CacheAdvance Software Accelerates Apps with a Dash of Flash

By Pedro Hernandez

CacheBox, a San Carlos, Calif.-based storage software startup, is approaching the growing market for flash-enabled workload acceleration by zeroing in on applications.

"Caching is best done at the application or as close to the application as possible," John Groff, COO and co-founder of CacheBox told InfoStor. It's with that philosophy in mind that the company has launched its CacheAdvance software.

Groff likens most SSD-based application acceleration solutions to the "brute force" methods of the past. In short, they improve performance by throwing more, faster storage at the problem. CacheAdvance, in contrast takes a more surgical approach. "We're applying server-side caching at the application tier... the final frontier," he said.

The company's Application Specific Module (ASM) technology is "deeply integrated with the application," said Groff. ASM performs a heuristic analysis of application behavior and generates block-level caching policies that optimize input/output (IO) operations.

ASM consists of a two-part architecture. The analytics and intelligent block acceleration piece and a "kernel mode driver that sit between the application and the file system," said Groff. "We don't have any biases towards the underlying storage," he added.

The result is a 56x percent increase in MySQL performance and a 111x boost to MongoDB, according to company tests using off-the-shelf SSDs. Latencies dropped by 98 percent for MySQL and 99 percent for MongoDB. Since ASM targets application data, CacheBox avoids the performance-robbing "virtualization tax" imposed by a hypervisor's abstraction layer, claimed Groff.

CacheAdvance can be deployed seamlessly into an organization's server software environment, said Groff. The software is "completely transparent to the application and requires no modifications to the application." And it's not picky about the type of SSD that can be used the software. It works with any NVMe, PCIe, SAS or SATA flash storage, according to the company.

Server overhead is minimal. CacheAdvance is "very light and lean," boasted Groff, requiring just 40 MB of RAM to yield more responsive business applications.

Moreover, CacheAdvance can help businesses optimize application performance without breaking the bank, asserted CacheBox CEO Lorenzo Salhi in a statement. "Rather than go through the hassle and expense of overprovisioning storage or turning to all-flash arrays, organizations need a solution that optimizes application acceleration and removes the administrative burden and costs of alternative approaches. With CacheAdvance, the storage bottleneck is eliminated without costly server and storage upgrades," he said.

Currently, CacheAdvance is available on Linux. Groff noted that his company has "a Windows port in the works," which the company expects to start shipping in the coming months.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

This article was originally published on August 11, 2014