I was reminiscing the other day about the old MS-DOS days. I remember being fascinated by the concept of using a RAM disk to make “stuff” run faster. Granted, I was only 10 years old, and while I didn’t understand the intricacies of how this was being accomplished at the time, I understood enough to know that when I put “stuff” into the RAM disk, it ran much faster than my 80MB Connor hard drive. If the RAM disk was only slightly faster it wouldn’t have been that interesting, but it was amazingly faster.
By the mid-90’s, many commercial applications, specifically databases, began treating RAM more and more like a disk rather than just simply a high-speed working space for the application. Today there are many very well known in-memory database (IMDB) systems, most notably from Microsoft (SQL Server/Hekaton), Oracle (RDBMS), and SAP (HANA), to name a few.
In 1998, DataCore Software set out, among many other things, to use RAM as a general-purpose caching layer made accessible via software that could be installed on any x86 based system for any application. With the introduction of Intel multi-core processors in 2005, the software evolved even more to include exploitation of the additional processors, in parallel. Processors and RAM were getting faster and more abundant, which meant a much higher potential for tapping into the power of parallelism.
Now let’s fast forward to more recent times…
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., June 15, 2016 – Following a scorching run of world records, DataCore Software today rocketed past the old guard of high-performance storage systems to achieve a remarkable 5.1 million (5,120,098.98) SPC-1 IOPS™ on the industry’s most respected head-to-head comparison — the Storage Performance Council’s SPC-1™ benchmark. This new result places DataCore number one on the SPC-1 list of Top Ten by Performance. To put the accomplishment into perspective, the independently-audited SPC-1 Result for the DataCore™ Parallel Server software confirms the product as faster than the previous top two leaders combined.
The benefits of using RAM as cache cannot be denied. It worked very well in the beginning as RAM disks. It worked extremely well for IMDBs. Today, DataCore Software is the world-record holder for the fastest block storage system ever tested by the Storage Performance Council, not simply because of the use of RAM as cache, but more specifically because of the software mechanism used to turn the RAM into cache. If it was simply a matter of using RAM as cache, then any storage vendor should be able to reproduce what DataCore produced at the same or better price point on the SPC-1, tomorrow. I wouldn’t recommend holding your breath on that one.
In essence, what DataCore has done is create the world’s fastest in-memory “everything” storage engine (i.e. file data, object data, virtual machines, AND databases). Modern Intel x86-64 based architectures combined with the fastest RAM is truly a match made in silicon… a match only made possible and held together by the most efficient and most powerful storage software ever developed.