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CacheCade Pro 2.

Frequently Asked Questions

MegaRAID CacheCade Pro 2.0 Software FAQ

What is LSI MegaRAID CacheCade Pro 2.0 read/write software?
CacheCade Pro 2.0 read/write software is an advanced software option for select LSI 6Gb/s MegaRAID SATA+SAS controller cards. CacheCade Pro 2.0 read/write software is designed to accelerate the performance of hard disk drive (HDD) arrays with only an incremental investment in solid state drive (SSD) technology. The software enables SSDs to be configured as a dedicated pool of controller cache to help maximize I/O performance for transactionintensive applications like data bases, web sites, and others. C  ustomers with CacheCade 1.x software keys are eligible for a new upgrade key, at no additional charge. Please contact your local LSI Sales Office for details. controller SDRAM cache, more tune-ability (Enable or disable each RAID volume for CacheCade caching) and better RAID data protection for writes and reads cached on the dedicated SSD pool - CacheCade Pro 2.0 supports RAID 0, 1 and 10 on the SSD Cache pool.

How does it work?

CacheCade Pro 2.0 software utilizes very powerful frequently-accessed-hot-data detection and retention caching algorithms. Thats a mouthful. What is means: CacheCade software studies data access patterns and learns which data is accessed most often. The hot data is then stored, automatically, on the fastest available storage media, the solid state storage devices assigned as a dedicated cache pool to the MegaRAID controller running CacheCade software. The caching of IO requests to SSDs is only executed after the algorithms determine that the data can be written or read faster using the SSDs. Its that smart - and careful, too.

What MegaRAID controllers are compatible with MegaRAID CacheCade Pro 2.0 software?
The initial release of CacheCade Pro 2.0 software
is compatible with the MegaRAID SAS 9260 and 9280 series controllers, including the MegaRAID SAS 9260 (-4i, -8i, -16i), 9261 (-8i) and 9280 (-4i4e, -16i4e, -24i4e).

When was it announced?

General availability of CacheCade Pro 2.0 read/  write software was announced on August 9th.

How does CacheCade Pro 2.0 handle cached writes during system failures?
When power goes down or a server failure occurs, writes in flight are protected using the BBU backed, DRAM-based cache memory on the MegaRAID controller. Following a power fail or when deleting or reconfiguring the dedicated cache pool managed by CacheCade Pro 2.0, the MegaRAID controller will flush all cached write data through to the HDDs.

How is it priced?
Suggested retail pricing for CacheCade Pro 2.0
read/write software has been set at $270 USD. Please contact your LSI Sales executive, or LSI Channel Partner at contact/pages/wheretobuy.aspx for pricing in your area. What is the upgrade path for LSI customers who already have CacheCade 1.0 and want the added features and performance of CacheCade Pro 2.0 read/write software? Customers with existing CacheCade 1.0 software have the following options to upgrade their software or hardware key to CacheCade Pro 2.0 (Note: This upgrade only applies to MegaRAID SAS 9260 and 9280 series controllers at this time):  Customers with CacheCade 1.x hardware keys will need to contact LSI tech support to have a replacement key shipped to them.

How much System-level resources are consumed by the CacheCade software?

None. CacheCade software runs completely
on the MegaRAID controller, which has its own System on Chip (SOC) and DRAM memory. The footprint on the server CPU utilization, bus bandwidth, or memory consumption is essentially zero.

Does CacheCade Pro 2.0 allow users to monitor the cache hit rates?
The MegaRAID management interface, MegaCLI,
now includes CacheCade performance monitor support, which provides access to CacheCade Pro 2.0 caching statistics, allowing customers and evaluators to assess how well data caching is working. Statistics include total CacheCade window allocations, total read and write IO request counts and total read and write Solid State Caching Device (SSCD) cache hits (by IO request size).

