FalconStor and Violin today announced a new appliance aimed at accelerating data transfers on storage area networks (SAN) through the use of solid state drives as a massive cache.

The FalconStor NSS SAN Accelerator is a SAN gateway that boosts I/O performance on Fibre Channel and iSCSI SANs for critical applications, such as online transaction processing. FalconStor accelerator combines its Network Storage Server (NSS) Gateway, storage management software, and a 4TB Violin 1010 flash memory appliance to create a virtual SAN from which data can be served.

FalconStor claims that in benchmark tests, an NSS SAN accelerator that accounted for only 1% of the capacity on the SAN to which it was attached showed an I/O performance boost of more than 100%. "There are no other solutions on the market today that can yield as much performance enhancement out of a modest investment in a solid state tier of a virtualised SAN," Fadi Albatal, vice president of marketing for FalconStor, said in a statement.

FalconStor's storage management application SafeCache provides a segment of the solid state memory array for application writes, so that all disk writes can be received and acknowledged with low latency. The data is then written transparently to the destination storage volumes on an attached SAN. Then, FalconStor's HotZone software accelerates the read process of random-access database applications by monitoring disk access patterns and then copying the so-called hot data to a HotZone cache on the solid state memory array.

When data on the NSS SAN Accelerator is no longer experiencing heavy use, it's deleted and referenced back to its original location on the attached SAN. The FalconStor NSS SAN Accelerator is immediately available in the US with a price tag of $32,000, which includes one solid state memory array with 500GB of RAID-protected storage capacity.