ONTAP 9.14

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FlexCache overview

FlexCache technology accelerates data access, reduces WAN latency and lowers WAN bandwidth costs for read-intensive workloads, especially where clients need to access the same data repeatedly. When you create a FlexCache volume, you create a remote cache of an already existing (origin) volume that contains only the actively accessed data (hot data) of the origin volume.

When a FlexCache volume receives a read request of the hot data it contains, it can respond faster than the origin volume because the data does not need to travel as far to reach the client. If a FlexCache volume receives a read request for infrequently read data (cold data), it retrieves the needed data from the origin volume and then stores the data before serving the client request. Subsequent read requests for that data are then served directly from the FlexCache volume. After the first request, the data no longer needs to travel across the network, or be served from a heavily loaded system. For example, suppose you are experiencing bottlenecks within your cluster at a singular access point for frequently requested data. You can use FlexCache volumes within the cluster to provide multiple mount points to the hot data, thereby reducing the bottlenecks and increasing performance. As another example, suppose you need to decrease network traffic to a volume that is accessed from multiple clusters. You can use FlexCache volumes to distribute hot data from the origin volume across the clusters within your network. This reduces WAN traffic by giving users closer access points.

You can also use FlexCache technology to improve performance in cloud and hybrid cloud environments. A FlexCache volume can help you transition workloads to the hybrid cloud by caching data from an on-premises data center to cloud. You can also use FlexCache volumes to remove cloud silos by caching data from one cloud provider to another or between two regions of the same cloud provider.

Beginning with ONTAP 9.10.1, you can enable global file locking across all FlexCache volumes. Global file locking prevents a user from accessing a file that is already opened by another user. Updates to the origin volume are then distributed to all FlexCache volumes simultaneously.

Beginning with ONTAP 9.9.1, FlexCache volumes maintain a list of files not found. This helps reduce network traffic by removing the need to send multiple calls to the origin when clients search for non-existent files.

A list of additional features supported for FlexCache volumes and their origin volumes, including a list of supported protocols by ONTAP version, is also available.

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