A Look At BCache vs. LVM Cache For HDD+SSD Linux Systems

Written by Michael Larabel in Fedora on 22 March 2015 at 09:45 AM EDT. 9 Comments
For those thinking about potentially running a Linux system with a combination of SSD and HDD so that the solid-state drive would be able to act as a performance cache for commonly used data, BCache and LVM-cache/dmcache are two of the commonly used solutions.

For those interested in LVM Cache or BCache, Fedora developer Vratislav Podzimek has written a lengthy blog post comparing these two hybrid caching solutions for Linux -- including setup procedures and steps for Fedora users.

At the end of the post, Vratislav Podzimek concluded that one of these caching solutions isn't definitely better than the other. If you're looking for an easy setup procedure though, the win would likely be handed to BCache. He concluded, "if somebody just wants to make use of their SSD by setting up SW cache on a fresh pair of SSD and HDD and they don’t want to bother with all the LVM stuff and commands, the bcache is probably the better choice. And as usual, having to independent and separate solutions for a single problem leads into many new and great ideas that are in the end shared because what gets implemented in one of them usually sooner or later makes it to the other too, typically even improved somehow. Let’s just hope that this will also apply to bcache and LVM cache and that both technologies are deployed widely enough to be massively supported, maintained and further developed."

You can read the lengthy post in full via Podzimek's personal blog. Performance benchmarks of these Linux hybrid caching solutions weren't shared in that blog post, but on my (albeit very lengthy) TODO list has been plans to do some various SSD+HDD Linux caching benchmarks. Express interest via the forums, on Twitter, or with tips if you'd be interested in such tests.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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