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7/24/2012
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Proximal, Texas Memory Release Server Acceleration Tools

VMware acceleration supplier Proximal Data exits stealth mode, while Texas Memory releases bootable PCIe Flash drive firmware.

Proximal Data announced its AutoCache software product on Monday, with features that make server acceleration management much easier for VMware shops. Similarly, Texas Memory Systems rolled out on Tuesday a new firmware feature for its RamSan-70 and -80 PCIe solid state drives (SSDs), which allows the server to boot directly and very rapidly from the drive, reducing the amount of hardware in each server.

VMware shops are targeted by the Proximal AutoCache software, which utilizes a unique feature that allows a single installation within the hypervisor, rather than deploying drivers in every guest operating system instance. This reduces the amount of system management effort and eases operations such as vMotion. Implementing a write-through read cache by keeping a copy of hot data on a PCIe or direct-attached SSD, Proximal joins other cache software players EMC, FlashSoft (acquired by SanDisk), IOTurbine (acquired by Fusion-io), SanRad (acquired by OCZ), STEC, and independents Nevex (who partners with Texas Memory), and Velobit.

While Proximal's initial release of AutoCache supports VMware ESXi 4.1 and 5.0 hypervisors, it integrates management functions through vSphere and vCenter. Proximal AutoCache is available immediately from its channel partners at a starting price of $999 for up to 500GB of cache capacity.

[ VMware expands its role in data center virtualization by acquiring OpenFlow startup Nicira. Read about it at VMware Buys Nicira: Start Of Networking Wars? ]

Texas Memory’s addition of a direct boot capability is a first for a pure-play PCIe interfaced SSD. Unlike other bootable PCIe cards that use a SATA- or SAS-to-PCIe bridge, the Texas Memory device uses the full speed available from the PCIe interface during the boot process. This reduces the cost of server hardware that accesses shared storage by eliminating the expense of adding a RAID interface and hard drive.

Rapid boot time for servers is extremely important because an IT administrator usually attends the boot. PCIe boot time can be reduced to a matter of a few seconds compared to five or more minutes from a rotating drive. The boot feature is available immediately, and existing RamSan-70 and -80 customers can obtain the boot feature via a download from Texas Memory’s customer support team.

Proximal Data was founded in2011 by Rory Bolt, formerly of Avamar, NetApp, Quantum, and @Backup. The company is funded by Avalon Ventures.

Deni Connor is founding analyst for Storage Strategies NOW, an industry analyst firm that focuses on storage, virtualization, and servers. James E. Bagley is senior analyst and business development consultant at the same firm.

InformationWeek has published a report on backing up VM disk files and building a resilient infrastructure that can tolerate hardware and software failures. After all, what's the point of constructing a virtualized infrastructure without a plan to keep systems up and running in case of a glitch--or outright disaster? Download our Virtually Protected report now. (Free registration required.)

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