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Reducing Latency of Dell ME5 Storage Appliance

Use Case:
Storage Performance

Puteaux, France


  • Customer wanted low VM latencies for their audio and video management application that were running in VMware VMs.


  • Virtucache ensured that VM level storage latency was consistently under 2ms for customer’s Dell ME5 storage arrays connected to ESXi hosts.

Reducing Latency of Dell ME5 Storage Appliance

The Virtunet Difference
The customer selected VirtuCache because:
  • VirtuCache is the only solution in the market that improves storage performance without requiring a replacement of customer's storage arrays.
  • The other alternative was to replace all their Dell ME5 storage arrays with a faster All-Flash array like the Dell EMC PowerStore, which would have been expensive.
  • March 20, 2022: Puteaux, France.

    We deployed VirtuCache software at Reed Expositions to improve the storage performance of their Dell ME5 storage appliance.

    Based in Puteaux, France, Reed Expo is organizer of trade and consumer events covering 22 countries.

    They have large amounts of multi-media content that they wanted to store on reasonably priced storage, hence they went with Dell ME5 storage. However Dell ME5 appliances were slow to serve multi-media content to applications running in VMware VMs. The applications that were running off of the ME5 were slow as well.

    High VMware Disk Latency in Dell ME5 Because of a Weak Controller

    The customer’s ME5 appliances were all-Flash, yet they were experiencing high disk latencies. This was because the controller on Dell ME5s are not very powerful. Typically, storage appliance controllers use powerful x86 processors, however to keep the ME5 appliances cheap, the controller processors in the ME5s are weaker ASICs manufactured by Seagate and not x86 processors. As a result the ME5 controllers choke when large amounts of storage IO is transmitted through it, as was the case at the customer.

    How VirtuCache Reduces LatencY of Dell ME5 Appliances?

    VirtuCache automatically caches all storage IO (reads and writes) from VMware VMs to ESXi host SSD or RAM. So all reads requested by VMs are serviced from in-host SSD or RAM and all writes from VMs are written to the same in-host SSD / RAM as well. So most of the storage IO processing is offloaded from SAN array controllers to ESXi host CPUs. Since ESXi host CPUs are more powerful and usually underutilized, this strategy of using VirtuCache to relieve pressure on SAN array controllers and improve IOPS and latencies works very well for Dell ME5 appliances.

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