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Adaptec Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection Explained

By: Chris Ramseyer | Editorials in Storage | Posted: Jun 25, 2009 10:35 am

The Adaptec 5Z Series


Adaptec Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection Explained


Yesterday Adaptec launched three new controller products. The controllers are similar to products already found in the class leading 5-Series SATA/SAS RAID controller family, but they have now been teamed with Adaptec's new Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection.


NAND flash has played an important role in storage technology, but has really evolved over the last few years. From the mini thumb drive that is sitting on your desk or key chain to the solid state drives that I talk about weekly, flash memory is what makes these products possible. Up until now I never considered flash memory to be a true archive product, but the fact is that flash can safely hold data for ten years without ever being powered.


Modern flash memory is very fast, something those of us with solid state hard drives praise on a daily basis. We have also learned that flash memory doesn't require large amounts of power to operate. Traditional DRAM memory used in cache systems on RAID controllers are still faster than flash memory, but when data is being sent from DRAM to flash the transfer is very fast. The entire 512MB DRAM cache module's data can be quickly transferred to flash memory in seconds, even with ECC and CRC protection.


If a 512MB data transfer can be made in under a minute then why would you want to have only 72 hours worth of data protection when the data can be held safely in flash storage for up to ten years? - Better yet, why would you want to spend 200+ Dollars on a battery that needs to be replaced every year compounding the cost of the controller card, often times doubling the initial investment in just four years or less? - That is what Adaptec asked themselves before planning the new 5Z Series of controller products.


Adaptec Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection Explained


In the above chart provided by Adaptec we see the Dollar figures that Adaptec came up with. Their numbers are a little different than mine, but it all works out the same; batteries cost your company time and money.


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