resumes in milliseconds, in a process that’s transparent to the server and its resident applications.

For data center operators, FlashSoft 3.2 is an “opportunity to gain the performance and storage offload benefits for a much larger chunk of their infrastructure,” said Crosby. He added that the platform’s expanded data capacity and data protection features “lets you reinvigorate your virtualization projects.”

The Taneja Group senior analyst Jeff Boles hails the software’s ‘disruptionless’ approach, which avoids some of the pitfalls of incorporating flash storage into an organization’s IT mix. The challenge, he said, “is adding enterprise flash technology without major disruptions to ongoing IT operations.”

“SanDisk’s FlashSoft software efficiently integrates solid state cache into servers without changing where data is stored or the features and capabilities of a consolidated storage approach,” said Boles in a statement.

FlashSoft 3.2 is available now. Prices are $3,000 for Windows Server and $3,500 for Linux.