Home > Products > Series 8Q > Series 8Q FAQS
Series 8Q Family

Series 8Q FAQs

Answers to your most frequently asked questions



Software Update

Why is Series 8Q discountinuing the “Plus” from maxCache 3.0?

MaxCache Plus provided host based tiering functionality to the caching features of maxCache 3.0. maxCache is an adapter based solution that is a fully transparent solution that offloads the caching functionality from the host. For tiering, however, many server based operating systems and third party vendors now include host based tiering capabilities that can provide the same functionality as maxCache Plus. MaxCache 3.0 can be deployed in all environments, applications, and operating systems supported by the Series 8Q RAID adapter family.

What happens now if I am currently using maxCache Plus?

MaxCache Plus users can migrate to the adapter based caching solution maxCache 3.0 as a caching solution. As for host based Tiering, many of today’s operating systems do offer Tiering functionality that is more tightly integrated into the OS. Also, 3rd party vendor Tiering solutions can be used .

Will there be any software updates for maxCache Plus?

There is no further development planned for maxCache Plus.

Does the SSD caching in maxCache 3.0 work the same as it did in maxCache Plus? If no, what is different?

MaxCache 3.0 provides similar caching capabilities to maxCache Plus, but there are differences in the functionality. maxCache 3.0 is transparent to the operating system and offloads the host from the caching task.. maxCache Plus was able to cache and tier between devices that were not necessarily connected to the Series 8Q adapter card, whereas maxCache 3.0 can only cache devices that are attached to the Series 8Q adapter.

What are the advantages of using maxCache 3.0 with Series 8Q vs. Series 7Q?

Functionality is similar but performance is over 20% higher with Series 8Q.

Benefits of maxCache 3.0

What is maxCache 3.0?

MaxCache 3.0 is the caching functionality available in the Adaptec Q product skus. maxCache 3.0 is the evolution of Adaptec's industry-first read-only SSD caching technology. With improvements to the learned-path algorithm in read-only caching mode, read caching performance has increased from 13x with maxCache 2.0, to 25x with maxCache 3.0 in highly read-intensive applications. Additionally, maxCache 3.0 introduces the capability to perform redundant write caching. By caching writes to a redundant SSD cache pool (either RAID 1, RAID 1E or RAID 5), maxCache 3.0 leverages the performance and latency capabilities of SSD technology for both read and write workloads.

How does the maxCache 3.0 software work?

Microsemi Adaptec's maxCache 3.0 leverages its unique presence in the data path and utilizes a learned-path algorithm that identifies frequently-accessed data, and optimizes "reads" and "writes" by copying this data directly into an SSD cache pool for faster retrieval of future requests. Because this is done at the controller level, these processes are completely transparent and do not require any changes to storage architectures, application software or operating systems.

What are the benefits of using Microsemi Adaptec RAID Adapters with maxCache 3.0?

Microsemi Adaptec Series 8Q RAID Adapters with maxCache 3.0 SSD caching provide the following benefits for customers building SSD/HDD High-Performance Hybrid Arrays:

  • Up to 25X faster reads than HDD-only solutions: maxCache 3.0 caching software improves the learned-path algorithm that identifies frequently-read ("hot") data, and optimizes "reads" and "writes" by copying this data directly into an SSD cache pool for faster retrieval on future requests.
  • Up to 14x faster writes than HDD-only solutions: Adaptec maxCache 3.0 caching software offers redundant write caching capability for expanded application workload benefits. In addition to reads, the learned-path algorithm that identifies "hot" data also optimizes writes and caches them to a redundant SSD cache pool (either RAID 1, RAID 1E or RAID 5).
  • Reduced TCO: Adaptec maxCache software reduces capital expenses by increasing IOPs with less hardware – thereby significantly cutting energy and maintenance costs.

How is using maxCache 3.0 software different from using a standard SSD w/ SAS/SATA connectivity or a PCIe-based flash card?

To get maximum performance when using a standard SSD or a PCIe-based flash card, applications must be configured to partition data requiring higher IOPs onto the higher--performance flash media. This requires intimate knowledge of the specific applications and an understanding of how those applications route this "hot" data. maxCache 3.0 software eliminates this need by transparently analyzing and routing the read and write data, thus eliminating the need for application-specific tuning.

Additionally, standard SSD/Flash adapter capacities are quite small, a fraction of most enterprise-class rotating media, and expensive. As such, a greater number of SSDs are needed to achieve the same capacity levels, which increases capital expenditures significantly. With maxCache 3.0, one can still benefit from the larger capacities of rotating media (HDDs), while gaining the improved I/O performance benefits of the SSDs.

Which applications will the Series 8Q likely benefit most?

Adaptec 8Q RAID Adapters with maxCache 3.0 SSD software are ideal for data centers running applications with high "read" demands such as web serving, file serving and databases, as well as workloads that require a large amount of write operations such as online transactional processing (OLTP).

Which SSDs can be used with the Microsemi Adaptec Series 8Q RAID Adapters?

In general, any standard SATA or SAS SSD may be used, though performance and durability will vary based on SSD selection. For a list of SSDs that have tested by Adaptec for compatibility, please visit www.adaptec.com/compatibility.

What operating systems are supported?

The Series 8 family supports a long list of operating systems including Windows, Linux, VMware, Solaris, and FreeBSD,. For a complete list of available operating systems and drivers, please consult the Adaptec support site www.adaptec.com.

What management utilities are included with the Series 8Q?

Microsemi Adaptec's maxView Storage Manager is a one-view utility which centralizes management of all Adaptec RAID products. This new standards web-based utility enables remote RAID management, monitoring, and configuration through secure, encrypted communication and easily integrates with third-party clients via SMI-S.

ARCCONF (Command Line Interface – CLI) - Text-based command line interface that provides the same functions as maxView Storage Manager in environments where a GUI is not available.

uEFI/HII support – HII (Human Interface Infrastructure) is an API that allows integration of third-party configuration tools into motherboard system BIOS.

BIOS configuration utility (ACU) – used for quick and easy local setup without booting the OS.

How do I deploy maxCache 3.0?

The Adaptec 8Q RAID Adapters come equipped with the maxCache 3.0 software enabled, offering both read and write caching by default.

Why does maxCache utilize the entire SSD capacity as a cache pool?

Actually, it doesn't. New to maxCache 3.0 is the inclusion of our Optimized Disk Utilization (ODU) feature. As SSD sizes continue to increase, monopolizing their entire capacity as a cache-pool is becoming less attractive. ODU allows the SSD to be partitioned into both a cache pool and logical device. The logical partition, unlike the cache pool, is exposed to the operating system, and can be used to install an OS to it or store other data that requires fast, low-latency access.

What is the maximum capacity cache pool size for maxCache 3.0?

maxCache 3.0 supports up to eight (8) SSDs and up to 2TB of total capacity.