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By Gina Roos

sTec Inc. has introduced a free cache performance profiler that helps IT managers identify the optimal caching strategy for specific data center workloads. This is expected to help IT organizations boost performance and maximize their existing investments in solid-state or rotating-disk hardware, according to the global provider of solid-state storage solutions. The sTec EnhanceIO Profiler can be downloaded at the sTec Website.

Caching with solid-state drives (SSDs) is still fairly new, and the tool can help customers understand the value and benefits of caching, said Sunil Daryanani, director of product management, sTec, Santa Ana, Calif. “We see this as a tool that our resellers and existing sales force can use to help identify opportunities for caching and SSDs.”

Daryanani said the EnhanceIO Profiler is the only free and unlimited-use cache performance profiler available. “It’s a very simple installation utility, and it offers a very robust analysis for various workloads,” he said.

The cache profiler traces enterprise workloads and analyzes them to identify areas where application performance can be improved by using caching and SSDs. By running the software in existing storage environments, it allows the user to identify actual performance gains that could be achieved by caching.

The profiler recommends cache size, an optimal cache block size, cache mode, and the capacity and type of SSDs to get the maximum performance. sTec’s EnhanceIO SSD caching software is drive-agnostic, so it can be used with any SSD.

“There are many environments today where customers understand the value of SSDs, but they may not know where to place them to get the optimal benefit,” said Daryanani. “The profiler pinpoints where they can place an SSD and get the maximum benefit and performance, and latency reduction.”

The profiler dovetails with sTec’s new sales strategy to focus on enterprise users and global channel partners to augment its storage and server OEM business. “We’re now closer to the end user and closer to what regional channel partners are asking for in vertical markets,” said Daryanani. “Some of this is delivering significant cost and time savings for users.”

The global SSD market is expected to experience tremendous growth over the next several years, opening up greater opportunities for resellers in the storage space. Global shipments of SSDs are forecast to reach 83 million units in 2013, up from 39 million in 2012, according to IHS. The market research firm expects shipments to rise to 239 million units in 2016, which is estimated to be about 40 percent of the hard-disk-drive (HDD) market. These numbers include traditional consumer and enterprise SSDs, as well as cache SSDs.

To support channel partners, sTec created a global channel partner program that includes an onboarding process, recruitment, channel marketing resources and channel sales resources assigned to accounts. The company also added technical expertise in-house to support target vertical markets, including financial and banking institutions, oil and gas, cloud and content, and telecommunications.

“We’re getting a better pulse of what’s happening in the market, which is something we couldn’t do just by focusing on OEMs,” said Daryanani. sTec is primarily targeting value-added resellers that specialize in storage systems with a focus on vertical markets.

Gina Roos, a Channel Insider contributing writer, specializes in technology and the channel.