LSI is already shipping CacheCade 1.1. How is CacheCade Pro 2.0 different?
CacheCade Pro 2.0 offers a number of enhancements over CacheCade 1.1, primarily the ability to use SSD cache for writes as well as reads. Other enhancements include improved read caching performance, support for both writethrough and write-back RAID controller SDRAM cache mode to allow IOs not cached by CacheCade software to be serviced by the RAID

Improvement Neoload (Web Server Simulation) SysBench (MySQL OLTP Server) Jetstress 2010 (Microsoft Exchange)

CacheCade 1.1 Improvement

356% 374% 77% 5%

CacheCade 2.0
1251% 533% 150% 163%

Fig 1: The amount of improvement that CacheCade Pro 2.0 read/write software brings varies with application and SDD device. Note: The performance improvement provided by CacheCade software is partially dependant on the performance specifications of the chosen SSD. % improvements are of HDD array with SSD cache pool using MegaRAID controller & CacheCade software over HDD array using MegaRAID controller.

How is CacheCade Pro 2.0 read/write software more economical than using SSDs as traditional RAID volumes?
CacheCade Pro 2.0 read/write software utilizes
a small number of SSDs as a dedicated pool of cache to maximize transactional I/O performance and help reduce I/O response time. RAID volumes are typically made up of many devices. CacheCade software uses intelligent I/O monitoring capabilities to learn and store hot spot data on low latency solid state storage. IT managers dont have to provision SSDs or HDDs just in case or for peak demand to achieve SLA performance requirements.

Are there application profiles that perform just as well with traditional SAS/SATA HDD volumes (as opposed to using MegaRAID Fast Path or CacheCade Pro 2.0 read/write software?
In sequential read and/or write data workload
applications, 6Gb/s MegaRAID SATA+SAS RAID controllers can reach up to 3,000MB/s throughput with 6G SAS HDDs and PCIe Gen2 host interface (20 SAS HDDs). Currently its more cost efficient to use HDDs however as faster SSD become available this will likely change (e.g., it is expected that SSDs will deliver 500MBps or more in the future).

The previous version of CacheCade Software, CacheCade 1.0, included LSI MegaRAID Fast Path Software. Does CacheCade Pro 2.0 read/write software also include MegaRAID Fast Path software?

Will CacheCade Pro 2.0 read/write software work with any size or model of SSD drive?
Please visit
marketing_resources for a complete list of tested SSDs

For what class of applications will CacheCade Pro 2.0 read/write software provide the largest performance benefit?
CacheCade Pro 2.0 read/write software is best
suited for highly random, small I/O block-oriented applications (such as web and SMB OLTP) that frequently read from a small working data set. Applications with much larger active data sets or more write intensive profiles show limited improvement with CacheCade software. (LSI MegaRAID FastPath software is typically a better fit for this type of data set.)

How much of a performance improvement can an SSD configured with CacheCade Pro 2.0 read/write software provide for SATA drive volumes?
CacheCade software can deliver up to a 13X
performance improvement in I/O-intensive applications with relatively small working data set sizes, such as Web and file servers and online transaction processing. The amount of improvement that CacheCade Pro 2.0 read/write software brings varies with application and SDD device. Above are some representative gains that weve seen over HDD-only configurations (see Fig 1.)

How would you define a working data set?

A working data set is the subset of the total
stored data actively utilized by an application or applications at a specific point in time. The size of working data set varies from a small portion of the total amount of data stored up to all of the stored data depending on the application and typical usage model.

For more information and sales office locations, please visit the LSI web sites at:

LSI, LSI and Design logo, CacheCade, MegaRAID, MegaRAID Storage Manager, are trademarks or registered trademarks of LSI Corporation. All other brand and product names may be trademarks of their respective companies. LSI Corporation reserves the right to make changes to any products and services herein at any time without notice. LSI does not assume any responsibility or liability arising out of the application or use of any product or service described herein, except as expressly agreed to in writing by LSI; nor does the purchase, lease, or use of a product or service from LSI convey a license under any patent rights, copyrights, trademark rights, or any other of the intellectual property rights of LSI or of third parties. Copyright 2011 by LSI Corporation. All rights reserved. August 2011