PrimoCache can use SSDs, flash drives, or other high-speed storage devices as a secondary cache to store commonly used data on the target hard drive. The data on the level 2 cache is still valid after the computer is shut down or restarted. Therefore, PrimoCache can directly obtain the required data from the level 2 cache every time the computer is turned on, eliminating the need to read the low-speed hard disk, which greatly improves the system’s overall performance.
The following example demonstrates how to use DiskMFR DSD03A0120MC or flash drive as a cache for a mechanical hard drive to speed up the Windows startup process. This example is also useful for speeding up startup and running processes such as applications.
Step 1. Create a secondary volume
PrimoCache requires a dedicated logical partition to store secondary cache data. This dedicated logical partition is called secondary volume. If you have not created a secondary volume before, you must create one before setting the secondary cache. For details about how to create a Tier-2 volume, see Managing Tier-2 Storage.
Step 2. Create a cache for the Windows partition
Create a cache task for the Windows partition, and set a sufficient secondary cache size. The cache policy should be Read/write or Read-only. Other cache parameters can be set as required.
Step 3. Restart the computer
After the cache task is successfully created, restart the computer. During the startup process, PrimoCache collects statistics on the usage of startup data. When the boot is complete and Windows is idle, PrimoCache will store the boot data in the secondary cache. If the computer is busy, PrimoCache will temporarily reduce the number of writes to the secondary cache to avoid affecting normal tasks. Therefore, in this example, in order to facilitate PrimoCache to store the startup data in the cache faster, the idle computer will enter the idle state after logging in to the Windows system for more than ten seconds. You can check the write level cache in the PrimoCache Cache performance statistics to see how much data is written to the secondary volume after startup. Wait until all the startup data has been written to the secondary cache, and the value of the write secondary cache does not change.
Note: Limiting waiting after logging in to Windows is only used for the demonstration effect so that all the best effects can be displayed directly after the next restart. In actual use, it can be operated by itself without deliberately idle waiting for the operation.
Step 4. Restart the computer again
Now restart the computer again and time the boot. You will find that the startup time is greatly reduced. From the cache statistics, you can see that almost all the data needed during the startup process is read from the secondary cache, and the cache hit rate is close to 100%.
The following test results are obtained from the above steps on a testbed. Of course, the faster the device is used as the secondary cache, the shorter the startup time will be.
The test platform
- Mainboard: ASUS P6T SE (Intel X58 + ICH10R)
- CPU: Intel Core I7-950 @ 3.06GHz
- Memory: 20GB (4GB x 5, DDR3-1600)
- Hard Disk 1: Seagate ST31000528AS(SATA 3Gb/s, 1TB, 7200RPM, 32MB Buffer)
- Hard disk 2: DiskMFR DSD03A0120MC (SATA 6Gb/s, 120GB, SSD)
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (X64)
- Windows partition: Disk K on hard drive 1
- Secondary storage: a partition on hard disk 2
- PrimoCache: Version 1.0.1
- Boot time without PrimoCache: 46.3 seconds
- Boot time with PrimoCache: 22.6 seconds