Future Ready with Flash Cache 2

By Amit Shah, Sr. Manager, Product Management and Philip Trautman, NetApp Technical Consultant


NetApp recently released Flash Cache 2, an enhanced version of our existing Flash Cache for intelligent, controller-based caching. Flash Cache 2 can address your current needs while offering significantly greater capabilities to satisfy future requirements.


Like the original Flash Cache, Flash Cache 2 is a standard height, 3/4 length PCIe card that can be installed in any compatible FAS system running Data ONTAP 8.1.3 or later.


Increased Density. Flash Cache 2 is available in capacities of 512GB, 1TB and a new 2TB version. In most NetApp storage systems, open PCIe slots are scarce. The 2TB option doubles the per-slot density over the previous generation, reducing the total number of PCIe slots you need to achieve a given capacity. This lets you add more Flash Cache (the limit for each FAS storage system model remains unchanged) or frees up slots for additional I/O cards or HBAs.


Full Compatibility. Your existing Flash Cache cards will continue to deliver great performance, and you can mix Flash Cache and Flash Cache 2 cards in the same storage system should you need to increase your total cache capacity.


Future-Ready Performance. Flash Cache 2 uses PCIe gen-2 and offers 3X the bandwidth of the first-generation cards. A single card delivers data throughput of up to 3.2 GB/sec and a sustained read rate of almost 770K IOPs.


Future NetApp storage systems will be able to take full advantage of the superior performance of Flash Cache 2, so investments you make today can continue to serve your needs in the future. And those of you running clustered Data ONTAP can add Flash Cache 2 today and migrate it to future storage systems when it comes time for a hardware refresh—and never disrupt active storage workloads.


Optimize Flash Deployment for Your Workloads

Architecting storage is no longer just about provisioning the right number of spindles. Increasingly it’s about pairing the right capacity drives with the right amount of flash. By providing a range of Flash Cache 2 capacity points and a full selection of both high-capacity and performance disk drives, NetApp makes it easier to deploy storage that’s optimized for your workloads—and your budget.



Especially in FAS6200 systems, it’s becoming popular to deploy new storage systems with Flash Cache to provide acceleration for all workloads in the system, and then add Flash Pool—which combines the capabilities of SSDs and HDDs—to support one or two critical applications. By deploying flash prudently, you can put flash exactly where you need it to achieve your performance objectives while keeping expenses under control.


Built for Data ONTAP

With so many flash options on the market, people sometimes ask why NetApp designed Flash Cache 2 itself. Building these cards provides several advantages.

  • Better efficiency. Most of the available flash options include capabilities that Data ONTAP already provides. By managing Flash Cache directly we are able to utilize the available capacity more efficiently.
  • Complete integration. Building our own card lets us provide a greater level of integration so you get the full benefit of NetApp storage efficiency technologies like deduplication and better performance from each card.


To find out more about Flash Cache 2 and our full portfolio of flash solutions, visit the NetApp Flash Technology page. You can also join or start a conversation on the NetApp Storage System Community or contact NetApp Sales.


What kind of workload is this and what block size?  what is r/w ratio?

Was the 10k rpm drives taken out completely?

The numbers in the figure are based on testing using a file services workload similar to SPECsfs2008. That workload consists of 10% write operations combined with a variety of other NFS operations designed to approximate the "average"  operations mix seen across a variety of sites.

The 10K RPM drives were removed completely; the results are from the combination of 7.2K RPM drives and Flash Cache.